More enrolment zones touted as way to tackle 'white flight' from low-decile schools - (COMET & RNZ)

Posted on 20 October 2020

The Ministry of Education (MoE) is introducing or altering 135 enrolment zones in Auckland over three years because of rapid growth.

The MoE has told the government it could save tens of millions of dollars and better manage Auckland's growth if it fast-tracks the creation of new enrolment schemes in high-growth areas, and tightens others.

Susan Warren from Auckland's Comet Education Trust said the push for more zones showed the number of schools and classrooms in the city had not kept pace with its growth.

She said it could result in a lot less "white flight" from lower-decile schools.

"My hopeful side says that maybe with more enrolment schemes around that people will more likely go to their local school where they are allowed in, and that we will therefore get potentially more diversity within areas, rather than the white flight that we're seeing," Warren said.

That would result in more Pākehā and Asian students mixing with the Pasifika and Māori students in their local communities, she said.

But that vision was optimistic and it was more likely people would continue to try to avoid certain schools in favour of others, she said.

"The reality is people will do what they have to do to get into the school they want for their kids, so we'll probably see more people actually moving, physically moving into certain areas and of course those will be the people who can afford to do so," she said.

The city's principals associations did not know about the MoE's enrolment scheme project until RNZ informed them about it.

Auckland Primary Principals Association president Stephen Lethbridge said schools were going to have to look at the needs of the region over their own plans for growth.

"There is a bigger picture in play and for a long period of time schools have managed their numbers through in-zone and out-of-zone enrolments and I think the time is coming where we have to look at whether out-of-zone enrolments are a viable option for the future," he said. More here