Parents 'trodden all over'
Salisbury closure devastates familiesADAM ROBERTS
Families and staff of Salisbury School are looking at an uncertain future after Education Minister Hekia Parata's announcement that the school will close at the end of the year.
Parents are concerned about the potential safety risks at the new co-educational residential schools, while staff are worried that they may not be able to find a job in the new system.
Auckland parent Kelly Woods said her daughter, Jessie Woods, 14, started at Salisbury School at the beginning of this year, and the announcement of the closure had been devastating.
"I feel like I have just been trodden all over. I feel like all of the concerns that we as parents just haven't been listened to."
Since Jessie started at the school, she had come completely out of her shell, Mrs Woods said.
"She has blossomed to be, frankly, a totally different girl."
Being at the school was the first time Jessie had had such highly skilled people in her life, and they had made a difference.
Mrs Woods said she and her husband had already decided not to send Jessie to a co-educational residential school, because it was too risky for vulnerable girls. Instead, they would bring her home to enter the wrap-around service.
Mrs Woods said she felt lucky that Jessie had had this year to progress, and she hoped the learning base would help when she returned to mainstream education.
Counsellor Melinda Bradshaw has been working at Salisbury School since 1994, but now needs to find a new job, along with her partner, who also works at the school.
She said she was going to have to keep an open mind about employment, and would be looking around the country.
"There's so many good people who have worked here for so long."
She was concerned that there would be a surplus of workers in the field after the other special school, McKenzie School, was shut as well.
As a counsellor, she said she had come into contact with a large number of girls who had been abused prior to coming to the school, and she was concerned that co-educational residential schools would put two vulnerable groups together.
"They really are at risk of harm."
- © Fairfax NZ News
View obituaries from around the region
View births, marriages and celebrations from around the region
Mourning the demise of Google Reader
Hard Boiled Sweet: Warren Ellis' Gun Machine
I've almost done my dash - again