Ministry's school brochure 'ironic'

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 14:10 14/11/2012

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A Government brochure, detailing plans for future education environments, has drawn criticism from parents because it depicts a school proposed to merge at another site.

The Education Ministry delivered the Greater Christchurch Education Renewal brochure to Christchurch households on Sunday.

It explains the shake-up, which could see 13 schools close and 26 put through some form of merger, and puts forward ideas about the modern schools that could be built in Christchurch when the process is underway.

One parent pointed out a photograph inside the brochure is Freeville School's learning studio.

However, ''this building is going to be abandoned'' if the proposed merger of Freeville School at North New Brighton School's site goes ahead, the parent said.

''How cynical to use it to promote their hype about the future of Christchurch schooling when we have been as good as told that what our kids will get in a merger is unlikely to be anything like that building which will be left behind.''

Freeville acting principal Paul Wilkinson confirmed it was the school's learning studio in the photo.

''I guess it feels a little ironic to us that the building in the photo is set to be abandoned if the merger proposal goes ahead,'' he said.

''From the point of the brochure there is no problem because if the Ministry of Education are promoting modern learning environments, as they say they are, then we are certainly very proud of our learning studio building and absolutely consider it an appropriate model and worthy of consideration as a design for the future.''

The Education Ministry said the proposed merger was not a reflection on the design of the school.

The learning studio was part of a nationwide five-school pilot of modern learning environments.

''It has state-of-the-art interior design, acoustics, lighting, heating, insulation, ventilation and indoor air quality,'' a ministry spokesman said.

It was ''just the kind of facility that could be provided at North New Brighton if the proposal goes ahead''.

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