Strict enforcement of enrolment ceiling in NSW schools

There were a number of articles that came out in the last few days and I feel this needs to be further discussed. I won’t list all the article, just one as example “‘Heavy-handed’: Schools crack down on out-of-area enrolments“.

To summarise what has been discussed in the articles on why the new strict enforcement is happening

  1. School choice had been great for parents but no so good for student distribution between schools within NSW.
  2. Because of school choice and none strict enforcement of enrolment guidelines with some principles it resulted in some schools bursting at seams with enrolment and others with plenty of classrooms empty.

What will be done to achieve this

  1. NSW Department of Education’s Asset Management Unit will calculate an enrolment cap and will discuss the suggested cap with each principal. This enrolment cap is expected to be finalised by the end of this term.
  2. If the enrolment number exceed this population limit due to out of area enrolment, then no new demountable buildings will be given.
  3. Introduction of 100 point system requirement for enrolment for schools that are in high demand. This is nothing new in my personal experience, some schools currently demand more documents than what you need to open a bank account already.
  4. Students already enroled will not be affected, however sibling not enroled will be.
  5. Schools under the cap will be able to take out of area applications at school’s discretion.
  6. Schools with close to this cap will have to convene a panel and sibling being one of the most important factor in deciding this.
  7. Schools over the cap will not able to take out of area applications and required to reduce the student population over time as well.
  8. In specific circustance principles can request for enrolment of out of area students with the Department of Education’s regional manager.
  9. Academic merit will not be part of critieria for out of area enrolment application.

Technically this is not that different from the current rule, just a lot less discretion on the part of respective principles. I visited a lot of schools and some have virtually very little permenant buildings so it would be interesting to see how this cap are came up. Long term this will have a lot of flow-on effects, particular in the cases where siblings may be forced to be split to attend different public schools.

We will not know exactly how this will affect the actual enrolment of each individual schools until next term and it will be interesting to see how this further developers.

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