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Mediation an option in school review process

2 March 2004 Media Statement

Mediation an option in school review process

Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today he would agree to an independent mediator in the school review process if communities in the 11 school review areas wanted to appoint one, on a similar basis to an Invercargill proposal.

"A meeting in Invercargill which I attended last night voted in favour of a resolution calling for an independent mediator to be appointed, to enhance community involvement in the process and to make an independent assessment of information and submissions.

"The resolution was put by Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt, and supported by the city's schools which, through principal representatives, indicated a desire to move on with the process and look for a positive solution, having accepted there was overcapacity in the city's schools and therefore a need for rationalisation.

"People at the meeting also referred to the huge time and effort that they had put into the process already with the aim of coming up with a constructive solution, and commented that they did not want to see this hard work gone to waste.

"I have agreed to the proposal, and would like to thank the city council for its support.

"I would also like to make it clear that I would accept independent mediation in the other review areas, if communities so desire.

"In terms of the process, if mediation is accepted, submissions should still be sent to the review facilitators who will pass them on to the mediator. Once the deadline for submissions is closed, it will then be up to the independent mediator to set up a process and come up with recommendations for me. I expect they will probably want to talk to schools and others in the area, and gather new information if necessary," Trevor Mallard said.

The resolution of last night's meeting was:

"That the review of schools in Invercargill City has strong community driven involvement in determining a positive outcome, that an independent mediator acceptable to the Minister and the community, and paid for by the Community Trust of Southland, be appointed to achieve this, that a similar proposal be offered to all 11 regions under review."

ENDS

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