By: Simon Collins

Rowandale School has seen its roll balloon from 392 to 600 in the five years to last July, the fastest growth of eight Auckland schools which will get an extra 41 classrooms in the latest $21 million batch of school building announced by Education Minister Nikki Kaye.

Kaye went to Rowandale today to make the announcement after the school featured high on a list of overcrowded schools obtained by the Labour Party just before this year’s Budget, when its roll was reported to be 127 per cent of its capacity.

School principal Karl Vasau said in late 2015 that the Ministry of Education had provided six temporary prefabs, but students were then still waiting to move into them.

On the eve of this year’s Budget, Vasau said he was “praying to be on top of the list”, and today he was “ecstatic” that the six prefabs will be replaced with permanent spaces for all six classes, probably in a two-storey block at the back of the school.

“That actually frees up space on our field, which is where the relocateables are, so the kids can enjoy the full length of the field,” he said.

The school is also consulting about introducing a school zone which will restrict the numbers coming to the school from other school zones in the future.

The zone is subject to consultation with neighbouring schools Clendon Park and Finlayson Park, which both also figured on the overcrowded list in May.

Those two schools have missed out on extra classrooms in today’s list, but Kaye’s office said this was only the first of three or four tranches from this year’s Budget that will add a total of 174 classrooms across Auckland.

Beachlands School in the fast-growing Beachlands-Maraetai area southeast of Howick has won the biggest number of extra classrooms in this tranche – seven new ones plus three replacement spaces.

Its roll grew by 54 to 575 in the five years to last July but principal Brian Gower said it was now 600 and the new classrooms would cater for growth to 800 as the locally-owned Spinnaker Bay development heads towards 480 houses and a further 400 apartments are planned at Pine Harbour.

“It depends how many of our Kiwi families want to have big mortgages – if they can get in between $800,000 and $1 million,” he said.

St Thomas’s School, a state school in Kohimarama, will get nine new class spaces in a two-storey block to cope with roll growth of 172 in the five years to last July, taking its roll to 812 last year and 860 now.

Principal Michael Maher said young families were replacing older residents in the area as large sections were being subdivided.

“You can see a lot of homes moved off site and two or three homes put in,” he said.

Dominion Rd School in Mt Roskill (roll up 81 from 2011-16), Meadowbank School (up 65) and Onehunga Primary (up 30) will each get four new classrooms.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Kotuku in Ranui (up 35) and Bairds Mainfreight School in Otara (up 25) will each get two new classrooms.

Source: NZ Herald


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