40 teachers stand to lose jobs

REDUNDANCY: Manning Intermediate School Year 7 teacher Mandy Aldridge-Neal faces redundancy.
REDUNDANCY: Manning Intermediate School Year 7 teacher Mandy Aldridge-Neal faces redundancy.

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

And 19 principals' jobs are on the line with just six roles available at remaining schools after the closures and mergers.

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.

Branston Intermediate principal Jennifer O'Leary said the school's 26 staff, from teachers to cleaners, were on one year's notice.

The school will close at the end of the year and pupils will be absorbed into Hornby High.

O'Leary is encouraging staff to look at alternative employment, concerned that if they leave it to the end of the year, they may be left out in the cold.

"Getting a job teaching is a lottery. I'm not sure they are going to get other jobs in this climate."

Linwood Intermediate principal Lee Walker is also encouraging his "incredibly loyal" staff to put themselves first, after two years of helping pupils through the earthquakes.

The situation is different for Woolston School principal Janeane Reid.

Phillipstown School will merge onto Woolston's Ferry Rd site next year and Reid said a similar number of teachers would be needed because the roll would not be smaller.

Reid and Phillipstown principal Tony Simpson automatically lose their jobs and must reapply for the one principal position available.

Hornby High School principal Richard Edmundson intends to employ more teachers should proposals for the school to cater to years 7 to 13 go ahead.

Because some schools will have to add year 7 and 8 classes, as three intermediate schools close, Edmundson said there was a good chance intermediate teachers would find work in the city.

Teacher Mandy Aldridge-Neal moved her family from Blenheim to Christchurch only one year ago because she landed a job at Manning Intermediate.

But she now faces redundancy, because under the Government's plans the school is set to shut at the end of the year.

Aldridge-Neal is 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 position.

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."

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?"

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.

The Press