Home' Christchurch Mail : February 21st 2103 Contents 4 CHRISTCHURCH MAIL, FEBRUARY 21, 2013
Twelve schools slated to close given reprieve
Monday's announcement included
the interim proposal that 12 schools
initially tagged for closure or merger
will remain open: Bromley,
Burnham, Burnside Primary,
Duvauchelle, Gilberthorpe, Okains
Bay, Linwood Ave, Ouruhia Model,
Shirley Intermediate, Yaldhurst, Te
Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Whanau
Tahi and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O
Seven schools are to close:
Branston Intermediate, Glenmoor,
Greenpark, Kendal, Linwood
Intermediate, Manning Intermediate
Twelve will merge:
Burwood with Windsor, Central
New Brighton with South New
Brighton, Lyttelton Main with
Lyttelton West, North New Brighton
with Freeville, Phillipstown with
Woolston, Unlimited and Discovery .
THE EMOTIONS of
agony and ecstasy are
littered amongst the
uncertain and assured
futures of Christchurch
schools after Education
Minister Hekia Parata
announced her interim
proposals on Monday.
MAT KERMEEN talks to
schools on different
sides of the fence. Winners
FRONTING UP: Branston Intermediate principal Jennifer O'Leary takes on the grim task of speaking to parents.
Photo: DON SCOTT
We've had many in tears and it's
very tough when a young child asks
if there will be big bullies at the big
The bad news
AFTER 124 years in the seaside
community, it seems unfair that
Monday, February 18, 2013, is the
day that will be remembered
Not only was Central New
Brighton School's closure on its
current site and a merger with
South New Brighton School con-
firmed, the date was brought for-
ward to the beginning of 2014.
Central New Brighton principal
Toni Burnside said the school was
I really feel for the children.
They are the ones that are hurting
the most; it's very confusing for
them and they are absolutely gut-
ted. We've had many in tears and
it's very tough when a young child
asks if there will be big bullies at
the big new school.''
Staff met parents on Tuesday to
see if they should accept the
decision or go back to the minister
and appeal for more time. An
appeal is likely.
Ms Burnside said after last
September's announcement, the
school was almost resigned to the
merger, but the date change was a
I really feel for the parents in
this community who are already
going through so much and are
now having this lumped on them.
Especially when they have bought
new uniforms and been told in
good faith they had a school until
at least 2016.''
Branston principal Jennifer
O'Leary is furious the intermedi-
ate school's merger date has been
brought forward 12 months.
She said her own integrity had
been brought into question by the
recklessness of the ministry.
I gave parents my personal
assurance that children enrolled
this year would see out their two
years at Branston. I gave that in
good faith, I trusted their (Minis-
try of Education's) word, but now
it is the teachers and myself who
front the angry parents.''
The decision behind the closure
was purely economic and an
agenda against intermediate
schools, she said.
Ms O'Leary is concerned for her
teachers who she says have as-
good-as lost their jobs.
Effectively we are merging
with Hornby High, but we are
deemed a closure. If we were clas-
sed a merger, it would only be our
teachers applying for positions at
Hornby High, but now our staff
have been left out in the cold.
They will be going up against the
hundreds who will be applying for
every teaching position in Canter-
Ms Burnside feels for her sup-
port staff, who she says are
largely forgotten about.
I have a caretaker who has put
her heart and soul into the school.
We have brilliant support tea-
chers who work with special needs
children, hard working office staff
-- what happens to them?''
The good news
could not have been sweeter for a
country school that had fought
hard for its survival.
Yaldhurst Model School deputy
principal Ann-Marie Garden said
the announcement the ministry
was backing down on its original
decision was a massive weight
off'' the school's shoulders.
There has been a lot of concern
and anxiety after September's
announcement marked the school
to close its current site and merge
with Gilberthorpe School.
Ms Garden said Monday's news
brought instant relief to the school
and the wider community.
Teachers are already telling us
there is more energy coming out
in the students and there is
renewed confidence in our future.
We did one enrolment on
Monday afternoon and two on
Tuesday, so parents are already
showing more confidence now the
uncertainty has been removed.''
The teachers had always been
focused on what was best for the
children but Ms Garden expected
as the news sank in, job security
would be a huge relief''.
They (Ministry of Education)
have pledged us their support in
the future and are committed to
making repairs around the
The ministry acknowledged the
potential growth for the area as
the main decision for their about-
Now the good news has been
delivered, the school is question-
ing if it was necessary to drag it
into the initial announcements,
but Ms Garden said it was not
something the school would focus
There are three major subdivi-
sions around us that could poten-
tially house 1100 homes, but they
are not new.
They have been in the pipeline
for a very long time.''
Ms Garden said the school
would not be dwelling on the past
and was looking forward to put-
ting its sole focus on giving the
children a Kiwi, country
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