Hekia Parata

NZ First want taxpayers’ money paid back; They could start with their own $158,000

NZ First want taxpayers’ money paid back from the failed Charter school up north, ironically in the pensioner-of St-Mary’s-Bay’s electorate.

The government last year refused to consider the survival of a Northland charter school unless its owners agreed to reimburse the Crown if it was shut down, documents show.

Education Minister Hekia Parata would not confirm if the trust that owned the failed Te Pumanawa o te Wairua school had agreed to reimburse the Crown.

New Zealand First said the government must ensure it is reimbursed if any more charter schools close.

Documents obtained by the party under the Official Information Act show the government last year wanted the owners of the school at Whangaruru to agree to sell its property and chattels if it closed.

A spokesman for Ms Parata would not say how the trust responded to that request. He said only that the school’s land and other assets would be the subject of a commercial negotiation process.   Read more »

Northland charter school closes due to poor quality of management

A Charter school that was struggling has been shut down.

The Government has terminated an agreement to run a troubled charter school in Northland because its challenges were ‘too great to overcome’.

Education Minister Hekia Parata and Parliamentary Under-Secretary David Seymour made the announcement this morning to end the Nga Parirau Matauranga Charitable Trust’s contract to run the school in Whangaruru.

The trust was handed a performance notice in February last year, and a specialist audit in October showed the Board had made “significant progress” in addressing governance and management.

However, its “core business” of teaching and learning had got slightly better for some students though not for all and “not in a sustainable way”.

The Trust was told of the decision on Tuesday.   Read more »

About time, Hekia comes good on sorting out dud teachers and dud schools

Watch the howls of outrage as the teacher unions gather strength after Hekia Parata’s announcment that she is going after dud schools.

Schools with persistent student underachievement will face a broader range of action from officials, including possible closure, under a proposed revamp of education law.

Education Minister Hekia Parata also wants to reward high-performing schools with much more flexibility in how they plan, and more discretion in the use of funding.

Short of putting in a commissioner or statutory manager, there were limits on what could be done with “floundering” schools, Ms Parata said – particularly if a board or principal was not keen to co-operate.

“Schools that are struggling the most often are the least willing to be helped. They get quite defensive … Unless you strike a principal who has a relationship with the ministry, it is quite hard to go into a school. And a board can tell you to naff off because they are in charge of the school.”

Under wide-ranging proposals for an overhaul of the Education Act 1989, released today in a discussion document, the Ministry of Education could be given power to step in earlier – a “graduated response” that could avoid a more radical intervention later.   Read more »

Hipkins misses the point in his bid to increase union membership

Chris Hipkins has missed the point in his one man bid to increase union membership for the NZEI.

Labour would introduce a minimum qualification requirement for all early childhood educators, seeking to curb the rapid growth of taxpayer-subsidised nannies and au pairs.

The party’s education spokesman Chris Hipkins says early childhood funding should be focused on boosting participation in quality, free services, and ensuring value for money.

“Instead it is going on subsidies towards nannies and au pairs for those who can afford to make that choice, while children from low-income families still top the statistics for non-participation,” he said.

“Surely the Government should be just as focused on ensuring that services are delivering quality as they are on increasing bums on seats.”

Mr Hipkins’ comments follow a Herald report from the weekend which revealed rapid growth in the home-based sector, with a record number of children – 25,000 – now in government-subsidised services which don’t require educators to have have any qualifications.   Read more »

Hekia Parata is thinking of the kids. Hipkins just about the headlines

Students at a troubled Northland charter school face a bleak future if the school is allowed to close, says Education Minister Hekia Parata.

Te Pumanawa o te Wairua School was given a second chance yesterday after Ms Parata decided to keep it open for the rest of the year.

The decision came despite the findings of an audit report that the Whangaruru school was failing to meet several performance requirements.

Ms Parata said it was in the best interests of the school’s 39 vulnerable students to keep it open.

The move has been criticised by Labour’s education spokesman Chris Hipkins, who said it “defied belief” that the school had been kept open after a “catalogue of failure”.

“These kids are failing in this school,” he said. Read more »

Teacher’s union dropped opposition to paying their members more

It is truly bizarre that we had a situation where a teachers union was opposing a government proposal to pay their member more.

The NZEI though, has now swallowed the dead rat, and decided to not oppose it after making some trifling changes to the proposals.

A teachers union is dropping its opposition to the Government’s $155 million a year plan to pay teachers more to improve schools after negotiating changes to the scheme.

The deal agreed with the Education Ministry opens the way for more schools to join a revised version of the programme known as Investing in Educational Success.

The Educational Institute (NZEI) said the changes include allowing early childhood services to join the scheme, which was originally just for schools.    Read more »

The only charter school to fail was, of course, run by and for Maori

The only charter school to fail was, of course, run by and for Maori.

Isn’t it time we face the uncomfortable truth that we can’t let failed and failing Maori be in charge of lifting failing Maori?

An announcement on whether one of the Government’s flagship charter schools will close will be made tomorrow.

Minister of Education Hekia Parata will address media in Auckland and end months of uncertainty for the school and its students.

The kura, recently renamed Te Pumanawa o te Wairua, was one of five charter or partnership schools to open at the start of last year.

Located on a farm 65km in Whangaruru, northwest of Whangarei, the kura caters for Years 9-13 students who typically have been on the margins of the education system.   Read more »

Hekia Parata wants all teachers to speak Te Reo properly

Hekia Parata has gone all doctrinaire, lecturing that all teachers need to learn how to speak and pronounce Te Reo properly.

Judith Collins isn’t having a bar of it.

The Education Minister expects all teachers to be able to pronounce their students’ names correctly out of respect for language, culture and identity.

Hekia Parata said living in a multi-cultural society meant all teachers had to be respectful of a student’s culture in the same way that overseas teachers working in New Zealand schools would expect their culture to be respected.

Questions have been raised over why maths and science teachers need to be competent in Te Reo Maori and whether it’s closing the door to quality overseas teachers.

According to the Ministry of Education all teachers were expected to have an “understanding of the bi-cultural heritage of New Zealand”, but National MP Judith Collins was baffled it extended to maths and science teachers working in English-speaking schools.  Read more »

Two Politicians, two very different parties but a common belief in a ‘ Fair go ‘

After the story of the Student teacher hit the headlines I approached three politicians for comment and their responses are below. Two of them have a common belief in a ‘fair go’ for the Student teacher which is heartening to see.

Labour Party’s Spokesperson for Education, Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins,Labour Party’s spokesperson for Education.

I don’t comment on specific employment matters.

On the general issue, I would expect all trainee teachers to be given full support to complete their qualifications. They should not be discriminated against based on gender, race, sexuality, past employment, or future employment prospects.

– Chris Hipkins

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Face of the day

Minister of Education Hekia Parata

Minister of Education Hekia Parata

Today’s face of the day spoke at an alternative education conference that I attended 2-3 years ago. I was impressed by her and thought her speech was entertaining and intelligent. She stood out as many of the others were not skilled public speakers and while well-meaning did not hold my attention. I told Cameron when I got home that I liked her and thought that he should tone down what he was writing about her at the time.

When I e-mailed Ms Parata the other day I had high hopes. This I thought, was an opportunity for me to show Cam how wrong he was. A strong statement from Ms Parata regarding the PPTA’s discriminatory actions and the governments full support of its Partnership/Charter Schools would go a long way to changing his opinion of her.

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