Charter Schools Perception Series: The Advocates Part One



WHAT is your background in education Alwyn?

I started teaching in 1991. I taught at Tauranga Boys, which is a good school, then did a little time at Hamilton Boys and then taught at Saint Cuthbert’s college. During that time I worked really hard in the background doing some study looking at some other countries. In the end the questions were, what is really good about the New Zealand education system and what could change?

The bottom line is that for the vast majority of children in New Zealand if you place them in year eleven in good shape they will do fine.

Alwyn Poole has a BBS, MEd (Hons), Dip Tchg and a PG Dip Sport Mgt. He is a Principal and Academic Manager.

WHY is there a need for a new Middle School model?

I think one place that we are incredibly remiss in New Zealand is that we don’t ask our Primary School applicants to have a minimum NCEA level of two or three in Maths and a Science therefore we have got a whole heap of Primary teachers who are unable to be strong in those areas.

Children are coming to year seven quite often without a good background in those subjects.

So where do we fall down? The answer is in years seven, eight, nine and ten.

I think for many people Intermediate schooling has done its dash. And the first two years of secondary schooling are under valued and under resourced. You have got bigger classes and you put your less able teachers and you don’t put as much emphasis on it because the Schools are judged on year eleven, twelve and thirteen.

So at that year nine and ten time when the kids really need help developmentally and intellectually to be catered for at their best, is when in our New Zealand education system we choose to give them the least.

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See if you can guess

You might have seen this story already, in which case you’re not allowed to play the game.   Pick a country, one country, where you think that the government is considering acting against having strippers at funerals?

Pick a country, then read on.   Read more »


Hubble is 25

YouTube my be 10, and no doubt has changed the world, but above us floats an amazing piece of equipment, and it’s been silently staring into space for us for 25 years.


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First Auckland, now Wellington want government to make tolls legal

Charity muggers may be stopping cars and demanding money, but the idea is appealing to cities that want more money.  Always more money…

Wellington wants to join forces with Auckland in a bid change the Government’s mind on tolling exiting motorways.

The region’s political leaders say it is not practical or affordable to keep building roads to ease rush hour congestion.

Other measures – including motorway tolls, charging motorists to enter a CBD, and raising the price of central city parking – also need to be seriously considered, they say.

On Tuesday, the Regional Transport Committee, which all of greater Wellington’s mayors sit on, will vote on the idea of approaching Auckland Council to discuss a joint approach to the Government on road pricing tools.

Tolling existing roads requires a law change and Auckland Mayor Len Brown has made no secret of his support. His council has proposed a $2 motorway toll or a regional fuel tax and higher rates as solutions to Auckland’s $12 billion transport funding shortfall.

But the Government is “sceptical” about the idea, and has rebuffed Auckland’s advances to date.

The Wellington Regional Land Transport Plan, which the Regional Transport Committee will be asked to approve on Tuesday, says the transport network is being placed under high stress at peak times, particularly in and out Wellington’s CBD.

The plan estimated charging motorists to enter Wellington’s CBD could reduce car trips during the morning rush by 4 million and increase public transport trips by 3m annually.

Greater Wellington’s public transport portfolio leader Paul Swain said most of the debate about road pricing thus far had been in Auckland, and Wellington was keen to join the discussion.

He acknowledged that the two cities combined would possess strong lobbying power, but he said the intention was not to strong-arm the Government.

“The Government, in my view, will be quite cautious about the shift towards this.”

But Transport Minister Simon Bridgessaid the Government was not keen on new funding tools for transport.

He was always happy to engage with Wellington and Auckland’s councils.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said it would be inappropriate for him to comment on the challenges facing Wellington.

It’s not unprecedented of course.  Except we’ve had tolls to pay for the item itself.  Be it a bridge, or a road extension.

Where this is going wrong is that it is a general taxation mechanism, and although it appears to be roughly targeted at “transport” related expenditure, it is the thin end of the wedge.

Once you add personal or company tax, GST, rates, ACC, fuel, and sin taxes, our lives are already taxed well in excess of 50 cents in the dollar.   There has to be someone that recognises we need to do more with less, not just come for the tax and rate payers’ pockets.  Again.  And again.


– Michael Forbes, Stuff

Armstrong laments Key gets away with another one

One particular word had been noticeably absent from [John Key’s critics] carefully crafted public statements.

That word is the ”R” word – resignation.

With the story still unfolding with unpredictable twists and turns, it is far too early to call for Mr Key to fall on his sword.

Saying that he should do so could be counterproductive in only succeeding in generating sympathy for Mr Key.

Better to wait until it is possible to assess on whose side – Mr Key’s or Ms Bailey’s – majority public opinion lies.

It has taken a while, but Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First have finally worked out that turning the public against Mr Key will not be achieved by making shrill demands that he depart Premier House once and for all every time he has a lapse in judgement.

Those parties have learned from bitter experience that calls for Mr Key to go perversely tend to have the opposite effect in consolidating support behind him. Read more »


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Today in History


On this day, in 1986, a test to see if possible new emergency procedures designed to protect a nuclear power plant reactor core was carried out the number 4 reactor of the Chernobyl Power Plant.

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Faces of the day


Konrad Berking (left) and Barrie Olsen were at the E-Loong Internet Cafe in New Lynn when they heard a woman screaming. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Good on you boys!

A group of men who saw a young woman being strangled and punched in her car say they were so angry they had no qualms about chasing the attacker – a man they caught and restrained until police arrived.

The eight Auckland men are now being hailed as heroes after interrupting the attack on the young waitress as she stopped in her car at a set of lights on Great North Rd, New Lynn on Wednesday night.

The men were playing League of Legends together at nearby E-Loong Internet Cafe about 9.30pm when they heard the victim screaming, “Get away,” and frantically tooting her car horn.

“We ran out the front and saw a black car with a guy getting into the driver’s side and a girl half in the gear box and half in the passenger seat,” said 25-year-old Konrad Berking.

“There was struggling going on – we could see him strangling the girl and she was trying to kick him and push him out.
He had her by the throat and was pushing her around.”

As Mr Berking approached the car, he said the man opened the door and said something in broken English before running down the street and into the driveway of McDonald’s and the library, near the corner of Memorial Drive.

“He just sprinted, it all seemed to happen in two seconds.”

Mr Berking tended to the woman – who was very upset and had obvious facial and neck bruising – while his friend Barrie Olsen, 36, followed the man.

“My main concern was her safety, she got out and her face was a bit bloody and there was strangulation marks … it was quite surreal,” said Mr Berking.

Not wanting to chase the alleged attacker away, Mr Olsen said he stayed some distance behind him but followed him down the driveway.

As he turned the corner, he saw the man take off the blue overalls he was wearing and throw them into a rubbish bin, at which time Mr Olsen phoned the police.

The alleged attacker then tried to mix in with a group of teens who were standing near the library steps, Mr Olsen said.

“My other friends came around the corner and I called them over, this all happened in about two or three minutes, then we all just completely surrounded him pretty much.

“He realised he was outnumbered and took off and ran away, and we all ran after him.”

…”He tried to do a loop-de-loop around a van and ran back across the road towards the library where I was still on the phone. He ran straight towards me so I managed to kick his legs out from under him and he fell over and the rest of the boys piled on top of him.

“He was a big boy, but we have some big boys here, too.”

Police arrived soon after and the alleged offender was arrested and charged with assault with intent to rob.

…Waitakere Police Area Commander Inspector Scott Webb praised the men for stepping in and not only helping the victim, but helping apprehend a suspect.

“The way they managed to co-ordinate themselves, call police, assist the victim and detain the offender was very impressive and we’ll be looking at a way to formally recognise their efforts.”

-Additional reporting Rob Kidd of NZME. News Service

– NZ Herald

Word of the day

The word for today is…

catastrophe (noun) – 1. A great, often sudden calamity.
2. A complete failure; a fiasco.
3. The concluding action of a drama, especially a classical tragedy, following the climax and containing a resolution of the plot.
4. A sudden violent change in the earth’s surface; a cataclysm.

Source : The Free Dictionary

Etymology : 1530s, “reversal of what is expected” (especially a fatal turning point in a drama), from Latin catastropha, from Greek katastrophe “an overturning; a sudden end,” from katastrephein “to overturn, turn down, trample on; to come to an end,” from kata “down” + strephein “turn”. Extension to “sudden disaster” is first recorded 1748.

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 25

15Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones.