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Albany botch-up a lesson for other areas

Media Release
30 Oct 2007

Albany botch-up a lesson for other areas

The botch-up over the site for the Albany Senior High School is a stark lesson for other areas considering a junior and senior school split for secondary schooling, PPTA president Robin Duff said today.

He said that the Ministry had apparently forgotten that secondary schooling goes to year 13 - to the detriment of the significant number of Albany children and their parents who were now looking at other senior schooling options.

“The Ministry has rightly acknowledged fault for the delay in opening the senior school but it must also face up to the fact that it has been driving the development of split junior and senior school structures in other areas such as Flatbush and the Hutt Valley.

“The Albany situation clearly highlights the dangers of not considering secondary schooling holistically. It suggests an ideological commitment to an unproven middle schooling structure when other countries are moving away from it.

“In the absence of an alternative site for the senior school, maybe the Ministry should investigate turning the junior high school into a year 7-13 secondary school.

“This would certainly be better for students than any of the alternatives currently on offer as a warehouse or stadium are hardly conducive to offering students appropriate specialist education, particularly science and technology subjects.”

PPTA has been concerned at the Ministry of Education’s apparent focus on building new middle schools. In June the Association set up a website www.rethinkingmiddleschools.org.nz to argue the case for year 7-13 secondary schools.

“All changes of school structure set back learning to some extent but to subject students at year 11 to a completely new learning environment in their first year of NCEA national examinations is extremely risky,” Mr Duff said.

“I hope the Ministry learns from the Albany debacle and ensures that students and parents in other regions undergoing schooling reviews have guaranteed access to year 7-13 secondary schooling.”


ENDS

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