Hekia Parata backs down on school mergers
Thursday 8 Nov 2012 5:45 a.m.
Education Minister Hekia Parata
By 3 News online staff
The education minister has backed down and ruled out the merger of four of Christchurch’s most prominent secondary schools.
Initially in September when the school closure announcement was made the Government planned to merge Shirley Boys' with Christchurch Boys' High School and Avonside Girls' with Christchurch Girls' High School.
The Government also announced plans to merge about 14 other Christchurch schools as part of a $1 billion rebuild and realignment of education in the city.
Shirley Boys' board of trustees chair Tony Deavoll says it was always an unpopular and unsettling move.
“It’s been I suppose in the back of the minds of the members of the board, the staff of the school ever since it was first announced,” he says.
“I don’t think it was ever a popular choice - that the possibility of merging the sets of single sex schools in Christchurch was likely to go down well with people - so I think she has in a sense taken note of what the community is saying.”
Hundreds turned out to protest the merger last month, saying there was a lack of democracy in their city’s decision-making.
The Government had based its proposals on a number of factors resulting from the earthquakes, including what shape the building stock was in and whether it met earthquake standards, current school populations and roll projections, and how new technology and "clustering" could best be used.
Now Education Minister Hekia Parata has categorically ruled out the merger of four of the schools saying there are no firm proposals in place.
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