High schools welcome younger newbies

BACK AT SCHOOL: Pupils on their way to Hillmorton High.
BACK AT SCHOOL: Pupils on their way to Hillmorton High.

Three Christchurch high schools have been busy redesigning classrooms and hiring staff to welcome intermediate-aged pupils to their roll for the first time.

After the closure of Branston, Manning and Linwood intermediate schools last year, their nearby high schools - Hornby High, Hillmorton High and Linwood College - have become the first year 7 to 13 state schools in Christchurch.

Hornby High principal Richard Edmundson said it was a "game-changer" for their communities, and the schools were learning together.

"This is new, it's very exciting."

There were 150 intermediate students so far enrolled. The school was pleased to have the opportunity to redesign its whole school to embrace middle-schooling.

A Ministry of Education spokeswoman said $6.1 million had been spent on 18 new or refurbished modern learning spaces within the schools. $1.4m was spent on Hornby High, $2.4m on Hillmorton High including a technology facility, and $1.8m on Linwood College.

Hillmorton High's year 7 and 8 enrolments had been more than expected, with 150 among its 760 pupils so far, principal Ann Brokenshire said.

There was a positive feeling within the school, after the sadness of surrounding schools closing, she said.

Year 7 and 8 pupils would have a combination of specialist teachers, and home classes or "Base Camp", with year 12 pupils acting as peer support leaders.

Linwood College principal Margaret Paiti said a large school could be daunting for younger children, but they had a couple more days of orientation and getting to know their year 13 peer supporters before the rest of the school started.

Its 115 year 7 and 8 pupils would be the first to be fully immersed in the school's new STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - focused education.

The Press