Consultation in name only for Christchurch schools

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Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Consultation in name only for Christchurch schools

Chris Hipkins  | 
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 – 16:01

The fate of Canterbury’s schools looks to have been settled with little regard for the opinions of those that matter most – parents, boards and teachers, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.

Education Minister Hekia Parata chalked up her verdict for the region this afternoon, closing seven schools, merging up to five and extending three existing high schools to year seven and eight students.

“While Cantabrians understood that change was needed, there is a real feeling that today’s decisions have been made with little credence given to community concerns,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Aside from a couple of tweaks, namely the decision to exclude South New Brighton School from the proposed merger with Central New Brighton School, and the extension of three existing high schools, the verdict is basically as it was in February.

“Communities have been exceptionally patient while the Minister mulled over her response. They were generous with their time and energy on the assumption that some of their points would have been taken on board.

 

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“They will be disappointed today.

 

“The fate of three schools, Central New Brighton, Freeville and North New Brighton is still in limbo. For Burwood and Windsor Schools, the coming months will again be spent negotiating with the local Ministry over the proposed split-site.

“Many communities have been left anxious by the Minister’s botched processes, back-downs, and broken promises. They will still be feeling that way today.

“The local school has been a true source of stability and routine for so many families. That is why the stakes are so high, and the Minister’s rationale so difficult to understand.

“The only thing today’s decisions do is allow National to power ahead with its own political and cost-saving agenda, leaving communities to manage the fallout,” Chris Hipkins said.

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