Principal of Moerewa School, Keri Milne-Ihimaera says that she is overwhelmed by the support the school is getting over the decision by Anne Tolley to stop their highly successful secondary school programme.
Moerewa School is disappointed that the Minister of Education is directing them to close their successful Senior Secondary school class, despite their stunning interim NCEA results and obviously there are many others who are just as bewildered by this decision from the Minister!
“We have been receiving numerous emails and telephone calls for the past week not only from Northlanders who may know about our school and our community, but from people from all over New Zealand. Today we received an email from an academic from San Francisco State University – so we could say we now have international support! ”, Principal Keri Milne-Ihimaera said today.
“People have been emailing Minister Tolley directly and sending copies to John Key and the leaders of the other political parties. We know that while all these politicians are busy with the last few days of their election campaign, they will be aware of the level of support that our school is receiving from a wide range of people across the country” Ms Milne-Ihimaera said.
Moerewa School is a Decile 1, Year 1 – 10 school in Northland. For the past three years Moerewa School has had senior secondary students on site in a satellite class. The request for this secondary programme came from members of the community itself in 2005. In March this year, they applied to the Ministry of Education, to extend the range of year levels at the school. This application to the Ministry would have allowed 27 Senior Students (Year 11 – 13) to be enrolled on the roll at Moerewa School – rather than be on the roll of another secondary school.
Minister of Education (Anne Tolley) wrote to the Board of Trustees on 4th October – and stated that the application was denied. The Minister also stated that Moerewa School would need to end the satellite arrangement they have with another school. “This means that the Ministry expects us to shut our Senior Class down at the end of this year.” Ms Milne-Ihimaera said. “Despite many people contacting us about this issue in the past week, we have had no further contact from Ms Tolley or anyone from her Ministry.”
Ms Milne-Ihimaera said “We urge the Minister of Education to listen to the overwhelming support our school is receiving – and come up with a definitive statement about the continuation of our Senior Secondary class programme, before voters turn up to the polling booth on Saturday.
With only three weeks of the school year left – we need this statement now, not after the election.”
This is called having a ‘satellite unit’ where the students are on the roll of one school (in our case our Year 11 – 13 students are on the roll of an Auckland Secondary School), but there is a formal agreement between the two schools. The Memorandum of Understanding states that the students will be on the roll of one school – but they actually attend school at a different site (in our case, they attend school at MoerewaSchool). A satellite unit is an arrangement that other schools have too – and the Ministry of Education’s website sets out the requirements for schools if they want to set up a satellite arrangement between two schools.