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Warning for schools set to merge

2 July 2004

Warning for schools set to merge

Newly merged schools set to open next year should be warned about chaotic way other mergers have been carried out, says National Education spokesman, Bill English.

Three Northland schools are set to merge as a result of the latest review.

"Half-way through the school year, three new merged schools, due to open at the beginning of the 2004 school year, remain unfinished leaving students, teachers and parents facing prolonged uncertainty and disruption.

"At the end of the second term, Tongariro Area School remains in disarray with leaky and unfinished classrooms. Students are left working around piles of unpacked boxes and conditions are so bad that one concerned parent contacted OSH which identified 10 safety issues that needed to be addressed.

"At the beginning of the school year, construction of new classes had not started at Putaruru Primary and there was no phone line. The school was spread out between two premises with teachers initially forced to communicate by walkie-talkie."

"Lakeview Primary School (Masterton) opened at the beginning of the school year and continues to operate on three separate premises - effectively as three separate schools - and is expected to do so until the start of the fourth term in October."

In each case the ministry of education has blamed the school Boards, volunteers expected to carry out a complex process many didn't want

"With just 32 weeks until the beginning of the 2005 school year, including Christmas holidays, schools need to make sure the minister and the bureaucrats don't leave them with all the dirty work ," says Mr English.


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