Students at a leaky primary school will spend the winter in mouldy classrooms after officials failed to organise plans for temporary buildings in time.
Clayton Park School, where the walls are lined with toxic mould and four rooms have been shut because of safety concerns, was told relocatable classrooms for its youngest pupils would be in place by July.
Now, they are not coming to the 500-pupil Manurewa school until November, which Principal Paul Wright says is because Ministry of Education officials did not apply for planning consents within the timeframe needed.
"When I found out about the delay I'd only just sent a letter to parents telling them the good news - the classrooms were coming in July," Mr Wright said.
"I then went to a meeting and found it wasn't true. I didn't know what to do. I'd given the community some more false hope, I'd misled them again."
The buildings were to be a temporary measure while the decile 2 school waits for a total rebuild of its leaky, ageing buildings - one of about 15 schools across the country due a major upgrade but yet to have a confirmed start date.
Clayton Park was hoping its youngest pupils, those aged between 5 and 8, would not have to spend another winter in mouldy and damp rooms, where the air has to be regularly tested to ensure everyone is safe.
The Ministry of Education's deputy head of the Education Infrastructure Service, Jerome Sheppard, said as soon as it realised the July date was based on an outdated plan, it fronted up to the school and apologised.
"We know it's caused frustration for the school and that's something we really regret," Mr Sheppard said.
"We made a mistake and that's not good enough. We know how important it is for the kids, the staff and their community."
Mr Wright said he was angry and frustrated and the parents felt the same.
"For a while some were wobbling about keeping kids there, but now I think they realise there's a wider issue. Our parents feel very strongly that Maori and Pasifika are disadvantaged, that low deciles are not treated equally."
He said unless they were told at the meeting with the ministry tomorrow that rebuilding was to go ahead, he doubted it would make anyone in the community feel better.
Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye told the Herald last week the scale and number of rebuilds needed was higher than first thought. She said, however, she was on the cusp of some big announcements.
Schools had to be prioritised nationally to ensure fairness. The Government has set aside $300 million specifically for major rebuilds, in addition to the $1.3 billion for modernisation due over 10 years.
• 500 pupils.
• Walls are lined with toxic mould.
• Temporary classrooms were due in July.
• Ministry of Education did not apply for planning consents on time, says principal.
• Classrooms now due in November.