The rebuild of a Northland school has been given priority after the principal called the classrooms "the worst in New Zealand".

Northland College principal Jim Luders said he expected the rebuild, estimated to cost $15 million, to start before Christmas.

Mr Luders met with Associate Minister of Education Nikki Kaye in Wellington this morning to discuss the issues raised last week in the media about the poor state of the school buildings.

"We have priority now," he said. "We're right up the front."


While the plans for the rebuild of the Kaikohe school had yet to be finalised, Mr Luders said he was hoping for a ministerial announcement in the next month. All going well some classrooms would be ready halfway through next year, with rebuild complete by 2017.

Mr Luders said following the meeting: "It's a relief for our kids as they are going to get looked after."

Last week Mr Luders went public challenging any schools to show him worse classrooms than his.

There was mould, asbestos, uneven floors, patches of missing carpet and ceiling tiles which had fallen off because of water damage.

An Education Review Office report in 2012 found the "unacceptable" working conditions had a detrimental effect on staff morale and student well-being. A commissioner was appointed not long after the report.

Despite ERO's recommendation for "urgent" work on the classrooms, the school spent the last three years in limbo. The most recent ERO report, released last month, found most concerns had not been addressed.

Ministry of Education acting head of the education infrastructure service Jerome Sheppard said $1.5 million had been spent since 2012 to address short-term issues. They included the school not being weathertight, urgent repairs and upgrades.

"Northland College does require significant redevelopment, and we are working with the school to resolve immediate property issues as quickly as possible," Mr Sheppard said.

"To address the longer-term issues with buildings, we are planning to address these as a single redevelopment project."