Plan to shake up school zon­ing

The New Zealand Herald - - News -

Novem­ber 9. PPTA pres­i­dent Jack Boyle said PPTA favoured a “net­work” sys­tem where fam­i­lies would still have the choice of dif­fer­ent kinds of schools within a re­gional “hub”.

“It might well be that across a ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tion [or ‘hub’] you can choose a boys’ school, a girls’ school, a co-ed school, an in­te­grated school, a kura,” he said.

The pro­posal would im­ply mas­sive re­struc­tur­ing in ar­eas with the most in­tense com­pe­ti­tion. In Auck­land, 18,053 stu­dents, or 28 per cent of all stu­dents at state sec­ondary schools that have zones, came from out of zone in March this year.

Six Auck­land state sec­ondary schools draw more than half their stu­dents from out­side their zones: Auck­land Girls Gram­mar, Avon­dale Col­lege, Edge­wa­ter Col­lege, One­hunga High School, and West­lake

Girls and Boys High Schools.

Avon­dale Col­lege prin­ci­pal Brent Lewis slammed the pro­posal as “shal­low think­ing” be­cause it did not take ac­count of chang­ing de­mo­graph­ics which had re­duced high-school-age stu­dents in Avon­dale’s zone in re­cent years, leav­ing it with sur­plus ca­pac­ity.

“They are sug­gest­ing that schools with sur­plus ca­pac­ity would be pun­ished by hav­ing their fund­ing per pupil di­min­ished on av­er­age,” he said.

One­hunga High prin­ci­pal Dei­dre Shea said any such change would need to be phased in.

She said most of her 53 per cent of stu­dents com­ing from out of zone came from South Auck­land, but the school was al­ready re­view­ing those numbers be­cause of a Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion de­ci­sion to re­build the school. The min­istry al­ready does not fund build­ings for out-of-zone stu­dents, although it does pro­vide staffing and op­er­a­tional fund­ing based on to­tal rolls.

Na­tion­wide, the rolls of schools in the poor­est 30 per cent of neigh­bour­hoods have dropped from 187,379 in 1996 to 179,559 last year, while the rolls in the rich­est three deciles have bal­looned from 199,341 to 296,650.

Paku­ranga Col­lege prin­ci­pal Mike Wil­liams who leads the Sec­ondary Prin­ci­pals’ As­so­ci­a­tion, said both the for­mer Na­tional Gov­ern­ment, with its “com­mu­ni­ties of learn­ing”, and the cur­rent Labour-led Gov­ern­ment wanted schools to com­pete less and co-op­er­ate more.

“The gap is widen­ing be­tween the haves and the have-nots, so some­thing does need to change,” he said.

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