New high school ruled out

Halswell and Wigram will not get a high school in the next 20 years in spite of a boom in the population.

The Ministry of Education has told Western News it has no plans for a high school in spite of economic development agency Infometrics say one is needed.

Data released by Infometrics show the population in south-west of the city was expected to increase by 85 per cent over the next seven years.

Due to the population explosion, it said a high school needed in the area at some stage over the next seven years.

But the MoE has planned for an extra 1950 high school spaces at existing schools in the Halswell and Wigram areas for the next 20 years.

MoE’s sector enablement and support Kim Shannon said the plan allows for Hillmorton and Hornby High schools to meet predicted growth in this area.

She said the south-west area in the report includes parts of the Selwyn District which are served by Darfield High School, Lincoln High School and the soon to open Rolleston College.

Hillmorton High which is currently sitting at 717 students, has been planned for 2000 students in the future.

Redevelopment at the school will allow for 1000 students.

Hillmorton High principal Ann Brokenshire said she did not agree with Infometrics that a new high school was needed.

She said while master plan is a long way away in the future, the school will be very different if it reaches 2000 students.

“I know there are some negative perceptions in the Halswell area and we have got to really work so that those people are involved in this,” she said.

Meanwhile Hornby High’s rebuild is  planned for the school to grow to 1300 students in the future. Current redevelopment at the school will allow for 800 students.

Principal Robin Sutton said the MoE needs to be cautious of not overbuilding.

He said due to the school having high quality relationships between staff and students he personally would not like to see the school grow bigger than 1300 students.

The Infometrics report also said growth in the Halswell area was undeserved in a range of services including retail, social and community amenities.

Western News reported recently six new subdivisions and two new primary schools are to be developed in Halswell to cope with the population expansion.