Changes For St Stephen's
Education Minister Trevor Mallard said that he hoped that a new school proposed for the St Stephen's School Bombay site will focus on excellence and creating an environment to help educate future Maori leaders.
His comments followed an agreement finalised today with the St Stephen's Trust Board to cancel the school's integration agreement.
"This has been a complex process. However, it was made easier by the fact that all parties involved had a recognition of the historical importance of St Stephen's and the requirement for a school which has 'excellence' at its heart," Trevor Mallard said.
"My officials and I have worked closely with both the school's trust board and the Pihopatanga o Aotearoa over the last few months to come up with a solution that we feel meets this goal.
"The decision was made after extensive consultation with all interested parties – the Board of Trustees, teaching staff, non teaching staff, parents and caregivers, students, iwi representatives, members of the Maori community and the public.
"We have agreed to cancel the current integration agreement and start work in the new year for a new integration or similar agreement designed to build on the excellence that St Stephen's has experienced in the past.
"In making our decision we focused on the interests –both educational and personal – of the present and future students of St Stephen’s School. There are continuing and chronic issues concerning governance and management, academic achievement of students, health and safety of students, and the condition of property at St Stephen’s school.
"The vision we want to explore for the proposed new school is of a new beginning incorporating good governance, modern facilities, high academic achievement and an emphasis on tikanga Maori and Church values.
"I hope that many of the Maori leaders who attended and benefited from the quality education offered at St Stephen's will show their support for the proposed new school by encouraging members of their family to enrol their boys there."
Trevor Mallard said a package of measures had been developed to support current St Stephen's students continue their education.
"There will be help for each student and their families to develop an individual education plan and to enrol in another school or a tertiary provider. For students enrolling in other schools as part of an agreed plan, there will be financial help for costs such as new uniforms and any extra travel or fees that enrolling at the new school may incur.
"The Ministry of Education will liaise with schools that can accommodate students from St Stephen's to ensure that they are equipped to meed the educational and personal needs that the students may have," Trevor Mallard said.