Protest at Woolston school merger plan

Pupils face 2km walk if merger goes ahead

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 10:38 23/05/2013
Daniel Tobin

Phillipstown School lead a walk down Ferry Road to highlight the dangers children will face in walking to school if Phillipstown School is closed

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Makere Hubbard says she and her children will walk two hours every day if Phillipstown School merges with Woolston School.

Hundreds of Phillipstown residents this morning marched down Ferry Rd to demonstrate the nearly 2-kilometre walk that children would have to take each day to Woolston, where the new campus is planned to be.

Hubbard, who does not own a car, already walks at least an hour each day to take her children, aged 5 and 6, from their Fitzgerald Ave home to Phillipstown School in Nursery Rd.

''We've got no vehicle; we walk rain, fine weather, whatever.''

Standing on the busy Ferry Rd-Aldwins Rd junction in the biting wind, Hubbard worried how she would keep her children warm and dry on the way to school.

''It's not fair on them,'' she said.

''I'm going to have to take, like, 10 changes of clothes.''

She was also concerned about walking down busy Ferry Rd, used by about 22,000 cars every day.

''I'm always spewing at drivers; they drive so stupidly around schools,'' she said.

Phillipstown principal Tony Simpson shared her concerns.

''This highlights the sort of issues children will have getting to school,'' he said.

''A 5-year-old struggling to get to school in this sort of weather is just unwise.''

Phillipstown will find out its fate on Wednesday.

Simpson said he was optimistic Education Minister Hekia Parata would reconsider.

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