Christchurch schools learn their fates

Seven Christchurch schools will be closed and six will be merged from next year, Education Minister Hekia Parata has confirmed.

Ms Parata announced her final decision on 16 Christchurch schools today, following a proposal earlier this year to close or merge 19 schools and keep 12 open.

The three remaining schools not covered by today's decision, all in New Brighton, will now be subject to two new proposals.

Ms Parata said the seven schools to close next year were Branston Intermediate, Glenmoor School, Greenpark School, Kendal School, Linwood Intermediate, Manning Intermediate and Richmond School.

Six schools would merge into three new schools - Burwood School would merge into Windsor School, Phillipstown School would merge with Woolston School, and Lyttelton West School would merge into a new school on the Lyttelton Main site.

South New Brighton, which had been earmarked for merger, would remain open on its current site.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Waitaha and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori - one of which had been earmarked for relocation - would both remain open on their current sites.

Three schools in New Brighton will find out their fate at a later date. Ms Parata said two new proposals on the future of North New Brighton, Central New Brighton and Freeville schools would be consulted on together.

Ms Parata said the Government had listened to parents, schools and communities throughout the proposal process, and as a result had made some further changes to the interim decisions.

The mergers and closures will take effect from January 2014, with the exception of the Lyttelton West and Lyttelton Main, which will merge in May 2014.

The decision on the merger of Freeville and North New Brighton schools was deferred following the decision to keep South New Brighton open.

It had been proposed that South New Brighton would merge with Central New Brighton - but the latter school would now either be closed or merged with Freeville and North New Brighton, on the North New Brighton site.

"While I am conscious this delays the decision making process for these three schools and their communities, it's important we work to get this right," Ms Parata said.

Of the schools to be closed, Glenmoor, Greenpark, and Richmond all have rolls of fewer than 50 children. Kendal has 66 children on its roll, Linwood has 131, Manning had 156 and Branston Intermediate 180.

Ms Parata said parents had a choice about where children at those schools would receive their Year 7 and 8 education.

However, it had been decided that Hornby High would provide Year 7-8 education for Branston Intermediate students, Hillmorton High would provide it for Manning Intermediate, and Linwood College would provide it for Linwood Intermediate.

Ms Parata said the Ministry of Education would work closely with those secondary schools to ensure they were in a position to provide the Year 7-8 curriculum from next January.

"We acknowledge change can be hard, but parents will be supported in making decisions about their child's future education and there are plenty of options available to them," she said.

"The face and make-up of greater Christchurch has, and will continue to change dramatically due to the earthquakes, and the education sector must respond to those changes."

Ms Parata said the merged Lyttelton school, which will be housed in a newly built school on the Lyttelton Main site, would initially operate from the Lyttelton West and St Joseph sites while the Lyttelton Main site was cleared for the new school to be built.

"The delayed date of May 2014 for this to take effect will allow the merged school to operate over two sites instead of three, which will be more convenient."

Ms Parata said there were about 2100 children across the 16 schools that would close or merge - about 3 per cent of the nearly 72,000 children in greater Christchurch schools.

"I would like to thank parents, teachers, principals and school communities for the feedback they provided during this process. In making these decisions, I am mindful families in greater Christchurch have already been through a lot and I expect that today's announcement will provide some certainty."

#chchschools word cloud
(before announcement)

19 Christchurch Schools, Parata's interim decision

(after announcement)

19 Christchurch Schools, Parata's interim decision

- APNZ

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