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Salisbury School decision a hard-fought victory

21 May 2013

Salisbury School decision a hard-fought victory

The Public Service Association says a decision to keep Salisbury School in Nelson open is a hard-fought victory but one which has come at a cost.

The school was told last year that it would have to close as part of a new Ministry of Education plan for special education, but today after a long battle, it has been told it will remain open.

The PSA, along with many others, had argued in its initial submission that residential schools like Salisbury provide an effective specialist education and are an important part of the special education mix.

PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott says there was firm opposition to the closure proposal from the time it was first put forward.

“A lot of time, stress and uncertainty could have been saved if the government had listened to the concerns of students, families and staff from the outset. Even the High Court had ruled that what the government was trying to do was unlawful.”

There has also been a significant cost to staff.

Brenda Pilott says “this year-long period of uncertainty has meant that about a third of Salisbury’s staff have left, taking with them valuable specialist experience and expertise which is very difficult to replace.”

“Salisbury School needs to be congratulated for challenging calling into question the government’s entire decision-making process around the future of special education and not giving up on the interests of its students and their families.”

The PSA says there are still some challenges ahead in terms of how the new national special education service will operate and the introduction of a new governance structure for the three remaining special residential schools.


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