By: Astrid Austin
An education review will get under way in Havelock North next week.
The review comes after community pressure following the Ministry of Education’s failure to consult with the community regarding a site at the former Arataki Camping Ground which was earmarked for a new school.
The site was eventually deemed unsuitable for educational purposes due to the odour from the Te Mata Mushrooms site.
Ministry of Education deputy secretary sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said it initiated the Havelock North Area Strategy Review in November last year.
“The purpose of the review is to consider anticipated medium and long term population growth in the area and whether the existing school network could accommodate this growth.”
The review will consider the pathway of all learners from Years 1-13 living within the wider Havelock North area. This is defined as the area encompassing Clive, Haumoana, Te Awanga, Waimarama and Havelock North.
Ms Casey said the local office of the Ministry of Education has identified other areas within Hawke’s Bay/Tairāwhiti that may require an area strategy review. However, the timing for these is yet to be determined.
Hawke’s Bay education campaigner Anna Lorck has strongly welcomed the review and says it is great to see it being given high priority.
“Every parent and family should have a far greater understanding of what the education landscape will look like.
“We have fought hard to make sure we are consulted first on decisions impacting on our children’s future. Havelock North would never have lost its once-promised primary school if there had been public consultation. Instead decisions were made behind closed doors and forced through. At least now, through this review, it won’t happen again.”
Ms Lorck, a Havelock North school parent, was one of the founding members of an action group started after the community lost its promised primary school. She also led on this issue during the 2017 general election.
“It’s thanks to the community’s hard work keeping up the pressure that we were finally given an education review. I’m very pleased to see how quickly this is happening now with our new Government and I have every confidence it will be a first class exercise.
“I am very much encouraged by the review plans for an open and transparent process that will include the public.
“It was only been through the hard and relentless work undertaken by our community action group, raising the education crisis along with the ongoing political pressure, that Havelock North even managed to get a compensation package of six new classrooms at three primary schools.”
She believed the classrooms would meet an immediate need and maybe the short to medium need.
“But for the first time, what we are now going to get is a strategy that will enable us to see exactly what the future needs are for our school community.”
Ms Lorck said an extension of this review, covering Hastings, will certainly need to follow fast because of the challenges ahead for entire school network.
The review begins with the engagement phase, which will enable schools, key stakeholders and the community to submit their ideas on the future educational needs of the wider Havelock North area.
Further details on how the sector and community can participate in the engagement process will be made available to the public once finalised.
Source: NZ Herald
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