New South Wales is cracking down on school enrolment caps and out-of-area enrolments in a bid to stop parents ‘school shopping’.

Principals will be forced to cap the amount of students at schools from next year, with an upper limited calculated based on the number of permanent buildings, excluding demountable classrooms.

Children enrolling in 2020 will be exempt from the change, but not after. This has created concern that parents will have to split up siblings who become unable to enrol if they are from out of the zone.

It should also see school numbers drop at schools that have few permanent buildings.

Principals warn that they could be overwhelmed with extenuating circumstances if they cannot take children from out of the zone.

The NSW Department of Education says schools with capacity to accept non-local enrolments would still be able to do so.

It also said that siblings would continue to be accepted in most cases.