Hekia Parata has been embarassed again by the High Court in Judicial Review proceedings.
Last year her plans to close Salisbury School in Nelson was declared to be unlawful. Salisbury School was an all girls school whose students presented complex needs. Parata thought that they could be safely integrated into Halswell School which had males with complex needs.
In that case Justice Dobson said that the Government did not have the power to authorise the enrolment of pupils from Salisbury School at another school, Halswell School while it remains a single-sex boys’ school. He also said the decision to close Salisbury School disregarded the greater risk of sexual or physical abuse the girls might face if they were enrolled at a co-educational residential special needs school.
How Parata seemed to think that the obvious risk could be adequately managed is beyond me.
The High Court has today declared another of her decisions to be illegal. Her decision to close Phillipstown School has been overturned. The families involved had complained that the consultation that had occurred was inadequate and Justice Fogarty has agreed.
The Herald reports
While the judge was certain the Education Ministry conducted consultation “in good faith”, it had failed to meet the requirements of the Education Act.
He found that the importance of the cost of Phillipstown continuing on its site was “mistakenly played down” and that “for a miscellany of reasons, the financial information being relied upon by the Minister was not reasonably broken down and explained in a manner which would have enabled a critique”.
“These two failures of process led the Board to not make submissions on the costs, other than to complain about the inadequacy of information,” said Justice Fogarty.
“These failures of process mean that the Minister has not lawfully merged Phillipstown with Woolston.
So Parata obviously needs better advisers. Either that or John Key needs a new Minister of Education.