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The Minister of Education’s handling of the process around partnership schools has been incompetent, uncaring and reckless, National’s Education Spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.

“A number of schools have now received a ministerial termination letter while they are still in the dark about whether or not they will be able to reopen as a different school – with final decision from the Minister not due till the end of July.

“This is the latest development in a shambolic process which has also included the Minister meeting with one school but refusing to meet with others and prematurely announcing that schools will not open before decisions have been formally made. 

“He has also circumvented the Select Committee process by ruling out changes to allow the schools to maintain aspects of the partnership school model before the committee deliberated on the matter.

“This means that people are submitting on changes they would like to occur to the special character model not realising the Minister has already ruled them out. 

“He also admitted in Select Committee last week that it’s his view that there shouldn’t be hearings at partnerships schools to provide opportunities for families to submit.

“It seems the Minister, along with Labour and Green members, were determined to go the extra mile to silence the voices of vulnerable children and their families.

“He has even tried to celebrate that all the partnership schools applied to become either designated character schools or state integrated schools. The reality is they had no choice, given the legislation in Parliament to axe the partnership school model.

“There are also reports that a Waitangi Tribunal claim is being considered. If this does occur I will not be surprised, given the positive difference these schools have made for so many young Māori.

“This Minister has consistently shown a lack of care and respect for these students and these schools. They deserve better.”

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