FAQ & Methodology

Enrolment Projection Methodology

What is an Enrolment Projection

An Enrolment Projection is a reflection of the movement of students throughout their elementary and secondary academic careers within and outside the Board. The path of a student is tracked from their entrance at the Board throughout their progression from elementary to secondary, and their ultimate graduation from Grade 12. The Board uses Enrolment Projection for budget projections, determination of portable needs, identification of future capital projects (both additions and new schools), boundary reviews, and potentially school closures. The following are other key principals of a projection:

  1. Birth rates are very helpful in predicting new students coming to the Board.
  2. Important factors to review in predicting the movement of students is to observe school, local, regional, and provincial trends.
  3. Parental choices for their children are hard to predict, therefore hard to project.
  4. Ultimately, a projection is a projection and it is not written in stone.

How do we Project Student Enrolment?

Analyze Existing School Community Trends

An Existing School Community is made up of students that currently attend a school of the Board and/or reside within the neighbourhood(s) a school serves in its catchment boundary. The projection of an Existing School Community will have very little or no new homes that will be constructed, and does not take into account growth in its projection.

To begin the development of an Existing School Community’s Enrolment Projection, Planning Services staff uses the number of students by grade that are attending an individual school as of October 31, the count date. Staff also observes a school’s historic enrolment for the previous 5-10 years to review past trends to better understand the movement of students through the school system within their academic career. Staff also reviews the geographic concentrations of students within an Existing School Community.

All the above data is used to calculate enrolment trends of previous years to predict the future enrolment of an Existing School Community. The below sub-sections provide more information on what types of trends Planning Services staff use in their projections.

Existing Community Student Distribution


Analyze Historic Junior Kindergarten (JK) Registrations

Junior Kindergartens (JK) are the starting point of a student’s academic career, and are very important in development of a 15-year Long-Term projection. The cohort size of a school’s JK in the first year will predict it’s overall enrolment size in the long-term. Accordingly, JK enrolment is monitored regularly. The below are key principals:

  • JK projections are first calculated by mirroring the previous year’s actual JK enrolment (assuming a flat line projection)
  • JK projections are adjusted based on historic birth rates within the school’s boundary (provided by Halton Region)
  • JK enrolment may also be adjusted when reviewing the previous year’s JK enrolment data

Analyze Progression Factors & Rules

Progression Factors and Rules represent historic trends of where students go year-over-year by grade, which are then applied to predict their future movements through their academic career. Below are explanations of the two (2):

  • A Progression Factor is the ratio of students that move from grade-to-grade, year-over-year at the same school (e.g. ratio (%) of students progressing from Grade 1 to Grade 2).
  • A Progression Rule is the ratio of students that move from school-to-school for specific program offerings (e.g. ratio of students progressing from Grade 4 to Grade 5 Extended French).

Progressions Factors can have ratios that are equal to, lower than, or higher than 100%. If a Progression Factors is above 100%, it means the school historically gains students year-over-year in that particular grade. If a Progression Factor is below 100%, it means the opposite, where the schools loses students year-over-year in a particular grade.

Progression Rules are similar to Progression Factors. Typically, a ratio of a grade is transferred to another school, and the remaining ratio remains at the school to continue in the regular stream.

Project Students Generated from future homes

The Region of Halton is one of the fastest growing communities in North America, where the province projects to direct a large proportion of its greenfield development from now to 2041 (See Regional Overview for more information). With this high rate of growth and development in the Halton Region, there will be a number of students that will be generated from the new homes. With an increase in student enrolment, new elementary and secondary schools may be required to accommodate this growth. Board staff reviews the following in reviewing growth in the Region:

  • Board Staff regularly receives development applications from the four (4) municipalities of Halton Region
  • Development applications are commented on and tracked for future student yields based on the type of units being built
  • Each proposed residential unit is phased over a period of time, and allocated a specific student yield based on the unit type

As per the diagram, each type of unit will generate a different number of students over a 15-year period. This is what is referred to as a “unit yield”. The unit yields are calculated to reviewing how many students were generated from a particular unit type over the 15-year period. This is then applied to the future proposed units being developed.

Historically, the number of students generated from a unit varies from unit-to-unit. For example, in the Halton Region, lower density developments (e.g. single family homes) have historically yielded a greater number of students than medium density development (e.g. townhomes), which have historically yielded a greater number of students than higher densities units (e.g. apartments).

It should be noted however that these yields are fluid as time progresses, and housing choices change. As such, staff consistently monitors yields.

Development Yields

Frequently Asked Questions

A Long-Term Capital Plan (LTCP) is an annually reviewed planning document produced by the Halton Catholic District School Board that provides enrolment projections and guides accommodation planning for a 15-year period. The LTCP also identifies accommodation pressures resulting from these projected enrolments and proposes strategies to address them.

The basis of this plan is to identify new capital project initiatives for the Board over the next 15-years, divided between short-term (1-5 years) and long-term (6-15 years) projects. Short term projects are then used to inform the preparation of the Board’s Capital Priorities submission funding requests through the Ministry of Education. It also provides an opportunity to identify boundary studies and to address accommodation pressures due to new residential development, changing demographics, and program pressures.

See above for our projection methodology. Alternatively, you can refer to our Enrolment Projection Methodology presentation.

Yes, but to a limited degree. We use Census data as more of a check and balance to see overall growth and decline trends.

Board staff mainly rely on the following sources of data to project enrolment:

  • Current and historic enrolment data
  • Circulated development plans
  • Regional birth data

Yes. As a part of the Planning Act, the Halton Catholic District School Board is circulated on all residential development plans by municipalities. The type and number of units is included within the information shared by the municipality. Planning Services utilizes the information on units and phasing in developing enrolment projections.

Planning Services is in regular communication with municipalities and developers to track development and unit occupancy.

Mature communities are areas that are identified as communities that have older age homes and very little potential for new housing development. In some mature communities there may be some infill development potential where lots already occupied by existing buildings may be rezoned to build several residential homes. In most cases, infill residential development produces a low number of new homes. Therefore, the impact of many infill residential developments is very minimal to a school’s projection.

As with any development application in a municipality, whether it is a large scale residential greenfield development of 500 single family residential dwellings, or a smaller infill development of 5 townhouses, the municipality must circulate these applications to all agencies, including the school boards, for comment. All residential units are counted in the school board’s housing counts and are part of developing school projections.

Within mature communities there is flux in the population where homes are sold and bought and families that no longer have school age children move out and families with school age children move in. Planning Services does not keep track of the number of homes sold and bought in a community. We do not have student yields for resale homes. The way that we capture this flux in mature communities is to look at historical enrolment data, make note of patterns and apply these patterns to create a projection.

Portable classrooms are utilized to provide interim pupil accommodation at schools experiencing enrolment growth due to new residential development (i.e. new subdivisions) or as a result of policy/program initiatives. The trend for schools located within new residential communities is to have significant enrolment growth in the short to medium term, with enrolment peaking in year 10. As the community matures, enrolment declines and the portable classrooms are removed to the point that all students are able to be accommodated within the building itself.

Constructing permanent additions to facilities to accommodate the peak enrolments, typically results in the school(s) being under capacity with vacant pupil places once the community matures. This could possibly result in the Board having a number of schools with vacant pupil places, which could result in the need to undertake a Program and Accommodation Review (i.e. school closures or consolidations) for these underutilized schools. Historically, schools were built to meet these peak enrolments. However, due to declining enrolment in these schools as a result of the communities maturing, the Board has undertaken a number of what were historically called PARC processes, now PARs, which has resulted in school closures in many of these neighbourhoods. In the event that there are new policy/program initiatives (i.e. implementation of Full-Day JK/SK), with funding from the Ministry of Education, permanent additions are constructed.

The on-the-ground capacity or OTG is the Ministry rated capacity of a school building.

Most elementary school rooms are counted at 23, regardless of the room’s present use. Most secondary school rooms are counted at 21. Other rooms may be counted at only 9, such as special education rooms.

On March 26, 2015, the Ministry of Education released the new Community Planning and Partnerships Guidelines (CPPG). These guidelines provide a framework for school boards to create and maintain community partnerships, increase school board operational efficiencies, and address under-utilized school spaces, while also focusing on student well-being and academic achievement.

On November 17, 2015, the Halton Catholic District School Board approved Policy 1-37 Community Planning and Facility Partnerships, and Administrative Procedure VI-78 – Community Planning and Facility Partnerships thereafter.

Learn more about Community Planning & Facility Partnerships here.

Erica EmeryFAQ & Methodology