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Schools seeing increased demand

MICHELE ONG
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012
Silverdale School

GROWING NUMBERS: Silverdale School is among Hibiscus Coast-Rodney schools seeing an increase in student numbers.

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Schools presssured by growing demand are tightening enrolment procedures to keep numbers under control.

Among them is Whangaparaoa Primary School where families must present proof of address before enrolling children.

It's a bid to ease pressure on a roll that stands at 764 students. The school is expecting 88 new entrants early next year and will finish 2013 with 173 five-year-olds.

"For the past two to three years we've been unable to accept out-of-zone children," principal Steve Collins says.

"Families must also have a reasonable expectation of continuing to live in the school zone as well."

Construction of four new classrooms, plus an administration block rebuild, is planned for March.

Silverdale School gets eight new classrooms and a new toilet block next year. The $2 million project is expected to be completed before term four. It will allow Silverdale to accept up to 550 students by 2014.

The school has 49 new entrants enrolled for term one and finding space to fit everyone can be a challenge, principal Viv Collins says.

"But thankfully we have been given four relocatable classrooms to use until the new ones are completed."

Wellsford School hopes to have its school hall expanded to better accommodate staff, pupils and their families for events.

It has 330 pupils and is expecting 55 new entrants throughout the year.

"When we start a school year with 300 pupils, we can fit them with parents in our hall," Mr Bradley says. "But by the end of the year, with 350 kids, we can't fit any parents at all. So we often have to use Rodney College's hall or the Wellsford community one."

Hall renovation will cost the school $100,000 because it won't be funded by the Ministry of Education.

"While building grants are available through the ministry for new classrooms, and in special circumstances also available for new halls, they prioritise learning environments ahead of halls," Mr Bradley says. "So we'll have to adjust the dream and build within the funding limits and rules of the ministry," he says.

Mahurangi College opens its $4.9m double storey block incorporating a new school office, student centre and 14 classrooms early next year.

Student growth is spread across all levels, and the roll is 1267 domestic students compared with 1106 in 2008, principal David Macleod says.

Kaipara College has a new social sciences faculty of five new classrooms and an office ready for use next term. It marks the last stage of the school's four-part redevelopment programme that started with a new gymnasium in 2008 and a new science block in 2010.

A $4.2m stage three hall, drama and music practice suites, a new block encompassing student services, a career centre, an international student classroom, five English classrooms and two for computers plus a staffroom were opened by Prime Minister and Helensville MP John Key in February.

Orewa College has strong roll growth too.

It started the year with more than 1900 domestic students.

Between 50 and 100 out-of-zone applications are received annually for years 7 to 9, with a smaller number at other year levels, principal Kate Shevland says.

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"We have 470 out-of-zone students from year 7 to 13," she says.

"Most have been at the school since year 7 as our main intake is at year 7.

"We're managing our growth by taking fewer out-of-zone students each year, and we envisage that eventually we'll not take any," Ms Shevland says.

Orewa accepted 81 year 7s out-of-zone in 2011, 49 in 2012, 38 in 2013, and expects to take in just 20 in 2014.

Many schools finish for the year this week.

- Rodney Times

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