19 Feb 2013

Hundreds attend rally against school plans

7:43 pm on 19 February 2013

Angry parents, teachers and some children have marched to the Ministry of Education's Christchurch office over the plans to reorganise some of the region's schools.

The primary teachers' union, the Educational Institute, said the rally on Tuesday evening was in support of 19 schools the Government wants to close or merge following recent earthquakes and subsequent population movement.

Before the march, the rally passed a vote of no-confidence in Education Minister Hekia Parata which was later presented to the ministry.

Organisers say the march isn't so much about changing the Government's decisions, but rather protesting against the process used to reach them.

Teacher Sheryn Harkess from Avondale Primary School attended the rally and said the Government's information is wrong.

"I want Hekia to get it right. I want them to get it right - and based on good foundation knowledge. And I don't think that they've got the right information.

"Even though she has visited our school, I don't think they can grasp the needs of the school in one short visit for an hour."

Those who attended the rally were particularly unhappy that schools will be closed or merged before the start of the next school year, despite promises that would not happen for one or two more years.

The union said on Monday that the Government had rushed its plans and it needed to listen to schools and their communities.