Pupils do not belong to a school

The Press reports:

Schools in Christchurch’s west need to stop enrolling so many pupils from struggling schools in the east, an Aranui principal says.

Aranui High School principal John Rohs is even calling on the Ministry of Education to intervene before rolls in the east fall even further.

More young people from the east were travelling further afield to go to high school, he said.

A pupil doesn’t belong to the school they live closest to. If families are choosing to go to schools further afield, the problem is not them making that choice. The problem is why they do not find the local school satisfactory.

Ministry figures released to The Press under the Official Information Act show three state co-educational schools in the city’s west have increased the number of out-of-zone pupils since 2009. They deny deliberately poaching pupils from the east.

The figures show Burnside High School had 125 out-of-zone pupils in 2009, or 5 per cent of its roll, and last year it had 423 (17 per cent).

But Burnside High School principal Warwick Maguire said the ministry figures were wrong. He said the school consistently enrolled about 20 to 25 per cent of its pupils from out-of-zone each year and was trying to reduce its out-of-zone numbers, not increase them.

The school, which has a roll of 2600 pupils, could have taken a lot more out-of-zone pupils than it did this year, Maguire said.

It had 750 out-of-zone pupils take part in the ballot to start at year 9 this year and the school took about 480, which was fewer than last year.

“If we took all the people that wanted to come here we would be 3000-plus and that would have a bad effect on other schools.”

My concern is the effect on the achievement levels of students, not on schools. Let Burnside be 4,000 if they wish to be I say.

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