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Smith: Opportunity lost with Hutt schools

Media Statement For immediate release
Thursday, 29 January, 2004

Smith: Opportunity lost with Hutt schools

Hutt Valley-based United Future MP Murray Smith says that the Education Minister Trevor Mallard's proposal to close Pinehaven School and have Silverstream School continue on both sites is a lost opportunity to take an innovative approach that would have allowed the cultures of both schools to be maintained.

"Both schools could have been brought under one board of trustees and one principal while maintaining the distinctiveness of each school," Mr Smith said.

This would have allowed the schools to work together to get the best education for the area - including allowing the school sizes to be better controlled - while also preserving the distinctive character and community that each had, he said.

"Instead, Pinehaven School will lose everything positive that it has and Silverstream's culture will be imposed upon it for better or for worse."

Mr Smith said that Mr Mallard's decision to keep both sites going was an admission that he didn't have a clue what was going to happen to the student numbers in the area, and that by delaying the vacating of the Pinehaven site, the option remained to recreate a separate Pinehaven School if the student numbers were maintained or increased.

Mr Smith said that Mr Mallard had not said what roll size would justify the two schools being merged on to the Silverstream site but with rolls of 167 (Pinehaven) and 416 (Silverstream), the opportunity remained to have two schools of an ideal 200 to 300 pupil size. He hoped that the new arrangement would allow this to happen.


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