Christchurch teachers consider industrial action

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 11:13 05/12/2012
Ian Leckie
COLIN SMITH/Fairfax NZ
New Zealand Educational Institute national president Ian Leckie.

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Hundreds of Christchurch teachers will meet to decide whether to take industrial action over the shake-up of Canterbury schools.

New Zealand Educational Institute president Ian Leckie said teachers would meet to decide ''what sort of industrial action to take in order to ensure that the Government gets a clear message that it needs to listen to Christchurch''.

The institute is the country's largest education union, representing about 50,000 principals, teachers and support staff working in  primary, intermediate and secondary schools as well as early childhood centres, special education and school advisory services.

Leckie said schools were still concerned the Education Ministry had based it's proposals to close 13 schools and put 26 through some form of merger on ''wrong or poor quality information''.

Schools affected by the proposals have until Friday to complete a 10-week consultation period and hand in submissions to the ministry.

''Amongst the concerns from teachers and school communities is a lack of any real consultation over the proposals and the unrealistic timeframe imposed on schools to respond,'' Leckie said.

Teachers were also worried about the mega-schools that could be created by the overhaul and legislative changes to the Education Act, currently before Parliament, that would allow double-bunking, Leckie said.

Concerns have also been raised about charter schools, which have been mooted for Christchurch under the ACT-National coalition agreement.

Sponsors will be expected to open their charter schools, rebranded as Partnership schools, for the start of the 2014 school year.

"We need to send a message to the Government that it is not acceptable to use Christchurch children as guinea-pigs for an education agenda that the Government would clearly like to roll out across the entire country.

The meeting will be at 4pm at the Christchurch Riding for the Disabled Indoor Arena at the Canterbury AMP Showgrounds.

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