It seems public schools continue to be a popular choice for Illawarra parents.
New enrolment figures for NSW government schools show enrolments continuing to rise at a rate of about 8500 a year across the state.
Figures obtained by the Mercury show how government primary and secondary schools from Kiama in the South to Helensburgh in the north, fared from 2011 to 2017.
Interestingly enrolment numbers dropped for 25 primary schools in the region.
Balarang Public School only had 274 students enrolled in 2017, 102 students less then were enrolled in 2011.
Four other schools, Unanderra, Koonawarra, Woonona East and Corrimal East, saw numbers drop by at least 50 students over the seven-year period.
But a number of the region’s primary schools also recorded some significant enrolment gains.
Four of them topped the 100 mark in gains, with Thirroul Public School at the top of the list, with their enrolment increasing by 153, from 319 in 2011 to 472 in 2017.
Woonona (129), Tullimbar (119) and Lindsay Public School (107) also improved by triple figures, while Keiraville Public School had 93 extra students enrolled last year compared to the 247 the school had in 2011.
It was a mixed bag for Illawarra high schools, with five recording significant enrolment decreases from 2011 to 2017.
Illawarra Sports High School had 191 less students last year, closely followed by Figtree (down 150), Lake Illawarra (139) and Albion Park (135).
Of the secondary schools to record an increase, Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts was best, up from 915.4 students in 2011 to 1154.8 in 2017.
While enrolments at public primary schools have increased for the ninth year in a row, it is the first time since 2011 that government secondary school enrolments have grown.
Read more: Meet the Illawarra’s school leaders of 2018
But the proportion of NSW secondary students enrolled in government schools fell from 60.2 per cent in 2010 to 59.1 per cent last year.
Education Minister Rob Stokes said the figures released from the 2017 mid-year census published by the NSW Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) were very encouraging.
“It proves that parents are recognising the value of having their children taught at their local government school when they are making choices about their family’s future,” Mr Stokes said.
“Their confidence in public education is testimony to the professionalism and dedication of the teachers and school leadership in our schools.”