Seven houses and an imaginary line have forced a Wellington mother to make a difficult decision: send her 5-year-old daughter to a school which will not work for her needs, or fork out $16,000 a year for a private education.
The mother, who did not want to be named to protect her daughter’s privacy, said her child has sensory issues, bad enough she has to wear headphones to block out noise when she enters a cafe.
When it came time to enrol her daughter at school, she discovered she was only in-zone for a school with open-plan classrooms, with 64 children in a single space.
“Her brain won’t be able to process basic information with the noise of an open-plan classroom,” the mother said.
The family lives seven houses away from the zone for a school which has “normal” sized class.
“I’m sure we’re not the only ones, I’m sure there are plenty of other kids, and it’s not that I think one school is better than the other, it’s that one school is absolutely not suitable for our child.”
The family had appealed to the Ministry of Education to have them direct the out-of-zone school to take their daughter but their application was declined.
“We’ve been backed into a corner by the Ministry of Education, into either choosing the school which has 64 kids in one class, or going private, because of the zoning issue.
“Dealing with the ministry has been an absolute s..t show.”
Parents shouldn’t have to beg and grovel to bureaucrats in Wellington to be able to send their children to the school most suitable for them.
Zoning condemns poor kids whose families can’t afford to live in areas close to the schools they want to go to.