As you know, Hornby High School is in the midst of an almost complete school rebuild. We are the first Christchurch secondary school to undergo such extensive redevelopment. This is taking place directly in the middle of the current school campus, while we continue to operate as a school.

We have applied to the Ministry of Education for, and been granted, special dispensation to close Hornby High School for three additional days at the end of term 2, 2018 (and not add these to days of instruction at the end of the year). The dates are the 4th, 5th, and 6th of July (the last three days of term 2). I’d like to take the opportunity to explain why.

The rebuild project is split into two stages. The first (currently underway) is the build of the largest building on the campus, housing technologies, arts, sciences, student wellbeing, Whare, student cafē, learning commons and administration. This first stage also includes the construction of a new gymnasium attached to the existing gymnasium.

The main block and gym are expected to be finished by Queen’s Birthday weekend in June of this year, 2018 and the contractors are well on track to meet this deadline.

Classes in physics, social sciences, and English are currently being run in A and S Blocks. The project is staged such that the school moves activities out of A and S blocks so that these can be demolished, as they currently sit across the footprint of the new learning spaces (our Kahui) that will be built as Stage 2 of the rebuild.

We are required to vacate A and S blocks by the end of term 2 to allow for the safe removal of asbestos from these buildings while we are all off site during the end of term break in July. The timing of this is essential to make sure that we don’t hold up Stage 2 of the project.

We have a deep seated concern for staff and student wellbeing (this is a focus for one of the school’s annual goals for 2018). The relocation cannot occur without some disruption to learning. Staff cannot simultaneously teach, and oversee packing and shifting of resources. Neither can students learn effectively in the middle of that disruption.

Staff will be setting work for students to minimise disruption to their learning. Much of this work will likely be available digitally in line with our current practice which is based on our ‘Learn Create Share’ pedagogy.

I fully understand that this is not the most desirable set of circumstances, but there really is no other choice if our rebuild is to be completed by the end of 2019. Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries.