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Education Minister Nikki Kaye has announced an increase to the maximum roll of Bethlehem College in Tauranga, and approval for the college to establish a new campus in Rotorua.

“This announcement reflects the Government’s commitment to ensure there’s both sufficient capacity where needed, as well as choice within our education network,” says Ms Kaye.

Bethlehem College is a co-ed, state-integrated school offering non-denominational Christian-based education.

As the proprietor of Bethlehem College owns and leases the property on which its school is located, the maximum roll increase was approved based on them demonstrating they have the property to support increased student numbers.

“From next year, the college will be able to provide 60 additional places for Year nine to 13 students at its Tauranga campus,” says Ms Kaye.

“Tauranga is one of our fastest-growing areas, and the Government has been investing heavily in new schools and classrooms to help meet roll growth in the city and surrounding communities.

“The additional spaces that Bethlehem College will offer from 2018 will contribute further to the enhanced capacity of the local school network.”

Bethlehem College’s new Rotorua campus will be located on the site of the current Chapman College.

“Bethlehem College will offer 120 places for Year one to eight students from its new Rotorua base from the beginning of next year,” says Ms Kaye.

Chapman College will stop providing education for Year 1-8 students from 2018. It will continue as a private school for Year 9-10 for two years, and close at the end of 2019.

“State-integrated schools such as Bethlehem College are an important part of our education system, because they offer families the choice of education with a special character that’s either religious or philosophical in nature,” says Ms Kaye.

Around 89,000 students, or around 11 per cent of the student population, are educated in state integrated schools.

“Today’s announcement means another integrated schooling pathway, linking primary and secondary schools, will be available in the Bay of Plenty area,” says Ms Kaye.

“The changes are also expected to strengthen the recently approved Waikato-Bay of Plenty Non-Denominational Christian Community of Learning.

“Communities of Learning are about increasing student achievement, through early education services, schools and tertiary providers working together to share expertise and lift the quality of teaching and learning.

“Bethlehem College is a high-performing school with above-average National Standards achievement rates, so I know there will be many families in the Tauranga and Rotorua area who will welcome today’s announcement.”

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