Integration For Bethlehem College
Education Minister Nick Smith, during a visit to Tauranga today, announced his approval for Bethlehem College to integrate into the state school system as a composite school, effective from October 4 this year.
"This is an important milestone for Bethlehem College and the Tauranga community. It has taken over a year of negotiation but is finally happening. With this integration an extra $3 million a year will be coming into the Tauranga community. The lower attendance cost that will result from integration will allow families, who might otherwise not have been able to consider Bethlehem College, to have a wider choice for the education of their children."
Bethlehem College currently has a roll of 891 primary and secondary pupils and expects to reach a maximum roll of 1530 over the next five to seven years.
"This is the largest integration to occur since Middleton Grange School in Christchurch in 1996. Integration allows the Government to provide parents with a greater choice of education for their children. Schools such as Bethlehem College, with their Christian based special character, are the preferred choice for many parents."
Integrated schools follow the state curriculum requirements but incorporate their own special character into the school programme. They receive the same government funding per student as state schools but the buildings and land are privately owned, so they meet the costs of property development from attendance dues. They also receive government funding for their maintenance costs.
"Bethlehem College provides an excellent education for its pupils. The integration will ensure the special character of the school is retained and a far wider range of families will have the option of Bethlehem College for the education of their children."