Confusion and anger over Chch schools
Thu, 13 Sep 2012 6:01p.m.
By Hamish Clark
There is confusion and anger over the future of Christchurch’s four single-sex state schools after the Ministry of Education announced today they could be merged.
It's part of a wider proposal to close 13 schools and merge 18 others because of quake damage and falling rolls.
But late this afternoon officials did a partial backtrack.
Students at Shirley Boys' High School are shocked by the news that they could merge with arch-rivals Christchurch Boys' High School.
“When it went over the loudspeaker it said everyone was just going, 'What?' And then everyone was just going crazy in the classroom,” student Luke Markland says.
“I don't really want to merge schools.”
The school's principal John Laurenson is condemning the proposal, announced at a Government briefing for school bosses.
“I state here and now and I want people to understand it that Shirley Boys' as a school exists and will continue to exist - mark it, there is no way in God's creation that we cease to exist.”
It's a plan brought about by earthquake damage and the resulting population shift. Education Minister Hekia Parata made the announcement today.
“We are proceeding to consult on a proposal of closing 13 schools another 18 schools will be involved in mergers of some kind.
“The merger list includes four high schools, Shirley Boys' and Christchurch Boys' to unite, while Avonside Girls' is to get together with Christchurch Girls' High. Others are primary schools in quake-hit parts of the city."
Thirteen schools are to shut, again some such as Linwood Intermediate in the quake-hit part of town, plus some other smaller country schools.
The news was embargoed to allow principals to brief staff and students - instead it hit the internet at lunch time, causing chaos.
Christchurch Boys' High School principal Trevor McIntyre was worried about informing people.
“It’s on Stuff half an hour ago, so I am going back to school to make sure my community understands what the facts are.”
The news was a shock to Christchurch Girls' High School principal Prue Taylor.
“I didn't know about it and I am still taking it in at the moment, so I will talk to you another time.”
Late this afternoon the Ministry of Education issued an apology, saying that Avonside Girls' High School and Shirley Boys' High School may be able to stay, depending on geotech reports on the land.
The muck-up overshadowed a billion-dollar announcement to help fix quake-damaged schools.
One is Halswell Primary School, which school board chairman Shane Edmond is pleased about.
“After just over two years of living in what has been a relocatable school, its a great outcome.”
It's not the outcome the Ministry would have liked as messages got mixed up on the merges of the four biggest high schools, which may not even happen.
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13/09/2012 8:06:34 p.m.
how much worse can it get wrote:
Hekia Parata messes up again. What a sham. Good on John Laurenson. No more nonsense from this govt.
13/09/2012 7:47:11 p.m.
I don't understand why the schools are closing because my school Burnside Primary is fine but they are closing it.I'm really shocked about this news. I'm year 5 but I just need to go to school for one year and I have really lovely memories but I have to move school and it makes me feel very sad and shocked could you please not let my school close otherwise my memories would be all gone. Please think about our school please.
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