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Education Minister still not listening to Christchurch

13 November 2012
Immediate Release

Education Minister still not listening to Christchurch

Education Minister Hekia Parata has once again failed to listen to Christchurch schools and communities by ignoring requests for an adequate timeframe to respond to the proposals to cut and merge schools in the area.

NZEI Te Riu Roa Canterbury Area Council Chair Sandra Spekreijse says this will place an enormous amount of stress on the schools that are now forced to meet this unrealistic deadline.

She says the majority of schools earmarked for merger or closure have asked for a more realistic timeframe to respond to the Ministry of Education’s proposals.

“Schools and their communities have just over three weeks to finish their submissions and this comes at one of the busiest times for families and schools.”

NZEI National President Ian Leckie says it’s extremely disappointing that once again, the Minister has failed to listen to and respond to the needs of the Christchurch community.

“There will now be no real opportunity for the Christchurch City Council and other organisations and community groups to have input into the future of education in Christchurch.

“It is a great tragedy that the Government is continuing to put its agenda ahead of proper consultation. It seems that the Government is determined to plough ahead with its closure and merger programme and ride roughshod over the needs of Christchurch children.

“Christchurch children deserve a good quality public education and they should not be treated as guinea pigs for an agenda that the Government appears to want to roll out nationally."

“What was the point of the Minister’s school visits – was it simply a PR exercise with no substance and no real intention to listen?

“It’s interesting that the only the schools given an extension are those in the proposed Aranui cluster. That is ironic because the proposal there is not to merge them till 2017. In the meantime, the other 32 schools will be facing closure or merger within two to three years of a decision.”

ENDS

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