Student numbers exceed expectations

South Canterbury schools are tracking above their Education Ministry-predicted rolls for 2013.

Timaru Girls' High School is now sitting well above the predicted figure after a flush of 21 enrolments over summer.

Principal Sarah Davis said the school roll was sitting at more than 400, including international students. The ministry predicted a roll of 344.

"I predicted 375 and we're over that."

A lot of new enrolments were from families that had recently moved to the district.

"We think we are picking up a bit of a trend of movement into South Canterbury, which is great."

The teen parenting group of 11 students had also boosted numbers and is expected to grow.

Timaru Boys' High School principal Kevin O'Sullivan said his school's roll remained "strong" at 704, including 12 international students. The ministry predicted 686.

The ministry was often conservative with its prediction, he said.

"We are still going to be a school of 700 in 2013, and we are happy with that."

Geraldine High School principal Juliette Hayes said her roll was sitting at 25 above the ministry's predicted roll of 565.

She said there were "no more than usual" enrolments over summer.

"[But] we always have a surprising number of children that turn up on the first day, and continue to [turn up]."

She agreed ministry predictions were conservative.

"We're pleased with our roll. We're fully staffed."

Roncalli College deputy principal Andrew Jones said, as a integrated Catholic school, it had a "finite" roll. It allowed 5 per cent "non-preferential" students, or students with no Catholic affiliation. At 515, the role was nearly at capacity of 520.

The Year 9 programme was full, he said. "We're running pretty much at full noise."

Opihi College principal Mike Wright said the college had also well-exceeded its prediction of 278 with 298 students enrolled.

The school had appealed its original prediction of 263.

"We've still got a couple of enrolments which we are expecting.

"Obviously it's a big difference to what the ministry have predicted. It was beyond our expectations as well."

He believed a positive perception of the school in the community and improved academic results had helped boost numbers.

There were more students returning in Year 9, which was 25 per cent up on ministry predictions, he said.

The Timaru Herald