Response to enrolment zone survey
Thank you to all of the members of our community who responded to the survey about the Board of Trustees’ proposed changes to the St Albans School enrolment zone.
Of the 125 responses received, 51 percent were in support of the proposed withdrawal areas; 32 percent partly supported the proposal, and 14 percent did not support it.
Some common themes and concerns came up in people’s comments, so we have summarised those in the table below, along with some further information that may help to allay some of those concerns.
The next step for the Board is to provide these survey responses and our recommendations to the Ministry of Education for feedback. Our recommend areas for withdrawal are zones D, E, F, G, H, I, J. We will report to the community again once we have received the Ministry’s response.
We understand that this will be stressful for some families and we can assure you that we are undertaking a thorough process and that we are not taking the decision lightly. Thank you again for your support and understanding as we work towards the best solution for our school’s roll growth.
|Issue raised||Response from the Board of Trustees|
|Where will students go if they are no longer in the St Albans School zone and not in zone for any other school?||No property will be left without a school zone – any street removed from the St Albans School zone will be added to the zone for it’s nearest alternative school. We have consulted with the neighbouring primary schools who may be required to increase their zone as a result of us reducing ours – those are Elmwood Normal School, Christchurch East School, Banks Avenue School and Mairehau Primary School. At this stage, we have received no opposition to our proposal from those schools. We are also working closely with the Ministry of Education, who manage the network of school zones. The Ministry will not allow us to remove any part of our zone until another school is ready to add it to their zone.|
|Why don’t we build more classrooms / expand the school site instead?||We have fully explored options to increase the capacity at our school, but that is not an option. Building more classrooms on the current school site is not possible because there is no space to build and our outdoor spaces are already at capacity for the number of students we have. We have also been told by the Ministry of Education that there will be no option to purchase more land for the school.|
|Do we need to remove all of the proposed areas?||Some survey respondents suggested that we remove some of the proposed areas but keep others. If we only removed some of the proposed areas, we do not believe we would achieve the required reduction in our roll and we would therefore continue to have overcrowding issues at the school.|
|Why don’t you remove more areas from the zone?||Some survey respondents suggested that the proposed zone reduction did not go far enough. We are working hard to get the balance right, and that means not reducing the roll numbers any further than is necessary. The Ministry of Education will not approve an unnecessarily small zone if it defeats the core principles of enrolment schemes, ie. schools catering for the needs of local students for whom the school is reasonably convenient. Allowing our roll to go significantly below our build capacity of 600 students would also be an unfavourable outcome for the school, because of the impact it would have on the funding we receive from Government.|
|Will the teacher-student ratios be negatively impacted by the current roll growth?||The current roll growth does not impact teacher-student ratios in our classes. The Ministry of Education provides funding for teachers based on the number of students we have, to ensure ratios remain at the prescribed levels. The current roll growth does, however, put pressure on our facilities.|
|What if the population within our school zone declines/does not continue to grow as you have projected?||We have studied Statistics NZ data, Christchurch City Council District Planning data and the enrolment data at our own school, in order to make an educated assessment of the likely future roll pressures. The data very clearly points towards continued growth within our existing enrolment zone. The graph below shows roll growth over the last 6 years (to 31 October 2019).
|Why are you reducing the zone when there students at the school currently who do not live within the zone?||If a child is legitimately living in-zone at the time that they start school, they are entitled to remain at the school until the end of year 6 even if they subsequently move out of zone. There are many valid reasons that a student may end up having to move out of zone, and the law rightly protects those students from unnecessary disruption to their schooling. We are as vigilant as possible in checking that students are legitimately in-zone at the time of enrolment, and if we have reason to believe that a false address has been provided, or that a temporary residence has been used simply for the purpose of gaining enrolment at the school (and the student has then moved out of zone), we would review and potentially annul that enrolment. The percentage of students on our general roll who are currently classified as out of zone is low, at just over 1%.|
|We are in one of the areas proposed for removal and do not want to move our children to another school.||No current student of St Albans School will be affected by any change to our enrolment zone. Students already attending the school are entitled to stay at the school until the end of year 6.|
|We have a child at St Albans School and a sibling yet to start, and we are in one of the areas proposed for removal. Will our children have to attend two different schools?||No, not if you are currently living in-zone. Any change to the enrolment zone will include a grandparenting clause that would allow siblings of current in-zone St Albans School students to attend the school, as long as:
1. They are already born at the time of the zone change; and
2. They are still living in the same dwelling (ie. that which was in-zone prior to the zone change) at the time that they start school.
|We do not have children at St Albans School yet, but we have bought in zone so that our children can go there.||If you do not have a child attending St Albans School at the time that the new zone takes effect, you will need to be living within the new enrolment zone in order to enrol your child at the school. Please note that pre-enrolling your child will not avoid this issue, because you would need to be living within the enrolment zone at the time that your child starts school (not at the time that they pre-enrol). We understand and regret that this will be disappointing and stressful for some families, however, this is an unavoidable consequence of the current over-crowding issues that we face. We have been instructed by the Ministry of Education to undertake this zone review and there is no option but to reduce the zone given the continued roll growth.|
St Albans School Enrolment Scheme Review
Our school has experienced significant and unexpected roll growth in recent years, which means we currently have more students than the school was built to accommodate. We have therefore been instructed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to undertake a review of our zone boundary.
The Board of Trustees has been working with the MOE to carefully consider our options, and the following information outlines the Board’s current preferred options for a reduction in the St Albans School enrolment zone. This review requires the Board of Trustees to consult with the community, so we would welcome any feedback on the options presented here (please find feedback survey here – responses required by 1 November).
Please be assured that no final decision on zone changes will be made until the views of the community have been heard.
Why do we need to review the zone?
St Albans School has a build capacity of 600, and as of today we have a roll of 649 with more enrolments for 2019 still coming in. By law we are required to accept all enrolments from within our zone.
Please note that these figures include both the English Medium roll (mainstream) and students in Te Tikanga Rua Reo (our bi-lingual unit known as TTRR, which has a roll of 58 for 2020). Te Tikanga Rua Reo is a special character programme with its own enrolment scheme and criteria, so for the purposes of this review we need only consider the mainstream roll numbers. The number of students within TTRR is capped and does not have any effect on the mainstream roll.
The school has already moved to manage the roll growth through other measures such as withdrawing from being a Signatory for International Students (the school has not accepted any international enrolments for ten years), and making the decision to not enrol siblings of current students if they are no longer living within the school zone.
We have been informed by the MOE that there is no land purchase option available to us, therefore a reduction in our school zone will be necessary in order to bring our roll back down to a more appropriate number for this school site.
The MOE has said a future zone design that contained approximately 500-550 students would be appropriate.
What options are we considering?
The MOE has provided the following map, with ‘areas of interest’ marked for the Board’s consideration.
For each of these areas of interest, we have looked at factors such as distance from St Albans School; access to other schools; which schools students in the area attend; and density and potential for future population growth. These are summarised in the following table. Our preferred options are based on careful analysis of each of the areas of interest.
|AREA||Closest school||Percentage of year 1-6 students attending St Albans School||Density
*please see note at the end of this table for density descriptions
|A||Similar distance to St Albans Primary, Shirley Primary or Mairehau Primary (approx 1km)||86%||Medium (RS)||Do not recommend for withdrawal.|
|B||Similar distance to St Albans Primary and Shirley Primary (approx 1km)||91%||Medium – High (RS + RSDT). Area includes St Albans Park.||Do not recommend for withdrawal.|
|C||Similar distance to St Albans Primary and the new Banks Avenue School site (approx 1.3km)||71%||Medium – High (RS + RSDT)||Do not recommend for withdrawal.|
|D||Closest to Christchurch East School (approx 1.5km). Similar distance to St Albans Primary and new Banks Avenue School site (approx 1.9km).||80%||High (RMD)
Area includes part of the old Orion site, which is also partly zoned RMD so has potential for significant future growth.
|Recommend for withdrawal from zone.|
|E||Similar distance to St Albans Primary and Elmwood Primary. Note – already within Elmwood School zone.||5%||Medium – High (RMD + RSDT)||Recommend for withdrawal from zone.|
|F||Similar distance to St Albans Primary and Elmwood Primary. Note – part of this area already within Elmwood School zone.||30%||Medium – High (RMD + RSDT)||Recommend for withdrawal from zone.|
|G||Similar distance to St Albans Primary and Elmwood Primary. Note – part of this area already within Elmwood School zone.||53%||Medium – High (RMD + RSDT)||Recommend for withdrawal from zone.|
|H||Similar distance to St Albans Primary and Elmwood Primary. Note – part of this area already within Elmwood School zone.||75%||Medium – High (RMD + RSDT)||Recommend for withdrawal from zone.|
|I||Closest to St Albans School (approx 1.4km), but concerns about access due to increased traffic from Northern Motorway. Similar distance to the new Banks Avenue School site or Christchurch East School (approx 1.9km)||67%||High (RMD). Area includes part of the old Orion site, which is also partly zoned RMD so has potential for significant future growth.||Recommend for withdrawal from zone.|
|J||Similar distance to St Albans School and Christchurch East School (approx 1.7km). Concerns about access to St Albans School due to increased traffic on Cranford Street from Northern Motorway.||80%||High (RMD)||Recommend for withdrawal from zone.|
|K||Core area of St Albans School Zone; not being considered for removal from the zone because St Albans School is the closest primary school for these households.||82%||Medium – High (mainly RSDT)||Do not recommend for withdrawal.|
|M||Similar distance to St Albans Primary and Mairehau Primary. Note – already within Mairehau School zone.||95%||Medium (RS)||Do not recommend for withdrawal.|
*Density is taken from the Christchurch City Council District Plan:
- RS = Residential Suburban Zone, which is characterised by single and double storey semi-detached or detached houses and enables properties to be converted to two residential units.
- RSDT = Residential Suburban Density Transition Zone, which generally provides the ability to build low to medium density housing and infill development (including units, townhouses and small scaled multi-unit developments) at a higher density than the RS Zone.
- RMD = Residential Medium Density Zone, which provides for both detached dwellings and multi-unit development, including apartments buildings up to 3 storeys in height.
Based on the number of year 1 – 6 students currently living within each of the areas of interest, the Board believes the withdrawal of areas D, E, F, G, H, I and J will achieve an overall reduction in our roll of approximately 60 students.
This reduction in the roll would not happen immediately because all current students at the time of the zone change are entitled to remain at St Albans School until the end of year 6, and any change to the zone would also include a ‘Grandparenting’ clause. This means that siblings of current in-zone students will be permitted to enrol at St Albans School, even if they are not living within the new zone, as long as they are:
- Already born at the time of the zone change, and
- Still living in the same dwelling (ie. that which was in-zone prior to the zone change) at the time of their enrolment
Have your say
We want to hear what our community thinks about the proposed zone changes outlined above. Even if you are not directly affected, we would like to hear from you because you are the people who know this community and this school the best.
Please fill out the short survey via this link by 1 November.
We are also consulting with the neighbouring schools who may be affected by a change to our zone, and working closely with the MOE to ensure that any change to the St Albans School zone will work within the broader network that the MOE manages. It is important that we carry out a thorough process, but also that we act as quickly as possible in the best interests of our school.
Once we have received feedback from the community and our neighbouring schools, we will summarise those responses and make this available to you. That feedback will inform the final recommendation that we will submit to the MOE. We anticipate the new enrolment zone being in place within the first half of 2020.
The St Albans School Board of Trustees