Christchurch schools to get $20m spending help

10:45 pm on 8 March 2011

The Government will spend $20 million to help schools and early-childhood centres affected by the Christchurch earthquake, says the Ministry of Education.

Education Minister Anne Tolley says schools are receiving full funding even if they are temporarily closed or have fewer students.

She says the Government will pay for extra teachers and transport for children whose schools have been moved.

Ms Tolley says more than 100 schools in Christchurch, Lyttelton and Akaroa have announced reopening dates and 21 of them are already open. She says 135 early childhood education centres are expected to reopen this week.

In addition, she says the Correspondence School is giving Christchurch children access to its online resources without the need to enrol.

Correspondence School chief executive Mike Hollings says it can provide resources for the preschool curriculum through to Year 13. Mr Hollings says some students will require online services for only a short period of time, but others may need to use the service for much longer.

Rolls up elsewhere

Some schools say their rolls have jumped significantly because of Christchurch children moving to other parts of the country.

Springfield School, which is in the foothills of the Southern Alps and has two teachers, is turning children away after its roll jumped from 37 to 55.

In Wanaka, Mt Aspiring College has 127 Christchurch students, increasing the normal roll of 720 by 18% in one week.

In total, 5400 Christchurch children have enrolled in schools outside the city.

Principals say some are already returning to Christchurch, but others are planning to stay for the rest of the first term and in some cases the rest of the year.

Schools reopen

Another 10 schools were expected to open in Christchurch on Tuesday.

Altogether, 164 schools in the city, Lyttelton and Akaroa have been shut since 22 February, but they began reopening on Monday.

The ministry expects 31 schools to reopen by the end of the week.

The Government says five schools are so badly damaged they will not reopen in the near future. Four will share facilities with other schools and one will relocate.

University reopens next week

Canterbury University will reopen its doors next week, and there are plans to teach some classes in tents while buildings are being assessed or repaired.

Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr says the university schedule will be changed to make up for lost time.

Dr Carr says classes will run from eight in the morning to eight in the evening on weekdays and the mid-semester break will be reduced to one week.