READER REPORT:

Phillipstown School should stay

CHRISTINA MASON
Last updated 09:52 19/02/2013

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As parents of former pupils of Phillipstown School we still strongly support Tony Simpson and his staff for the great endeavours they have done for the families and pupils at the school in the past years and are still doing now.

The ministry may believe that the roll may be falling and the community is running a bit sparse. I urge them to reconsider, the face of Phillipstown is changing. The ministry's decision is rushed and presumptous, they need to take care.

Phillipstown borders the central city (five-minute drive) and the rebuild is starting to gather pace. There will be singles and couples coming in for the rebuild, there will also be families. Living in the community we have noticed new families and professional people moving into the neighbourhood. Not everyone is moving out to the subdivisions. People like to save on travel costs. This is an area where low income families can afford to buy or rent a home and have a local school of substance handy. It is an area where there is not too much damage from the earthquakes.

Many families have found Phillipstown School a haven for their children, when there have been issues in their home life. The teachers are a group of nurturing and extremely caring individuals.

Many years ago while my son attended Phillipstown I decided to move with my children to Auckland to be closer to my family support network as my marriage had broken down. My son did not cope very well with the change. The school I enrolled him into had large classroom sizes, he was bullied relentlessly and went hungry as his lunch would be taken off him. When voicing my concerns to his teacher it was pointless she had too many pupils to cope with to be able to follow up on my concerns seriously.

I decided to move back to Christchurch and specifically to the Phillipstown area. I have never ever regretted that decision. Phillipstown School was family.

All three of our children (I am now remarried) have attended Phillipstown School and have the greatest memories of the nurturing enviroment provided by the teaching staff. Our children credit the staff with where they are in life today. Our son has just recently qualified as an electrican after a four-year apprenticeship and helps in the community. Our daughter is a flight attendant and volunteers her time working with people who have special needs. Our youngest is now looking for work.

Phillipstown maybe a low decile school but what they give is high decile. They are outstanding, that is why they need to stay and why I shared a little of our experience with Phillipstown School. Cheers Tony Simpson and teaching staff ... we have the deepest respect for you all.


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