28 Aug 2012

Trustee urges ministry to listen to parents

8:23 pm on 28 August 2012

A Maori school board trustee is urging the Ministry of Education to listen to parents' concerns before shutting down their school for children with special needs at the top of the South Island.

Ministry officials plan to close two of four residential special needs schools - including the all-girls Salisbury School in Nelson.

Salisbury trustee Gaynor Rikihana says there has been inadequate consultation with the school and she has a direct message for the Ministry of Education.

She has invited ministry staff to visit Salisbury School and hear what parents, teachers and students have to say first before making what she calls a rash decision.

Ms Rikihana says she is disappointed because the ministry has already made their minds up without giving any proper consideration to how it will affect the students who are dependant on the special service tailored to the needs of the young girls.

She says Salisbury School supporters do not feel that the ministry has given them a chance to put their case.

The ministry has given the schools 28 days to respond to the plan, which will replace them with more intensive support for children in their home communities.