An Overview of Middleton Grange 1964-2008
Middleton Grange opened in February 1964 as the result of a vision for Christian education in Christchurch. At first there were 66 pupils and 4 teachers. Since its inception it has been interdenominational in character. This is especially so today as patterns of church structure and attendance have changed markedly since the early 1960s, and in view of the fact the school now boasts a strong International College, with some pupils coming from non-Christian cultures and homes. There has always been an understanding that, before God, parents are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children and the school plays a subordinate, but obviously very important role in furnishing the knowledge and skills necessary to live in contemporary culture. The school rests on a Reformed and Evangelical interpretation of Scripture which informs all aspects of governance and management. The Christian Schools' Trust is responsible for safeguarding the Special Character of the school.
The first secondary pupils sat the School Certificate examination in 1968 and subsequently, Form 7 qualifications in 1970. By this date, Middleton Grange was offering courses in most senior subjects although full secondary facilities were not provided until the mid 1970s. There has always been tension between providing a Christian Education for as many families as possible but requiring high fees as an independent (private) school. Consequently, numbers of interested parents have been precluded from sending their children to the school and many that were here remained loyal but struggled financially year after year to pay fees.
By 1995 the growth of the school had reached a stage that made Integration into the state system an attractive option. As an integrated school, the government funds day-to-day operations including teacher salaries, while the proprietors (the Christian Schools' Trust) levy parents to upgrade facilities to Ministry of Education requirements. Integration also means a commitment on behalf of the school to deliver and assess the national curriculum. The Catholic Schools pioneered the integration scheme in 1975, and by the time this was being seriously considered as an option for Middleton Grange, many of the legal and practical problems had been ironed-out with the Catholic experience.
Middleton Grange became integrated in 1996. This meant a re-formulation of all documentation with the process continuing. With lowered fees and improved facilities the school has subsequently become attractive and more accessible. The maximum roll is currently 1140 and further expansion is envisaged (the Ministry is considering a roll increase application to take the roll to 1350).
Copyright © Hairy Lemon 2013