A small Waikato school is being forced to rely on paper and pens after burglars stole all their laptops and iPads over the weekend.
Teachers at Te Kura o Waharoa walked into the school this morning to find the office window had been smashed. Thieves had prised open the resource room door where the laptops and iPads were locked in a cabinet and had also broken into the principal's office to access the locked safe.
The school is located in Waharoa, which is about 10 minutes from Matamata.
Principal Hinetai Tait said 17 laptops, 17 iPads, a Swivl iPad stand and a camera had been taken. Fortunately no money had been left in the safe over the weekend so the thieves only stole petrol cards from it.
"They left a huge mess."
Tait said the theft was devastating and would hinder students' learning.
"As part of our programme devices are really important. The kids use them, our senior kids use Google classrooms - well they can't now as we've got nothing to use to get online."
The school, which has 43 students aged between 5 and 12, was insured but replacements were likely to take about two months so until then students would be relying on traditional teaching methods. The school had only started using the laptops and iPads two years ago.
"We are quite innovative as teachers and we will carry on normally, but education has changed a lot and technology is a huge part of the classroom programme these days - where kids are used to being able to access it and being able to use it for research for getting their assignments done, they are not going to get that opportunity."
Tait had posted a message on the school's Facebook page calling for any information about the thefts.
"It is really disappointing ... I'm just hoping to get as much community help and hopefully someone might be stupid and try and sell it to someone in the community - that sort of thing."
A police media spokeswoman confirmed police were notified of the break-in this morning and were working with the school and looking for further details into how they could progress their inquiries.
It is the second time within a year the school has been broken into after an electric whiteboard was ripped from the wall of a classroom last year.