Education and Training Bill: Development and consultation of school enrolment schemes

Under the Education Act 1989, boards are responsible for designing and consulting on enrolment schemes. The 1989 Act sets out a number of compliance requirements for enrolment schemes. The scheme must then be approved by the Secretary.

Under the current framework, Boards are responsible for the development and consultation on the creation or modification of enrolment schemes. This is a significant and time-consuming obligation on Board members, many of whom are effectively volunteers.

It is also possible for schools to develop a zone based on areas from which they most wish to take students. For example, they can design zones that include high socio-economic neighbourhoods and exclude closer, more disadvantaged, neighbourhoods. This can detrimentally affect students that are already at a disadvantage.

Schedule 19 of the Bill transfers the responsibility for developing and consulting on enrolment schemes to the Secretary for Education.

The Secretary must develop an enrolment scheme if overcrowding occurs or is likely to occur at a State school. When developing a proposed enrolment scheme, the Secretary must consult the school’s board and take reasonable steps to understand the views of the school’s community.

Once a proposed enrolment scheme is developed, and before it is finalised, the Secretary must consult a range of persons and organisations. In particular, the Secretary must take all reasonable steps to discover and consider the views of the school’s board, parents, students and prospective students, people living in the area, and the boards of other schools that could be affected. Others with particular interests must also be consulted in the case of a Kura Kaupapa Māori, charter school, and State integrated school.

Boards must implement the finalised scheme. Enrolment schemes can be amended, and remain in place until the Secretary decides that it is no longer necessary to have an enrolment scheme in place to manage overcrowding in that school. The Board remains responsible for the day to day administration of an enrolment scheme (for example, determining the number of places available for out-of-zone students).

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