June 16, 2008

Enrolments `Unseasonally High’

By HINE, Will in Queenstown

THE principals of two Queenstown schools say early winter enrolments are unseasonally high this year and are placing a strain on already crowded classrooms.

Wakatipu High School principal Lyn Cooper said 32 new pupils had enrolled or pre-enrolled since May 5.

A seasonal influx was expected closer to July, making May's new arrivals a bit premature, she said.

Twenty students had "already arrived on the doorstep" while the other 12 were due to arrive.

Ms Cooper said she was sure there would be more enrolments in the next two months -- probably another 16 pupils going by previous years' records.

Ms Cooper said a new ESOL teacher had recently been employed because many of the pupils spoke English as a second language.

Other staff were also being recruited to service the increased roll, which was now sitting at 833.

The school had "every minuscule available space in use" to house the school's burgeoning roll, however four new classrooms would come on line in six weeks, which would alleviate the pressure, Mrs Cooper said.

ueenstown Primary School principal John Western said he had also seen an increase in enrolments, with 30 new pupils joining the school since May 5.

"The roll is 631 as of today, which is very high for this time of year," he said.

"Probably our biggest concern will be next term. Last year we had 25 enrolments at the beginning of term 3, and most of those were unexpected." Arrowtown Primary School principal Robin Harris said the school's roll had not shown the same recent growth as the rolls of Queenstown schools had.

ueenstown's other primary school, St Joseph's, had experienced little growth through the year because the roll was capped at 160 pupils, principal Phil O'Connell-Cooper said.

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