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Auckland schools struggle with roll growth

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Shopprice New Zealand

St Thomas’ School principal Michael Maher wants to see more development in Auckland schools.

 Growing rolls have schools almost bursting at the seams.

Auckland’s school age population is increasing at a dramatic pace and facilities are struggling to find enough space to keep up.

In August 2014 the Government announced it would invest $350 million over four years to get ahead of demand for education.

Glendowie College principal Richard Dykes knows some significant developments will be needed to cater for future role growth.

Auckland schools are set to see the construction of 40 new classrooms begin within 18 months.

However educators are already feeling pressure

St Thomas’s School principal Michael Maher has seen his role increase by around 200 children in the past three years.

“At this rate we’re expecting to reach 840 by the end of the year,” he says.

“We have to accommodate the families that are already in our community. The reality is there’s just a huge amount of children moving into the area at the moment.

“It’s uncharted territory that we’re in.”

Down the road at Glendowie College the situation is much the same.

The school has seen an increase of more than 200 students since 2010.

“We’re looking at going up to about 1400 students,” Glendowie College principal Richard Dykes says.

“We’re doing all the planning now and trying to do what’s best for the entire community.”

Projections indicate there will be an extra 107,000 school students in Auckland over the next 30 years.

St Thomas’s School in Kohimarama has a new two-storey, 12-classroom block. However this was primarily to upgrade outdated classrooms.

Maher says many schools need new classrooms as well as modern upgrades to existing facilities.

“We’re hoping that we’re going to replace our old block and have new modern learning environments,” he says.

“We’ve got about six relocatable classrooms here which are supposed to leave the school.”

Glendowie College is also looking to replace their relocatable classrooms.

Utilising space is at the forefront of developments to come and both schools agree protecting open areas is of the utmost importance.

“We’ve got some fantastic grounds and we don’t want to compromise that space,” Dykes says.

“It’s not just about more classrooms it’s also creating a quality environment for our students.”

Construction on a new two-story building at Glendowie College is set to begin early next year and should be complete in 2018.

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