$23 million Investment in Special Schools

More than $23 million will be invested in rebuilding two special schools in Auckland and Christchurch, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced today.

The country's largest special school, Sommerville, which since 2013 has occupied facilities on the former Tamaki Intermediate School site in Panmure, will be rebuilt onsite at a cost of $17 million.

A further $6 million will allow the relocation and rebuild of Allenvale Special School in Christchurch to be completed.

Minister Martin announced the funding, part of Budget 2018, in a visit to Sommerville today.

"This funding demonstrates the Government's commitment to supporting special education and ensuring that all children are able to access the facilities they require. This funding will ensure more children with learning support needs are able to attend school and receive the best education possible.

"We are prioritising new spending to remove barriers to young people's access to education and learning. We want to ensure every child with learning challenges has access to the tools and professionals they need. We know that learning support funding has been inadequate for more than a decade," Minister Martin says.

Sommervillle School serves an extensive catchment in East Auckland and currently provides learning support for over 270 students from five to 21 years of age with high needs. In addition to the base site, Sommerville operates more than a dozen satellite units in nine host schools, and has a transition programme for older students.

The investment in the school will allow for roll growth and along with the rebuild, work will begin on a second secondary site at Glendowie College. This is planned for December.

Allenvale is a specialist provider for students who are verified as eligible to receive targeted funding through the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS). It has a number of satellite units, including an off-site tertiary education unit for students aged 17 and over. The extra funding for the school is the difference between the original plan to remediate it and the now required relocation and rebuild on the Belfast West school site.

The special schools announcement is part of the $332 million School Growth Package of new capital spending in Budget 2018. Further announcements about investments in school property will be made in the coming weeks.