A Christchurch school which vehemently objected to
Government plans to shut its gates has been told for a second
time it will merge with another local school.
Education Minister Hekia Parata announced today she had
decided to merge Phillipstown and Woolston schools, with the
new merged school set to operate out of Woolston School from
term one next year.
Ms Parata's announcement comes after initial plans for the
merger were delayed last year, when Phillipstown successfully
challenged her decision in the High Court to close the
The decision to close the school and merge it with nearby
Woolston to create a 465-child super-school came as part of
the Government's $1 billion shake-up of post-earthquake
In October, Justice John Fogarty ruled the decision to close
Phillpstown and merge it with Woolston was unlawful, after
Phillipstown launched a judicial review into the consultation
process for the merger.
He said in his decision Ms Parata had inadvertently not
consulted to the standard required by the law on the merger.
This morning, Ms Parata said in a statement "fresh
consideration" of the merger proposal had resulted in a new
decision to merge the two schools.
A surplus of places for primary school students in the "local
school network" as well as small roll numbers at Phillipstown
and significant earthquake and other property related
problems at both schools supported the merger, Ms Parata
"Investing in one merged school gives us the opportunity to
provide kids from Woolston and Phillipstown with the very
latest and best in modern technology and resources."
The Woolston School site will be significantly redeveloped to
provide new modern learning environments at an estimated cost
of $11.8 million, she said.
After Justice Fogarty ruled in favour of Phillipstown last
year, Ms Parata met with the school's board of trustees and
principal to discuss the consultation process.
Today she said she met with the board of trustees throughout
the consultation period, as well as after she received its
"I reviewed the material concerning Phillipstown and Woolston
with fresh eyes. I have been open to the possibilities
promoted by the Board of Phillipstown School on behalf of its
parents and students.
"I took into account the submission of Woolston School on
behalf of its community. I weighed up the fresh information
together with analysis and advice from the Ministry," Ms