News that this week’s Budget will include funding for up to seven new charter schools has been met with disappointment from education unions.
Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education, David Seymour, said the increase in funding is in response to the demand to set up more charter schools – or partnership schools as they also known. Last year the Government received 26 applications to open new charter schools, which was in excess of current funding.
However, education unions say that there isn’t a demand for charter schools.
NZPF president Iain Taylor says no one is calling for more charter schools.
“Kids are not flocking to charter schools. Parents have to be enticed to send their kids there. We see the incentives like free school uniforms, free stationery and no programme charges,” said Taylor.
NZEI Te Riu Roa’s Paul Goulter agrees that parents aren’t crying out for charter schools.
“What they want is more money in their local schools, supporting kids where they already are.”
PPTA president Angela Roberts says public money should be going towards what evidence shows helps the most vulnerable, not on more charter schools.
“The funds should be reprioritised to the state sector where they will have the greatest impact on the greatest number of students,” she said.
There are currently eight charter schools open. One of the first schools, Te Pumanawa o te Wairua, at Whangaruru in Northland, was terminated last year after failing to meet a number of requirements.
It has also been announced an independent Partnership School support entity, E Tipu E Rea, has been established to support new, existing, and prospective charter school sponsors and will receive a conditional funding grant, however most of its funding would be sought from private sources.