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Area School Best Option For Te Karaka

Date: 16th Feb 2010

Area school best option for Te Karaka

Te Karaka will begin 2011 with a new area school, Associate Education Minister Dr Pita Sharples has confirmed.

He signalled he preferred the area school option when he spoke with parents and caregivers in October last year, but the option still had to go through final consultation.

Students’ parents were informed of the decision after the school boards received a letter from the minister.

Te Karaka Primary School board of trustees’ chairwoman Diana Trafford-Randall said the area school model was the best option for education in Te Karaka.

Waikohu College board of trustees’ chairwoman Maringi Brown-Sadlier agreed: “A community voted for an area school and a community got what it wanted.”

But Dr Sharples chose a different option than what schools were first informed of. The schools were to merge with only the principal’s position advertised nationally, but he instead chose to close both schools and create a new area school. This means all teachers have to reapply for their jobs, competing with applicants from around New Zealand.

Mrs Trafford-Randall said this was best for students’ education.

“We, as an area school, have got to start off with the best people for the job: the best principal and the best staff for our children. So, by him doing that, everyone can apply and we will get the best people for the job.

“We are not chucking out our existing, loyal staff, we are being conscious of what the process is.”

Mrs Trafford-Randall was “anticipating” most staff would get their jobs back.

It was sad to see the school close.

“I went to that primary school and there is a lot of history there. But in the bigger picture, it’s a good thing because the area school is coming and we still have secondary education in Te Karaka.”

The specifics of the changeover are yet to be finalised, but it is likely Dr Sharples will appoint an establishment board while the area school’s staff are hired and new school facilities built.

Dave Coldham, Waikohu College’s principal until the end of last year, has taken early retirement. The school is looking for an interim principal until the end of the year.