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Night Classes at Rutherford College – nearly 50 years on

Historically the purpose of community education has been to not only provide adult students with the opportunity for on-going learning, but to also open up the school to the community. Greater involvement by the community in the school and in the use of school facilities is thought to lead to greater acceptance of the school as part of the community and a reduction in such things as property damage and mischievous behaviour.
“A School is much more effective if it establishes partnerships or networks with parents, with community groups, with other learning agencies rather than operating like an “island apart” (Charlie Herbert 1988)

Where it all began
In 1974, in West Auckland, Rutherford High School (as it was known then) was one of four pilot schools that was selected by Education Minister Phil Amos to share resources with their communities.
In 1978, under Education Minister Les Gandar, Rutherford College, along with seven other schools nationwide, were re-designated as Community Learning Centres.
The next big step, historically, was the enrolment of adult students in ordinary school classes – at both Rutherford and Aorere College. This was achieved through an amendment to the Education Act in 1975 and it was the first time in the Western word that adults and adolescents were taught together. Despite the skeptics this was a success, and by 1979 there were over 2300 adult enrolments at 190 schools. (The success at both schools was enhanced by on-site early childhood centres.)
In the same year there were a further 10,300 adults enrolled for secondary school subjects with the Correspondence School. Most were women enrolled in forms five, six and seven – although some came in at form four or spent time in pre-entry or catch up groups in English or mathematics.
By 1987 most secondary schools in NZ were provided with funding to run adult learning classes to meet community need and to administer a percentage of funding to support community organisations providing adult learning opportunities.

Where we are at now……… Rutherford College 2022
Much of what Rutherford Community Learning Centre was originally set up to achieve still carries on. Rutherford provides adults who have missed out at school with access to gain qualifications in a safe and friendly learning environment, with support from qualified tutors who understand the needs and aspirations of adult learners. The classes have all the support needed to be successful: trained teachers, well equipped, resourced classrooms, and clean, safe, public buildings available in the evening.
We currently offer over 200 courses a year, so if you are looking for a bit of ‘me’ time away from the responsibilities of work and family this could be the chance to express yourselves creatively or artistically, or if you need to up-skill for work or a new career there are plenty of business and computer courses available.


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