|NEW ZEALAND'S EDUCATION
Education Minister Anne Tolley says consultation has begun to reorganise schools and strengthen education in South Dunedin.
"Falling school rolls have been a concern in South Dunedin for many years," says Mrs Tolley.
"The six primary and intermediate schools lost a fifth of their students over the last decade, and we know that roll decline leads to reduced funding, reduced staffing and fewer educational options for students.
"There are currently 620 surplus student places at these schools, representing 39 per cent of the schooling network, and demographic projections show no significant rise in student numbers over the next few years.
"So we now have a great opportunity to shape the best possible education for children in the area over the next twenty years.
"We want to work with the local community to ensure a stable future for Year 1 to 8 students in South Dunedin.
"I've met with local schools a number of times this year, and there has been a broad acceptance that changes need to be made, which is why there have been calls for the Ministry to lead and support any change process."
The South Dunedin community will be asked to consider the following options:
"These options are purely a starting point for discussions," says Mrs Tolley.
"Other options may arise during the consultation process and they will also be given consideration.
"I encourage parents, teachers and the community to have their say, and I will carefully consider all feedback before making any decisions.
"It's important to know what the community thinks about the strengths and weaknesses of the options presented, and we are open to alternative suggestions."
School boards and the community have until 14 December 2010 to provide feedback. The Ministry will then prepare a report for the Minister, following which there could be a second round of consultation on any specific proposals. The aim is to implement changes from Term One in 2012.
The Ministry will provide support to schools and the community throughout the process.
Further information and feedback forms are available at: www.minedu.govt.nz