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Dunstan High School’s hostel is all but a full house for the first time in recent memory.

The school has welcomed 46 pupils to the dorms this year, one of the biggest intakes since construction of the Clyde Dam in the late 1970s and early ’80s.

Dunstan Hostel can take 48 pupils, at a pinch.

Of those who have settled into hostel life this month, 12 are year 9s.

Principal Reece Goldsmith said the school’s overall roll had increased from 568 pupils last year to 610 this year.

In the 1980s, that figure was up to about 650, swelled by construction of the dam, which created jobs and other opportunities for young families wanting to move to the area.

This year’s increase was being driven by the cohort of year 9s, he said.

There are 139 year 9s on the roll this year, compared with 126 last year. There were 136 in 2019.

‘‘It fluctuates from year to year, but it’s the [most] we’ve had for a long time.’’

Mr Goldsmith was not sure why there was a significant increase in year 9s, but said some had moved to the district with their families.

The rest were made up of ‘‘big numbers’’ that come through from the primary schools.

There are six classes accommodating the influx of year 9s this year, instead of the usual four, or five at the most.

Dunstan High School also has a higher number of pupils in year 13 this year.

Mr Goldsmith said there were 113 on the roll.

In previous years, more pupils would have called time on their high school education at the end of year 12 but, more pupils were choosing to return.

Cromwell College is also welcoming an increase to its role this year.

Principal Mason Stretch said there were 40 more pupils than last year, bringing the overall roll to 560.

Among them was a ‘‘large’’ year 7 intake of 111 pupils.

‘‘Normally, this would be around 90 students. We also have 15 new students in our Apartments Outdoor Pursuits programme and over 30 other students new to Cromwell.’’

He said most of the families who were new to the area and had children attending the school had moved to the district for work opportunities.

Large cohorts for children were flowing through from the primary schools to Cromwell College each year.

As a result, Cromwell College’s roll was expected to exceed 600 within the next two years, Mr Stretch said.

That trend would eventually put strain on the college’s facilities.

‘‘We have sufficient rooms for this year. However, the growth places urgency in our planned meetings with the Ministry of Education so that we can ensure that we have rooms that are fit for purpose for our students and staff.’’

Other high schools throughout the district were tracking well, but had not experienced the same level of roll increases.

Roxburgh Area School has 61 year 9 to 13 pupils on its roll this year, which was on a par with other years, a spokeswoman for the school said.

‘‘This is about the same as previous years and we are happy to see that it is staying around the same.’’

Mount Aspiring College has welcomed 789 year 9-13 pupils to the school this year, which was slightly up on last year’s starting roll of 788.

The school’s roll dwindled throughout the year, last year, finishing with 734 pupils.
Maniototo Area School has about 45 pupils in year 9 to 13 this year.

Office administrator Anne Kirk said that number was slightly down on last year, but not significantly.

‘‘We had a large year13 group last year, whereas this year we’ve only got a small number of year 13s. That can make all the difference.’’