Teacher finds herself in bind with closure

A Blenheim teacher who moved her family from Blenheim to Christchurch only a year ago faces redundancy under the Government's plans to shut her school.

Mandy Aldridge-Neal teaches at Manning Intermediate, in Hoon Hay, which is set to shut at the end of the year.

Ms Aldridge-Neal is completely torn between loyalty to her pupils and the school she loves and the needs of her family.

If she puts herself on the job market now, she has a slim chance of finding a role.

But if she does find a job, she will have to leave her year 7 class midway through the academic year, disrupting their learning.

"I'm so gutted. I'd been here one term when [Education Minister] Hekia Parata made the [September] announcements.

"It was a complete shock, for me and the whole school."

Ms Aldridge-Neal had to fight hard for her job at Manning.

"There is an oversupply of teachers at the moment. What is going to happen after this year?"

Ms Aldridge-Neal is reluctant to leave Christchurch.

Her family love their Halswell home and have settled into the city lifestyle.

Her two daughters, 14 and 16, have scholarships to St Margaret's.

Her 13-year-old son has a scholarship to Christ's College and her 11-year-old son is at Oaklands School.

She also has an older son, 21, who is in the army and based at Burnham.

"I've been a single parent for 11 years," she said.

"I am the only breadwinner. I have to realise that family comes first."

At least 40 Christchurch teachers stand to lose their jobs as schools close at the end of the year under the Ministry of Education's network overhaul.

Nineteen principals' jobs are on the line and just six roles will be available at remaining schools after closures and mergers take place.

Teachers have faced a grim job market in Christchurch for the past few years, with more than 200 applications for some roles before the 2011 earthquake struck. Fairfax NZ

The Marlborough Express