NZEI offers to work with MOE on better school closure plans

21 June 2017

NZEI Te Riu Roa is offering to immediately start working with the Education Ministry to plan a new process for school closures and mergers that would avoid the catastrophe that happened in Canterbury.

The Ministry of Education has apologised today, following a scathing report from the Ombudsman that slated it for adding to the trauma already experienced by children, whanau, communities and schools in the wake of the devastating Canterbury quakes.

In its recommendations, the Ombudsman said the Ministry should work with education leaders to develop a strong process for engagement on school closures and mergers in the future.

"The school closure process was a completely avoidable additional tragedy inflicted on the children of Canterbury, their families, and their schools," NZEI TE RIu Roa president Lynda Stuart said.

"We warned the Ministry and the Government at the time to listen to children and listen to principals about what their community needed. But they were run rough shod over in the rush to complete the apparently pre-determined plans.

"We welcome the opportunity to work with the Ministry to ensure that schools, children and communities are listened to properly to avoid such a fiasco in the future.

"With the Government planning big changes to school and early childhood funding, and even re-writing the purpose of education, its a timely reminder of the need to put children first, and listen to the experts, when making decisions that affect them."

Mrs Stuart also paid tribute to the work of the Canterbury Principals Association for the support they have given schools and communities through the difficult post quake years.

Media please note: Lynda Stuart is in Christchurch today meeting with several principals whose schools were affected by the closures. They are available for interviews. Please contact Graham below.

Contact:

NZEI Head of Communications Leah Haines 027 268 3291

NZEI Principals Support Officer Graham Jones 027 295 1104


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