Reports today that Chris Hipkins has cancelled four new partnership schools with signed contracts with the Crown due to start in 2019 will be hugely disappointing for the promoters of the schools and families planning to send their children there, National Party Education Spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“As I understand it the Minister hasn’t even met with the sponsors and several of the sponsors found out their contracts would be cancelled via the media,” Ms Kaye says.
“The four schools included an Auckland school focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths and a new Vanguard school in Christchurch.
“These sponsors have spent time and money securing contracts with the Crown and preparing to open these schools. They deserve better than this.
“Regardless of the Minister’s ideological opposition to partnership schools they deserve a fair process and good communication with the Minister and the Ministry. The public also deserves to know any costs to the crown of cancelling these contracts,” Kaye says.
“It’s hard to believe the new government is so blinkered that it won’t allow people to set up new schools to improve achievement for New Zealand’s children.
“The recent Martin Jenkins report shows that many of the partnership schools are performing well and supporting disadvantaged children. That’s why National supports them.
“With regard to the rest of the schools (the current 10 that are open and the two due to open next year) there needs to be transparency about the process that the new Government will be going through about their future.
“The Government has sent mixed messages regarding partnership schools. It is not clear if any of these schools will remain and if they do remain what the nature of their funding and governance arrangements will be.
“The Government needs to be upfront about their future or at the very least the process to determine their future.”
The four new schools due to open in 2019 are:
• City Senior School in Central Auckland, sponsored by City Senior School Limited, will have a mission to nurture and support young people with a particular focus on becoming innovative and creative global citizens. It will be a co-educational senior secondary school for years 11-13, with an opening roll of 100 students and a maximum roll of 300 students.
• Tūranga Tangata Rite in Gisborne, sponsored by Te Runanga o Tūranganui a Kiwa, will focus primarily on Māori students with a, ‘by iwi for iwi’ approach. It will be a co-educational junior secondary school for years 9-11 with an opening roll of 45 students and a maximum roll of 55 students.
• Vanguard Military School Christchurch in Christchurch, will promote attitudinal, behavioural and academic excellence and encourage training and employment pathways beyond school. It will be a co-educational senior secondary school for years 11-13, with an opening roll 120 students and a maximum roll of 210 students.
• Waatea High in South Auckland, sponsored by Te Whare Wananga O MUMA Limited, a subsidiary of the Manukau Urban Māori Authority, will focus on priority learners and have a ‘Māori for Māori’ philosophy. It will be a co-educational bi-lingual secondary school for years 9-13, with an opening roll of 50 and a maximum roll of 145 students. The school will complement the sponsor’s existing early childhood education centre and primary year partnership school, Te Kura Māori o Waatea to provide a complete education pathway.