Students are being kicked out of some of Auckland's most
sought-after schools after officials ruled they were not
genuinely living within zone.
New figures from the Ministry of Education reveal which
schools have had their decisions to remove students reviewed.
To enforce zones schools can demand proof of guardianship and
address, including phone and power bills and mortgage or
A private investigator has also been used to door-knock an
address to check a student is living there as contended.
One ploy schools guard against is parents arranging to live
temporarily within zone to enrol their child, either through
a rental or swap agreement.
Auckland Grammar has had two cases where annulled enrolments
were reviewed by the ministry this year, and had seven such
cases last year. The school has a fulltime enrolment
registrar and requires parents to hand over documentation
that can include power bills to prove their residency.
However, with its zone adding hundreds of thousands of
dollars to property prices, checks are also made throughout
Ten out-of-zone students were picked from a ballot of around
200 this year, and headmaster Tim O'Connor said some families
try to find another way in.
The law allows for enrolments to be annulled if it is
discovered parents used a false or a temporary address to
enrol a student.
Grammar has adopted a strict definition of "temporary" under
which a student moving out of the zone during their schooling
Mr O'Connor said decisions were made on a case-by-case basis
and there could be circumstances which meant a student could
stay. Parents were also encouraged to make early contact
about possible moves.
"The fact for us is the volume of demand, and people's desire
to get into Grammar. And what some will do to achieve that
"We need to be fair to all, so we do and will continue to be
stringent in our application of the rules."
Mr O'Connor said the school looks at rental agreements
closely to try to head off issues before students are
enrolled. A one-year rental agreement would not be
Last year, a private investigator was used to door-knock a
residence at a range of times and dates to check a student
was living there.
Contentious enrolments are not limited to secondary schools.
Gladstone School in Mt Albert had six cases reviewed last
year and three this year.
Principal Dave Shadbolt said in all of the reviewed cases the
board of trustees determined that students had only lived in
zone for a short time prior to enrolment, and then moved out
All the annulments were upheld, Mr Shadbolt said, although
one student this year had moved back within zone and rejoined
Yesterday the ministry said just one of the 46 annulment
reviews since 2011 was reversed.
The ministry figures are only cases that have been reviewed,
although Auckland Grammar said the numbers reflected all of
its annulment cases.
The true number of families attempting to beat the rules is
higher, with other schools such as Ellerslie School and St
Heliers reporting they fend off numerous bogus applications
each year before students are actually enrolled.
The strength of feeling about zones was demonstrated last
week when the Herald revealed that One Tree Hill College and
Selwyn College had backed down from plans to have new
proposed zones overlap with those of Grammar and Epsom Girls
Residents in shared zone areas were assured they would be
able to choose which school their children attend.
But some believed it might be a first step to their eventual
exclusion from the "double grammar zone", and submissions
were overwhelmingly hostile to the proposals.
- By Nicholas Jones of the New Zealand Herald