No job, so it's back to school
By TINA LAW - The Press
Last updated 05:00 23/11/2009

A lack of jobs is forcing senior students to stay longer at school, putting pressure on schools to cater for them.

Cashmere High School has for the first time closed its roll to students living outside its zone, partly because of the high number of year 12 students choosing to stay at school for another year.

About 330 year 12 students plan to return next year, compared with this year's year 13 roll of 240, Cashmere High School principal Mark Wilson said.

Of year 12 students, 94 per cent were planning to return. The school's usual retention rate was about 75 per cent, he said.

However, some would change their minds during the summer break.

Papanui High School principal Denis Pyatt said students were staying on at school because there were no jobs for them following the recession.

Early indications showed the school's year 12 roll would be 40 up on this year and year 13 could be up about 30.

The additional students put a lot of pressure on the school to ensure it had a broad enough curriculum to meet the students' needs, Pyatt said. They could not put the students into fully academic courses and would instead focus on more practical courses including work experience, outdoor education, automotive engineering and food technology.

Pyatt said he expected to employ another two or three teachers to cater for the additional students.

Ministry of Education roll statistics for Canterbury showed there were 342 more students at year 13 this year (5365) compared with last year and 260 more year 12 students (6625).

Linwood College acting principal Ray Burkhill said students who had left school at 16 were returning to years 12 and 13 to gain more qualifications because they could not find jobs.

Canterbury Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said school leavers, university graduates and students looking for holiday work were all finding it hard to get employment.

Cashmere High School's roll has grown to a record 1650, but it did not want to get any bigger, which was why it has closed its roll to out-of-zone students, Wilson said.

The school had noticed an increasing number of in-zone students who had previously attended private schools enrolling at Cashmere. It was also picking up students who had attended single-sex schools.

These two issues along with students staying longer in the senior school were contributing to the roll growth.

Historically, Cashmere took up to 80 year 9 students each year from out of zone. It had 100 students on a waiting list for next year, but would now not accept any.

The move to close the roll to out-of-zone students had received a hostile reaction from a small number of parents who had been expecting to send their children to Cashmere. Some complained to the Education Ministry, but the school was within its rights, Wilson said.

From here.