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Cashmere High School Zoning change upsets community

Elizabeth Thomson

One of the fastest growing schools in Christchurch is facing zone changes under a new Government proposal, upsetting many parents and students in the area.

Cashmere High School is under pressure from parents and the community after a proposed zoning change was passed by its Board of Trustees and the Ministry of Education.

The zoning change comes after the school's roll increased from 1720 to 2022 students in the 2008-2018 time period. The increase is set to continue.

Board of Trustees chairperson Geordie Hooft said the decision was made in a response to 'scenario T', a Ministry of Education plan to reduce rolls at some schools and boost them at others.

The proposed change to the Cashmere High School zone involves removing an area from Lincoln Rd to Lyttleton St, across Stourbridge St, through Barrington St, Coronation St and Brougham St ending at the intersection of Waltham Rd and Moorhouse Ave. 

The school has looked to keep students from contributing schools such as South Intermediate and Opawa Primary within its zone. 

Many parents have expressed their disappointment at the proposed change. 

Parents in various local community Facebook groups have said they moved to a home within the zone so that their children could attend the school, and are now feeling let down. 

One parent, who did not want to be named, said she moved her autistic daughter to within the zone, so she could keep going to school with her peers. The proposed zoning change meant she would most likely have to attend Hilmorton High School without her friends. 

Other parents are worried their children will be out of zone for any school. 

Hooft said he had taken into consideration the complaints of parents but said the move was to prevent the character of the school changing. 

This ministry plan has upset parents of Avonside Girls and Shirley Boys' High School students as it will leave some, who were previously in-zone with no school zone. Nearby Mairehau High School, Linwood College and Haeata Community Campus do not have school zones, but that is likely to change as the ministry plans to zone all Christchurch state secondary schools by 2023.

The proposed zoning changes for Cashmere, Shirley Boys' and Avonside will come into effect next year.