Enrolment, attendance, and the school system
Enrolment schemes (school zones)
What is an “enrolment scheme” and why do some schools have them?
If a school has an enrolment scheme, it has to accept all students who live in the “home zone”. Students who live outside the zone can only go to the school if they get a place under the rules of the scheme. Out-of-zone students are selected by balloting (random selection).
Schools can only have an enrolment scheme if it’s necessary to avoid overcrowding. Sometimes there are more students who want to go to the school than there are spaces available. An enrolment scheme is supposed to make sure students are selected fairly and transparently, rather than having the school just choose whichever students it wants.
How is a school’s home zone decided?
The Secretary of Education defines home zones by what will be easy to get to for students living in that area. The enrolment scheme has to define the zone clearly so that any particular address is either inside or outside the zone.
How are out-of-zone students selected?
If you live outside the home zone of a school, whether you can go will depend on how many places the school has for out-of-zone students. The school has to follow this order of priority to fill out-of-zone places:
- children who are accepted into learning support programmes run by the school (for example, special education or a te reo Māori immersion class)
- siblings of current students of the school
- siblings of past students of the school
- children of past students of the school
- children of school staff or of the school board
- all other children who apply.
For example, if there are enough out-of-zone places to take all children from categories 1 to 3, but not enough for everyone in category 4, a ballot will decide which children in category 4 will get to go to the school.
Who counts as a “sibling” for an enrolment scheme?
- Siblings (brothers and sisters) include:
- step-siblings by marriage or civil union
- step-siblings by marriage or civil union at the time one parent dies
- children whose parents are in a de facto relationship
- children who live in the same house and are treated by the adults of the house as if they are siblings.
In some cases, the Ministry of Education can also tell the school that other children are to be recognised as siblings.
What if later on we move out of the home zone?
The school board can review your enrolment if you move out of the home zone. The board must give your parents or guardians a “review notice” and give them a chance to explain the situation.
Can the school cancel my enrolment?
Yes, if the school has a proper reason to believe that:
- you gave false information (for example, an incorrect address), or
- used a temporary address to enrol.
- The school must send you a “review notice” first and give your parents or guardians a chance to explain.