Roll over 300 for first time in decade

Fresh faces . . . Celebrating the influx of pupils are Waimate High School’s two new year 7 classes. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

For the first time in 10 years, Waimate High School’s roll has risen to more than 300 pupils.

School principal Jo Hunnikin said last year the school had about 270 pupils.

This year that number had grown to 310.

For a number of years the school’s roll had been in decline.

‘‘But now we’ve seen increases — over the last two years — which is really encouraging,’’ Miss Hunnikin said.

She felt the community now saw Waimate High School as the school of choice for Waimate, as its NCEA results — both in 2022 and 2023 — were among the best in the region.

She did not feel zoning of Timaru’s Mountainview High School had had an effect.

‘‘We’ve seen people move into Waimate — and a greater retention of numbers of students from year 8 into year 9.

‘‘Fewer people are choosing to leave for other schools in Timaru and Oamaru.’’

As to the impact the increase of pupils had on the school, it had always been able to offer a highly personalised timetable, particularly in its senior school, she said.

Having more pupils meant it could offer greater flexibility.

‘‘We’ve increased the numbers of teachers too . . . which has been challenging with the national teacher shortage.

‘‘We have plenty of classroom space and could easily accommodate another 100 students.’’