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Nzei Welcomes Decision On School Mergers

Nzei Welcomes Decision On School Mergers

Wellington - NZEI Te Riu Roa welcomes the decision by the Minister of Education, Trevor Mallard, to merge rather than close a number of primary schools in south Taranaki.

The Ministry of Education had announced in March that he wanted to close the schools at Opunake, Oaonui, Te Kiri, Pihama and Riverlea as part of a school reorganisation.

This angered the teachers, principals and other staff at the schools because they had believed that a protocol negotiated at a national level meant the reorganisation would involve school mergers not closures. They demonstrated their anger by attending a paid union meeting in school time on April 8, which was organised by NZEI Te Riu Roa as part of a campaign against the closure plan. On the same day parents and pupils from Oaonui School marched on Parliament and then met with Mr Mallard to show their opposition to the planned closures.

“NZEI Te Riu Roa is delighted that the Minister has changed his mind and will now merge the schools instead of closing them,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Bruce Adin.

“The union has campaigned against closures because this would have been hugely disruptive as all the staff would have lost their jobs and the school boards would have been disestablished.”

“Our main concern all along has been for the students and the disruption closures would have caused to their learning. We applaud the Minister for listening and reversing his decision,” Bruce Adin says.

Mr Mallard has announced that Oaonui School will merger with Opunake Primary School on the Opunake school site.

And that Pihama, Te Kiri, Rivelea and Auroa Schools will merge on the Auroa school site.

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