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Peak Year For Primary Schools

Primary school rolls this year are predicted to be the highest they will ever be, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

More than 733,100 New Zealanders are expected to go to school this year, about 7,200 more than last year.

Secondary and composite schools open from next Monday while primary and intermediate schools open on Wednesday.

Total primary enrolments this year will be around 485,700, up by 2,200 on last year. Secondary enrolments will be around 247,400 an increase of around 4,900 on last year.

The estimated schools rolls are derived from 2001 rolls and population changes. Actual school rolls will not be known until the March and July 2002 collection. But it’s expected that around 9,850 new entrants will be enrolled at schools next week. They’ll be among an estimated 59,110 children who will start school for the first time throughout the year, around 200 more than last year. Most new school entrants will already have experience in education through attending an early childhood education centre. In 2001 close to 90% of new entrants had attended some form of early childhood education.

“The population blip means that it is likely that there will never be as many students in our primary schools as there will be this year,” Trevor Mallard said.

“A regional breakdown of the figures shows that more than half of new entrants to school this year will be in the top half of the North Island. Proportionately, the biggest increase in the number of students is in the Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman region.

“Those children will be attending schools that are exciting and vibrant places to learn. I think we have an education system that we can be proud of.”

Trevor Mallard said despite the growth in schools, the Ministry of Education was confident that teacher vacancies were manageable.

“Current advertised vacancies represent just over one per cent of total secondary teacher positions and include some jobs that are part time or do not start until the second term. Vacancy patterns are not inconsistent with previous years and while there is concern in some areas, I do not consider the current situation a crisis.

“I am also heartened by early indications that the number of students being accepted for secondary teacher education courses is on the rise. This will help with future teacher supply,” Trevor Mallard said.


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