Rallies planned to oppose Canterbury school plans

TINA LAW
Last updated 05:00 18/09/2012
Ouruhia School sign
Kirk Hargreaves
UNDER THREAT: Ouruhia School is one of 13 facing possible closure.

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A Christchurch man hopes to bring the city together to oppose the Government's plans to radically overhaul education in the region.

Wayne Hawker is organising a public rally for Saturday at noon at the Hagley netball courts.

It is one of two protest rallies planned in the city this week.

The former Phillipstown School board of trustees chairman said he wanted to send a message to Education Minister Hekia Parata and Prime Minister John Key that they have the proposals wrong.

Parata announced last week a radical shake-up, including proposals to close 13 schools, merge 18 into nine, relocate seven and close another five and make them part of a single campus in Aranui for year 1 to 13 pupils.

Hawker said he decided to organise the rally because "somebody had to". "I think we're at the stage in Canterbury where we've had enough."

He wanted Cantabrians to stop the proposals going ahead.

Hawker questioned the Government's rationale for closing and merging several schools, including Phillipstown, which was proposed to merge with Woolston School at an alternative site. The Phillipstown roll had increased since the February 2011 earthquakes and it taught technology to 1200 pupils a week, he said.

Another rally is being planned for tomorrow to mark Suffrage Day and is a wider protest about the removal of democracy in Canterbury after the decision to reappoint Environment Canterbury commissioners until 2016.

Tomorrow's rally will be at the Bridge of Remembrance at 5.30pm.

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- The Press

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