18 Dec 2008

Parents protest at bilingual decision delay

9:04 am on 18 December 2008

The parents of five Christchurch primary school children say they have nowhere to go next year after plans for an intermediate-level bilingual class were put on hold.

The children have been studying te reo and tikanga Maori at Aorangi Primary School's bilingual unit.

Principal Stephanie Thompson says she has been waiting for the Ministry of Education to decide whether the unit can expand to include Year 7 and 8 students.

Ms Thompson says she was told on Tuesday that the decision has been put off for a year.

The parents held a protest outside the ministry's Christchurch office on Wednesday morning, saying they will keep sending their children to Aorangi until a decision is made.

In a statement, the Ministry of Education said it needed more time to ensure a solution is found that meets the needs of students in the wider area.

It said it is exploring ways to help the small group of students affected by the decision.

The principal of Finlayson Park School in Manurewa, Shirley Maihi, who is an advocate of bilingual education, said the ministry does nothing to promote it.