The new military charter school on Auckland’s North Shore has lost 10 per cent of its students since opening in February this year, figures released by the Ministry of Education show.
QPEC chairperson Bill Courtney says this is a sign that the charter school experiment is failing, and should quickly be stopped to avoid any more students being disadvantaged.
Vanguard Military School opened in February with 104 students. But according to its July 1 roll return to the Ministry of Education, only 93 students were on the roll five months later. This is before the second term had even finished.
“Vanguard is funded for 108 students this year,” Mr Courtney says, “according to its contract with the Ministry, which has set the Guaranteed Minimum Roll at 108 students.
“But unlike state schools, it has lost no funding as a result of these students leaving, as the funding is guaranteed for the year.”
QPEC is questioning what made such a high proportion of students leave.
“The Ministry of Education raised concerns during the application process about this school’s military culture and zero-tolerance ethos, and how that would fit with being inclusive. It seems these concerns may have been justified,” Mr Courtney says.
“It is well known from the experience of charter schools overseas that charter schools ‘counsel out’ difficult students who could bring down school grades.
“Is this something that could well be going on at Vanguard?”