8 Feb 2013

Many Christchurch schools to learn fate next week

5:07 pm on 8 February 2013

The Education Minister says decisions are still being made about which Christchurch schools will close or merge, with just over a week to go before the first official announcement.

Hekia Parata says her staff are still considering information and a final decision about the future of 31 schools will be announced on 18 February.

Ms Parata met with their principals on Friday afternoon to discuss the way in which they will be told the news.

The minister was widely criticised for her announcement of the proposed education shake up in September last year.

She says she's been given plenty of feedback and the format will be different this time.

"We've had some pretty clear proposals from the Principals Association, from the New Zealand School Trustees Association, and we've had feedback from the schools themselves."

She says the schools' feedback was discussed again with them on Friday afternoon.

Five other schools, in the suburb of Aranui, will learn their fate next month and three on Banks Peninsula have already settled their merger.

Ms Parata also announced that work on building a new school and rebuilding another will begin in April.

She made the announcement while visiting the site of the new Waikuku School in Pegasus Town, north of Christchurch, on Friday.

She says the new school will cost about $15 million and take up to 600 children.

Quake-damaged Halswell Primary School, which has about 560 pupils, is being completely rebuilt at a cost of about $18 million.

Ms Parata says both schools will have modern, energy-efficient buildings and ultra-fast broadband.

Work should be completed by early next year.

Ms Parata says the Government plans to build four more new schools in Canterbury over the next decade.