Big squeeze on school places

By Sonya Bateson

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Mount Maunganui College principal Russell Gordon said more families moved into the area.
Mount Maunganui College principal Russell Gordon said more families moved into the area.

Most Tauranga secondary schools are at or near capacity and some out-of-zone students are being turned away.

Aquinas College, Bethlehem College and Otumoetai College are all at their capacity, and Mount Maunganui College and Tauranga Boys' College are not far behind.

This meant schools were having to turn away students, with in-zone students getting first priority at a placement.

Mount Maunganui College principal Russell Gordon said the school had created 12 new classes this year to cater for numbers as more families moved into the area.

"It's difficult to plan for. Our capacity at the school is about 1300 but out of all the schools, our site is one of the biggest so although we are designed for 1300 we could always accommodate more buildings, therefore more students.

"Yes, we are at capacity but there is room to grow."

Aquinas College principal Ray Scott said his school had been at capacity for the past three or four years.

"We try to accommodate students coming in from outside our area that are Catholic but we can't always do that."

At Otumoetai College, the roll had been over capacity for years and principal Dave Randell said out-of-zone students were being turned away.

He said the school was built for 1800 students and the roll on Friday was 2011.

Mr Randell said students late to enroll had a limited selection of subjects as many classes were full.

The school had 470 Year 10 students which had contributed to the school's roll growth.

Tauranga Girls' College principal Pauline Cowens said the school roll this year was where it was expected to be based on the number of girls attending contributing schools.

"The only slight anomaly is that we have the largest Year 13 numbers we have ever had."

Bethlehem College principal Eoin Crosbie said this was the first year the school had reached its capacity, but in previous years it had come close.

The school also had 60 international students this year on top of its capped roll. "We found in particular an increase in the number of senior students staying at school so we had to create extra classes for those students."

Tauranga Boys' College rolls were at the same level as a high reached in 2011.

Principal Robert Mangan said the school could still accept in-zone students. It was likely out-of-zone enrolments would have to go through a ballot process.

Tauranga college rolls

*Aquinas - close to 800.
At capacity
*Bethlehem - 1530. At
*Mount Maunganui -
About 1285. Near capacity
*Otumoetai - About
2080. At capacity
*Tauranga Boys' - 1830.
Near capacity
- Tauranga Girls' and Papamoa Colleges did not provide their roll details before the paper went to print

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- Bay of Plenty Times

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