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Zoë Watson is the outgoing superintendent of the Anglophone South School District. Image: Brad Perry

Anglophone South Adds 700 More Students

By Brad Perry Oct 20, 2022 | 6:00 AM

There has been a huge growth in enrolment numbers for the Anglophone South School District.

Unofficial enrolment numbers were presented at last week’s District Education Council meeting.

The district had 23,699 students as of Sept. 30, an increase of three per cent or 701 students.

“That is a huge growth for us,” Superintendent Zoë Watson told reporters after the meeting. “It puts us back to about where we were in 2012 when the districts amalgamated.”

“It’s always good news for us when we see the numbers start back up because, for a few years, we were in a position of declining enrolment.”

Figures provided by the district show there were 26,342 students enrolled in the 2006-07 school year.

That dropped to 23,604 in the 2012-13 school year and continued to drop to 22,490 in 2016-17.

Enrolment was up in down in the following four school years, dropping by 644 in 2020-21, the first full school year of the pandemic. Enrolment rebounded by 479 students in the 2021-22 school year.

Watson said there are a couple of reasons for their most recent growth in student enrolment.

“We are seeing some of our homeschooling families return,” she said, noting more than 300 students are currently being homeschooled.

While that is up compared to the average of 250 students per year before the pandemic, it is well below the 700 students recorded in 2021-22.

Watson said the school district has also seen an influx of about 550 newcomer students this school year.

About 70 per cent are in the Saint John Education Centre, 16 per cent are in the Hampton Education Centre, and 14 per cent are in the St. Stephen Education Centre.

“We rely a lot on newcomers. They certainly help out our numbers,” said Watson.

“This year and last year, schools would be seeing families that are moving here from other provinces in Canada. People moving back home, people choosing New Brunswick as the place they want to live.”

Watson said they hope that trend will continue in the years ahead.


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