Not everyone happy with plan to merge two schools

A plan to merge two schools takes away choice, some parents say.

Last week Christchurch, New Zealand, Catholic Education office manager Mike Nolan announced St Paul’s School in Dallington and Our Lady of Fatima School in Mairehau are to merge.

“The minister has agreed in principle to the formation of a new state integrated full primary school with the new name of St Francis of Assisi Catholic School.”

A parent of two St Paul’s pupils says the community’s views had not been listened to.

“Personally I don’t like the fact [that] my choice is being taken away from me . . . my choice to have a small school, a school close to my house. I know the people I’ve spoken to would [agree],” she said.

“St Paul’s, the school and the staff, have done an awesome job looking after [the children] and our best interests but personally, I don’t like the way the bishop or [Catholic Education Office manager] Mike Nolan have handled it.”

Nolan said there has been “extensive community consultation” about the merger, including community meetings that started in September last year.

Bishop Barry Jones favoured the plan to merge the schools, as their parishes had already combined since the quakes, Nolan said.

“The bishop’s view was pretty clear. One parish, one school, one church.”

Mr Nolan says there will be another round of consultation on how best to appoint teachers and staff with the aim that the school be open for term 1 of 2016.

Click here to read about the consultation process, the report and related matters.


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News category: New Zealand.

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