8 March, 2011
Urgent support for Christchurch students
Education Minister Anne Tolley says an Order of Council has been passed which allows the Minister and Secretary for Education to act quickly to get Christchurch students back into education as soon as possible.
“We need to restore education for students affected by the earthquake as soon as we can, but existing legislation is not flexible enough to allow this,” says Mrs Tolley.
“This Order removes any potential roadblocks which could delay schools from opening on their own site, a new site or sharing facilities with another school.
“It means we can better manage the location of schools, direct boards of trustees, manage the relocation of students, and be flexible around licensing requirements for early childhood centres.”
The Order amends the Education Act to:
• allow the proactive management of the operation and organisation of schools
• allow the Minister of Education to vary requirements regarding a ‘half-day’ within which schools must open and operate
• exempt earthquake-affected schools from the deadlines for submitting annual financial statements
• allow the use of special school enrolment zones to make better use of school facilities to accommodate displaced students
• give the ability to relax licensing requirements, but not safety, to enable the provision of appropriate ECE to children and families affected by the earthquake.
The Order allows the Ministry of Education to guide and support schools, and to act quickly to implement decisions made by principals and boards of trustees in consultation with the Ministry.
“These amendments will be exercised with discretion,” says Mrs Tolley.
“It is important to act quickly, but the safety and wellbeing of students and young children will remain our top priority.”