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Minister Asks For Consultation On School Closure

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Anne Tolley
Anne Tolley

Wellington, Oct 13 NZPA - Education Minister Anne Tolley has asked for consultation to begin on the closure of a dilapidated South Auckland school.

Felix Donnelly College, a special state school for youngsters in Child, Youth and Family care, runs classes on six different sites and currently has a roll of 69.

Today, Mrs Tolley said she had asked the college's commissioner to begin consultation about the school's closure.

Children attend the college because they need specialised care and attention which they would not get in a mainstream school, she said.

"The needs of the school's students are the key issue here and I am concerned that those complex needs are not being met at the moment."

The closure consultation will take a month and the Education Ministry will work with the college to ensure educational standards during that time, Mrs Tolley said.

If the school was closed a "new specialist model" would have a stronger focus on students' educational achievement, she said.

Children's Commissioner John Angus recently said dilapidated conditions were failing the at-risk children at the school.

Documents released to the Sunday Star-Times under the Official Information Act revealed that auditors found serious health and safety problems at three of the school's sites and that school management had concerns about the other three.

Some of the buildings had no heating, hot water or smoke alarms but children were left there for years despite damning Education Review Office reports and repeated pleas for action from staff.

Consultancy firm Cognition Education also raised concerns about the management, teaching and student achievement at the school.

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