Red Alert

The Christchurch schools announcement

Posted by on February 18th, 2013

Today Hekia Parata announced her decisions concerning the proposed closure or merger of 31 schools in Christchurch. 12 schools will remain open as they are, while seven schools will close and 12 will merge (13 fewer schools overall).

Overall there is good and bad in today’s announcements. Nobody doubted that change was always going to be necessary, but this process has been a shambles. Instead of getting community buy-in and support, Hekia Parata has eroded all goodwill. This could’ve been really positive for Christchurch. Instead it’s yet another example of Nationals heavy-handed, we know best, approach to the Christchurch rebuild.

Today’s announcement will be welcomed by the 12 schools who will stay open. For the others, it’s worse than they might have expected because the timeframes for closure and merger originally proposed have been shortened and most will now take effect from the end of this year.

The decision to shorten the timeframe doesn’t make sense, particularly for the intermediates. Kids who started intermediate this year will face another change next year. The original proposal would’ve seen the intermediates stay open but not take in a new cohort, meaning the kids already there wouldn’t have been forced to switch schools twice in two years. There are also concerns that this new rushed timeframe won’t allow enough time for the necessarily building projects, or for schools to integrate their teaching programmes.

The data that Parata relied on when making her decisions was also clearly flawed. MOE projections showing falling rolls for some of the schools being closed or merged don’t match with reality. For example Philipstown School’s roll has actually grown this year not shrunk as the Ministry predicted.

The problem for Parata is she jumped the gun last year and put forward closure and merger proposals too soon. The government had started well, with a wide-ranging discussion about what the future of schooling in Christchurch, but then they lurched into a specific set of proposals without giving the community a chance to talk about what the actual shape of schooling might look like in the future. The population is still really fluid too, and it’s not yet clear where people will ultimately settle once things have all calmed down.

Parata could’ve started today with an apology. She didn’t. My thoughts are with the schools in Christchurch who are grappling with the decisions. They deserved to be treated with more respect than this.


10 Responses to “The Christchurch schools announcement”

  1. jennifer says:

    I see all the big Tory chooks have decided that this is not the story. The real story is that Labour closed 280 schools, since the pencil was invented, or the quill pen, or something.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz says:

    Tiny schools in rural areas that were never going to be viable in the future, or often they were kept going by ‘ring ins’ bused in from nearby towns by staff members.

  3. bbfloyd says:

    “often they were kept going by ‘ring ins’ bused in from nearby towns by staff members”.

    That’s a big claim to make.. got any anecdotal evidence of that?..

    Grant… regarding that article…That has to be the longest apology i’ve ever seen…How it is that a “respectable” member of the fourth estate can be coerced so easily into publishing an almost unreadably convoluted attempt to smear any opposition to the current raiding parties agenda( or, more accurately, their owners agenda)?

    Every time I see another example of just how cravenly corrupted the administrative/ruling classes have become here, I grow more desperate to get away…

    And the worst of it is that so many people I talk to have swallowed the memes without a seconds worth of consideration…We could really do with some of those “best and brightest” about now…

  4. ghostwhowalksnz says:

    It seems that the Maori Party has ensured that the two kura have escaped closure or amalgamation and can continue unchanged.

  5. bbfloyd says:

    You know, the sad thing is that, if the people living in those areas were able to give the local schools a comparable level of support that characterises the input in the more affluent areas around the country, then the numbers of pupils at respective schools would be largely irrelevant….

    Given the tasks, and the opportunities that flowed from the earthquake… A government that showed real leadership would have gone into overdrive, to at least ensure that the hardships endured by the dispossessed were a brief experience..

    Only NOW we are (suddenly) confronted with a skill shortage…How many tradesmen/women left in disgust at the paralysis they encountered when attempting to get involved with what they considered a necessity…to get shelter over peoples heads as fast as possible…

    We had the skills, and the will to get stuck in, and the current raiding party chose to use Christchurch as a political tool instead….

    How many of the schools being threatened with closure would have needed to close if we had had a real government to oveersee the recovery?

    One that wasn’t happy to see the situation deteriorate just so that they could squeeze in some more nasties into our labour laws, our civil engineering regulations, town planning…. add to that list if you wish..

    How much support would the local population have been able to give their local schools as their communities regathered their momentum… considering the natural “pulling together” that occures, and did, during times like this?

    There was a huge job going, the people to do it, and if we had had leaders, nearly all those schools would be safe now….

    For shame Little Johnny… the glitter is dropping off by the way…

    @GHW.. I would be interested to know which schools you mention…when you have 5 minutes…

  6. Grant Hay says:

    @bbfloyd. I’m not terribly tech savvy and this shortcut points to a word doc of Hekia’s statement so I hope it works. The part relating to the two Chch Kura begins at the top of the second page.

    http://shapingeducation.govt.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/MoE_ChChAnnouncement_MinisterPR_180213_as-at-17.2.13-5.38pm.docx

  7. lcmortensen says:

    280? The National government has closed 94 schools since November 2008. Add the Christchurch schools, that’s 113 schools – in five years!

  8. bbfloyd says:

    I just thought I might share with you all the sort of complete rubbish Johnny sparkles thinks passes for an actual answer….

    “It’s really around the capacity of whether it’s logical to keep a school open and the concern was that if we had a far date of closure that there would be a significant reduction in the roll.”

    Is he really that stupid that he thinks intelligent men and women are going to read that, and actually swallow it? Or is this just another fob off for the herald to talk up, and frame as words of substance…and in reality, johnny don’t give a dry blob of booger….

    I guess that’s why they get paid so well, if they can make this nonsense sound “prime ministerial”…

    Logic?? Since when does LOGIC have anything to do with what works for communities?? At least, not the sort of dry, soulless logic of the “numbers” that the merry pranksters seem utterly unable, or unwilling to let go of…

    Even without the obvious shortcomings revealed in Johnnies statement, the statement itself actually makes no sense when the literal meaning of the words he used are examined… A deliberate ploy? one wonders…

    The raiding party’s pr unit (not the msm this time) are stacked with expert liars… and this offering is a staple of johnnies output since entering Parliament..is this just another example of a trick they learnt in the Joseph Goebels school of “truthspeak”?

    @grant..Thanks for that..I’m having to locate an add on for my reader, but compee(pet name for computer) seems to think it can sort it…

  9. Grant Hay says:

    bbfloyd. yep, my older version of Word had to think twice about it and arrange some sort of conversion before it would display properly..