Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment

The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive.

As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs.

This includes:

  • $63 million in depreciation funding to upgrade specialist schools in poor condition.
  • $26 million in capital funding to deliver additional capacity through satellite classrooms for specialist schools, relieving pressure on the network.

“We are providing certainty for parents, teachers and children by committing to the redevelopment of three schools and the provision of an additional 17 satellite classrooms around New Zealand,” Education Minister Erica Stanford says.

“A report recently released by the Education Review Office (ERO) highlights that some of our most vulnerable learners are in classrooms that are in a terrible condition. I was horrified to learn about the unacceptable state of specialist school property and the long wait lists of more than 650 children, following significant underinvestment in maintenance and growth.

“This investment includes funding for the upgrade of Sommerville Special School in Auckland. Work will begin on site at the end of this year. Decisions on funding for two other specialist schools are in their final stages.

“We are committing to include specialist schools and satellite classrooms in network planning for the first time to give families around New Zealand the choice they deserve.

“A specialist schools work programme is also underway to ensure children get the critical services they need. This work is part of the Government’s six education priorities to deliver a world-leading education system. 

“Today’s announcement signals this Government’s firm commitment to our specialist schools who do incredible work for young people with the highest needs,” Ms Stanford says.

Media contact: Mitchell Alexander +64 21 846 701

Notes to editors:

  • Sommerville Special School redevelopment will deliver:
    • 22 new teaching spaces with connecting walkways and canopies.
    • A new pick up / drop off area and parking.
    • A new building and infrastructure to house the new co-funded hydrotherapy pools and equipment.
  • The $26 million funding will build teacher capacity throughout the school network, ensuring student achievement is lifted for more children with additional needs.
Base Special School Location of satellite classrooms Number of teaching spaces
Northern Health School Taupo Intermediate  2
Maitai School Nayland College 2
Mt Richmond School Papatoetoe Intermediate 3
Rosehill School  James Cook High School 7
Blomfield Special School Bay of Islands College 2
Papatoetoe South School* Papatoetoe South School 1
    17 teaching spaces

*Papatoetoe South School is a mainstream school that runs a programme for students to support learners with high needs. This funding will enable an additional teaching space to be added to the existing facility that is currently being redeveloped. Specialist provision at Papatoetoe South School is run by the school itself as opposed to it being a satellite site of a base specialist school.