School snow closures on rise

18:58, Jun 23 2013

Snow days are becoming more and more frequent for Christchurch's highest school, its principal says.

When Jacqui Duncan took over the reins of Cashmere Primary School on the Port Hills 13 years ago, snow only forced her to shut its doors to pupils once every three years.

"[But] in the last three years, we have had to do it every year. Two of those years we have had to do it twice."

She arrived at the school early yesterday as the snow was piling up on Hackthorne Rd, and made the decision to close as its steep pathways became "lethal and treacherous".

It was normal practice to shut the school - which sits about 140 metres above sea level - the moment snow settled on its grounds, because it made it too dangerous for pupils to walk on its paths.

Duncan told The Press how just the other day she did the math to realise the school only used to have to close due to snow once every three years.


Extreme weather did seem to be more frequent, she said.

The last snow dump in May closed the school for the first half of the day until snow could be shifted from the grounds.

"Already this winter, and it's only June 21, we've had two snow events that have disrupted opening of the school."

Mt Pleasant School, the next highest of Christchurch's schools, at about 110m above sea level, was open yesterday as its grounds remained green.

Principal Chris Nord said despite about 140 pupils not being able to make it to school from their hillside homes, "we miss quite a bit of the snow in sour weather".

The Press