School's fight to stay open goes global

TINA LAW
Last updated 05:00 10/12/2012

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Yaldhurst Model School has taken its fight for survival global by posting a video online to gain support.

The school is opposing a Ministry of Education proposal to merge it with Gilberthorpe School.

Pupils in the video, posted on YouTube, say New Zealand country schools are as "Kiwi as gumboots, pavlova, L&P, buzzy bees and Richie McCaw".

"Closing our school is taking away our parents' right to send us to a Kiwi country school."

In the video, acting principal Ann-Marie Garden tells people the school is fighting to stay open and it needs the public's help.

She is encouraging people to learn how to say "Save Yaldhurst School" in sign language, record it and send her the video.

Once she received enough videos she would post a montage of them on YouTube and send a link to the ministry.

Garden even enlisted the help of former children's entertainer Olly Ohlson, who shows people how to say "Save Yaldhurst School" in sign language in the video.

Garden decided on the video to keep the issue in people's minds during the school holidays.

She had also been contacted by colleagues and friends across the country asking what they could do to support the school.

"It's a really good way for people to feel like they are able to support us." There was a focus on sign language because the school had a profoundly deaf pupil.

All classes learnt sign language so they could communicate with her, Garden said. The video was posted on Friday night and Garden said she had already received two videos.

"Our school is completely viable. We've got an increasing roll. We really cannot see the reason for shutting a school that is at the peak of what it's doing."

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