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Consultation to begin on Whanganui Schools future

Consultation to begin on future of Whanganui River Schools

Associate Minister of Education David Benson-Pope has announced a review of schooling on the Whanganui River.

The review is in response to falling rolls and concerns about the delivery of education to students on the river and has been agreed to by the Boards of Trustees of the three schools affected, Pipiriki School, Ranana School and Te Kura o Parikino. The schools have authorised Te Puna Mâtauranga o Whanganui (Whanganui Iwi Education Authority) to act on their behalf during the review. The authority will work with the Ministry of Education in a joint process to develop recommendations to meet the current and future educational needs of children in the area.

"I am pleased that Te Puna Mâtauranga o Whanganui will be working closely with the Ministry on this project as it recognises the character of these rural Maori communities that have very strong hapu and marae connections," said Mr Benson-Pope. "At present the rolls at the schools are 100 per cent Maori.

"My concern is that the small size of these schools and their isolation means that these children may not be getting the education they deserve."

Mr Benson-Pope says he expects the outcome to be recommendations for schooling provision that is effective, efficient, sustainable and viable. The outcome will also be consistent with the goals of Ngâ Kai o te Puku Tupuna 2000-2005 (Whanganui Iwi Education Plan). A working party made up of members from Te Puna and the Ministry of Education will facilitate the process. The working party will carry out a process of consultation and discussion that includes the river communities and the boards of trustees of the three schools as well as other stakeholders.

"I hope to receive the initial recommendations by the end of June,” Mr Benson-Pope said.

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