Work on school can be undone

Date published: July 12, 2012 at 8:40 am | Comments

The steps taken towards establishing a new school in Kawerau are steps that can be undone, pending the decision of a High Court judge.

Ministry of Education lawyer Joanna Holden told the Rotorua High Court on Monday that while some work had been carried out towards a new year 7 to 13 school intended to replace Kawerau Intermediate and Kawerau College, it was work that could be unwound.

On Monday the intermediate took the ministry to court to apply for a judicial review of the reorganisation process that resulted in Education Minister Hekia Parata deciding to close the schools.

Ms Holden advised Justice Mark Woolford that the Kawerau community was eager for the matter to be resolved.
The judge reserved his decision, promising to have it out as soon as possible.

He thanked the Kawerau people who attended court, but reminded them that he could only make a ruling on whether the ministry had carried out the correct process or not.

“I can’t and won’t say whether the decision [to create a new school] is correct or not, or if it is the best thing for the school children of Kawerau.”

The extent that younger year 7 to 10 students could be separated from year 11 to 13 students on a dual campus school was a focus of the hearing.

Mr Hammond argued that mixing the age groups could be a safety issue and Ms Parata’s decision did make clear exactly how the school would be arranged.

Ms Holden said the decision was for a year 7 to 13 school with separate campuses for each age group and some shared facilities.
The establishment board of trustees for the school could introduce other means of separation, she said.

Mr Hammond also raised the concern that no one from the intermediate had been appointed to the establishment board.

He said Petrina Hayes, Kawerau Intermediate board chair for the past eight years and former college trustee, had applied but was not appointed.

Source: Whakatane Beacon