In recent years, there’s been a massive upsurge in the number of people living in suburbs like Ponsonby, Grey Lynn and Westmere. Consequently, we’re seeing more young families in the electorate and this influx, particularly in the Western Bays is putting pressure on our local schools. Since 1999 for example, Westmere has seen an increase of close to 20% more children under the age of 14 living in the area.
Since I have been elected we have delivered $3.2 million for upgrades and new classrooms for seven Auckland Central schools.
The challenge is not to be reactive to the issues facing areas like the Western Bays. Managing the growing population of our schools in the electorate should be part of a long term plan and be underpinned by better collaboration with local and central government. I am pleased that the Ministry of Education is undertaking a demographics study into Auckland Central schools to look at the next steps to alleviate inner city growth.
I was delighted that earlier this year the Minister of Education approved a maximum roll increase for St Mary’s College from 800 to 1000 students to be implemented at 50 students per year for four years, beginning in 2011. I am pleased that we have been able to take some practical steps to help families in Auckland Central have access to high achieving schools like St Mary’s College.