Thursday, September 20, 2012


Last evening Christchurch saw a further example of exploitation of children when a "protest at everything" was organised with the Bridge Of Remembrance as the venue.

Targets included the reorganisation of schools in response to precipitous drops in student numbers following the quakes allied with natural demographics and as a second string, the proposed extension of having the functions of the regional Council continued under the governance of commissioners for another three years.

As a tactical ploy combining targets went some way to ensuring a crowd but even that was less than successful with only hundreds of souls participating. However the numbers were swolen by having children from schools included in the proposed reorganisation, attend after a day of learning their lines and preparing placards.
How many adults with an appreciation of the facts involved were there?

Did the actvists spend any time explaining the actual background reasons for what will appear to the pupils to be the most significant upheaval in their lives. Sadly I think not, the pupils emotions were toyed with in a manipulative effort at political protest. Seriously how many of you actually knew who the Minister of Education was when you were at school, sheesh how many of you knew who your MP was and that was without the faceless "listies" to complicate things, when attending primary/intermediate school.

I have already made my position on the temporary replacement of the disfunctional Ecan troughers but the response to the serious fallout for pupil numbers and the demographic/ geographic pressures at work is another matter.

Le Bons Bay School is a classic case of disfunction and waste as a principal, safely ensconced in a job for life, manipulated people who should have had more intelligence into maintaining a school with scant regard for the social, educational and economic reality that presented.
I would be very interested in the true cost per pupil incurred over the last decade of the roll that has been almost permanently rooted in single figures. "Le Bums" bay community has been seriously challenged by events including rural depopulation, lifestyle options, low cost housing opportunities and an opportunity for people to move there to avoid the more troublesome effects of welfare moves around employment.

Yes a school does become a focus for a community but times change and using children who are only discovering how to reason and process information to enable opinions to be formed in an employment preservation opportunity  does not  stack up with my basic philosophy of allowing kids to just be kids.


The Veteran said...

Gracedodger ... I heard quoted on the radio the other day that Le Bons School had only 4 pupils.

No problem with closure there and I accept there needs to be rationalisation in the ChCh metropolitan area caused by a combination of falling rolls and damage to infrastructure but I would like to see the rationale for the closure of the Burham Camp School with a role of 140 and a stable population.

Paulus said...

Sadly from what I saw some of the children protesting, older primary school age. could not even spell words of 5,letters a's before e's.
Their teachers should have at least vetted their spelling.

gravedodger said...

@Vet, I think it is about moving it across SH 1 to Rolleston that has far greater growth probability over the medium term, and will transit to a high school need sooner rather than later.

gravedodger said...

@ Paulus, assuming the freekin teachers can spell, I read a thread on education at the 'substandard' the other day and comments from people claiming to be teachers included some of the most appalling spelling.

Tinman said...

Paulus, they probably did.

GD, the headmaster of the high school I went to was an ex Minister of Education. Useless bastard at best!

From what I can see the closures and amalgamations are a bloody great leap forward, the "protests" are simply "Keep my job" cries.

As an aside since when has the bloody school been "the focal point of a community"?

I'ved lived in very small to large communities across NZ and not once did the bloody school have any input at all - although the buildings came in handy occasionally - usually against the wishes of the bloody schoolteacher(s).

gravedodger said...

@ Tinman I concede it is a rural thing and that is pretty much all my background. Your comments re the urban environment have a kernal of acceptability about them.

Tinman said...

GD, I don't claim to be rural although I've done my share of lambing beats, feeding sheep into shearing pens, polling steers, chasing bloody horses etc. including milking a bloody goat at one point.

Most of my life has been spent on the boundary.

Not once have I met a schoolteacher, not a local cockie's wife/daughter/sister, who was part of the community.

The bastards all thought they were far too good for that.

Big Bruv said...


Tinman is right. The whole "the school is at the heart of the rural community" line is bullshit pushed by teachers in an attempt to seem more relevant than they actually are.

The heart of the rural communities are clubs, shops (as small as they are) and I would suggest the rural MD. Schools have fuck all to do with it save for the possible use of the school hall for piss ups and other social events.

gravedodger said...

Selectively you have a point BB and Tinman but in the case of Le Bons Bay the school is the last remnant community entity left from 138 years that began with sea access as the only way in and out.
I accept the theory is mostly bullshit but I see the desperation that leads a Teacher high on the Hog using it to protect their way of life and income stream from economic and social reality.
Where I diverge in that case is the depriving of kids opportunities for competitive activity and behavior forming social contact.
20 plus years in Bideford where the one entity providing anything resembling continuous social cohesion over that time was the school. That school, now closed was 30 kms from an alternative and the children came from 20 kms beyond.
It all becomes nonsensical with vastly improved roads and rural depopulation.
The best solution for many is the family lives closer to civilisation and the worker travels to the job.