20 Sep 2012

School restructuring proposal 'slap in face'

3:22 pm on 20 September 2012

A Christchurch city councillor says the lack of community consultation surrounding the Government's proposal to reduce the number of schools in the region is the biggest slap in the face since the earthquakes.

Last week, the Government announced plans for a $1 billion overhaul in earthquake-hit Canterbury that could include the closure of 13 schools and the merging of 18.

The Ministry of Education fielded several heated questions at a meeting to discuss the proposal with the city council on Thursday.

The councillor, Jamie Gough, says he is extremely disappointed with the way many schools were kept out of the loop prior to last week's announcement.

However, Mr Gough says he understands the need to rethink the way education is done in Christchurch.

Another councillor, Peter Beck, says the announcement was the most insensitive thing his community has ever had to experience.

Mr Beck says he is disappointed with the way it was sprung on schools

He has asked the ministry to put extra effort into consulting schools about the proposed closures and mergers.

A third councillor, Barry Corbett, says the ministry should have made it clearer that there is opportunity for schools to discuss and consult on the proposal, and that nothing is set in concrete.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand's Morning Report on Thursday, Education Minister Hekia reassured people in Christchurch they will be able to have their say over the possible mergers and closures.