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Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith is saddened but not surprised by the Minister of Education’s decision to initiate consultation on the potential closure of Salisbury School, he says.

“It is with sadness that I note the Minister’s decision to initiate consultation on the closure of Salisbury because the school has helped hundreds of young women over the past century and the school has a long history with the local Richmond community,” Dr Smith says.

“I accept Salisbury School cannot go on in its current form. You cannot justify $2 million a year, 42 full-time and part-time staff and the use of a prime 8 hectare site for nine pupils. The situation next year becomes even more untenable, with seven of the nine pupils completing their programme under the usual practice for residential schooling.

“The decline in Salisbury’s roll to unsustainable levels is because most families are choosing intensive, localised support. I have been impressed by the quality of the alternative Intensive Wraparound Service, which is achieving good outcomes. Times have changed, with a shift away from institutionalised, residential care to providing more support in the normal home and school environment.

“This is a tough time for staff, students and the board at Salisbury. I will be meeting with them as the Ministry of Education works through these proposals for closure and best future use for the site.”

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