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All charter schools now approved

Two charter schools’ applications to establish new state integrated schools have both been approved, Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced.

The decisions on Tūranga Tangata Rite in Gisborne and Waatea School in Auckland mean that all 12 charter schools that applied to become designated character or state integrated schools have now been approved.

“The Ministry of Education and the schools’ proprietors made good progress in their negotiations, and I have now signed the integration agreements for both schools,” Chris Hipkins said.

“I have also appointed the new schools’ Establishment Boards of Trustees. They include members of each charter school’s governance board, to provide continuity and support its character.

“Te Kura Māori o Waatea will open as a year 1-8 state integrated school in 2019.

“Tūranga Tangata Rite was one of the last charter schools to be approved by the previous Government, and is not yet up and running. The school will open as a year 9-11 state integrated school in Term 1 2020, once the property and site are ready.

“We have worked with the charter schools to find a way forward for them within the state system and no existing charter schools are closing their doors.

“I am pleased that we have been able to provide certainty and continuity for the schools’ students and their wider communities. The new designated character and state integrated schools will benefit from the added protections and supports that the state system provides.

“Looking ahead, the Government is committed to investing in a state education system that delivers quality education and meets the needs of all learners,” Chris Hipkins said.

Not everyone is happy about this

Partnership Schools support organisation, E Tipu e Rea released the following statement: 

“There is absolutely nothing to celebrate in Minister Hipkins announcement yesterday that all 12 Charter School operators who applied to establish state schools have been approved to do so. Two additional schools that were previously approved to open have chosen not to, those being Vanguard Military School – Christchurch and Blue Light – Taupo.

“The opportunity for this Government to pursue an educational solution to child poverty, particularly when our Prime Minister is Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, has been lost. Political dogma has had its way.

“To state the obvious, the best possible outcome for the students and the communities of Charter Schools is that they would have been allowed to stay open as Charter Schools. Is it not too much to expect that our Political Leaders would ensure the best possible outcomes for those they serve?

“There was never a good reason to close them. Charter Schools were working for ‘priority learners’ (low decile, Maori and Pasifika children) where state schools have never, not in 178 years at least.

“Charter School communities were never asked for their opinions. Perhaps the Prime Minister considered they weren’t worthy? Or maybe as John Shewan suggested to the Education and Workforce Select Committee Minister Hipkins determined that they could be ‘bullied’.

“Nor was the evidence of their success ever considered.”


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