The Government's controversial plans for the future of Canterbury's education system are being seen as a positive shake-up in Ellesmere.
Schools and early childhood centres in the area are using the Education Renewal Recovery Programme to discover new ways of working together.
Ellesmere College principal Gavin Kidd, said: "It's ironic that it took an earthquake to get us all around the table together, so that must be a positive shake."
The Ministry of Education's proposal groups all schools in Selwyn, Christchurch and Waimakariri into clusters, each responsible for preparing strategies to improve education in their areas.
The Leeston Learning Community Cluster combines Ellesmere College with six early childhood education providers and three primary schools in Leeston, Dunsandel and Southbridge.
The plan has been met with outrage by Christchurch school communities, who have been angered by proposed closures and mergers of schools in the city and a short consultation timeframe.
Southbridge School principal Peter Verstappen said since it has been spared the pressure of school closures and mergers, the Ellesmere group is relishing the opportunity to get together and create new opportunities for students of all ages.
Dunsandel Childcare and Preschool manager Sue McLean said: "We've never had all the schools, pre-schools, managers and trustees around the same table together.
"It's a remarkable conversation."
Under the plan, schools and centres are required to improve learning programmes and governance, and find efficiencies in property and infrastructure.
In particular, clusters must plan to improve learning for targeted groups of students at risk of failure.
Said Val Stevens, owner of Treasure Trove Kindergarten in Leeston: "Our conversations have included how we can improve transitions for students from one level of schooling to the next, share staff and resources and improve teaching through combined staff training.
"It's exciting to combine with local schools for the benefit of all our children."
However, education providers say one frustration is the short timeframe, as cluster plans are due to be sent to the Minister of Education by December 7.
Leeston Consolidated School principal Lynda Taylor said: "It means we haven't really been able to consult effectively with our communities, or even our boards.
"So our idea is that the plan we submit this year is the start of something we hope will grow."
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