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Interim decisions for 31 ChCh schools on Monday

Hon Hekia Parata
Minister of Education

15 February 2013 Media Statement
Interim decisions for 31 ChCh schools on Monday

Education Minister Hekia Parata will announce the interim decisions for 31 of the 38 greater Christchurch schools affected by the Government’s Education Renewal Plans in Christchurch on Monday.

“I would like to thank parents, students, teachers, principals, and wider school communities for the feedback they provided, particularly those who met me when I visited 35 of the affected schools late last year,” Ms Parata says.

“I appreciate the time they set aside to tell me their thoughts on the future of schooling in greater Christchurch. Their feedback helped me get a real sense of each community.

“What I can tell you about Monday’s announcement is that I have listened to feedback from parents and schools and made some changes to our proposals.”

The 31 affected schools have a total roll of about 5,500 kids, or 7.6 per cent of the school population in greater Christchurch. More than 80 per cent, or 177 of the 215 schools in greater Christchurch, are not affected by the Government’s proposal.

“The face and make-up of greater Christchurch has, and will, change dramatically due to the earthquakes, and schools need to respond to those changes as well.

“There were already around 5,000 places available in schools across greater Christchurch before the earthquakes. A further 4,300 children have not re-enrolled meaning there are now 9,300 places available – that’s roughly the same as the entire student population of Gisborne.

“The aftermath of the earthquakes gave us a chance to have a look at all the schools across greater Christchurch and see what we could do better.”

The 31 schools will be informed of the interim decisions first on Monday, at their schools as they have requested, before it is publicly announced at midday. Parents and caregivers can watch the media conference at midday on the website: shapingeducation.govt.nz.

A letter for parents will also be sent home with all the children at the 31 affected schools outlining the decisions and what it means for them. Information about each school will be available on the shapingeducation.govt.nz website.

An 0800 number has been set up, which parents can call if they have any questions. That number is 0800 746 338 and will be active from midday Monday. There is also a series of community meetings planned over the coming weeks.

“We appreciate that parents are busy and it might not be possible for some to hear the interim decisions directly from their schools so we have made sure there are plenty of avenues available where they can get the information they need.

“I acknowledge change is difficult and, in making these decisions, I am mindful the people and families of greater Christchurch have been through a lot.

“But we have a chance here to provide greater Christchurch with one of the best and most modern schooling networks in the country that will serve communities for many years to come, and help each and every child get a great education.”

Last week, Ms Parata announced work will begin on building the new $15 million Waikuku School in Pegasus, and on the $18 million complete rebuild of the earthquake-damaged Halswell Primary School in April.

Note to Editors

Please note that these are interim decisions and a period of consultation will take place before final decisions are made in late May.

Of the remaining seven schools out of the 38, two have already closed voluntarily at their request (Le Bons Bay and Hammersley), and five Aranui schools (Aranui, Avondale, Wainoni, Chisnallwood Intermediate, and Aranui High School) proposed for merger have been given an extended consultation period until 7 March 2013, due to the complexity of their situation.


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