The latest decision by the Government to continue with the Education (Public Good not Profit from Charter Schools) Bill will add to the confusion about the future of these schools for the families and students who care deeply about them, National Party Education Spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“This legislation would wipe out Vanguard Military School, for example, which plays a hugely positive role in the lives of hundreds of our children. It is delivering fantastic results, and the new Government is putting that at risk by putting the ideological views of the unions before the needs of students and parents,” says Ms Kaye.
“Is this legislation another mistake by the Leader of the House and Education Minister Chris Hipkins? Why would you progress legislation to get rid of only one partnership school when you’ve promised to review all partnership schools?
“I am concerned that the Government may try and amend this legislation to get rid of all partnership schools prior to Christmas. This would be at odds with their commitment over the weekend to review all schools.
“There are legitimate questions about whether this review is a sham as the Minister gives the appearance of having a closed mind given his previous careless comments.
“The way the Minister can clear this up is by answering some basic questions about the review. We have no details about who is doing the review, the potential costs of the review, when it will be completed by, or what the requirements and options could be if the partnership school model goes and schools are required to convert to state integrated or special character schools.
“These schools have legally binding contracts. If the Minister is not careful with the process that he and the Ministry undertake they may end up costing the taxpayer in compensation payments or court processes,” Ms Kaye says.
“The new Government has already had numerous positions on partnership schools, from repealing the legislation to negotiating on a case-by-case basis to reviewing the schools – and this latest move just adds to the confusion for parents and students.
“The Prime Minister said today that she wanted New Zealand to become a kinder more caring nation. Closing these schools when they deliver such fantastic benefits to our children is not a caring and kind thing to do.”