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Friday, April 15, 2011

Parents give school sharing a pass mark

Parents give school sharing a pass mark

Last updated 05:00 16/04/2011
Parents and principals have given Christchurch's school sharing a pass mark.

The first term ended yesterday with 11 schools still operating in shifts or sharing sites with other schools since reopening after the February 22 earthquake.

Education Minister Anne Tolley said this month that Heaton Intermediate would return to its site in term two, and Shirley Boys' High and Linwood College would return in term three, which starts in August.

Parents spoken to by The Press said despite transport and class timing problems, the system worked well.

St Bede's College pupils start at 8am to allow Marian College pupils to use their school during the afternoon.

Jacqui Berry, who has a child at each school, said transporting them from Sumner each day was a challenge.

With no bus available, her son leaves in a car pool each day at 7am.

"George really enjoys it because he's a morning person and the day's quite short for him," she said.

"I was speaking to a teacher there and they've found it works quite well for boys to be learning at that time."

Her daughter has be driven to school up to four mornings a week for cultural activities, well before the 1pm class start, and then back home.

"She does get really tired because she gets up early anyway to do her homework. It's quite a full day for her," Berry said.

"The staff and teachers are doing an incredible job under the circumstances."

Another mother of a St Bede's pupil, who did not want to be named, said her son struggled with the early starts and was disappointed at being denied contact with the Marian College girls.

"The boys are somewhat put out and, in his words, are not allowed to fraternise with the girls. Naturally, this has somewhat dulled the great excitement of the co-ed idea," she said.

"On the off-chance that the girls will see him, we now have an escalating bill for grooming products."

Julie Surtees, whose daughter's school, Cashmere High, has been hosting Linwood College pupils, said the system was "working fine".

She had to cut back her afternoon work hours to be home when school finished about 1pm.

"I would hate to be a parent who had a kiddie doing the afternoon shift because that would be hard work. I imagine the child would be pretty tired by the end of the day," Surtees said.

"My daughter does 15 hours a week of gymnastics, so I don't know how we would have managed if she was on an afternoon shift."

The likelihood of Linwood returning to its own site by the third term sounded "quite optimistic", she said.
Shirley Boys' High has been hosted by Papanui High for four weeks.

Papanui acting principal Bronwyn Welsh said the schools were working well together.

"Any problems, they're only tiny, and communication is extraordinarily important," she said.

"Our entrances and exits are a delight to behold.

"We see 1400 students exiting to the north and 1200 students entering to the south."

Shirley pupils having to wait more than 30 minutes to enter the grounds could be a problem in winter, Welsh said. Many were being dropped off early by charter buses.

Shirley Boys' High principal John Laurenson said joining the two schools had been a "wonderful thing".

"If you asked me if this has been an exercise that ultimately will be viewed as a positive one, I'm going to say `yes', and I think it will continue to be," he said.

Problems such as bus transport were a "work in progress".

- The Press

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