Northland school finds it difficult to foster learning in derelict environment

By Dean Nathan

It's the school with the most dilapidated classes around, Northland College in Kaikohe.  It's been three years since the state of the buildings at Northland College was officially reported on but a physical inspection would surmise that it's been a lot longer since they have been properly maintained.

Students say that their classrooms are totally dilapidated.

"Water leaks, mould collapsing, ceilings, infrastructure just falling down and the whole "paru-ness" of how everything is.  Yeah, so you can see lots of mould and it's that rotten that I think I could go push my finger through that actually."

Principal Jim Luders led Te Kāea on a inspection of his school and can't help but see how difficult a learning environment it is.

"Just even little things like how that's rundown and this is rundown it filters into the kids.  What's interesting is when you take these kids and you put them into a different environment like say that staffroom they get on with the work and you notice it much much more," says Luders.

The school's head boy, Te Paerangi Kopa says, "I'm really saddened by the state of it.  When it's wet it's not a nice place.  It needs to be fixed smartly."

Three years have passed since the state of the classrooms was reported by ERO but despite the $1.5mil provided by the Ministry of Education, it obviously has not been done.  The principal says the fault lies with past management.

No matter who is at fault, students are still asking why it's taking ever so long to fix.