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Mediator for Timaru review announced

15 March 2004 Media Statement

Mediator for Timaru review announced

Former New Zealand School Trustees Association national president Janet Kelly is to be the independent mediator for the school network review in Timaru, in line with recommendations from the community, Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.

“Mayor Wynne Raymond, who has been leading the consultation on the appointment of a mediator and the terms of reference, has contacted me to say Janet Kelly is the preferred choice of the schools. I have agreed to the community's recommendation,” Trevor Mallard said.

“I have also accepted the terms of reference for the mediation which the Mayor has recommended after consultation with the schools. I am confident that Janet Kelly will work through the process thoroughly, carefully and quickly so final decisions can be made to bring stability and certainty to the future of local education in the South Canterbury area, for the sake of local students,” Trevor Mallard said.

Janet Kelly, who is an experienced review facilitator, is available to start on the mediation process now.

"Although no deadline has been set for the mediation process, I still want to make decisions as early as possible in April. The schools and the mediator are aware of that timetable," Trevor Mallard said.

"The longer schools have to get on with the job, and prepare and plan for the implementation of any changes in time for the start of the 2005 school year, the better it will be for all concerned. But let me stress that I will not make any final decisions until I receive the mediator’s recommendations," Trevor Mallard said.

The agreed terms of reference for the Timaru mediation are as follows:

- Examine all the data that was provided to the Minister of Education that led to his proposal;

- Examine all the material that has come in to the Ministry by way of submissions and letters since the Minister announced his proposals;

- Following discussion with any school wishing to be further consulted, to then identify areas where there appears to be a measure of agreement and also to identify areas and issues where significant disagreement is apparent;

- Talk to those schools identified (as above) as being in an area of significant disagreement and talk to boards of trustees, Timaru District Council and any other community group and gather any additional data that may be necessary; and

- Prepare recommendations for the Minister on these areas of disagreement and any other areas affecting the particular review area, which the Minister will consider alongside recommendations submitted by the Ministry of Education, before the Minister makes a final decision.

ENDS

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