Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced plans to terminate troubled Whangaruru charter school, Te Pumanawa o te Wairua.
The decision was largely due to low achievement outcomes, poor teaching and an inadequate curriculum.
The school, which opened in 2014, has until January 15 to give feedback on the Ministry’s proposal, but it seems unlikely the school will open next year.
Despite some progress being made in addressing governance issues raised in the performance notice issued by the Ministry of Education in February this year, a specialist Education Review Office audit indicated that little improvement had been made in the areas of curriculum and achievement.
Act Leader David Seymour said he supported the Minister of Education's proposal and described the potential for school closure as a strength, not a weakness, of the Partnership Schools model.
However, others perceive the school’s failure as further proof that the model isn’t working.
Green Party education spokeswoman Catherine Delahunty called for a stop to any more charter schools opening. She said it was concerning that the Whangaruru school was opened in the first place
“The resources that went into propping up a school that was never ready to open was a waste that could have been spent on supporting these students properly,” she said.
NZEI Te Riu Roa National Secretary Paul Goulter agreed.
“The result is that the school has been a failure right from the beginning. The big losers are the students who attended the school and the taxpayer. Millions of taxpayer dollars have been poured away to fund a failed ideological experiment.”
However, despite the failure of Whangaruru, the Education Minister continues to defend the charter schools model. She said while the situation was disappointing, the school is one out of 2500 schools and one out of nine charter schools, of which “the other eight are succeeding”.
If the final decision is to close the school, as anticipated, the Ministry will help students to transition to other education options.
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