ROTORUA secondary school rolls have jumped during the past year, with some saying that's a reflection of wider optimism and growth in the city.

Rotorua Boys' High School principal Chris Grinter said the school had a strong increase at all year levels, especially at Year 9, as last year the roll was 830 and this year it was 890.

"We have the capacity and the facilities to cope with this number without any issues," Mr Grinter said.

He said one of the reasons the school was getting more students was because it was getting good results, as well as offering a point of difference with single-sex education.


"Our hostel is full. Last year we had a limit of 120 and it was full, this year we have been able to extend it to 130 and it is full again with a waiting list of boys who want to come here, but we are at capacity."

John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh said his school had a maximum roll of 1100, and was slightly over that with a substantial waiting list.

He said the school's point of difference was it was the only state integrated Catholic school in Rotorua.

"We have extremely good academic results, a wide range of activities. We have spent over $15 million on upgrades over the last 10 years," Mr Walsh said.

"The waiting list is growing while we would like to get permission to get to 1200. We think parents have the right to chose a JPC-type of education for their kids.

"There are many frustrated parents who would like to get their children into JPC but can't because of the cap.

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"Some are having to go out of town to schools like Bethlehem or St Peter's in Cambridge, and other schools.

"We don't think opening our cap up would have a big impact on other schools in Rotorua as we have had an increase from a large number of kids from outside of Rotorua. If they didn't go to JPC, they wouldn't be coming to Rotorua."

He said the school also had about 50 Filipino students.

Rotorua Lakes High School principal Bruce Walker said it still had kids coming and going, and the roll was about the same as last year with Year 9s going down a bit but seniors had gone up.

"People are moving into the area, there is movement between different areas, people try and get their kids into schools where they are buying a house or are hoping to buy," he said.

"We have the same roll as last year, it's between 660 to 700. We could probably take about 750 but we like to keep it at 700, we don't want our classrooms getting too full."

Rotorua Girls' High School principal Ally Gibbons said the school's roll had grown since September 2015, from 530 to 564.

"What we have really been pleased with is our retention of Year 13 students and especially their excellent NCEA results."

A Western Heights High School spokeswoman said its roll was between 1500 to 1600, and still unstable as they had in zone students enrolling on a daily basis.

"Our school roll last year was about the same as now, and we still have enrolments coming in every day," she said.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the roll increases were definitely related to growth within Rotorua. She said there had been an increase in people moving to Rotorua over the past few years and Rotorua's migrant net loss had turned into a gain.

Mrs Chadwick said the council had to increase the citizenship ceremonies it held and that each of the ceremonies had more people in attendance in the past few years.

"Although people are happy to get jobs here, many of them say they move here for the lifestyle. [Rotorua] has a sense of positivity now. There was a sense that people had given up, but we have definitely turned that around."

Grow Rotorua chief executive Francis Pauwels said he was sure there were a few factors as to why the school rolls were increasing, but one could be the families shifting here or moving back from overseas.

"It's another good indicator that Rotorua is an attractive place to live. And, importantly, that parents see there's a range of good schools and young people achieving top-class results.

"This bodes well to keep encouraging young families to shift here and for people to look at job, business and investment opportunities," Mr Pauwels said.

Gareth Yates, school sport team leader for Sport Bay of Plenty, said anything in terms of growth was good for the community.

"It's good for sport because we get a more diverse range of people and a more diverse range of sports. It also introduces more money and therefore more resources, and means more teams and more value for sport."

As well as high schools in Rotorua, some primary schools are also seeing growth.

Lynmore Primary School principal Lorraine Taylor said the school was slightly up, as it had about 590 last year and was at 612 this year.

"We have had a few people from Auckland who have relocated, and it hasn't just been new entrants."

Westbrook School principal Colin Watkins said they were up by about 50 kids this year.

"Our roll is 552 - our roll is the highest it has been in five years. It's been an influx, we have had an increase in all class levels.

"It's frustrating for parents when we have to turn them away, we are having to be really careful about it.

"Numbers are quite high but manageable at the moment, but we are keeping a close eye on our new entrant rates."

Schools do a complete roll count at the beginning of term two, as that is when they have most of their students enrolled.