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New Westminster schools are all full up for 2023/24

Trying to get in to Qayqayt, Lord Kelvin or Queen Elizabeth? A decision about registration lotteries will be made by Friday, Feb. 10.
Qayqayt Elementary
A decision on a possible lottery for registration at École Qayqayt Elementary School is coming by Friday, Feb. 10. Also up for possible lotteries: Lord Kelvin and Queen Elizabeth elementary schools.

It’s official: All of the New Westminster school district’s elementary and middle schools are full for 2023/24.

Registration for the new school year closed Jan. 27, and School District 40 has just finalized its capacity status for all its schools.

It’s looked at the number of requests for each school to figure out if there’s room to place all the students who want in. It's also assessed whether the district can expand the number of classrooms at crowded schools, or whether any school has reached its maximum physical capacity.

The result? Eleven of the district’s 12 schools are full, the only exception being New Westminster Secondary School. And three of those schools — École Qayqayt, Lord Kelvin and Queen Elizabeth elementary schools — may still need lotteries to determine who gets in and who gets placed elsewhere.

“We are continuing to work hard on addressing the enrolment demand as it pertains to possible lotteries, as we look at every avenue we have,” the school district said in a statement.

SD40 says it will have updates on the lotteries by next Friday, Feb. 10.

Out-of-catchment transfers off the table — except for siblings

For the rest of the district’s schools, any students who registered before the end of the regular registration period will be able to get in to their neighbourhood school.

The capacity announcement doesn't affect currently enrolled students or those transferring to middle school. All district students moving on from elementary school will still be accepted at their catchment middle school.

But if a family wants to transfer their child to a different school, they’re out of luck.

The application period for out-of-catchment transfers starts Monday. This year, though, the school capacity challenges mean no out-of-catchment applications will be accepted, except from students with siblings in that school.

As for out-of-district requests? No student from outside the New Westminster school district can apply for a place in an SD40 school, except at NWSS.

Out-of-catchment and out-of-district request forms will be available, within those restrictions, at the New Westminster school district’s registration page. A time-stamped waitlist opens at 9 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 6.

New arrivals to New West will still get placed in local schools

The Record reached out to SD40 for clarification about what that means for newly arrived students whose families didn't meet the Jan. 27 registration deadline.

The district has confirmed that families who move into the district between now and the start of the school year will still be able to register for their catchment school, and they’ll be placed in that school wherever possible.

At this point, the district is only anticipating possible placement problems at the three most crowded schools: Qayqayt, Lord Kelvin and Queen Elizabeth.

In those cases, students will be offered a spot at the nearest available school within the district, as space permits.

Students who can’t be placed at their catchment school will be placed on a waitlist and offered a chance to move if a space does become available at that school.

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