25 October, 2012
Minister reiterates consultation is genuine
Education Minister Hekia Parata reiterated that consultation is genuine and she is listening when she met with the Canterbury Primary Principals’ Association, the Canterbury Intermediate School Principals’ Association, and the Canterbury West Coast Secondary Principals’ Association in Christchurch yesterday.
Ms Parata has offered to visit the 37 schools proposed for closure or merger in greater Christchurch as part of the Government’s Education Renewal Plan. Yesterday she thanked principals for their on-going support of children and reiterated that she is keen to hear from parents and school communities on the proposals.
“Our Government has committed $1 billion to rebuilding the education sector in greater Christchurch over the next 10 years. It’s not simply about putting back what was there, but focusing on what can be done better.
“We want to take the right amount of time and get this right. I know that some schools want an extension of time while others want to continue on with the current time frame. I am happy to discuss that with each school and see what we can come up with.
“I am also aware that some schools are questioning their rationale data. This is not about getting one up on each other. A number of experts and a range of data has been used. We want to make sure that as we go forward we are all using the same data.”
Ms Parata says the Ministry of Education has provided the most affected schools with extra support including:
- An independent facilitator to undertake consultation and prepare the submission on behalf of the Board of Trustees
- Provision for a reliever teacher one day a week.
- A Teachers Only Day
Ms Parata also said she recognises the importance and complexity of the cluster plans and that the timeframe should allow for plans to be completed after decisions are made on the proposed closures and mergers.
“This is an opportunity to make the education sector in greater Christchurch even better than it was before. I want to thank all the professional leaders I met with yesterday for the very constructive engagement and I look forward to this continuing.’’