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Aorangi School—Transition of Students to Other Primary Schools

Wednesday 17 March 2010 Hansard source (external site)

Dalziel12. Hon LIANNE DALZIEL (Labour—Christchurch East) Link to this
to the Minister of Education

Is she satisfied with the transition of the former students of Aorangi primary school to other primary schools; if so, why?

TolleyHon ANNE TOLLEY (Minister of Education) Link to this

Yes; the Ministry of Education and local primary schools worked extremely hard to transition the students. The work was a credit to, in particular, the principals of the primary schools. I am advised that their very hard work means that the transition of the Aorangi School students has gone smoothly. In fact, I received an email a couple of weeks ago from one of the principals, who told me himself that the 50 students that he had from Aorangi School had all settled positively. He had received supportive emails, comments, and letters from families, all pleased with the way that these children had been welcomed at the school and complimenting the Ministry of Education staff, in particular those at the Christchurch office.

DalzielHon Lianne Dalziel Link to this

When will Burnside Primary School be provided with a dedicated classroom for bilingual education, in light of the revelation today that it has had to resort to the use of the stage in the school hall in order to provide bilingual lessons?

TolleyHon ANNE TOLLEY Link to this

Bilingual education is available, I am advised, at both Burnside Primary School and Cobham Intermediate School. There is a process happening at the moment—in fact, there is a meeting with whānau tonight—to discuss the establishment of a bilingual unit. There is a set process—and I advised on that at the end of last year—committed to establishing the unit. That is happening apart from the provision of bilingual education that is happening as we speak at Burnside Primary School and at Cobham Intermediate School.

DalzielHon Lianne Dalziel Link to this

Why did the Minister choose to shut Aorangi School before the transitional arrangements for all the students had been made, especially in light of the statement of the Burnside Primary School principal that not having a separate classroom was placing stress on them all, and that was why he felt there had not been enough time allowed?

TolleyHon ANNE TOLLEY Link to this

It was always very clear that the closure of Aorangi School was completely separate from establishing a bilingual unit for that part of Christchurch. I undertook to Ngāi Tahu in particular, who wanted input into the establishment of that unit, that there would be widespread consultation. In fact, Burnside Primary School has property space for 320 students, and it currently has a roll of 288. How a principal chooses to use school property is entirely his or her decision.

DalzielHon Lianne Dalziel Link to this

Does the Minister agree with that principal’s statement that “Our tamariki deserve better in terms of what we have been able to deliver so far, in terms of teaching te reo.”, and will she apologise to this school, the teachers, the tamariki, and their whānau for not allowing sufficient time and resources for this transition to occur?

TolleyHon ANNE TOLLEY Link to this

There was never a bilingual unit other than for primary children at Aorangi School, the same as there was at Burnside Primary School. We had an extension for 1 year for year 7 Aorangi School students, and I granted that at the beginning of last year. But I made it very clear during the closure of Aorangi School that there would need to be, and there would be, a consultation process in order to set up a bilingual unit that may or may not be put into Burnside Primary School and Cobham Intermediate School. That is why we consult. I know that this is an unusual concept for the Opposition, but we actually consult in order to get people’s points of view and we do not reach a decision before we take part in consultation.

DalzielHon Lianne Dalziel Link to this

I seek the leave of the House to table two documents. The first is from Burnside Primary School. It is a message sent home to parents, dated 23 February 2010, that raises concerns about ending up in the situation of not having the proper provision of bilingual education.

TischMr DEPUTY SPEAKER Link to this

Leave is sought for that purpose. Is there any objection? There is none.

Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

DalzielHon Lianne Dalziel Link to this

The second document that I seek leave to table is another message sent home to parents last week. Unfortunately it is undated, so I cannot identify its content by date. It is the message that says tamariki deserve better than the school has been able to deliver so far, in terms of teaching te reo.

TischMr DEPUTY SPEAKER Link to this

Leave is sought for that purpose. Is there any objection? There is none.

Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

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