May 28, 2004
NZEI Angry Minister Removed Middle Schools
NZEI Te Riu Roa, is angry that the Education Minister has ignored the wishes of school staff and parents in Invercargill by shutting down the city’s junior high school, its two intermediate schools and decapitating primary schools by removing their Year 7 and 8 classes.
“This means the students affected, most of whom are aged 11 and 12, are being forced to attend secondary schools which are being expanded to take them in,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa, National President, Colin Tarr.
“Some of these secondary schools will now have up to 2000 students, which is a daunting prospect for 11 and 12 year olds who have been attending primary and intermediate schools.”
“This ignores the wishes of their parents and the wider community of Invercargill.”
“They have made it clear throughout the review that they wanted to continue sending their children to the intermediate schools, the junior high and full primary schools.”
“The pre-adolescent children affected by the Minister’s announcement are at a stage in their development, in terms of the rate of growth in their physical, emotional and intellectual development, that is second only to infancy.”
“It’s a time of enormous change for these children and they need an educational environment that caters for their particular needs. Intermediate and junior high schools in particular are set up specifically for their needs.”
“NZEI Te Riu Roa members are concerned the Minister is trying to restructure primary education in New Zealand without considering the views of parents, the wider community and the school staff.”
“In Invercargill he has ignored their wishes and the recommendations of the mediator appointed to look at the reorganisation. This is despite stating publicly that he would be ‘stupid’ to ignore the mediators recommendations.”
“NZEI Te Riu Roa members says if the Minister does have plans to restructure primary education he must engage in meaningful consultation with parents, the community and school staff. He must take their views into account and ensure that any decisions that are made have their full support,” says Colin Tarr.
NZEI Te Riu Roa represents teachers and principals in Invercargill’s primary and intermediate schools and the junior high school, plus the support staff in those schools and the secondary schools.