New Research On Providing Better Access To Schools
6 December 2007
New Research Shows Providing Better Access To Schools Would Cause Few School Rolls To Change
The research report Roll Play: How creating better access to schools in Christchurch could affect school rolls, released today by Maxim Institute, shows that introducing policies which would provide families with better access to state secondary schools would cause few state school rolls to change substantially, creating a manageable level of demand for extra places.
The report outlines the results of research taking Christchurch as a case study and surveying 424 parents of children who attended secondary school. They were asked questions about various school access scenarios.
Upon the completion of post-survey statistical analyses, the research found that, given better access to state schools, only 10% of parents would change their child's school. Geographic techniques were also used to model the flows of pupils who might move between schools.
"The research findings illustrate that if access to schools for parents and children was improved, by measures such as abolishing zoning, the proportion of parents who would change their child's school is small enough that there would be sufficient places within the school system to manage demand," says Steve Thomas, Maxim Institute Researcher.
"At present, some schools in Christchurch have excess capacity, while others are taking more pupils than their maximum roll permits. Better use could be made of the existing capacity in the school system overall, by rearranging places and looking at other ways of improving access to schools, such as encouraging schools to cooperate."
"Ultimately, access to schools is an equity issue. At present, access to some schools is constrained by parents' household income. While many families are already able to access schools different to their nearest school or the school they are zoned for, families earning lower incomes do not have the means to access a full range of schools," says Steve Thomas.
The research also found that families in Christchurch are prepared to send their children longer distances to the schools they would prefer them to attend than the average distance between their home and their current school.
Maxim Institute is an independent research and public policy think tank, incorporated as a charitable trust. For more details, see www.maxim.org.nz.