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The Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canterbury’s College of Education, Professor Gail Gillon, says the Government’s shake-up of early childhood, primary and secondary education provision in Christchurch is unprecedented.
She says change within a city the size of Christchurch, on the scale announced today by the Government, is unlikely to have happened anywhere else in the world and will be of interest to educators globally.
“This is very significant not only in terms of Christchurch’s earthquake recovery, but also for the city’s education sector and the education sector throughout the country.”
Professor Gillon says while the announcement was expected, the scale of change will be a shock for the city’s school communities.
“At a local level this announcement will be very unsettling for some, be they principals, staff, pupils, parents or former pupils of the schools affected.”
Professor Gillon says the Government’s plans will have been informed by the co-operation between schools immediately after the February 2011 earthquake, when some schools shared campuses and facilities.
“If there is anywhere where this level of amalgamation can work it is Christchurch, where our schools have shown it can be done with many positive outcomes. We have proven ourselves to be a resilient community and we will rise to these current challenges and look for the opportunities. However, this won’t take away from the great sense of loss that will come if proposed closures of schools are implemented.
“Academics within the College of Education have particular research expertise that may help inform the consultation and change process and we will be looking to support our schools and early childhood communities through this challenging period in which ever way we can,” Professor Gillon says.