Enrolments bulge at region's big schools

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 05:00 29/01/2013

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The title of Wellington's biggest school may be about to move, with Wellington College edging out Hutt Valley High School.

Many schools in the capital are fielding increasing rolls, which one principal attributes to Wellington becoming a more "attractive place to live".

Wellington College principal Roger Moses said the all-boys school was looking likely to have a record 1600 pupils this year.

But he was not keen to claim the title of the city's biggest school, because he tried to keep numbers down, to an ideal 1550.

"Our roll does seem to be booming. Any more than that and we would be very uncomfortable.

"It's nice that we are the school of choice but it's put extra pressure on us," Mr Moses said.

It seemed a lot of families were moving into the school's zone, so had a right to attend.

The zone extends as far as Karori and Berhampore.

Because sons of past students were eligible to enrol regardless of where they lived, there were fewer ballot spots available for out-of-zone pupils, he said.

"Families with strong links with the school can continue on."

About 200 out-of-zone pupils applied for a place in year 9 but only about 10 were successful, with about 40 offered in other year groups.

Hutt Valley High School principal Ross Sinclair, whose school has always been one of the region's biggest, said the roll was slightly up on last year.

It was still early in the enrolment process but he was not sure numbers would reach 1600.

There were 1562 definite enrolments but the roll could get up to about 1589, he said.

Wellington East Girls' School principal Sally Houghton said her year 9 roll had grown by about 30.

With pre-enrolments starting yesterday, early indications were that the roll would certainly not be smaller than last year.

Onslow College principal Peter Leggat said the school was "very full", with more than 1200 pupils, about 40 up on Education Ministry predictions. Pupils were enrolling this week in time for the whole school to be back in classrooms by next Tuesday. Only 10 out-of-zone year 9 pupils were accepted through the ballot system and no more were being accepted.

"I think that there's certainly been a move," Mr Leggat said.

"Wellington is becoming a much more attractive place to live. It's great for us."

Among the families moving into the school's zone, there were many relocating from Christchurch. "You feel sorry for those families but also for Christchurch schools for losing those families."

Tawa College principal Murray Lucas said its roll was up to about 1480 this year, which made him optimistic about the year ahead.

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Contact Jody O'Callaghan
Education reporter
Email: jody.o'callaghan@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @miss_jodyo

- The Dominion Post

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