Last week, the Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, announced some very big changes to schools in Christchurch. Everyone knew some schools would have to close because families have moved since the earthquake. Also some school buildings are damaged and some land is not safe to re-build on. However, nobody expected the big changes that the Minister announced. Thirty-one schools – about 20% of the schools in Christchurch – will either close or merge with another school at the end of this year.
The Minister gave four possibilities for the future of two single-sex schools in the red zone – Avonside Girls’ High School and Shirley Boys’ High School. They are waiting for a report on their land to see if it is possible to re-build there.
Many people are upset, especially if their school is not badly damaged and houses in their area not badly damaged. Schools are part of the local community. Neighbourhood children go to school together and play together, parents become friendly with other parents. Schools have a Parent-Teacher Association and they organize activities together.
The Minister did not explain why four intermediate schools will close. It is possible the government would like to change intermediate schools – make them three years instead of two or close them instead.
The Minister said that these are proposals and she will listen to what parents say.
merge – join together
neighbourhood – local area
intermediate schools – Years 7 and 8
proposal – possible plan