Two Northland schools will get new classrooms to accommodate their growing rolls thanks to $4.5m of Government funding.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced a $164m investment to build new classrooms and upgrade schools around the country - including $4.5m for roll growth classrooms at Kaitaia Primary and Karetu schools.
Karetu School principal Ken Timperley said a bottle of wine may have been opened when he found out the school had received the funding.
"All year we've had five classes cramped into four rooms - so it's pretty much been sardines in a tin I guess. It allows us to expand, give the seniors their classroom back - because that's what we've been sharing - and just enjoy a new classroom."
Timperley said when he first started at the school in 2006 the roll was 55. It has been steadily growing since 2008 and there are now 111 students at the school.
He said the school had previously received Government funding for multipurpose rooms which he turned into teaching spaces, but this was the first time since he started that it had received funding specifically for a classroom.
"I've got an extra 23 kids in one classroom so there are 46 kids sharing one classroom. It's noisy because although we've got a sliding door between the two classrooms, you can hear what's going on next door. It's just tight," he said.
Timperley put the roll growth down to the school environment.
"We like to think we're a whānau school. Our kids come off the bus, they give us a hug and go and play in the class and we've got a big bush area down the back of the school so they're always climbing trees or building huts - it's just one of those schools."
Timperley said work on the classroom is expected to start on December 9, and while the expected completion date is in March; he is hoping the work can be done by the start of the 2021 school year in February.
Hipkins said the investment meant more young people can learn in warm, dry and modern classrooms that are fit-for-purpose.
"This package will help create and sustain more than 3000 jobs. The Ministry of Education and schools will be engaging with local builders, plumbers, carpenters, roofers, and electricians who will, in turn, need to buy products and supplies from local stores."