National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye is saddened that the current members of the Partnership Schools Authorisation Board have all decided not to make themselves available for reappointment on 1 March and wishes to thank them for their hard work.

“Education Minister Chris Hipkins’ treatment of partnership schools has been appalling so it’s not surprising that the current Board members have effectively decided to walk out en masse.

“It is my understanding that under the Government’s policy there needs to be an advisory board so Hipkins is going to have to work very hard within the next week to find people to make up that board.

“In making their decision, the Partnership Schools Authorisation Board members have made it very clear that they do not wish to contribute to dismantling an initiative that they know is achieving so much for students.

“While I am very sad about their decision, I fully understand and respect the reasons behind it.

“The Board has made a huge contribution to the success of partnership schools. I want to acknowledge the leadership of Chair Catherine Isaac and other members for their work to support the schools to provide an alternative to mainstream education. It was a heavyweight board made up of a number of well-known principals and leading Māori educators.

“All members past and present accepted appointment to the Board because they were committed to providing opportunities for vulnerable children to be successful at school.

“The Board believes that the interests of partnership school students and their families have not been taken into account by the Government which is dead set on shutting down the school they love.

“I have to say, I agree. We’ve heard countless stories of kids who were failing in mainstream education and have since found success and enjoyment at a partnership school so it’s sad that the Government will be taking this away.

“Every past and present Board member can be proud of the work they did. I thank them and wish them well.”

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