When Phillipstown was slated for closure, it had minimum earthquake damage (only to the school hall, and not that serious – in fact the hall is still in use). The roll was growing. The school had and still has good National Standards results. The community loved and still love the school.
This was not a school in decline. But Ministry decided to close it anyway.
Many have asked, what’s going on? Why is Phillipstown being closed? Something here is not quite right.
Bryan Bruce reports,
“I had the privilege of talking with Tony Simpson the principal of Phillipstown School in Christchurch yesterday. You may recall the school took the Ministry to court over the closure of their school and won, yet Hekia Parata has never- the- less decided the school will close in 25 days.
Tony says that while they have been given a lot of data he still does not know the reason for the closure.”
Ministry has never been able to explain adequately why this school is to close. If there were sound reasons, then sad though it is, people might be able to accept it and move on. But without a genuine and credible explanation for this decision, people feel rail-roaded and unheard.
The community feels bullied.
Another observer noted, incredulously, that:
“Phillipstown does everything research says to change the outcome for low decile students. They are small enough to form relationships, they engage the whole family into the child’s learning, they provide(d) wrap around services so basics like hearing, glasses and shoes were met and their results proved it was working”
Why on earth close a well-performing school with no discernible damage and which has a growing roll and the respect of its community?
It’s almost as if there is another agenda…..
Of course, when asked to confirm that Christchurch schools she has closed would not be reopened as charter schools, Hekia Parata refused.
And when you add to the equation the fact that charter schools are now encouraged in “areas of growth” (i.e. in place of state schools), we have to wonder what the hell is going on…