20 Feb 2013

Papers show dark side of opposition to mergers

5:00 pm on 20 February 2013

New evidence shows parents at one Christchurch school opposed a merger with a poorer school because of fears about the behaviour of that school's children.

Schools' submissions to the Government's original proposal in September last year have been made public and show that some schools made proposals at the cost of their neighbours.

The submissions show parents at South New Brighton School criticised the behaviour of children at its proposed merger partner, Central New Brighton School, which serves a poorer area.

They said some families would leave if the merger went ahead.

The documents also show Woolston School opposed a merger with Phillipstown School, suggesting instead that Phillipstown and Bamford schools be closed and Woolston allowed to grow to about 600 students.

Other schools said they did not want mergers with their neighbours, but would expand their zones into those schools' territories if they closed.

The Government on Monday announced it wants to close seven schools in the region and merge 12 others as part of a $1 billion reorganisation in the wake of the Canterbury earthquakes and subsequent population movement.

Education Minister Hekia Parata outlined interim decisions for 31 schools after considering submissions on the Government's original plan to close or merge them, announced in September.