7000 secondary students left in limbo

9:00 am on 28 February 2011

The damage to high schools in Christchurch means about 7000 high school students will not return to school for at least another week.

The Ministry of Education says 18 state schools, 11 state-integrated schools and five private schools have suffered major damage.

The Secondary Principals Association says some creative solutions will be needed to cope with the students who won't be able to return.

The chair of its Canterbury-West Coast section, Neil Wilkinson, says he is aware of students re-enrolling in schools outside Christchurch, but says that's not a permanent solution.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education have given schools and early childhood services in Waimakariri and Selwyn the all-clear to reopen on Monday, depending on the state of buildings and availability of teachers.

The principal of Ashgrove School in Rangiora, Christine Houia, says her school suffered relatively superficial damage but there are other issues to consider, like teacher numbers and traumatised pupils, and the school may not open before Wednesday.

Denise Torrey of the Canterbury Primary Principals Association says she's worried about staffing, because teachers are among those who've left Christchurch - although teaching support has been offered from around the country.