Background:Education planning requires accurate and efficient projection models. Current projection models either do not make use of all available information and are reliant on idiosyncratic expert judgement, or are too complex to be maintained and explained.
Aims:To test whether a multiregional projection model performs better than current methodology in explaining and projecting school enrolments in a school system with student mobility.
Data and methods:A multiregional cohort model was developed for projecting enrolments for multiple schools or districts simultaneously. For illustration, data were obtained for all government schools in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) for the years 2008-2016. Multiregional projections were compared with a cohort transition model and the ACT Education Directorate's own projections.
Results:(i) There is great diversity in the sources of school enrolment growth that need to be accommodated in enrolment projections; and (ii) multiregional projections perform slightly better than traditional methods with less effort and more transparency.
Conclusion:A sources of growth approach guides the understanding of enrolment change, which is critical for making informed projections.