Getting it right this time

Stuff reported:

The Government will announce interim decisions for 31 earmarked for possible closure or merger as part of its ”education renewal plans” for the city at noon on Monday.

Schools will have six weeks to respond to those decisions. A final decision on the schools will be made in late May.

The 31 affected schools have a total roll of about 5500 kids, or 7.6 per cent of the school population in greater .

The schools will be informed of the interim decisions first on Monday, at their schools as they have requested, before the decisions are publicly announced at noon.

A letter for parents will also be sent home with all children at the affected schools outlining the decisions and what it means for them.

Information about each school will be available on the shapingeducation.govt.nz website.

An 0800 number has been set up, which parents can call if they have any questions. That number is            0800 746 338       and will be active from noon Monday.

I have to say it looks like the Government has learnt from what went wrong last time, with the way they have handled this latest round.

Last time people were summoned to a room, and found out the proposed fate of their school from the colour of their name tag.

This time, the process looks much much better. The schools have been asked how they want to be told. Each school has someone coming in to them – to tell them first. The Government has made clear any decisions are interim, and that there is six weeks to submit before final decisions. There is a letter to each parent, a dedicated website and an 0800 number.

Now this doesn’t mean everyone will like the decisions. Inevitably any decisions on mergers and closures will be upsetting for those affected. But the population loss and damaged buildings and land has made change inevitable. Also 92% of pupils in Canterbury will be unaffected by any decisions.

Also important to recall that the education unions have called a strike for tomorrow – regardless of what is announced. The unions have decided in advance to oppose whatever is announced. [It seems the strike may have quietly been called off according to one report.]

I, for one, am going to wait to see the details.

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