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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 9 June 2016) . . Page.. 1954 ..

We have no reason to suppose that the enrolment growth rates for Canberra public schools experienced in the past few years will not continue. On the expectation that increased enrolments will continue, I will outline the approaches being taken by the directorate to manage these increasing enrolments.

The directorate forecasts enrolment demand by regularly modelling projections for each school using births, housing growth and housing sales, population, economic and other data as well as by monitoring actual enrolments. The supply of places for students at our schools is managed by the directorate and by schools through a hierarchy of strategies.

School network leaders and principals may develop a school enrolment management plan for a school with: high enrolments, greater than 85 per cent of capacity; low enrolments, with less than 40 per cent of capacity; specialised programs or pathways; or specific entry requirements.

The purpose of the school enrolment management plan is to guide a principal around enrolments of students who reside outside the priority enrolment area or from a shared priority enrolment area. While the school enrolment management plans are established to manage the specific enrolment pressures impacting on an individual school, they are also developed to align with regional strategies in areas experiencing emerging demand pressures, such as in Belconnen and Gungahlin.

I will give some examples of how schools manage their enrolments to manage capacity. Garran Primary School adopted a management plan in 2015, and now does not take any out-of-area enrolments. From 2017 O’Malley will no longer be in the Garran priority enrolment area. Enrolment numbers are now projected to start reducing from 2017. Harrison junior school was nearing capacity—noting especially that it has many students who live in New South Wales. To manage this pressure, Harrison School now does not accept out-of-area enrolments. Also, given that the Harrison School is a P-10 school, excess primary school demand is able to be balanced across the junior and senior school campuses. Kaleen Primary School has reduced the number of preschool sessions from four to three sessions each week, which is projected to flow through to reduced demand for primary school enrolments.

The next level in the hierarchy of strategies is to examine the use of school facilities, including identifying programs and tenancy arrangements that can be relocated to other schools in order to convert those spaces to classrooms. An extension of this approach is to apply curriculum flexibility options. An example is Gungahlin College, which now provides early and late school sessions to make better use of the facilities, and also to provide a service that suits many students and their families.

Each Canberra public school gives priority to the enrolment of children living in its priority enrolment area, so the next option for a school is to adjust the priority enrolment area boundary to reduce enrolment pressure. The directorate consults with the school community prior to making a recommendation to adjust a school’s priority enrolment area.

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