Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Budget to boost investment in Auckland schools

Budget 2016 will invest about $153 million over four years in school property in greater Auckland. Photo / iStock
Budget 2016 will invest about $153 million over four years in school property in greater Auckland. Photo / iStock

New schools and classrooms to help meet Auckland's booming school-aged population have been announced.

Budget 2016 will invest about $153 million over four years in school property in greater Auckland, including:

• A new primary school in Hingaia South with a planned roll of 700 ($19 million),

• The expansion of Ormiston Primary School to a roll of 720 - more than double its current roll of 300 ($7.3 million).

About $100 million will go towards the construction of four new schools delivered as part of public private partnerships (PPPs) - an agreement with a consortium of private companies to build a new school or rebuild an existing school.

The new schools are Kumeu Primary (700 children), Scott Point Primary (900 children), Flat Bush South East Primary (700 children), and Ormiston Junior College (roll of 1130).

"More than a third of the country's population now lives in the Auckland region. The Government is investing heavily in our largest city to ensure schools have flexible learning spaces and the capacity to deal with future growth," Education Minister Hekia Parata said.

The Budget also included $18 million for 45 new classrooms and 13 replacement classrooms for existing schools, previously announced in July last year. A further $9 million will provide 18 more new classrooms.

Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye said a group of classroom projects announced last year now required more money, and this would be provided from Budget 2016.

"I can confirm that since 2014, as a result of the Auckland roll growth programme, school redevelopments, new schools and the projects green-lighted so far under Budget 2016, we will deliver more than 17,000 new student places by 2019."

The Ministry of Education must find space for 107,000 more school children in Auckland alone by 2040 and planned housing intensification means pressure will be felt within existing city limits.

Other measures to cope with roll growth include shifting enrolment zones, adding primary children to intermediate schools and using multi-storey classroom blocks.

Because a certain amount of funding is pegged to student numbers, schools can be in competition with each other, and try to attract some students from out of the local area.

This has led to some schools in Auckland experiencing falling rolls - particularly those nearby schools with a higher decile, which can be mistakenly equated with quality of education. The Government is likely to scrap the decile system at the conclusion of a current school funding review.

- NZ Herald

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