Parata gives Aranui cluster more time

MORE TIME: Education Minister Hekia Parata
MORE TIME: Education Minister Hekia Parata

Education Minister Hekia Parata is giving five Christchurch schools extra time to respond to her plan to close them and create a super-school.

Parata said today she was extending the December 7 consultation deadline for Avondale Primary, Aranui Primary, Aranui High, Chisnallwood Intermediate and Wainoni School until March 7 next year.

The deadline remains the same for the remaining 34 schools slated to close or merge.

The move comes just weeks after Parata refused a request by the five principals to extend the deadline.

Parata said she decided to extend the consultation time for the Aranui cluster only because of its complexity, the fact that there was one proposal for all five schools and that the creation of a new facility was not proposed until after 2017.

The Government proposes to create a year 1 to 13 school, possibly at Wainoni Park in Hampshire St.

The idea has sparked opposition from the school communities, which are concerned about young children going to school with 17-year-olds.

Parata said that in her meetings with 35 schools, some were emphatic they did not want the time frame to be extended, others wanted it to be extended to various times and one school asked for a five-year moratorium.

''Of the 35 schools, there was no consensus. It was apparent to me that a lot of the schools were getting on with their submissions and were seeking certainty.''

The ministry had received submissions from three schools, she said.

The Press