The Government can not be allowed to make arbitrary decisions about the educational needs of post-earthquake Christchurch without the full engagement of the community and education leaders, Labour’s Education spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.
“Schools in Christchurch have been waiting for a year to find out what the Government has got planned for them. The Directions for Educational Renewal in Christchurch Report, released today, is its first attempt at setting out an education network plan
“It is vital the community and educational professionals have input into any final decisions. Principals are only too aware that there are challenges and opportunities in doing things differently, but ultimately quality education for all learners must be at the heart of doing things differently,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
"Sadly the report fails to align its strategic thinking with public transport networks and social housing provision to ensure that all learners will have access to quality public education.
" Many schools are still waiting for engineering reports, and for minor, yet important, budgetary sign offs to ensure children are completely safe in their current educational setting. These types of decisions should be given priority so full disclosure of information and the existing needs of schools currently in operation can be responded to.
"When visiting Christchurch I saw just how resilient teachers and principals have been during an exceptionally stressful time. Their schools provide a sense of 'normality' for both students and families as people strive to move forward.
"Any solution for Christchurch must be mindful that teachers and principals need certainty in the anticipated transition to a 'new normal'.
“Arbitrary decisions made without the full engagement of the community and education leaders would just add extra, unnecessary stress,” said Nanaia Mahuta.