“Despite all efforts to find a way of keeping the school going, the reality is that it is no longer able to provide a quality of education,” Chris Hipkins said.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced the cancellation of the integration agreement for Hato Petera College, effective today.
This view is consistent with ERO’s October 2017 report on the College, which was established in 1928 as a private school and became a state integrated school in 1981.
“The cancellation of the integration agreement for Hato Petera is in mutual agreement with the Proprietor, the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Auckland.
“Closing schools is never an easy decision. But the roll has fluctuated between 1 and 5 this year, down from around 20 last year and just under 50 in 2016, and there are limited opportunities for the students to have social interaction with peers. The classroom environment is lonely despite the best intentions of the staff.”
In the 1990s between 100 and 200 students attended the school.
“A further round of consultation has been undertaken by the Commissioner since my interim decision at the beginning of June that the school’s integration agreement should be cancelled,” Chris Hipkins said.
“The results of this consultation have confirmed my interim view. The Hato Petera College that exists today is much diminished from the school it was in the past.
“Today’s announcement, while sad for those involved, will end a period of uncertainty for students and staff. The Ministry of Education and the Proprietor will provide assistance as needed to help the remaining students enroll at other schools. The Ministry and PPTA will also work with current staff.”
Hato Petera College has a proud history and tradition of supporting Māori through providing a rich and quality education. However, in recent years Catholic Māori students have chosen to enrol in other Catholic colleges.
The Diocese owns the land, Chris Hipkins said.
“They have indicated to me they would like it to continue to be used for educational purposes consistent with the original deed of gift from the Crown.
“It is now for them to discuss the next steps with the Ministry of Education.”
The Proprietor initially received 43 submissions from whānau, past students, and staff. They tended to focus on the College’s history and the pride of former pupils, but not on solutions to the issues the school has been facing in recent times.
The Ministry of Education consulted 18 schools and 17 sector groups.