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Gerry Brownlee, Hekia Parata

13 September, 2012

$1 billion investment for education renewal in Canterbury

The Government will invest $1 billion over the next 10 years to restore the education sector in greater Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Education Minister Hekia Parata announced today.

“The whole education sector has experienced huge disruption following the earthquakes,’’ Mr Brownlee says.

“As we move from recovery to renewal we have an opportunity to realign services with changing community needs and ensure our investment delivers better outcomes for learners and the wider community.

“In line with community feedback we are taking the time to get this right, because the benefits to Christchurch and wider New Zealand are tremendous.

“Over time the renewed education network can provide greater Christchurch, Canterbury and wider New Zealand with a significantly enhanced asset.”

Ms Parata says the education sector and wider community have signalled support for new approaches including greater sharing of resources and capital. 

To achieve that schools have been grouped into clusters based on their geographic location.

“This will enable decisions about the schooling network to consider housing developments and surrounding infrastructure. It will also facilitate engagement with parents and learners to ensure they play a significant role in deciding the type of education provision that meets their community’s needs,” Ms Parata says.

The clusters have been grouped into three categories based on the scale of work required, the speed at which it can be achieved, and the engagement needed to finalise decisions.

The categories are:

·         Restoration;
·         Consolidation, and;
·         Rejuvenation.

“Of the 215 schools in the greater Christchurch region, we are proceeding to consult on a proposal to close 13 schools. Another 18 schools will be involved in mergers of some kind,” Ms Parata says.

“Our priority is delivering a network that will meet changing community needs and deliver better outcomes for learners.”

The Government also announced the major projects identified for immediate implementation are the rebuilding of Halswell School, and enhancement of education provision at Pegasus Town and Rolleston.

Information will be available on the website www.shapingeducation.minedu.govt.nz from 4:00pm.