Grim job prospects for loyal teachers

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 05:00 23/02/2013

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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.

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.

"For the last couple of years they have put school and pupils first," he said.

"Schools in the east have been under inordinate amounts of stress.

"We have three staff whose houses are still in a terrible state after 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.

Permanent teachers at two merging schools are "ring-fenced" - only they can apply for the jobs created at the new merger school.

However, support staff could have to reapply for jobs at the merger school, pitting them against jobseekers across the city.

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

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.

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