Parata abandons four school mergers
Education Minister Hekia Parata’s backdown on merging four single-sex schools was largely anticipated.
Yesterday she announced that merging Shirley Boys’ High School with Christchurch Boys’ High, and Avonside Girls’ High with Christchurch Girls' High would not proceed.
The schools have long histories with their own distinct cultures.
Shirley Boys’ and nearby Avonside Girls' are in eastern Christchurch and merging them would also have created a commuting nightmare for pupils and parents.
Critics have highlighted the ministry’s ignorance about local schools.
The merger plans for these schools was high on the list of reforms announced two months ago, which include closure of 13 schools and mergers of up to 18.
However, the apparent willingness to abandon the merging of these four schools is expected to be matched by determination to press ahead with other mergers and closures.
Local and national media have emphasised the wildly inaccurate reports used by the ministry to the justify closures and mergers.
They include incorrect descriptions of staff, pupils, classrooms and the damage caused by the earthquakes.
Some of the schools earmarked for closures are also in population growth neighbourhoods