New faces . . . Pembroke School principal Brent Godfery with new entrant pupils (from left) Onyx Curry, Holly Mackenzie, Quinn Tohill, Soa Mafi, Tane Tohill, Anastasia Vavae and Emily-Jane Hill (all 5). PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Up, down and about the same … school rolls in North Otago appear to be a bit of a mixed bag in terms of numbers.
All pupils had returned to or begun their lessons by Wednesday, at the start of the 2017 school year, which is set to be particularly special for at least two schools.
At St Kevin’s College, which celebrates its 90th jubilee at Labour Weekend, the roll for 2017 of about 450 pupils was more or less the same as in past years, according to principal Paul Olsen.
“This year is very much on par with previous years, so we have healthy numbers and they’ve continued.”
Papakaio School principal Gary Shirley said the school started term one with 140 pupils, a higher number than forecast.
“We’ve actually had more enrolments than we’d anticipated. We’re at 140 at the moment. I would say that’s up five or six on what I had expected.”
The school, which celebrates its 150th jubilee at Easter, had had its roll grow significantly over the past several years, from fewer than 100 pupils in 2011 to this year’s figure.
Mr Shirley believed the school’s growth was because of more work opportunities in the area.
“It’s just work situations – people being employed in town and on dairy farms, and one or two family situations changing over the holidays.
“It’s going to be a huge year with our 150th. There’s a lot of things happening, so it will be a big year.”
Waitaki Girls’ High School’s roll was also up this year, to about 450 compared with 420 in 2016.
Principal Tracy Walker said the school was aware its roll would be higher, and catered for that accordingly.
“Our roll is up. We were expecting a small but significant rise that we knew about and prepared for.”
She said the increase in pupils was because of a rise in the number of year 9 pupils being enrolled at the school, a high retention rate of pupils entering year 13, and “half a dozen” families relocating to Oamaru.
As a result of the increased roll, staffing numbers had also been boosted at the school, Mrs Walker said.
Pembroke School principal Brent Godfery said the school’s roll was “steadily climbing” and was now about 250.
“We have got two new classrooms being built at the moment, and we’re expecting them to be filled up by the end of the year.”
It was likely the buildings would be completed by the end of term two.
He said given the at times “transient” nature of Oamaru, the school’s roll would likely fluctuate throughout the year.
“We enrolled 70 kids last year, but during the year we had 56 leave. That’s the kind
of transient thing we have here. It’s just people moving in and out of town.”
Oamaru Intermediate School’s roll was slightly down this year, from about 285 pupils in 2016 to 272.
Principal Mary Healey said the small drop was the result of a smaller number of pupils enrolling from contributing schools.
“I think next year we’ll go up again,” she said.

Fresh start … Oamaru Intermediate School principal Mary Healey with new year 7 pupils (from left) Georgia Marris, Jess Crossley, Preston Repia-King and Chase Cooper (all 11). PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
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