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New schools: students given the run-around

New schools: students given the run-around

Trevor Mallard's ad-hoc decisions to close and merge schools around the country have seen students, parents and teachers given the run-around, says National's Education spokesman, Bill English.

"Students at Tongariro Area School, and Putaruru and Lakeview Primary Schools, are getting a bad deal because the mergers have not lived up to government promises.

"At the end of the second term, Tongariro Area School remains in disarray with leaky and unfinished classrooms. Students are left working around piles of unpacked boxes and conditions are so bad that one concerned parent contacted OSH which identified 10 safety issues that needed to be addressed.

"At the beginning of the school year, construction of new classes had not started at Putaruru Primary and there was no phone line. The school was spread out between two premises with teachers initially forced to communicate by walkie-talkie."

"Lakeview Primary School (Masterton) opened at the beginning of the school year and continues to operate on three separate premises - effectively as three separate schools - and is expected to do so until the start of the fourth term in October.

"Trevor Mallard promised better education but the safety and wellbeing of students is put at risk," says Mr English.

Mr Mallard's response has been that while he understands the frustration of those affected, it is important not to rush.

"If he hadn't rushed the closures and mergers of these schools, they wouldn't be in this mess."

The board charged with establishing the new Tongariro Area School was given just 129 days to have the school up and running.

"Not only has the Minister removed choice in education for many students but now they are faced with prolonged uncertainty and disruption," says Mr English.

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