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Taranaki Teachers Meet To Discuss School Closures

Taranaki Teachers Meet To Discuss School Closures

Wellington – Staff at the five Taranaki primary schools the Minister of Education, Trevor Mallard, wants to close, are meeting in school time tomorrow, to show their opposition to the Minister’s plan.

The teachers, principals and support staff from Opunake Primary, Oaonui School, Te Kiri School, Pihama School, and Riverlea School will leave their schools tomorrow afternoon to attend a paid union meeting at the Opunake Surf Club from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. NZEI Te Riu Roa has written to the parents and caregivers of the children at the five schools explaining why the paid union meeting has been called.

“It is rare for NZEI to call meetings for its members in school time and that shows the level of concern we have about the Minster’s plan to close these schools in south Taranaki,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Bruce Adin.

“Our number one concern is the disruption closures will cause to the education of the children in the Opunake area. Closing means all the staff lose their jobs and the school boards are disestablished. That’s hugely disruptive,” Mr Adin says.

“NZEI was involved with the Ministry of Education during the restructuring of Wainuiomata schools last year. We developed a protocol for merging schools that has been highly successful. We know from that experience that merging produces the best outcome for students and staff and that closures would have been chaotic,” Mr Adin says.

“That’s why the staff in the Opunake area are angry and why they are attending the paid union meeting tomorrow because the Minister has rejected the proven policy of mergers in favour of highly disruptive school closures.”

“I have met with school board members in Opunake and know the parents share that anger. The parents from Oaonui School are expressing their anger by marching on Parliament tomorrow,” Mr Adin says.

The concern about school closures is not confined to south Taranaki. More than 50 schools are involved in network reviews and the Minister has signalled two more for Taranaki.

“Since the Minister announced his closure plan for the Opunake area I have been bombarded with inquiries about what it means for schools under review in other parts of the country. They have every right to be concerned as they could also face the unnecessary disruption of school closures,” Mr Adin says.

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