Schools overflowing in growth areas, National calls out the Government for doing 'very little' in education

Schools and classrooms are overflowing throughout the country, leading National to accuse the Government of neglecting the education sector, but the Government is making some big promises for its upcoming budget.

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As Auckland’s population explodes so does the need for more schools. Source: 1 NEWS

Many schools are overcapacity, particularly in areas of huge growth like in North West Auckland, where special housing areas, new KiwiBuild homes and huge developments are taking over suburbs.

Head of the Auckland Secondary Principals’ Association and Whangaparaoa College principal James Thomas said some schools were using the library as a classroom, or instead of using a small gymnasium as a second gym they are using it as two or three classrooms, to accommodate the lack of space.

“We would be hoping that treasury makes some decisions in the upcoming Budget, when they say how important education is in New Zealand," he said.

National Helensville MP Chris Penk has launched a petition calling for a new high school to be built. He says the area has 27 primary and intermediate schools, but only one high school.

The National MP wants the government to free up land - and money - to build the new school.

Muriwai resident Trish Drake has been calling for a new college for 25 years. She said children had to get buses to school and many parents send their kids far out of their communities to get to school.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said more land would be bought when the Government knows there is expansion happening.

But even once funding is announced it’ll take time for schools to be built. 

"We know that we've got a lot of work to do here, there's no question about that and there's more to come," Mr Hipkins said.

“We put $330million in last year's Budget for new schools and classrooms.

"We've been working on some pretty comprehensive growth plans for the whole country. We're not going to be annoucing those until we've got the money arranged to meet this extra demand," he said.

But National's Education spokeswoman Nikki Kaye said the Government should have been building schools and classrooms a year ago and now they are stuck playing catch up.

Ms Kaye said her plan to build new schools had been stalled under Labour.

“We've got a couple of hundred schools that are over capacity. They've [the Government] really done very little for the last 12 months," she said. "We're going to have schools that are over capacity, even if they announce funding in a Budget.”