Christchurch children to move from modern learning environment to disused Korean church – way to go

My source in the ministry has come up with some amazing (but not really given Hekia’s involvement) news.

I spoke to my source and said, ‘What on earth?’

‘Where does this come from?’

‘Why did she close the school down in the first place?’

She said, ‘Hekia loves closing down schools; it makes her feel powerful, after all she detests teachers, nasty, troublesome people, full of soppy idealism.’

‘Going deeper, closing them down, gives her a platform upon which she can play mother of the nation’s schools: closing them down but in a loving way – if the school only felt the love for children she felt, it would applaud. It is really a matter of love, understanding, and refinement beyond the beyond the ken of lumpish teachers.’

‘The school is being closed down, children’s lives disrupted, generations of connections severed, but really it is for the best.’

‘If you need reminding, you’ll see her in full performance over Redcliffs.’

‘I know what’s best because of my infinite depth of love.’

‘She acts all the more powerfully and convincingly in that there is not an iota of sincerity in her feelings.’

‘There is a way to sometimes give a school a miracle reprieve,’ she said.

‘That is by giving her more satisfaction in the noblesse oblige than in the guillotine de chop but it is very subtle path to navigate – you must keep things under the radar and bend yourself into fantastic contortions of subservience and flattery; one hint of independence and you’re goner.’

So you can see where Phillipstown went disastrously wrong. That wonderful but utterly non-tactical principal stole her role as the philosopher queen.

The school was doomed from that moment.

Instead of the East Coast princess playing the role of ethereal caring; there was this damned ancient mariner bearding the stage.

Now speaking of Phillipstown, I knew there was something I wanted to say.

Shall we start with Te Waka Unua, the new school opened at the start of the year on the Woolston school site to which Phillipstown School was forced to merge?

Even though Phillipstown had a growing roll, it was, as mentioned above, forced to merge. (For the reasons why, see above.) The Woolston site was crowded with prefabricated buildings at the start of 2015. Brilliant, well done Hekia.

But one year on, the 2016 starting roll will have about 120 children too many for the site. Hekia, you have outdone yourself.

This means that the senior school (year 7 and 8) will need to be housed elsewhere.

Now wait for it, are you ready? The ministry suggested they go back to Phillipstown which is sitting there empty.

The Te Waka Unua board was adamantly opposed to that – though personally, I think it would have been wonderful, allowing the children to escape that tawdry modern learning environment. But who am I to judge, doddery septuagenarian that I am?

That was a no goer, so the ministry had a new idea … Burwood School is empty (the merge into the Waitakiri site happening next week) why not pop over there?

The ministry suggested busing the Te Waka Unua children to Burwood a mere 7.5 kilometres away over damaged roads.

No way José!

But the Te Waka Unua BOT had another idea – a disused Korean church across the road.

Could be brilliant, a very cosy old learning environment.

But what a shambles!

Will Hekia throw another of her famous wobblies? Stand clear for action. Take an early Christmas break. Throw a sickie.

Get outa there!

I await a full report from my intrepid source

Meanwhile, happy days.

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16 Responses to Christchurch children to move from modern learning environment to disused Korean church – way to go

  1. yvonne hart says:

    don’t let her know otherwise she will close it

  2. Kelvin says:

    Good one Yvonne, like your style.

  3. So if Te Waka Unua has 120 too many students, how many were at Phlipstown? My grandchildren have been removed from Te Waka for various reasons, not the least being how overcrowded it was, children having to have morning tea and lunch in shifts as there wasn’t enough playground room, the stress on them with so many bodies in a confined area

  4. Kelvin says:

    Thanks Rachel: your interesting Comment has been noted by important people in politics.

    • Gray Cleveland says:

      As the former DP of Phillpstown I can only say that we as a staff, community and Board predicted this. In November 2014 I wrote a letter to the MoE Board appointed Chair expressing my concerns about the manner in which the Merger was being handled. Within days my position was dis-established. From 2012 the Principal and Board were forced to deal with “dodgy” MoE information and a constantly changing set of reasons for Merger. We were given multiple reasons – land and building damage, falling rolls, relocation and merger on the Linwood College site, then that site was too damaged and unstable(It’s still functioning!} The MoE appointed Board,through Newsletters, touted 21st Century Learning Environments which to date have materialised in an apparently condemned hall being carpeted to contain over 80 children, If you want to think about agenda – think no more. We went to the High Court and won a battle – but not the war. We gave them ammunition to learn how not to lose the next one – and there will be more. Go after them Redcliffs!

  5. Kelvin says:

    Chris Hipkins have you got all that? We are relying on you.

    Dale – we noted and admired the brave fight your school mounted. You couldn’t have done more.

  6. Rae Reynolds says:

    What a sad and sordid affair based upon lies and disinformation the destruction of Phillipstown School was. It was obvious from the start that the welfare of the children or the community was never a priority for the various parties who sought the closure. For that reason I am not surprised that having them poked into cramped conditions with unsatisfactory space for learning or play is occuring. The BOT of Woolston School touted for the closure of Phillipstown. Surely the fact that they could not suitably accomodate the overflow shows a lack of forethought and care on their part. I cannot attribute all the blame to Hekia. In what became an environment of dog eat dog schools consumed with ensuring their own survival appeared willing to sacrifice others. That Phillipstown had such a successful record and that it delivered such a broad range of wrap around support services built up by such a dedicated and caring team is just a tragedy. I hope desirable solutions are found. It is the children who are being disadvantaged. This was predicted.

    • Gray Cleveland says:

      Quite right Rae. Don’t forget that Woolston also recommended the closure and merger of Bamford School – another of their neighbours!

  7. Kelvin says:

    Thanks Rae – powerfully and convincingly expressed.

    Hekia, however, manufactured the cruel context. Phillipstown was a beautiful school.

    I don’t want to be a stuck record, but where were the teacher organisations? After all, I think the last three NZPF presidents have come from Christchurch.

    We need leadership and to say ‘no’ mean it with actions, and stick together.

    • Rae Reynolds says:

      I absolutely agree. I believe the BOT of Phillipstown School, the Principal and their supporters did all in their power to fight to save this unique and valuable school. The system did not provide a way. The consultation process was a sham. The evidence appeared to show that the Minister was working to a preset agenda. No reason that could be substantiated was ever provided to support this closure. Unless people care and are prepared to stand up the steamroller will continue on its way. It seems that overcrowding at Te Waka Unua has been evident since day one and I know this was a huge concern for those opposing the merger as were traffic threats which have also had impacts to health and welfare. Outdoor space is inadequate let alone indoor space. I doubt the problem will be solved in the short term. What is the long term solution? Therefore the forethought and care was never there.
      And then we must ask, “Why did the closure of Phillipstown have to be so immediate?” There seems no answer to that question, except maybe, “Was it because the school dared to question?

  8. Kelvin says:

    ‘There is a way to sometimes give a school a miracle reprieve,’ she said.

    ‘That is by giving her more satisfaction in the noblesse oblige than in the guillotine de chop but it is very subtle path to navigate – you must keep things under the radar and bend yourself into fantastic contortions of subservience and flattery; one hint of independence and you’re goner.’

  9. Wayne Hawker says:

    Being a BOT member of Phillipstown who has still not let this sorry saga go all I can say after reading this is, we at Phillipstown knew what we were talking about and sadly the ones who will suffer the most from all of this are the children, the very ones we at Phillipstown wanted to protect. Kelvin I had been contacted from someone who was involved in the behind closed dooor meetings at the school even before I got to read your post so it shows that there are serious issues at Te Waka and the biggest casualties are the children and their families. I concur with everything Gray, Rae and Rachel have said but what also makes this so sad for Phillipstown as a community is the fact that MOE suggested The Phillipstown School site as an option without a single thought or conversation with The Phillipstown Community Centre Charitable Trust ( I am a member of this trust) that has a signed lease over the site and have set up and developed a thriving community hub that is delivering a cross range of services not only to the Phillipstown community but also many other community groups from across the city. What we did at Phillipstown has not been replicated in any other school anywhere as far as I know and my thoughts are we were shut down because we were doing something The Ministry did not want to see happen. A decile one school doing what higher decile schools could not do we were getting the results with the children, we were literally showing the Ministry up. I will always remember when asked what was the first priority of The Phillipstown Board Answer THE CHILDREN, 2nd Priority THE CHILDREN, 3rd Priority THE CHILDREN when you have that as your focus you don’t go wrong and there was an amazing understanding between the Board and The Stafff at Phillipstown and it was a real Privilege to work along side a very dedicated team for the 18 years I served on the Phillipstown Board

  10. Kelvin says:

    Wayne: terrific letter: you grace Hekia’s decision making – with her everything is personal: she just wasn’t into you. End of story.

    • Kelvin says:

      Good point Barbara Anne (keep thinking of Beach Boys): but there will be her cronies (she’s into cronyism in a big way) and her government-aligned academics.

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