Four schools reopen

9:49 pm on 9 September 2010

Four Canterbury schools reopened on Thursday, but most of the 165 schools in the district will not open until Monday, says the Education Ministry.

Cust School, Southbridge Schools, Akaroa Area School and Oxford Area School opened for staff and students.

Cust School principal Robert Schuyt says the school and its community north of Christchurch suffered little to no damage.

Most schools in Christchurch have had their water and sewage systems checked and signed off, but they intend to remain closed until Monday to allow time for students and parents to be told of the arrangements.

Some planned school events, including open days, balls and student tests, have been cancelled.

The ministry has told schools closed because of the quake that they will not have to make up for the time they are shut.

This year, primary schools are required to be open for instruction for 388 half-days and secondary schools for 380 half-days.

But the ministry says schools closed because of the earthquake will not have to extend their academic year.

The Government says there are 165 state and state-integrated schools in the quake-hit region. If most reopen on Monday, as expected, they will have missed 10 half-days.

Ferndale School burgled

Meanwhile, staff at Ferndale School are devastated after the special education school, based in the Christchurch suburb of Merivale, was burgled overnight.

Board of trustees chairperson Jackie Morris says a toolshed, a classroom and the therapist's office were broken into, and video cameras, digital cameras and laptops were taken.

Ms Morris says the school will not be able to open until at least next Thursday because of damage sustained in the earthquake.

The school has about 100 pupils aged between five and 21 with a range of disabilities.

Replacement classrooms sought

The Goverment is trying to find safe classrooms for 1200 Canterbury schoolchildren.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the outlook for schools in the quake-affected regions is positive, with most expected to open from Monday.

But he says about 1200 children will need to be relocated because of damage to their schools.

Education Minister Anne Tolley says some temporary classrooms will be needed, along with alternative space for some students.