Some parents shed tears as they learned that their younger children will not be able to join their big brothers and sisters at Auckland's Milford School next year.
The decile 10 North Shore primary is one of a large number of popular primary schools in New Zealand's bigger cities struggling to cope with a mini-baby boom arriving at the front gates this year. But it is the first known to take the drastic action of turning away out of zone siblings.
The Herald on Sunday revealed last week that new entrant numbers are projected to rise from 57,815 this year to 65,070 in 2015. Most of this growth will be in Auckland, the Bay of Plenty and Wellington, the Ministry of Education says.
One parent, who had a new entrant child affected by the Milford School decision but did not wish to be named, said she was among 20 parents "shocked" to read a community newspaper notice of the decision.
Her family was devastated that their children would not go to school together - and daunted by the thought of doing 3pm school pick-ups for two children at two different schools. "Some parents have been crying for days. It has been very upsetting, heartbreaking," said the mum who has asked the school to reconsider.
Milford School principal Lee Hopkirk said she initially hoped to "squeeze" in the siblings but realised it would not be possible.
Education Minister Anne Tolley plans to meet with inner city Auckland principals to look at enrolments in the area.By Rachel Grunwell Email Rachel