Private schools seek Govt help

6:06 pm on 5 July 2011

Private schools in Christchurch have asked the Government for help as they try to cope in the aftermath of February's devastating earthquake.

Christchurch has 11 private schools and, like the city's state and integrated schools, most have lost enrolments.

The independent schools are also worried about new enrolments for next year and principals agree that boarders could be the most difficult students to attract to the city.

Independent Schools New Zealand executive director Deborah James says the quake on 22 February has changed the landscape of private schooling in the South Island city forever.

Principals say new enrolments are slower than usual and boarding students might be more likely to choose schools in other centres.

Ms James says independent schools have asked the Government to change the way it administers their funding. She would not explain further, but says they are not asking for more money.

Ms James says the organisation is aware that some schools are seeing significant numbers of students leaving to go to state schools or because families are leaving Christchurch.

However, she says, the organisation does not have figures that show the extent of the decline in student numbers.

Ms James says some of the schools also face extra costs in rebuilding damaged buildings. She says that expense, and the drop in enrolments, are compounding the pressure that was already on many private schools because of the recession.

Some private schools might have to try to join the state sector if their situation does not improve in the next five years, she says.