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Minister’s Blueprint for Education in Wainuiomata

8 May 2001 Media Statement

Minister’s Blueprint for Education in Wainuiomata

Education Minister Trevor Mallard tonight released his blueprint for future education in Wainuiomata – the valley in which he lives and attended primary school.

If the plan is confirmed when a final decision is announced in August, the number of state schools in the suburb will be reduced from 12 to six.

Trevor Mallard has accepted the view of the reference group that the future education needs of Wainuiomata can be provided by a single secondary school (Years 9 – 13), one intermediate school (Years 7 – 8), one full primary school (Years 0 – 8) and three contributing primary schools (Years 0 – 6).

The plan he released today provides for the following changes to take place:

- Wainuiomata College and Parkway College to merge on the current site of Wainuiomata College

- Wainuiomata Intermediate and Parkway Intermediate Schools to merge on the Wainuiomata Intermediate site

- The new college and intermediate school would have a single Board of Trustees

- Glendale School and Pencarrow School to merge at Glendale School which becomes a full primary school

- Fernlea, Parkway and Sun Valley Schools to join together on the site now occupied by Parkway Intermediate

- Wainuiomata and Woodhatton Schools to merge at Wainuiomata School

Arakura School will continue on its current site.

Trevor Mallard said substantial changes in the population demographics of Wainuiomata left him with no option but to create a new path to meet the suburb’s future education needs.

In 1991, there were 3,600 students at school in Wainuiomata and this year there were 3,127. Estimates show that in 20 years, there will be about 2,000. At its peak in the 1970s, a conservative estimate points to there being more than 5000 students in Wainuiomata Schools.

“In some ways, it is heart-rending for me to have to change the provision of education when I am so attached to Wainuiomata Schools,” Trevor Mallard said.

“But it just has to be done. The important thing is to get it right. The way schools were designed in the 1960s simply won't provide the best fit for the community of the future. I believe the solution I am putting forward is in the best interests of Wainuiomata and of the future education of its young people.”

Wainuiomata now has 12 state and 2 state-integrated schools, the oldest of them having been founded in 1857.

“It is gratifying to know that all of these schools have earned positive Education Review Office reports in recent years in their efforts to give young people a quality education,” said Trevor Mallard.

“It is a tribute to the school principals of Wainuiomata that they recognised the need to work together at an early stage and have been discussing their ideas for the future over the past several years. They saw an opportunity for everyone to take a fresh look at what schools could really offer, without being constrained by the existing number and type of schools.

“We now have the opportunity to consolidate our education resources in the district. We have the chance to concentrate them into a smaller number of schools that will be able to offer the best in teaching and learning facilities.

“Merging schools saves money, there is no question about that. But instead of the Government just taking back those savings to spend as it wants, much of it will be tagged for improving education in Wainuiomata over the next few years.

“It will be feasible, for example, to look at giving students access to such improvements as a technology centre, at providing second chance education, special needs facilities, a full service college, an education resource centre, or guidance staff to help resource teachers specialising in literacy, learning and behaviour. The bi-cultural and multi-cultural needs of the community can also be addressed.

Trevor Mallard said there was still the opportunity for schools and their communities to contribute to the final decision. Boards of Trustees had until June 8 to consult with their communities and to report back to the Ministry of Education.

If the Minister confirms his proposal following the final round of consultation, a timetable will be developed to implement the changes. The Minister would be responsible for nominating an independent chair or chairs to the appointment panels for merging schools.

A newsletter is being circulated to all households this week, to give the people of Wainuiomata further information about today’s announcement.

Anyone requiring further information should ring the Lower Hutt office of the Ministry of Education on 04 463 8699.

ENDS

The timetable for the process for choosing the future shape of schooling in Wainuiomata is:

9 May – 8 June (4 weeks) - Consultation with Board of Trustees and community on Minister’s decision
9 June – 19 June (10 days) - Ministry of Education prepares report for Minister
20 June – 22 June (3 days) - Consideration of report by Minister
- Announcement of decisions by Minister
23 June – 23 July - 28 day time for Board of Trustees to respond
24 July – 31 July (1 week) - Ministry of Education prepares final report to Minister
1 August – 3 August (3 days) - Consideration of final report by Minister
- Announcement of final decision
9 August - Publication of New Zealand Gazette notice


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