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Phillipstown School launches Judicial Review

Phillipstown School launches Judicial Review

The Board of Phillipstown School will be filing judicial review proceedings in the Christchurch High Court on Monday.  The School is seeking a declaration that the Minister of Education’s decision to close Phillipstown school and merge it with Woolston school from the beginning of 2014 is illegal and in breach of the Education Act 1989.

“It is tremendously sad that we have to take legal action but it has become the only option left to keep Phillipstown School open”,  said Wayne West, Board of Trustees Chairperson.

“Given that the Minister’s decision has now been gazetted, and her officials have already started implementing the closure of the school and the merger with Woolston School, the school has no choice but to seek an urgent hearing. If we wait any longer, there will be no Phillipstown School to save”.

“The Minister’s decision appears to be based on mistakes of fact. The statutory consultation required with the School and with the parents of students was also illegal because the officials refused to give us the information needed to respond to claims about the costs of remediating the earthquake damage at the school, and other property related issues. The Minister cited both of these as key reasons for her decision”.

“The Board will be filing papers with the Christchurch High Court tomorrow morning. The Crown has given assurances that the Ministry of Education does not intend to prevent the Board of Trustees from exercising their lawful right to challenge the merger decision, and will not make any “irreversible change” at least until decisions need to be made regarding employment at Phillipstown School in October and November this year.  But that means we have to get the case heard and the legality of the Minister’s decision to close and merge the school determined before October 2014”.

“The Crown has encouraged us to file proceedings if we are concerned about lawfulness and has said it will accommodate an urgent hearing”.

“Closing our school will be massive blow to our local community. But we are ready to fight for our students, their parents and our staff,” says Mr West.

About Phillipstown School

Phillipstown School is located in Christchurch in the suburb of Phillipstown and is a primary school catering for Years 1 to 8 learners and was opened in 1877.  The School has a technology centre that is used to teach more than 1,150 learners from 30 schools in and around Christchurch city.  Phillipstown School has a decile rating of 1, 54% of its students are Maori and Pasifika and the school has a growing roll of 160 pupils, which is nearing the maximum capacity of the school.

ENDS

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