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On the up . . . Waitaki Boys' High School rector Darryl Paterson (second from right), pictured with pupils (from left) Sam Edmondston (15), Will Plunket (16) and Jonty Nelson (15), says there are a number of factors driving an increase in the school's roll. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

A renewed confidence in Waitaki Boys’ High School has resulted in a jump in the school’s roll this year, rector Darryl Paterson says.

The Oamaru secondary school has 410 pupils enrolled this year, a jump from 383 pupils last year and the highest the roll has been in two years.

The increase was assisted by 96 year 9 enrolments – 12 more than last year – and an increase in the number of pupils at Don House, the school’s boarding house, with 17 new additions. It was the largest boarding house intake in six years.

The surge in numbers was a great achievement for the school, Mr Paterson said.

“We are very happy with this increase. An increased roll creates certainty around staffing levels and with that increases option choices for students,” he said.

Having more pupils boarding at the school was also positive, and he believed there were a number of factors driving the overall increase.

“Mostly an improvement in the community’s confidence in the school to provide a quality education and opportunities for their sons.”

The school predicted numbers would continue to grow, but it would be dependent on boarding numbers, and international pupils being allowed back in the country.

“We have plenty of space and facilities to accommodate many more students than we currently have.”

East Otago High School has produced its highest roll in five years, with 172 pupils enrolled this year.

While the roll only increased by four from last year, it was a 13% increase from 2018.

East Otago principal Marcus Cooper said the school was on a “journey” to improve the public’s perception, and becoming the community school of choice.

“We’re really happy the community is deciding with their feet that we are the viable option for their students and that the grass isn’t greener on the other side. We’re just sharpening our pencil and making it really hard for our parents to send their kids elsewhere,” Mr Cooper said.

More pupils from Waikouaiti were opting to attend East Otago, rather than schools in Dunedin, and fewer pupils were moving on to other schools after year 8. East Otago provides education for pupils in years 7 to 13.

“I think there’s possibly more faith in the school offering their students what they need. There’s certainly advantages of having a small school.”

Waimate High School’s roll sat at 284 pupils this year, which was pleasing, principal Janette Packman said.

“This is considerably more than the Ministry of Education prediction of 224 students.”

Waitaki Girls’ High School’s numbers were stable, rising from 410 to 414 this year, as were St Kevin’s College’s, from 419 to 417 this year.