Rationale data not much help

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 14:23 24/11/2012

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The Education Ministry considered closing several Christchurch schools that did not feature in its final decision, government papers reveal.

Schools earmarked to close or merge yesterday received a "rationale" document outlining the options considered by the ministry.

The schools received the document a day after the Ombudsman launched an investigation into the ministry for withholding information about the overhaul.

Principals say the document reveals little new information. Many are still waiting on detailed demographic and population data.

The ministry announced proposals in September to close 13 schools and put 26 through some form of merger.

The documents were released yesterday, two weeks from the end of a consultation process given to schools to respond to the proposals, which ends on December 7.

The documents showed the ministry considered several options. They included:

Closing Breens Intermediate School in Bishopdale. Breens has not been included in the proposals.

Kendal School to remain open instead of the proposal to close.

Freeville and Central New Brighton to merge at North New Brighton, with South New Brighton to close and transport provided to alternative schools. Instead, Central New Brighton is proposed for a merger at South New Brighton site and Freeville is earmarked to merge at North New Brighton.

Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti and Discovery One were to close. The two schools will instead merge at an as-yet unidentified CBD site.

Linwood College was to become a year 7 to 10 school and senior pupils would have been transported to central city schools. Linwood College will remain a year 9 to 13 school, but is set to relocate.

Manning Intermediate principal Richard Chambers said he could find only one page in the document that pertained to his school, which is facing the axe.

He discovered that the ministry looked at one alternative option: to remain open instead of closing.

Burnham School board of trustees chairwoman Jackie Freeman said the information would not realistically help the consultation process.

Yaldhurst Model School acting principal Ann-Marie Garden said the ministry had not been "forthcoming" about the demographic information she was still waiting on.

The school is flanked on both sides by subdivisions and the land between the school and Yaldhurst Rd has been rezoned to allow more sections to be built.

Without seeing the demographic data, the school submitted its response to the proposal to merge at Gilberthorpe School on November 8.

Garden said they had not received confirmation that the ministry had received it, despite handing it directly to Education Minister Hekia Parata.

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