Make the 'transitional zone' part of AGHS/SBHS' permanent zone, for the sake of equity

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First, let us say ngā mihi nui/ thank you to AGHS/SBHS and the Ministry of Education for the temporary 'transitional zone' put in place in 2018, that allowed students living in the then-current zones for these schools to continue to have access to them. This was a great relief, particularly to parents of Year 8 students who had been planning for years to send their children to these schools and who in April 2018 felt like the rug had  been pulled out from under them.

While this compromise extension for 13 years did go some way to relieving the stress placed on the communities of Richmond, Shirley, Avonside, Dallington, St Albans and Edgeware, it is not a full and final solution.

We want the 'transitional zone' made permanent and all families living within this zone at their time of enrollment to have priority of access, whether they were residing at that address before June 2018 or whether they just moved in. We are asking both schools and the Ministry to make us part of the permanent zone when the zones are reviewed this year.

The basis of our argument is this:

- The transitional arrangement divides communities. Friendships built over years of attending local primary and intermediate schools will be disrupted if one child can access these schools and his/ her neighbour down the street cannot because they moved to that home in 2019.

- the transitional arrangement reinforces inequities in access to education for lower socio-economic groups. Those who rent are much less likely to stay in the same residence for years at a time.

- the transitional arrangement limits the effectiveness of the Kāhui Ako/CoL (Community of Learning) between SBHS, AGHS, Shirley Intermediate, Banks Avenue School, Shirley School, Waitakiri School and Chisnallwood Intermediate. A major purpose of CoLs is to smooth transitions between stages of education for students. Under the transitional arrangement, many students from the feeder schools could not get into the secondary schools that lead the CoL. 

- the temporary nature of the arrangement ignores the strong cultural and social ties between schools and their communities. These connections do not have an expiry date. Both schools have chosen to take their names with them to their new locations, and with those names comes a connection that cannot be ignored.

- our communities are already struggling with the loss and relocation of so many schools. For the sake of the mental health of both our tamariki and their whānau, a permanent inclusion in zone would be a great comfort, rather than a 'transitory arrangement' which people find confusing and are concerned may not last. It is hard enough to plan for the futures of our tamariki in the shifting sands of post-earthquake Christchurch/Ōtautahi. We need at least this certainty - our schools will remain our schools. That's all we ask.

Please make the transitional zone a permanent part of the AGHS/ SBHS zone.