Thursday, September 5, 2013

Updated Enrolment Policy for Special Circumstances

Below is an excerpt from the school's enrolment policy. It has recently been updated as the result of approaches from property developers and real estate agents. They raised the situation of families who have committed to moving into the zone (and can provide documentary evidence of this) but are waiting for houses to be built, sales to become final etc. Rather than starting their children at another school and then shifting to Amesbury School after a few months, they asked whether these children could enrol immediately at Amesbury School even though they have not yet actually shifted into the zone. The Board discussed this matter and felt that it made sense to eliminate one transition if possible for these children and updated its policy to allow enrolment in these types of situations.

However, you will see from the policy, and this is being made very clear to those who are planning to enrol under these circumstances, that the Board retains the right to annul the child's enrolment when it deems sufficient time has been given to the family to fulfil its obligation but the family has not yet moved into zone. Clearly the Board will consider each situation on its merits.

Many people are approaching us from outside of the zone who are very keen to enrol at Amesbury School. The Board has no intention of enrolling out-of-zoners in the foreseeable future. Amesbury School has been built for this community and its future expansion and we want to retain spaces for the children of this community. Further, enrolling out-of-zoners could jeopardize the timing of the build of the new block. When considering whether a new build is essential, the Ministry only considers the numbers of students enrolled at the school from within the zone. The board is highly unlikely to enrol out-of-zoners until after the new block has been built - if at all.

If you have any questions regarding this, please read the information below. If you still have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Enrolment Zone (Excerpt from policy)

All students who live within the home zone described below shall be entitled to enrol at the school.

       From a southeast corner start, the eastern boundary of the home zone includes both sides of Westchester Drive from 162/183 inclusive and below. Halswater Drive is out of zone. Melksham Drive is included in zone
       Amesbury Drive both sides of the road and all the roads off Amesbury Drive are in zone.
       The lower western boundary area comprises Erlestoke Crescent both sides of the road with off-streets included.
       The southern boundary comprises Waverton Terrace to include both sides of the road and its off-streets with a connection back to Westchester Drive.
       All residential addresses on included sides of boundary roads and all no exit roads off included sides of boundary roads are included in the zone unless otherwise stated.

Procedures related to the enrolment scheme

1.       Enrolment procedures will conform with the Ministry of Education requirements

2.    The Education Act 1989 gives a guarantee of enrolment to students who live in the home zone specified in the school's enrolment scheme

3.       The board needs to be sure that an in-zone address is genuine, because it is required to manage the enrolment scheme for the benefit of local students. As a result, enrolling families will be asked to provide proof of residence

4.       There will be no enrolments from families outside of the zone other than in the following exceptions. The order in which they are written denotes the order of priority (from the Education Act 1989) in which applicants who live outside a school's home zone are to be offered places at the school is as follows:

·       First priority must be given to any applicant who is the sibling of a current  student of the school
·       Second priority must be given to any student who is the sibling of a former student of the school
·       Third priority must be given to any applicant who is a child of a former student of the school
·       Fourth priority must be given to any applicant who is either a child of an employee of the board of the school or a child of a member of the board of the school

These exceptions will be reviewed annually by the Board of Trustees.

5.       The address given at the time of application for enrolment must be the student's usual place of residence when the school is open for instruction. This means that if the student currently lives at an in-zone address but moves to an out-of-zone address before the child's first day of attendance at the school, the child will not be entitled to enrol at the school

6.       We are also required by the Ministry of Education to advise parents of the possible consequences of deliberately attempting to gain unfair priority in enrolment by knowingly giving a false address or making an in-zone living arrangement which they intend to be only temporary. For example:
·       renting accommodation in-zone on a short-term basis;
·       arranging temporary board in-zone with a relative or family friend;
·       using the in-zone address of a relative or friend as an "address of convenience", with no intention to live there on an ongoing basis.
7.       Before enrolment takes place (ie before attendance begins), if the board has reasonable grounds for believing that the given in-zone address will not be not a genuine, on-going living arrangement, the board may withdraw any offer of a place which it may have made on the basis of the given address.

8.       After attendance has begun, if the school learns that a student is no longer living at the in-zone address given at the time of application for enrolment and has reasonable grounds to believe that a temporary in-zone residence has been used for the purpose of unfairly gaining priority in enrolment at the school, then the board may review the enrolment. Unless the parents can give a satisfactory explanation within 10 days, the board may annul the enrolment. This course of action is provided for under section 11OA of the Education Act 1989.

9.       In the case of families who have purchased land or houses within the zone with the clear intent to live within the zone in the very near future (for example, when the house is completed), or are moving to Wellington but will be housed in temporary accommodation for a period of time prior to moving into the zone, or similar circumstances; the Board is prepared to take a common sense approach and enrol a child prior to that family living within the zone.

10.    Each situation will be considered by the principal on a case by case basis. The school will require a letter from the family explaining the situation with evidence that shows the clear intent to live within the zone. The expected timeline should be included. It is expected that the time will not exceed 6 months.

11.    In the case of a situation that differs significantly from the ones outlined in 9. above or with a timeline that is likely to be longer than 3 – 6 months, the principal will refer the case to the Board for a response.

12.    In every situation, the Board requires a monthly update of progress towards moving into the zone. This will be sent to the principal via email.

13.    The principal will report monthly to the Board of Trustees on the status of these special case enrolments.

14.    The Board will review the situation in 3 – 6 months (depending on the timeline) and reserves the right to nullify an enrolment if the family has not moved into the zone, or does not appear to be making progress towards moving into zone, or if the family ceases reporting on progress as in 12. above.

15.    However, the Board may give a family more time to move into zone if it feels the case warrants it.

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