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School closures steal kids' future warn Greens

School closures will steal kids' future, warn Greens

Rural families and communities will pay a high price if the Government presses ahead with plans to close 300 small schools, Green Party Education spokesperson Metiria Turei warned today.

The Government's school revue was discussed at the Greens' South Island women's hui in Geraldine over the weekend.

The hui heard from mothers of children from some of the South Canterbury schools under revue. They expressed concerns about a farcical consultation process that has failed to recognise the value of the school community in rural areas.

"This revue will impact on every school community and is a national issue that the Government is attempting to marginalise into a series of 'local' closures," Metiria Turei said. "Each revue is isolated, but the process has to be seen in a national context.

"The Education Ministry's insistence on a 160 pupil minimum for all schools will destroy the fabric of rural communities," said Metiria. "The Ministry says that quality of education does not count in the revue, but it should be made to take notice of the real educational success achieved by small schools with the help of new broadband internet access and good community support.

"Local rural schools are community resources, supported by years of fund raising in their district. The Ministry's planned closures amount to a virtual act of theft from rural families and children."

Metiria noted that even schools which were previously amalgamated in the EDI process are no necessarily protected and may face closure.

"The Greens celebrate small schools and the rural communities that support them," said Metiria. "We fear that this programme of wholesale closures will be paid for by our rural families and mostly by our children."

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