We’re proud to be one of the fastest growing districts in Metro Vancouver … with enrollment numbers continuing to surpass previous projections. And our staff are working incredibly hard to keep up with the needs of New Westminster’s growing number of students and families.

Interested in reading more about this work? We updated our Long Range Facilities Plan in August of 2021, which speaks to what our capital and infrastructure teams are busy working on, and more information is also provided at the end of this page.

As a result of the growth, while we are committed to continue to support students living in our community, we are now facing the reality that we can not always accommodate students and families at their catchment school.

Updates to enrolment and placement 

While it continues to be our goal to place every student we can into their catchment school, we will not always be able to do so. In accordance with our updated Administrative Procedure 300 (Student Admissions, Catchment Areas & Placements), enrolment and placement may be affected in the following ways:

  • Sometimes schools may be deemed full for the purpose of placing new students. This may limit placement for new students registering, or limit requests at any time for transfers both from within the district or from outside the district. (See “School Capacity Status” below.)
  • Where the number of in-catchment enrollment requests made within the regular registration period for new students (e.g. for those children entering kindergarten the following year) exceeds the ability for a school to properly support all the students, a randomized lottery will be used to determine placement. When the lottery system is used the following will apply:
    • Students with sibling status will be given priority.
    • Students who are not able to be placed at their catchment school will be offered a spot at the nearest available school within the district, as space permits. At that time, families may request a placement at another school within the district that has capacity, if there’s personal reason why it may be prefered.

To ensure your child and family have the best possible chance of enrolling at your catchment school, we encourage families to register new students within the regular registration windows, outlined on our Registration information page.

School capacity status

New Registrations and Transfer Requests

In-catchment applications for enrollment are being accepted for all schools within the District, including those deemed at full capacity. However, due to physical space limitations, the following schools have been deemed at full capacity, at this time:

    • Connaught Heights Elementary
    • FW Howay Elementary
    • Herbert Spencer Elementary
    • Lord Kelvin Elementary
    • Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary
    • Qayqayt Elementary
    • Queen Elizabeth Elementary
    • Skwo:wech Elementary
    • Fraser River Middle
    • Glenbrook Middle
    • Queensborough Middle

For the above schools, we will not be accepting transfer requests. Additional limitations may apply at specific grades for schools not listed here.

What it means for a school to be deemed as being at full capacity

Enrolment is being monitored carefully, as we consider physical capacity of each site, and appropriate staffing available to support students. The District is managing enrollment so that we can provide the best possible chances for in-catchment students to attend now, and in the future. Giving a school “full capacity” status means that it is anticipated that there may be more students than spaces available.

At these schools, new in-catchment students may not be guaranteed placement in specific grades. In-catchment students who cannot be accommodated will be waitlisted for their catchment school and then placed at the closest possible school in the District, as space permits.

Students placed in another school by the District, due to lack of available space in their catchment school, will be given priority to transfer to their catchment school the following school year, as space may permit.

Schools deemed at capacity are closed for transfer requests.* Transfer requests to any other schools can be made within the timelines listed on the Registration page (timelines are listed in the Out-of-catchment and Out-of-district drop down sections).
*Transfers to closed schools may be requested only by those families who are looking to enroll a new student at the school, who already have an older sibling attending the closed school.

Notes: The above designation of full capacity status does not affect students who are currently enrolled in schools or specific programs – this status only affects the placement of students who are new to the district, or those applying for out-of-catchment transfers. Students enrolled in a New Westminster Early French Immersion program, will be guaranteed placement in a middle school French Immersion Program when they transition to Grade 6. Students enrolled at their catchment elementary schools will be placed at their catchment middle schools. 

How we’re addressing capacity challenges

Our Capital Project, Finance and Maintenance teams are working hard to support growth and updates to our schools. Within the last few years we have been able to open the new New Westminster Secondary School and Skwo:wech Elementary. Work on the 13 classroom expansion to Queen Elizabeth Elementary is ongoing, and will be updated via the Capital Projects page on the district website.

For the 2022-23 major capital funding process, the District requested over $20 million in capital projects, mainly consisting of 2 new schools and 3 land acquisition requests. Our most significant needs are to create capacity for elementary and middle schools in the Fraser River Zone Region.

The Fraser River elementary project has been formally supported by government, enabling us to work on the Concept Plan and Project Definition Report. If successful, this will lead to funding support for a new elementary school. And we are continuing to advocate for the capital funding required to expand our middle school spaces.

As we continue to work towards solutions that support the short and mid-term capacity needs, the Board of Education has provided District staff with the following guiding principles, in priority order. Those include:

  1. Prioritizing space in schools for regular, in-catchment K-12 enrolment while also ensuring sufficient play and outdoor learning space; and
  2. Relocating programs of choice, community partnerships (including infant-toddler child care) and non-instructional uses of spaces to school facilities where space permits.

This work is ongoing, and we will provide the community more opportunity to engage in these discussions as we move forward.

In all cases student enrollment will be based on the priorities listed in Administrative Procedure 300.

Have questions about enrollment or registration at one of our schools? You can contact our Registration Team (working out of the Welcome Centre at NWSS) here: registrations@sd40.bc.ca or 604-517-6200.