Teachers and parents celebrate Salisbury decision
Wednesday 12 Dec 2012 5:46 p.m.
Parents and students at Salisbury Residential School have been celebrating news that the school won't be closing down after all.
A judge yesterday ruled the Government's plans to close the special needs school were unlawful.
“We were absolutely delighted, we got phone calls in from mothers in tears with happiness and relief,” says the school’s board of trustees chair Helen McDonnell.
The school teaches girls with intellectual difficulties and Judy Kerr says granddaughter Chloe has excelled here.
“Chloe's been so good down here and it's been the best thing in her life.”
But the Government wanted to close the school, proposing some students return to mainstream schools, while others go to Halswell, currently a single-sex school for boys with special needs.
The Government claimed it would "ring fence" the Salisbury funding and use it to provide wraparound services in the community.
Ms McDonnell says the reality of wraparound services is very different from the ideology, and that one visit to a psychologist a week won't generate the same confidence and life skills seen in a residential facility.
It's another embarrassing forced backdown for Education Minister Hekia Parata, who says she will not be appealing the decision.
The Greens are calling for the minister to go.
“Hekia Parata needs to resign as a minister or be sacked by John Key,” says Greens co-leader Metiria Turei.
Salisbury's board is relieved its concerns were taken seriously by the High Court after months of being ignored by the ministry.