24 Nov 2011

School wants clarification of future

6:29 pm on 24 November 2011

Moerewa school in Northland, which has been ordered to close its unit for senior students, is asking the Minister of Education for a clear statement on its future.

The minister, Ann Tolley, has told Moerewa School to end the arrangement under which it teaches year 10 to 13 students.

In a letter she notes that the school has not implemented National Standards.

Moerewa community leaders say the senior class is achieving higher pass rates than local secondary schools and the national average and there is no sound reason to close it.

Mrs Tolley has agreed to meet the school leaders after the election, following pressure from the community and the Maori Party.

But the Moerewa principal Keri Milne Ihimaera says, with only three weeks of the school year left, the school needs an answer now, not after the election.

Protest coincides with Governor-General's visit to Northland

Crowds of schoolchildren and their parents staged a noisy demonstration about the closure of the senior school as the Governor General passed through Moerewa.

Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae was paying his first visit as Governor-General to the historic Otiria Marae, just down the road from Moerewa School.

His car slowed to a stop outside the school on Thursday morning as parents stood on the road holding banners saying save our senior class and children lined the school fence.

Sir Jerry's car turned and drove away but returned shortly afterwards when parents cleared the road allowing the car to pass.