Nov 14, 2011

Kawerau Intermediate will close

Education Minister Anne Tolley has finally confirmed Kawerau Intermediate will be closed and merged with Kawerau College. From RNZ:

Labour Party List MP Steve Chadwick says Education Minister Anne Tolley has steamrolled the Kawerau community and ignored its pleas not to close the only intermediate school there.

Mrs Tolley has announced a new Year 7 to Year 14 school which will replace Kawerau Intermediate and Kawerau College.

National says it would invest $6 million in the new school. But Ms Chadwick says Mrs Tolley deliberately ignored the community wishes not to merge the schools.

Tolley certainly ignored the community, but, in my opinion, the Minister reached the correct decision. The current model, meaning three tiers of schooling (primary, intermediate and high school), is unsustainable. Reform is, without doubt, necessary and welcome.

In 2013 the College will reopen as a junior/senior high school. On the same campus I believe, but with separate facilities. I think the junior/senior high model is largely untested in New Zealand and an American import. This isn’t to say the model won’t be successful. With the right governance and management the school should, in theory of course, be successful. Good governance and management is what Kawerau College has lacked over the past decade. However, I do worry that the Minister is using Kawerau as a test town for the junior/senior high model. I don’t know what is behind Tolley’s enthusiasm for the model; I guess there must be some sort of cost efficiencies in running high school education in that way.

I’m giving my cautious support to the redevelopment.

Lastly, I wish the Kawerau Intermediate die hards would give it a rest and get on with ensuring the best outcomes for children. You lost. You can't do anything more. Accept it and move on. 


  1. I don't know much about the Kawerau case so I may be overly generalising here but:

    It's one of the problems with trying new things as a government - the test case. It's quite possibly unfair on whoever gets to be the test case, it's possibly a disaster scenario if you roll something new out across the country without trying it some where. And if you never roll out anything new, you never end up going anywhere.

    I just wish they'd done some sort of trials/testing phase before National Standards became National Standards. [longing sighs for evidence based policy]

  2. I challenge the Minister to survey the parents of all Year 5 & 6 in Kawerau, as to where they would prefer to send their children once they are Year 7's.

    Kick them out of the nest in the hope they are prepared to fly??? Or have a transitional period of 2,3 or 4 years before hitting the jungle? What sort of emotional fallout do they expect from this?

    Dont let our kids be the guinea pigs! That has the potential to do great damage to a generation of children in the same way it would if they were put into primary school once they could learn to walk. Think about it!

    Do you want your 10/11 year old daughter around hormonal teenage boys? I dont.

    Do you want your 17 year old dedicated student have their studies disrupted by little kids screaming & laughing & playing elastics outside? I dont.

    You think there is a teen suicide rate in Kawerau now? Come back and check in 2014 & see how great this move of Anne Tolley's is for the tamariki of Kawerau.

    Cheryl Craig-Clarke
    (couldnt get it to link)



1. Anonymous comments will be rejected. Please use your real name or a pseudonym/moniker/etc...
2. No personal abuse. Defamatory comments will be rejected.
3. I'll reject any comment that isn't in good taste.