Court date stalls school closure

Last updated 14:38 08/11/2012

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Salisbury School's fight against its closure will go to court on November 27.

The Government wants to shut the residential girls' school in Richmond next month. It has 62 staff and 65 students with special needs from around the country.

Salisbury School's board is seeking a judicial review of Education Minister Hekia Parata's decision to close the school and this will be heard in the High Court at Wellington.

Salisbury's board was to also seek an interim injunction stopping ministry officials taking further steps to shift the girls.

However, today it said that since court proceedings were filed in the High Court in Wellington on Monday, Ms Parata had agreed to take no further steps to close Salisbury School, pending determination of the proceedings.

The minister's decision not to gazette the closure meant that Salisbury no longer had to ask the court for an interim order requiring ministry officials to take no further steps to either shift the girls or to close the school next month.

Salisbury has advised parents that they now have the choice to either work with the Education Ministry to develop a wrap-around programme for their daughter for next year, or they can wait for the outcome of the judicial review before making important decisions about their child's future.

Salisbury board chairwoman Helen McDonnell said today it was great news for parents to have a court date set so quickly.

"This process needs to move quickly for the sake of the girls, their parents, and our staff, so having a court date scheduled for this month, and a likely decision before Christmas, is great news.

"It is also extremely reassuring to have the steps towards closure halted while our case can be heard," she said.

The ministry proposes to close Salisbury School, moving the school's girls to Halswell, a special residential boys' school in Christchurch, from the beginning of next year.

Under the Education Act, Halswell cannot become a co-educational school until the 2014 school year.

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