11 Oct 2015

Most Pacific Christian pupils in new schools - ministry

3:10 pm on 11 October 2015

Most former students of Pacific Christian School in Auckland have been enrolled in new schools, the Ministry of Education said in a statement.

The Pacific Christian School in Mangere.

Students and parents hold signs urging the education minister to reverse a suspension of the school's license. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

The Mangere Bridge school in had its registration temporarily suspended because of educational concerns and allegations of physical abuse.

The students and families of the small church-run school made an impassioned plea to the Education Minister Hekia Parata to keep it open, after it was forced to shut its doors over safety and welfare concerns.

The school was formally warned by the police after four teachers were accused of smacking pupils.

Last year, a student stabbed another child with a pair of scissors.

Pacific Christian School was run by the Tokaikolo Christian Church. Reverend Savaiinaea Tamoua said the smacking allegations were made by former church members but current parents supported the school.

"They are quite safe... very safe here, but incidents happen at any given time and any given day and we are asking the minister as parents, please intervene," he said.

Parents at the school said they were worried their children's education would suffer if they were forced to start a new school next term.

Labour MP for Mangere, Su'a William Sio, who was guest of honour at the school's final assembly at the end of last term, was presented with a petition of more than 1000 signatures to give to the minister.

The parents were urging her to keep the school open till at least the end of the year. But the school was closed at the end of September.

The Ministry of Education said most of the 72 children would be spread across 18 different schools for the start of the new term tomorrow.

Its head of sector enablement and support, Katrina Casey, says 11 children had not yet been placed, and the ministry would be following up with their families.

Pacific Christian School has until the end of term four to come up with a plan addressing the concerns raised by the ministry, the Education Review Office and the police.