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Out of the cloak bays, into new classrooms

Three Gisborne schools have welcomed news they will be getting new classrooms and will not have to teach in “cloak bays and storage areas” any more.

Under the National Education Growth Plan announced last week, Kaiti School and Te Wharau School will each get two new classrooms while Whangara School will get three.

Te Wharau School principal Steve Berezowski said space was so tight they had to use their office foyer, staffroom, meeting room, cloak bays and storage areas as teaching spaces.

“Next term we will be using our library as a classroom to cope with the new entrants we are expecting to enrol between now and the end of this term,” he said. We have no spare space anywhere in the school so two new classrooms will be great.”

Whangara School principal Lisa Maniapoto said she was excited her school had been included in the growth plan.

“To be able to stretch out and spread out across more learning areas is exciting.

“We are delivering a very localised, authentic curriculum based around culture, identity and te reo, and our kura (school) and whanau are wanting this for their tamariki (children).

“It shouldn’t matter if you are a rural school on the East Coast, or a school in Auckland city, our quality of education and access to a great learning environment should be the same. For me, that’s equity.”

Kaiti School principal Billie-Jean Potaka-Ayton said she was pleased to hear the news but was not sure when building would begin.

In the past 10 years the roll at Kaiti School has steadily increased from 130 to 400.

“We are very pleased to hear that we will be getting a further two classrooms as we are in desperate need of learning spaces for classes.

Having to cope with makeshift classrooms for too long“We already have one new class halfway through the planning phase so these two extra learning spaces were a nice surprise for us all.

“Once completed, our tamariki will be able to move out of the library and the library will be restored to a flexible learning space for the school.”

The Government will build new classrooms for around 2500 students at 42 schools and kura in the Waikato and Hawke’s Bay/Tairawhiti regions.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the plans forecast the need for new classrooms and schools for about 13,500 extra students in some of Waikato and Hawke’s Bay’s/Tairawhiti’s highest growth areas by 2030.

“The previous government didn’t adequately plan for growth and for too long schools have had to make do by using libraries and school halls when their school rolls increased.

“We want New Zealand to be the best place to be a child and that means learning in warm, comfortable and modern classrooms.

“We need to make sure families in some of our fastest growing areas around the country can be confident their local schools will have enough space for their kids.

“The release of the regional growth plans is part of the wider National Education Growth Plan (NEGP), which forecasts that an additional 100,000 new student places are needed across the country by 2030.

“The NEGP is supported by a $1.2 billion cash injection for school property in the Wellbeing Budget, giving communities, schools and the construction industry certainty about what new building projects are coming up,” said Mr Hipkins.

“In the Hawke’s Bay/Tairawhiti, 10 schools are getting 23 classrooms worth $15 million. This includes eight classrooms for three kura and a special school receiving four new classrooms.”

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