Greens slam Charter schools, Vanguard CEO responds

SND10-wk1-Vanguard 300x225In a press statement last week Green Party Education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty described Charter schools as a “hugely expensive experiment that the Government is determined to continue with despite a lack of evidence they’re either successful or needed”.

“Plans to open four more of these schools next year must be put off till Government can prove they’re value for money, good for students and aren’t damaging neighbouring schools.

“Vanguard has been trumpeted by National as a success yet official data shows it is struggling to hold on to its students.

“Principals in State schools are concerned about the disproportionate amounts of funding Charter schools are getting, saying that they’d be able to achieve amazing things for their own students if they had access to a similar amount of resources.

“Charters are able to pay for transport, uniforms, stationery and even food for their pupils. Even if they were succeeding, it’d be no surprise given the level of resources.

“The problem with Charter schools is that they suck resources and students away from public schools.

“Government pumps huge resources into them initially, but the real problems come a couple of years later when nearby schools have been undermined and the extra resources given to the Charters in the early days dry up,” Ms Delahunty said.

In response,Vanguard Military School’s CEO Nick Hyde said Partnership Schools were created to use innovation and to try different methods in an attempt to assist any child who, if they continued in their current school environment, would fail.

“Vanguard has built its model around a military ethos and has a focus on producing productive citizens for New Zealand. We are new and different from State schools and unfortunately Ms Delahaunty has shown no grasp of the Partnership school model or our point of difference,” he said.

He has released the following results.
At the start of 2014 the school enrolled 45 Year 12 students, 41 of those students have already gained their NCEA Level 2 qualifications. Overall Vanguard’s Year 12s had a 91 per cent success rate. These results have all been moderated by local schools, are prior to exam results and the students must take NCEA subjects with English, Maths and Physical Education compulsory. The school hopes to be able to release its Year 11 student results shortly.

“As a school we are here to serve our students, their parents and the communities they come from. We provide a choice. When our school was first announced back in 2013 and right up until the election a wide range of politicians from all parties were invited to visit our school in the hope that we could answer any questions they may have and so that they could understand the differences we have with State schools. Ms Delahaunty has never visited the school or even spoken to anyone at our school so in that regard her attack was very disappointing,” Mr Hyde said.

“Vanguard Military School’s priority is to get our students the NCEA qualification they enrol in and then assist them into apprenticeships, courses, jobs, the NZDF and next year when they enrol Level 3s they hope to send some to university.

“The school appreciates that they receive tax payers’ money and therefore will continue to strive for top results but are also entirely comfortable with the students graduating on their own terms and leaving to become the best they can be in their chosen field.”

Mr Hyde said two students who gained their NCEA Level 2 qualifications during the year, sat and passed the New Zealand Army entrance test and were offered service in August. The school believed holding them at school for a further four months was not in their best interest, he said.

The school will increase its roll next year with 127 of its anticipated 144 students already signed up.

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