Residential schools plead with Govt
Mon, 24 Sep 2012 8:17a.m.
By Adrien Taylor
Today is the final day for submissions to oppose the Government's plan to shut down two of the country's four special residential schools.
McKenzie residential school in Christchurch is fighting to stay open and its principal warns shutting it may end up costing the government, society, and other students in ways that are hard to measure.
When Sir Roy McKenzie gifted two-and-a-half hectares of rural land to the Government in 1969, he wanted to provide a safe and welcoming place for children with emotional and behavioural disorders and give them the extra attention they need in education.
“He would be absolutely dismayed and extremely disappointed to know that the school may be closing,” says McKenzie School principal Greg Healy.
The Ministry of Education wants to scrap McKenzie Residential School.
“We have proposed that two schools be closed and that we maintain two,” says Education Minister Hekia Parata.
The move is part of a proposed "mixed ownership model" for learners with special education needs.
The changes include;
The end result would be one residential school in the North Island for students with severe behavioural issues and one in the south for students with intellectual impairments. They would have 100 students between them, down from 115 in the current arrangement.
The Ministry says the wraparound service will support pupils with complex needs to stay in their community and attend their local school, but it's unclear just how much support will be there for teachers
McKenzie's principal of 23 years says he's not necessarily against the wraparound service for some, but insists his school offers a service mainstream schools can't.
“Many of these schools do not feel they've got the capability and capacity or indeed the resourcing to manage these pupils so it does put huge strain on teachers, it does put huge strain principals and other pupils,” says Mr Healy.
Ministry of Education figures from 2010 show the Government invested $84,200 in each student who attended a Residential Special School as opposed to approximately $29,000 per student that qualifies for the wraparound service.
But Healy says any savings made could be outweighed by the costs other government departments will later pick up such as the criminal justice system.
His school accommodates 29 students at the extreme end of misbehaviour full time. He argues that putting them back in local schools could disrupt the education of 29 classes or up to 900 students.
With the submission period for the proposed changes ending today, Mr Healy is requesting more time to research the effectiveness of the intensive wrap around service.
The Ministry is expected to make a final decision in November.
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25/10/2012 5:55:03 a.m.
i was the longest staying resident at mckenzie at the time, the now principle of mckenzie was just a teacher of mine.. they implemented government test programs on us that have destroyed my life and so many others, you would not beleave the sociological and some times physical torment we went through in this place. I was a state ward at a young age as so many were. the things i saw happen in this place have stayed with me for my entire life and its all on file like so many others..
close this destroyer of soles, if anything there should be an inquiry into the practices that were sanctioned by the government, we were test subjects for sociological conditioning . most kids i was in there with are dead now, im 41..
30/09/2012 9:52:22 p.m.
The results of the data are no big surprise!! Any teacher could have said boys trail girls in primary school (but make up in high school) and pacifa and maori are behind everyone else. There are exceptions to this of course but the one factor that parata has not taken into account is that schools do not have a level playing field to start with. It would be lovely to think that evry year 6 student being taught the same content would produce the same results but that's not reality/There are so many factorts that impact on learning that teachers have no contol over. Regarding the closure of the two special schools..all I can say is I hope they've got millions to put into correspondence schools because that's where these kids will end up or they will be removed from schools over and over again until the education they are recieving is so piecemeal it's useless. These special schools actually fulfill a specific need-kids with unmanageable behavioural and emotional needs need daily, constant and consistent mentoring to move forward. Normal classroom environments are heavily impacted by the presence of these children. The teacher must take the time to manage these children because of the safety issues for other students BUT while they are doing this they are not able to teach the other 27 kids in their class. Consultation needs to be prioritised with the communities and parents of these children and the parents of the school they would be returning to. That would give the Minister something real to base her decisions on.
26/09/2012 2:44:51 p.m.
Acts cronies will be waiting to introduce charter schools for this to suck at the public teat. These closers dont just happen, our politics is as corrupt as, its that they keep there secrets dealings secret.
24/09/2012 10:47:12 a.m.
Moral Outrage wrote:
So.....they are stripping resources for the left of centre out of class rooms . Now they are shutting down their schools. These children , youth and adults show up in our most highly specialised occupations but sadly more often in our more damning statistics. Frequently neglected and abused in CYF care, chucked out of school, in prison and mental health,living on the streets, alcohol and drug abuse to numb the pain. These folk should be given and respected the highly valued position in society they deserve. They have innate intelligence, gifts and skills that the rest of us just don't possess. They have so much to potentially contribute to the world. Long Live Difference!!!!
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