The government has released more information regarding its controversial plan to institute a charter school system in New Zealand.
On August 2nd the Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Education Minister John Banks released a joint statement, providing further details of the government’s proposed framework for charter schools in New Zealand. The new school will officially be called “Partnership Schools” or “Kura Houra”, and will be run in cooperation between the Crown and a school sponsor.
Explaining the advent of the new system, John Banks said “… partnership schools will be another option for parents and students, giving them more freedom to choose the type of education that best suits their learning needs.”
Commenting on the potential benefits of the new system, Hekia Parata said that partnership schools will have their standards set in line with internationally agreed best practices while being modeled specifically for the needs of the New Zealand educational system.
the two Ministers revealed that in order to be granted a sponsorship opportunity the applicants must agree to a pre-set contract time and a number of performance based targets which will be chosen by the Crown. The school will also need to be approved by the Ministry of Education, and will be required to publicly release information regarding the academic performance of the students.
The schools will not be bound to use the New Zealand Curriculum, but if a new curriculum is made, it will need to be developed in line with the principals of the New Zealand Curriculum. The schools will also be able to negotiate with the Crown to determine what percentage of the educational staff taken on must be registered teachers in New Zealand. Prior to being granted permission to form the school, the sponsors will also need to agree on the maximum number of students that may be enrolled at the institute.
Despite the potential for the schools to be specialized for certain students or demographics, the school will not be allowed to turn away applicants based on background or academic ability.
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