The Department of Education has reviewed and revised the catchment areas for HMGoG schools, with a view to ensuring that these are as geographically appropriate as possible. This exercise has also been conducted to ensure that pupil distributions across schools provide the best possible pupil:staff ratios. A powerful and versatile Geographic Information System (GIS) has been used to inform this process for all Nursery enrolments for September 2022, and, moving forward, will allow the Department of Education to manage catchment areas in a more dynamic manner ahead of each new academic year. This methodology will enable the Department of Education to facilitate more effective responses to the changing needs of our community’s demographic over time.
Following this review, the Department of Education has today informed parents/carers who have enrolled their Nursery-aged child, for entry into HMGoG schools in September 2022, of the allocated catchment school which pertains to their child’s residential address. The Department of Education has, once again, very carefully scrutinised all applications for eligibility, particularly from the point of view of residency. Upon completion of this important exercise, parents/carers whose children do meet the stipulated criteria have been offered a Nursery placement in a HMGoG school.
Although the changes are not too extensive, the amendments made will have lasting significant impact, which the Department of Education believes will be very positive indeed. The Director of Education, Keri Scott, stated that “The move to more geographically appropriate catchment areas will help to further define and distinguish each school’s community in a manner that makes more sense physically. This will help the children and young people from a social perspective as well as facilitate closer links between each school’s location and the catchment area which it serves”. The changes will hopefully also help make school drop offs easier and encourage families to walk to school.
This further supports the Government’s move towards a more child-friendly city and to reducing the use of motor vehicles. Minister for Education John Cortes commented, “Gibraltar has changed a great deal in the last decade, and centres of population are changing. We have been considering these changes for some years now, but the trauma that we suffered through the pandemic delayed the process. The new catchment areas better reflect the current situation and should also have benefits for our environmental agenda.”
The Department of Education is mindful of the impact that this year’s changes may have on some families. As there have been changes made to previously established catchment areas, some children entering Nursery may have been allocated a distinct catchment school to other older sibling(s) residing at the same address. Parents/carers who find themselves in this position have been advised to submit a transfer request form if they would rather their child enters the Nursery cohort at the same school as the older sibling.
Parents/carers who submitted late applications are informed that they will be contacted in due course, once the full check and enrolment process has been completed for all submissions received after the published deadline. Parents/carers whose applications were submitted on time but whose submissions have not yet satisfied the thorough criteria checks in place are informed that their child’s Nursery placement will be confirmed once they have provided the Department of Education with the pending documentation required.