Parents worry 'where to' if school closes

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 05:00 20/09/2012

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Parents of pupils at a small Christchurch school are worried about where their children will go if the school is closed.

The Education Ministry has proposed closing Glenmoor School in Mairehau as part of a shake-up of Christchurch's education sector after the earthquakes.

Principal Alison Porteous said the school, which has 41 pupils, had always been small, but the planned 2200-house Highfield subdivision had been expected to boost the roll.

The school suffered only minor quake damage and had taken in an early-learning centre, as well as special-needs pupils from Ferndale School.

Porteous said there had been no indication the school was on the "danger roll", and the ministry had not consulted the school community before its announcement. "We've all had a huge emotional journey anyway [since the quakes], so this is really pushing people further down."

She would have preferred other options to have been explored first, such as the possibility of merging with nearby Hammersley Park School. Hammersley is also set to close.

The Shirley school, which has similar pupil numbers to Glenmoor, had applied for voluntary closure.

Porteous said a time for the proposed closure was unknown.

"I think because we're small they're going to hope we'll disappear quickly, but we're going to fight; it's a special place," she said.

Kate Ogston-Cornish, of Avondale, sent her 6-year-old twins to Glenmoor because of the small roll.

"What I do love is that the children are known to all the teachers. They know the unique circumstances and backgrounds the kids come from."

She said merging Hammersley and Glenmoor would have "been the most cost-effective and meaningful solution".

Ariana Wills said she did not want to have to move her 10-year-old daughter for a third time since the quakes.

"She made her own little world here and [the announcement] affected her more than I thought."

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- The Press

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