Special schools happy with future plans

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 06:36 29/08/2014

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Christchurch's three special schools will get their wish, with one only likely be relocated to a mainstream school.

A Education Ministry review was done after it found non-residential special schools and their satellite locations were "not best placed" to serve present and future demographics and community needs.

A $14.1 million shakeup in May proposed that Ferndale School move from Merivale to Aranui's new community campus, Waitaha from Templeton to Rolleston, and Allenvale from Bryndwr to an existing school in the north of Christchurch.

This was preferred to spending $6 million in repairs to retain all three sites, but the ministry noted proposals should not progress without support.

After consultation with each of their communities, Ferndale and Waitaha will stay put.

Allenvale, which was open to a move from its damaged buildings, is in talks about relocating to a regular school.

Education Minister Hekia Parata signed off on the proposals, and the schools were told this week.

Allenvale principal Graeme Daniel, who is also Special Education Principals' Association president, said the schools and the association welcomed the outcome.

"It's all really very positive," he said.

Allenvale identified advantages to co-locating.

This included sharing facilities and providing options for its students to mix with regular students in sport and cultural activities.

It had stipulated that the site must be south of the Waimakariri River, Daniel said.

All three schools will work with the ministry to develop a satellite provision for parent choice within each school's catchment area.

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