Teachers upset about possible job losses

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 05:00 24/05/2013

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Teachers from the four Aranui schools slated for merger, face being out of a job before the "super-school" goes ahead, as worried parents take their children elsewhere.

Aranui High, and Wainoni, Avondale and Aranui primary schools have been given an interim decision to close and form a year 1-13 super school on Aranui High's campus in 2017.

However, some parents, fearful and unsure of the new school, are already threatening to pull their children out, and because the schools will close, all the teachers will lose their jobs and have to apply for nationally-advertised positions at the super school.

Aranui High principal John Rohs said all four schools felt "profoundly unhappy" about the redundancies.

"These concerns were expressed clearly to the minister [of education, Hekia Parata]," he said.

"I don't think she quite grasped the significance for teachers in terms of the impact this is going to have."

Rohs was concerned about future enrolments and recognised that some parents did not want children to attend a school that would be closing.

"But there is not going to be a hiatus where they are missing out," he said.

"We are concerned that people will be making this decision for the wrong reasons."

Avondale principal Mark Scown has already lost one quarter of his teaching staff.

"Right after the February 2011 earthquake we lost the most primary-school-aged students of any school in the city - 177 - that was one third of the roll," he said.

"Over the intervening two years, I had to identify surplus staff. I have effectively terminated one quarter.

"It is the worst thing, as a principal, that I have ever had to do."

Parents in the area had little choice but to try for out-of-zone enrolments, Scown said, or bite the bullet and sign up for the super school.

"The notion of parental choice is gone."

Aranui Primary School deputy principal Jess Kakoi said the announcement had left staff "a little bit uneasy".

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