Solo mum faces hard decision

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 05:00 23/02/2013
Mandy Aldridge-Neal
FINANCE FEARS: Manning Intermediate teacher Mandy Aldridge-Neal is concerned she will not find another teaching job in the city she loves.

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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," she said.

"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," Aldridge-Neal said. "I am the only breadwinner. I have to realise that family comes first."

HOW IT WORKS MERGING SCHOOLS

Teaching staff from merging schools have the right to apply for the new positions. Initially, the recruitment for teachers at the merged school will first be opened to existing permanent teachers at the two affected schools. But if there are no suitable applicants, positions are advertised on the open market. The principal's position in the merged school must be advertised externally as the employment contract for principals requires. Support staff from schools that are merging may, in some circumstances, be assigned new roles or have the right to apply for the new positions.

CLOSING SCHOOLS

Teaching staff from any schools that close are able to apply for roles in other schools but will not have preferred status for positions.

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