Three East Cape schools; Raukōkore School, Te Kura o Ōmaio and Te Whānau-a-Apanui Area School could be closed at the end of this year.
Education Minister Hekia Parata has initiated a second round of consultation over the future of the three schools, saying "I have made an interim decision that the three schools should close and a new Year 1 – 13 state school should open in January next year to address concerns about the sustainability and quality of education in the area."
The community has known since 2013, and this proposal comes following engagement with those affected.
A public hui was held in Te Kaha on Tuesday evening, where about 200 people attended. There, Minister Parata advised them that there will be no changes in the region until after careful consideration of the second round of consultation feedback.
As of March this year:
- Raukōkore School, a Year 1–8 school, had a roll of 12 students
- Te Kura o Ōmaio, also a Year 1–8 school, had a roll of 13
- Te Whānau-a-Apanui Area School, a Year 1–13 school, had a roll of 80
Parata says, “Following discussions with the community, rūnanga, schools and local whānau, the Education Ministry has advised me that a new single and more modern school would achieve better educational outcomes for the children of the area, strengthen education governance, and improve school leadership.”
She says, "School closures are never welcomed, but all of those who attended recognised the need to raise student achievement."
Former Raukōkore School student, Taika Waititi, had this to say on social media yesterday:
And a petition on facebook to keep Raukōkore School open has been running for nearly a year now. In 2012, Raukōkore School celebrated its 125th anniversary, first opening its gates in 1887.
Submissions on the second round of consultation close on 21 August 2015.