Competition for enrolments among Christchurch secondary schools may be turning into a battle for survival.
There are nearly 2000 fewer secondary students in the city than before the Canterbury earthquakes and school closures are expected from the post-quake reorganisation of its education system.
Christchurch schools are acutely aware that the more students they enrol, the more likely it is they will stay open.
The headmaster of Shirley Boys' High School, John Laurenson, says the sword of Damocles is hanging over some schools and the competition for students is fierce.
Mr Laurenson says some schools are suffering a double-blow - losing students because of the quakes and also because more popular schools are now taking more out-of-zone students.
The Post Primary Teachers' Association says schools that had falling rolls before the quakes appear to be worse off.