Parents and schools staff are reeling with shock after being called to meetings today by Helia Parata, Gerry Brownlee and officials and told which schools in the Christchurch area will close, which will merge and which will relocate, with not such much as a consultation in sight.
Teachers are now facing losing jobs and having uprooting their families to relocate slsewhere for work – always assuming they can move, given the state of their houses and the ongoing battles with EQC and insurance companies.
And many parents will have much the same worries.
One mother tweeted “School Trifecta for me: Primary = merge, Intermediate = closure, Secondary = relocation.”
A friend of mine found out her child’s school was closing only when I shared a news alert on Facebook’s SOSNZ page. Her response: “Gutted.”
The Green Party’s Catherine Delahunty said after the announcements that “There is no doubt that some change is required in Christchurch as people move, but the schools in the east are the hearts of the community and by closing them the Government will isolate those communities even further.”
Clearly there had to be some changes given what has happened in Canterbury over the past 2 years – I doubt anyone will disagree with that. But really, did staff and parents have to find out such hard news, such community-changing, life-changing, difficult news in a series of meetings that were then disseminated out via social media? It shows a real lack of respect and a total lack of understanding of the difficulties people are still experiencing in Canterbury.
And I can only imagine how the group briefed by Gerry Brownlee felt after his outburst yesterday…
Close, Stay, Relocate or Merge…
According to Scoop, this is what is to happen:
- Shirley Boys’ and Christchurch Boys’ high schools to merge. ************** see below for important update***********
- Avonside Girls’ High will be merged with Christchurch Girls’ High.
- Aranui High will join Aranui primary, Avondale, Chisnallwood and Wainoni in a learning cluster.
- Banks Avenue primary may be closed or relocated.
- Earmarked for closure are Linwood Intermediate, Branston Intermediate, Richmond, Burnham, Burnside primary, Glenmoor primary in Mairehau, Hammersley Park primary in Shirley, Greenpark, Kendal school in Burnside, Le Bons Bay, Manning Intermediate, Duvachelle and Okains Bay.
- Lyttelton Main will merge with Lyttelton West.
- Freeville primary will be merged with North New Brighton primary.
- Linwood Avenue School will merge with Bromley, and Phillipstown will merge with Woolston.
- Windsor will merge with Burwood primary. Yaldhurst Model School will merge with Gilberthorpe School in Hei Hei.
- Linwood College and Marshland primary are earmarked for relocation.
Clarifications and Cock-Ups
Within hours of the initial announcements, the Ministry had to issue a clarification explaining that Avonside and Shirley Boys “may be able to stay on their existing sites” if they had favourable geotechnical reports.
According to Scoop, Shirley Boys’ principal John Laurenson said the education ministry had “totally and completely cocked up”. He was “aghast” at the “ineptitude” of ministry staff who had released “a set of misleading statements”.
My advice is to keep your eyes peeled – this is not going to be the end of it, I can guarantee it.
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