13 November, 2012
Minister thanks school communities
Education Minister Hekia Parata would like to thank the 35 school communities in greater Christchurch who took the time to meet with her over the last two weeks.
Ms Parata visited 35 of the 37 schools proposed for closure or merger as part of the Government’s Education Renewal Plan.
“I would like to thank those schools’ communities for their engagement, generosity of spirit, and commitment to their children’s educational future. I got a real sense of each community and their hopes and plans for their children’s education.
“Throughout the meetings, some schools were emphatic that they did not want the timeframe to be extended, others wanted it to be extended to various times, and one school asked for a 5-year moratorium. Of the 35 schools, there was no consensus.
“It was apparent to me that a lot of the schools were getting on with their submissions and were seeking certainty.’’
Ms Parata says she has decided to extend the consultation timeframe for the Aranui cluster only.
“Due to the complexity of the Aranui cluster, the fact that there is one proposal for all five schools and that the creation of a new facility is not proposed until after 2017, I have decided to extend the timeframe for their submissions until March 7, 2013.’’
All other schools’ submissions on their proposals are due on the current timeframe of December 7, 2012. The Ministry of Education has already received submissions from three schools. The Minister will advise boards of her decisions in mid-February 2013. Work on the cluster plans is not due until mid-2013.
Of the 215 schools across greater Christchurch, 13 are proposed for closure and 18 for merger. It is also proposed five Aranui schools will form a new Year 1-13 campus and two Banks Peninsula schools will become attached to the Akaroa Area School while remaining on their own sites.
“Our Government has committed $1 billion to rebuilding the education sector in greater Christchurch over the next 10 years. It’s not simply about putting back what was there, but focusing on what can be done better. There is every opportunity for Christchurch to become a leading education city,” Ms Parata says.