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No guarantees for Whanganui schools

Education Spokesperson

4 September 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT

No guarantees for Whanganui schools

Education Minister Hekia Parata today refused to rule out closing existing state schools in the Whanganui-Rangitikei following her decision to integrate Wanganui Collegiate, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Hekia Parata received clear advice that there are already 1,407 surplus places in existing secondary schools and a further 3,107 surplus places in existing primary schools, yet she chose to go ahead with the integration of Wanganui Collegiate anyway, despite the $3 million a year additional cost.

“When I asked her in Parliament today whether she would guarantee that there would be no further changes to the schooling network in Whanganui, she refused to answer.

“Hekia Parata used surplus places in existing schools as one of the reasons for her major school closure and merger programme in Christchurch. Schools in Whanganui-Rangitikei now face the prospect of the same thing happening to them.

“The Ministry of Education argued quite clearly that integrating the school is ‘not making the best use of educational resources for this area and will not contribute to raising the quality of education for learners in Whanganui to any significant extent’.

“The advice was clear, and Hekia Parata ignored it. Once again she has shown she isn’t making decisions based on what is best for education.”


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