27 Oct 2020

Education ministry to test air quality at Natone school after mould claims

6:36 pm on 27 October 2020

A leaking and mouldy Porirua school will have its air quality tested after the principal rounded on the Education Ministry.

Water on the walls at Natone Park School.

Water on the walls at Natone Park School. Photo: Supplied

The ministry has confirmed testing will go ahead at Natone Park School after the principal asked for it.

"The building's framing is fundamentally sound, the insulation is dry, and there is no visible mould present," Kim Shannon, Head of Education Infrastructure Service, said.

Principal Daryl Aim said some rooms that were now off limits had mould in the walls.

The ministry only ordered air tests after he castigated officials on Friday and spoke out on RNZ earlier today, Aim said.

Water had been running down the hall walls today when it rained, Aim said.

The ministry acknowledged parts of the school were damp.

"Now that the re-roofing is completed, work to remediate past dampness in the interior is under way with floor and wall coverings removed in some areas," Shannon said in a statement.

In a statement, Shannon said "the building is watertight".

The ministry had invested more than $1 million at Natone in five years, including on window, ceiling and floor upgrades and "delivering warm water in the bathrooms".

It took over the $820,000 reroofing when this became a distraction to school management and was taking too long, and that job was now complete.

Addressing the damp would be done in stages to limit impacts, with the main hall done by mid November, and the rest done by the end of Term Four.

Natone had also been given $64,000 for a school-led project through the School Investment Package, Shannon said.

The ministry pointed out the school did its own property assessments prior to 2018-19.

It did not identify significant roof problems in its 10-year property plan in 2013, it said.

"Our service standards to schools and property investment decisions are based on the property condition, and not the school's decile rating."