Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Budget 2016: What Bay schools need

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Lisa Morresey, principal of Mount Maunganui Intermediate School. Photo/John Borren
Lisa Morresey, principal of Mount Maunganui Intermediate School. Photo/John Borren

Tauranga principals are hoping funding will be included in this year's Budget to help local schools keep up with the city's rapid growth.

Principal of Mount Maunganui Intermediate School Lisa Morresey said increased staffing provisions would help keep class sizes down.

"We use international student funds to increase the staffing provision at our school, so we can lower class numbers. This supports us to do the instructional teaching we need to do," she said.

Mrs Morresey said she would also like to see more funding included in the 2016 Budget, to be announced on Thursday, for children who were struggling at school.

"Having the specialist teachers who can do that intervention teaching would be great."

She said the $15.3 million funding increase for in-class support, which was announced by Education Minister Hekia Parata on May 11, was a positive move but needed to be coupled with staff funding.

"Yes, the support staff [increase] is great but we also need to lower class numbers," Mrs Morresey said.

"Our classes are sitting between 26 and 27 students, but that's because we fund additional staffing which enables our teachers to meet the students learning needs.

"Normally, classes at an intermediate are sitting between 30 to 32 per class, sometimes higher. They're catering to all those different learning needs," she said.

In addition, allocations that could help address societal concerns of students would be beneficial.

"Anything that can reduce child poverty, child abuse, assist kids with housing, food and welfare is welcome.

"I think anything that can assist kids getting the necessities that they need to have the best possible start in education," she said.

Te Puke Primary School principal Shane Cunliffe said compared to their sister school in Sydney, which had similar pupil numbers, they received a fifth of the staffing allocation.

"From a New Zealand perspective, we do some amazing things in comparison with limited resources," he said.

However, Mr Cunliffe said many students were beginning school with lower language skills than in previous years.

"We're finding a lot of our students come into school and are working developmentally, socially and emotionally at lower capacities."

He said many students began school with little or no early childhood education.

Mr Cunliffe said Te Puke Primary had struck issues with their "intense roll growth".

"We can't access any more buildings, we're choka," he said.

The library and school hall had been transformed into classrooms, which provided for the student numbers that had grown by a third in three years.

"As a school community, we have no central space for our students and whanau," he said.

Mr Cunliffe said it was about an 18-month process for new buildings to be built from when they were signed off from the Ministry of Education.

Omokoroa No1 School principal Chris Broadhurst had hoped for a funding increase to provide for students with learning difficulties.

"Because we are a high decile for school, we get limited finding for children with special needs."

He said he wanted "any improvement for children with learning needs, it's pretty inadequate for us at the moment".

- Bay of Plenty Times

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