D-Day for Chch schools tomorrow

TINA LAW
Last updated 14:16 28/05/2013
phillipstownstandard
TAKING A STAND: Phillipstown School principal Tony Simpson leads a recent protest against the proposal to shut the school. A final Government decision will be announced tomorrow afternoon.

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A Christchurch intermediate school resigned to closure is calling in relief staff tomorrow so upset teachers do not have to hold classes.

Branston Intermediate is one of 17 Christchurch schools under threat of closure or merger that will learn their fate from the Ministry of Education tomorrow.

Principal Jennifer O'Leary said she believed the school would close, and she was getting relievers in for the afternoon so teachers did not have to teach pupils once they heard the decision.

The school, already proposed to close, did not argue to stay open in its second submission and instead advocated for surrounding primary schools to take year 7 and 8 pupils, rather than Hornby High.

Branston and the other schools were first told of the proposals last September, and in February, 31 schools were issued with an interim decision.

Twelve schools were given a reprieve then and two others, Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti and Discovery One, have agreed to a merger, leaving 17 with undecided futures.

Linwood Intermediate principal Lee Walker said staff just wanted to know what was happening so they could start planning for the future.

Parents were also keen to find out so they could make decisions about where their children would attend school next year.

Central New Brighton School principal Toni Burnside said there was a sense of business as usual, but the decision was sitting in the back of the minds of staff.

If the proposed merger with South New Brighton School was confirmed, the school would make the transition as easy as possible for the children, she said.

Glenmoor School principal Alison Porteous said the school was expecting to close.

"We are probably aware that [Education Minister Hekia Parata] is not going to keep us going. We just feel so sad."

She said staff felt disillusioned and disappointed after working hard to improve the school in the past few years.

Porteous also questioned the rationale behind the interim decision to close the school, especially since a new subdivision, Highfield, with 2200 houses, was planned for the end of the road.

Kendal School principal Keith Turner hoped the school would remain open.

"We've put in the best submission we can. We believe we have tried to use rational arguments rather than emotion. Whether [Parata] will take any notice of that, I have no idea," he said.

Under threat

Schools proposed to close (primary school unless specified):

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Branston Intermediate

Glenmoor Greenpark

Kendal Linwood Intermediate

Manning Intermediate

Richmond

Schools proposed to merge (all primary schools):

Burwood at Windsor

Central New Brighton at South New Brighton

Freeville at North New Brighton

Lyttelton West at Lyttelton Main

Phillipstown at Woolston.

 

- The Press

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