A capital injection of $5.5 million will be invested into five Hawke’s Bay schools to help solve current and future overcrowding problems.
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngāti Kahungunu o Te Wairoa, Mahora School, Eskdale School, Frimley Primary School and Gisborne’s Kaiti School have been promised a combined 10 new classrooms by the Ministry of Education.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced the funding on Wednesday as part of a $20m spend on 39 new roll growth teaching spaces to be built at schools across the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay.
“This Government is taking a responsible approach to ensure funding is available in areas where student numbers are growing,” Hipkins said.
“This investment will create more teaching spaces and give thousands of students the opportunity to learn in a better environment than they’ve been used to.”
Unprecedented roll growth at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngāti Kahungunu o Te Wairoa – the only total immersion Māori language school in the area – has meant the addition of three new teaching spaces is much needed.
The kura opened its doors in 1994 to about 10 children and in 2015, a $4m project saw a new school built with a capacity of 79 students. But now with the roll at 113 students from Year 0 to 13, spaces have had to be remoulded to make more room.
Tumuaki (principal) Anaru Ratapu said the roll has risen each year since 2015 and is expected to continue.
“We are really grateful that we got these classes. We have to be more proactive than reactive with these things.”
In their Wharekura (secondary school), Ratapu anticipates another 13 students to enrol next year.
Eskdale School principal Tristan Cheer said the two additional teaching spaces will allow them to cater for their current needs and those in the immediate future.
“Although we are short on detail at the current time we do know that the new classrooms’ spaces will form part of a larger rebuilding and modernisation project for our school.
“It is exciting to think that we will have innovative learning spaces to match the teaching and learning that is already happening at Eskdale and that we want to develop further.”
Tukituki Labour Electorate Committee chairwoman and local education advocate Anna Lorck said the addition is a “proactive approach rather than reactive, which is a big change to what we saw in Havelock North under the previous government”.
“It is good to see we have a Government responding to future demand as well as the existing needs.
“We have fantastic schools which play an important role in our great communities and we need to make sure they have good quality infrastructure to provide the best teaching environments.”
Frimley Primary School will receive two classrooms and principal Tim White said they are intended to cater for anticipated growth based on the Lyndhurst Rd housing development, which will see 180 sections built within the next two years.
Mahora School will also receive two classrooms and principal Rohan Pearse said they are “very much in need of additional classroom space”.
“Our school has been working with the Ministry of Education for several years to facilitate this to manage our current growth in the Mahora community.”