School closing plans are given a fail mark

Alf encountered a great number of delighted constituents at the weekend, many of them almost revelling.

Their rejoicing was prompted by news of the Education Ministry’s community education reviews facing the prospect of an overhaul after the process collapsed in Tararua.

Just as Alf was hoping a few weeks back, the school reviews went sour in the Tararua district because the community did not support the recommendations.

The process has ended in tears, with seven members of a community-appointed working group withdrawing their school closures plan and quitting last week – the first test (an obvious failure) of the ministry’s new process.

For the first time since the community-appointed review group disbanded, Tararua District Mayor Maureen Reynolds has spoken out.

She was one of the working group that met for eight months to firm up its education overhaul, and said there was a great deal of bitterness and distrust toward the ministry. “It was a very unfortunate experience for all and I wish to never repeat it again. I feel that we have been set up by the ministry and after such a bitter experience we have no wish to ever repeat this exercise and work with the ministry ever again.”

The ministry’s deputy secretary, one Rawiri Brell, said Community Initiated Education Reviews was a new process and the Tararua experience could lead to change.

Could lead to change?

It bloody well better lead to change.

The bureaucrats have obviously buggered the process and must come up with a new one.

The signs are promising. A Fairfax source is quoted as saying it was understood the ministry would no longer promote its CIEP process.

“They haven’t put any policy in place but let’s just say this experience in Tararua has led them to sideline it.”
The ministry would not say how much money the botched Tararua review had cost.

The working group is reported to be still licking its wounds after the release of its highly contentious proposal to close eight rural schools and accusing Education Minister Anne Tolley for “torpedoing” the process.

If that’s what she has done, good on her. Alf certainly advised her she should torpedo it.

2 Responses to School closing plans are given a fail mark

  1. pmofnz says:

    One thing that can be guaranteed is that this will served up again disguised as something else.

    Such programmes do not fade away in bureaucracies, nor do their proponents lose their woolly thought patterns.

    Our local rural schools were the place to test fly the kite, even our Mayoress supported it. Till she saw the vehement backlash from usually quiet rural community. Takes a lot to get them riled, who knows, just when are the next local troughers elections?

    One can only hope we might get someone with balls to tell such kite fliers to bugger off.

  2. Peter Jackson Webster says:


    Read this:

    A choice quotation from it:

    ‘ Education consultant Annette Castles — a former principal of Kumeroa-Hopelands — said the review panel had disbanded.

    Two members of the panel had gone to see Mrs Tolley so the recommendations should not have been a surprise, she said.

    “If she was not prepared to let the proposal include recommendations for any school closures she should have told the working group people there and then.

    “There was a window of opportunity to make adjustments to the proposal.” ‘

    This group, presumably with encouragement from its ministry-appointed facilitator, was steering its way towards recommended school closures. But here we have a (presumably) distinguished education consultant telling one and all that if she had known Anne Tolley did not insist on any closures, the working group would have changed its recommendations accordingly!!

    So of what use was the working group, if was purely to get some important looking people to tell Anne Tolley what they thought she wanted to hear?

    I accept that the above is par for the course, with the Ministry and Minister that we have. But with such obvious signs of group think (coming unstuck for once), what confidence should we have in decisions regarding state education?

    Oh, and does Aorangi School community (Christchurch) now know what THEY have to do to save their school that they don’t want to see closed? Or is it Tararua blue versus Aorangi red that is the real difference?

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