Schools share sites in Christchurch

Thirty-four schools in Christchurch have a red sticker which means the school is badly damaged and not safe. Nearly all schools are now open but for most of those 34, it means sharing with another school – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The Ministry of Education pays for buses to take students from the damaged school to another school. Some schools now start before 8am and finish around 1pm. They have a half-hour break in the middle of the morning. The next school uses the same buildings but starts after 1pm and finishes around 6pm. These are all high schools.

Students have four hours of lessons a day instead of five hours. Many schools were closed for four or five weeks after the earthquake. Parents and teachers are worried about how students can catch up the classes that were missed. Students will probably have more homework and teachers may use rooms like the library and music room to teach extra classes. Some schools are thinking about shorter school holidays.

Burnside High School is the biggest school in Christchurch with 2,200 students but it has room for 3,000 students. Avonside Girls’ High school, which has 1,200 students, is using their buildings in the afternoon but there is space for senior students at both schools to have extra classes – Avonside seniors in the morning and Burnside seniors in the afternoon.

Some intermediate schools also have to share buildings. One school is sending Year 7 students to an intermediate school in the north and Year 8 to an intermediate school in the west.

Catholic schools are sharing with other Catholic schools. In one case, a girls’ high school will share with a boys’ high school in the north. A co-ed high school is sharing with a boys’ high school in the west.

For some schools, this arrangement may only be for a few months. For other schools which need new classrooms and new sewer pipes, the sharing may continue all year.


Although sharing school facilities is new to New Zealand, many countries are used to this. What are the advantages for the tax payer? Are there any advantages for students, teachers and families? What are the disadvantages?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of single-sex schools?


A school site is a piece of ground with school buildings on it. A building site is a piece of ground which will be used for a building.

Co-ed means co-educational – both boys and girls. Most high schools and primary schools are co-ed. The first high schools in Christchurch were single sex – Christchurch Girls’ High School (1877) and Christchurch Boys’ High Schools (1881) –but schools established more recently are co-ed.

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