FAQs for interim decisions for Aranui – 22 May 2013
What is the Education Renewal Recovery Programme?
The Education Renewal Recovery Programme describes the context for change and key issues we are facing in greater Christchurch. It incorporates a wealth of community feedback and outlines future directions and actions.
What will education renewal deliver for greater Christchurch?
Greater Christchurch will have one of the most modern schooling networks in the country that will serve communities for many years to come, and help each and every child get a great education.
Up to $1 billion will be invested over the next ten years to deliver a renewed education network for greater Christchurch – this will deliver a modern education network with great facilities and access to modern technology and techniques.
What is the interim decision for the Aranui cluster?
In September last year, the Government proposed that five schools (Aranui High School, Aranui School, Avondale School, Chisnallwood Intermediate and Wainoni School) should close and a new Year 1–13 campus be established on a single site.
Following an extended consultation period with affected schools, the interim decision is that:
- Year 1-13 schooling in a community campus should be established on the Aranui High School site, open from term one 2017
- This would mean that four schools, Aranui School, Aranui High School, Avondale School and Wainoni School, should close on 27 January 2017.
- Chisnallwood Intermediate School should remain open as normal on its current site. Its future should be reviewed in 2020 after the community campus has been operational for a couple of years, and other changes to the schooling network have been made and settled.
What do you mean by community campus?
The proposed establishment of a new Aranui community campus would mean that a range of services – community, health, sporting and educational – would be located on the school site. Special education, early childhood and tertiary education provision, as well as social, health, and sporting organisations could operate from the campus, providing an innovative learning hub. It is expected that this approach would fundamentally change how education is delivered in this community.
The Ministry would work with the Christchurch City Council and other relevant parties to identify facilities for the campus, such as a swimming pool, library and specialist youth facilities.
Why this interim decision?
Since July 2010, the combined roll for the five Aranui schools has fallen by almost 500 students. In addition, all five schools have earthquake related damage and require strengthening, as well as weather-tightness issues.
The provision of Year 1-13 education on one site was proposed to strengthen schooling in this area. The larger roll of the school(s) would consolidate resources, funding and staffing and provision for all ages would assist better transitions between schooling stages. The community campus would also provide an opportunity to share resources between schools or year groupings within one school and provide valuable resources and facilities for the surrounding community.
The Board of the new school would be able to work with the community and groups to direct a new vision for education provision in Aranui. This would build on the work already undertaken by the Aranui Community Trust Incorporated Society (ACTIS), and help to ensure that education provision in Aranui is targeted to the local community. The community campus would create an environment which best serves the young people living in the area.
Is this the final decision for the schools proposed to close?
No, this is an interim decision. The final decision will be made after the Minister of Education has received and considered further feedback about the interim decision, and any arguments from those Boards proposed to close as to why its school should not close. Boards have been given the timeframe for this and have until 3 July 2013 to provide further feedback. Final decisions for the Aranui cluster are expected to be announced in September 2013.
What happens now for the schools proposed to close in the Aranui cluster?
In accordance with section 154 of the Education Act 1989, where the Minister’s interim decision is that the school should close, a school’s Board “may be asked if it has any arguments in favour of the school’s staying open”. This is usually required within a 28 day period, but in this case the Minister has decided that affected schools will be given longer to provide feedback on her interim decision.
The process begins when a Board is informed of the Minister’s interim decision. Boards have until 3 July 2013 to respond.
Does the Board have to re-submit its initial submission or the information that was in it?
There is no need for school Boards to re-submit their initial submission. Boards can be confident that what they initially presented will be considered alongside any additional feedback or argument the Board provides, as part of this phase of the process.
What support will be provided for our Board?
Boards can contract a Ministry funded facilitator to support them to put together a submission. The Ministry has staff to support your Board in its role, who will explain the process and seek answers to any questions your Board may have. New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) will also provide support for Boards.
What is the process for establishing a new school or campus?
If the Minister’s final decision is to establish a new school, the decision is gazetted and the Ministry can move to implement the process of establishment. In this case land is already available. The first step is to seek nominations for the Establishment Board of Trustees (EBOT). This Board is made up of five appointed people and it can co-opt up to four others. The job of the board is to work with the community to develop a vision and philosophy for the school, develop its policies and other documentation, and appoint staff. It also provides input to the Ministry into the design of the build.
The EBOT is usually in place for about 3-6 months after the school becomes operational, which is when the parent community is usually ready to move to an elected board to govern its school.
A governance facilitator is available to support and guide the EBOT in the process of establishing a new school.
What about other secondary schools in Christchurch – what is proposed for them?
The only final decision about secondary schooling that has been made is that Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti is to merge with Discovery One School.
Aranui High School is included in the interim decisions announced for the Aranui cluster.
There are currently no other proposals or decisions relating to any other secondary schools in greater Christchurch.
Late last year, secondary schools were asked to work together on developing innovative proposals for the future of secondary schooling in the greater Christchurch area. Earlier this year, focus groups were established and ideas and information from these focus groups have been provided to the Ministry.
The ideas and information from the focus groups will be taken into account when the Ministry formulates proposals to put to the Minister for her consideration in June 2013.
There will be full consultation on any proposals the Minister accepts before any decisions are made.
What property projects have been commenced since the proposal announcements in September 2012?
In April 2013 work began on building the new school in Pegasus Town (Waikuku school will relocate to this site), and on the complete rebuild of earthquake-damaged Halswell Primary School. Both of these school builds remain on track to be completed in 2014.
Significant progress has been made on repairing 23 school pools, with 19 now complete and the remaining two pools expected to be completed shortly.
Restoration and rejuvenation projects are due to progressively get underway later in 2013 once the learning communities cluster master plans have been developed. These plans and associated budgets will be prepared on the basis of property requirements for the specific schools’ learning community cluster and a range of factors will be taken into account, including:
- any requirement for shared facilities
- provision of modern learning environments
- consideration of future roll growth projections
- any need for rationalisation and removal of surplus property.
What are the benefits of modern facilities?
Many of the buildings in Christchurch schools are over 60 years old, and the way that education is delivered has changed significantly since they were built.
New learning environments incorporate the latest technology and accommodate and promote the latest teaching and learning practices. They create a secure and stimulating learning environment that lifts student engagement, and leads to improved achievement levels.
What about enrolment schemes? How will they change with the changes to schools?
Enrolment schemes are likely to change with changes to the network of schools. The Ministry will work with the Boards of schools where enrolment schemes are required to change, so that these are implemented in a timely way.
Enrolment schemes are established to ensure that all students have the right of access to a ‘reasonably convenient school’ in relation to where they live.
If our school closes, what will happen to all the money that our PTA has raised?
If such a group is independent of the school (for example an incorporated society) then how it spends its funds and whether it winds up is a decision for its members (usually a group’s constitution covers these matters).
If such a group is run under the auspices of the school (as many are), the funds raised form part of the Board’s assets. The residual agent will work with the school and its PTA prior to closure to make decisions as to how they would like the funding to be used. In a closure, any deficit or surplus will become assets handled by the Ministry.
If an Early Childhood Education service is on a school site that should close, when will we know what will happen to that service?
Sometimes there is an Early Childhood Education (ECE) centre on the site of a school that is proposed for closure. As part of the process, the Ministry will discuss the future of the ECE service with the licensee / owner.
Following the final announcements, the Ministry will work with each affected service to identify suitable options for the future of the service.
If it was decided that the ECE service would remain on the site, the land that it occupies may be surveyed off and not disposed of as part of the school site.
What are you doing to support students, parents, teachers and communities affected by potential closures?
The Ministry will be available to work with affected schools to provide tailored programmes to meet schools’ specific needs, in collaboration with community services, resource teachers of learning and behaviour, and social workers in schools.
Once final decisions are made, the Ministry will appoint a change manager to support the Boards of schools that are closing. Ministry staff will work closely with the change manager and ensure that there is sufficient support to schools throughout this process.
Further information is available here – www.tki.wellbeing.org.nz
We bought new school uniforms for our children last year and now their school might close. We can’t afford to replace them.
Final decisions on the Aranui cluster schools are not expected to be announced until September 2013. If the interim decision becomes final, no school in Aranui will close until January 2017.
If you do need to enrol your child in a different school, you should talk with the Principal to see what options may be available to help families in your situation.
Will we still need to have Board elections this year if the school is going to close?
Yes, the election process continues.
If there is not enough interest to form a legally constituted Board (a minimum of three parent representatives), then the only other option is for a Commissioner to be appointed in place of the Board.
NZSTA will provide advice to any Board unsure of what they need to do.
Why do we still need to have elections if the school is going to close?
The proposed date for closure for the Aranui schools is January 2017. Therefore there will be significant ‘business as usual’ governance work the Board will be required to do until this date.
Every school needs people to stand for election to the Board who have skills and attributes to ensure the school is well governed and led, whether the Minister’s final decision is to proceed with closing the school or not.
If the Minister’s final decision is to proceed with closing the school, the Board has important responsibilities as an employer to make sure that the staff are supported through the closure process, and to support parents and students as they transition to new schools. The Board’s job is also to carefully protect the school’s assets during the closure process.
When will schools be able to appoint permanent staff?
Once the final decisions are made, schools will be in a position to know whether they can appoint new staff.
When am I going to know about my job?
There are clear processes for school closures, and school staff have clear rights and obligations. These rights are detailed in the relevant Collective Employment Agreements, and will also be made clear to all involved at the start of a closure process.
What support is available to staff during this time?
Staff can get support from their Board of Trustees, and (if they are members) from their union (NZEI, PPTA, SFWU, AWU, PSA, SPANZ) and Principals’ Associations. All school staff can access free support from EAP Services Limited. Phone 03 348 0854 to find out more about their services. The Ministry will be able to provide information about further support that is available.
Does a school that is closing need to follow the annual planning and reporting process?
Yes, the school will have submitted a charter that covers 2013, and it will need to submit its annual report by 31 May 2013.
Where can schools get help with their charters?
Schools can contact their senior advisor from the Ministry of Education for support and guidance in developing their planning and reporting documents.
How does a public private partnership (PPP) for school property work?
A private partner is responsible for designing, building, financing and maintaining the school property for the term of the contract (25 years from the opening of the secondary school). The Ministry of Education pays the private partner quarterly, with this payment reduced if the school facilities do not meet the standards specified in the contract. This effectively provides a 25-year guarantee on the buildings, unlike schools procured under traditional procurement models.
The provision of education remains the responsibility of the principal and board of trustees.
The Government retains ownership of the land and buildings throughout the life of the contract.
What are some of the benefits of a PPP for school property?
Having a professional facilities manager responsible for school property reduces the amount of time senior school staff spend on property, freeing up this time to be spent on teaching and learning.
PPP schools (for example Hobsonville Point Primary School) are designed and built to meet the Ministry’s weather-tightness requirements, but if any defects arise over the life of the contract, the private sector partner is responsible for correcting them.
For some projects, a PPP offers the best opportunity to deliver value for money. This is because the private sector partner engaged to deliver the asset is also responsible for its long-term performance, so they make design, construction and maintenance decisions with the longer term in mind.