Parata gives Aranui cluster more time

TINA LAW
Last updated 15:17 13/11/2012
Hekia Parata
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ
MORE TIME: Education Minister Hekia Parata

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Education Minister Hekia Parata is giving five Christchurch schools extra time to respond to her plan to close them down and create a super school.

Parata announced today she is extending the December 7 consultation deadline for Avondale Primary, Aranui Primary, Aranui High, Chisnallwood Intermediate and Wainoni Schools until March 7 next year.

The deadline remains the same for the remaining 34 schools proposed to close and merge.

The move comes just weeks after Parata refused a request by the five principals to extend the deadline.

Parata said she decided to extend the consultation time for the Aranui cluster only due to its complexity, the fact that there is one proposal for all five schools and that the creation of a new facility is not proposed until after 2017.

The Government is proposing to create a year 1 to 13 school, possibly at Wainoni Park, in Hampshire St.

The idea has sparked opposition from the school communities who are concerned about young children going to school with 17-year-olds.

Parata said throughout her meetings with 35 schools, some were emphatic they did not want the timeframe to be extended, others wanted it to be extended to various times, and one school asked for a 5-year moratorium.

''Of the 35 schools, there was no consensus. It was apparent to me that a lot of the schools were getting on with their submissions and were seeking certainty.''

The ministry has already received submissions from three schools, she said.

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