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BOARD OF TRUSTEES' DISPUTED ENROLMENT ZONE
Board of Trustees' Enrolment Dispute with the Ministry of Education
 
Christchurch South Intermediate School has introduced an enrolment zone for 2010 to cope with the school roll increasing beyond the physical capacity of the school.

Unfortunately the enrolment zone is not the one proposed by the Christchurch South Intermediate School Board of Trustees. Instead the actual zone is a much smaller one imposed on the school by the Ministry of Education under threat of legal action.

The situation is shown on the map below. The South enrolment zone imposed by the Ministry is the clear area in the middle of the map enclosed by the blue line. The South Board wished to include the pink areas of the map as well.
 
The South Board’s proposed enrolment zone was compiled after extensive community consultation and statistical analysis. It included the catchment areas / enrolment zones of Thorrington, Somerfield and Addington schools, and the catchment areas of West Spreydon and Hoon Hay schools within the Cashmere High School enrolment zone. To the east it included the remainder of the Cashmere High School enrolment zone.

The South Board acknowledges that its wish to include Waltham, Opawa, Beckenham, St Martins and Cashmere Hills in its zone was not welcomed by the full primary schools operating in these areas. However the South Board’s analysis of enrolment figures showed that about 10% of its roll presently comes from families living in these areas. The South Board wished to give these families the same priority over others living further away and not within the Cashmere High School enrolment zone.

The South Board doesn’t believe that the effect on the full primary schools in these areas would be any different to what it has been in the past, when South had to enrol every student who applied.

In contrast to the South Board’s extensive analysis and consultation, the Ministry has not provided any evidence to support the smaller enrolment zone it has imposed on Christchurch South Intermediate. The Ministry maintains that its smaller zone better meets three criteria in the Education Act but will not say how, other than that a smaller zone makes it easier to manage pupil numbers.

The South Board has no concerns about managing a larger enrolment zone. We do not believe local families should have to compete in a ballot for out of zone places against families from further away who are well serviced by other intermediate schools.

When the South Board protested the exclusion of local families from the enrolment zone it did not receive the courtesy of a reply from the Ministry.

The South Board is disappointed with the Ministry’s actions, especially since enrolment zones are the business of boards of trustees, with Ministry intervention envisaged as a last resort. We thought that the change of Government last November may have given local communities more choices and more say in their own affairs. But in education at least the demands of the bureaucrats prevail.