Partnership Schools

Good evening, this is your Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education speaking

David Seymour at Vanguard Military School-PHOTO Vanguard FB page

David Seymour at Vanguard Military School-PHOTO Vanguard FB page

By any objective measure, partnership schools have been a success for this government, and ACT specifically.  And now more could be on the way

Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education David Seymour has announced a fourth round of applications to establish Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua (Partnership Schools). The fourth round will open in August, with successful Partnership Schools opening in 2018. Read more »

The inconvenient truth about Vanguard Military school

I will let the percentages and students speak for themselves. Vanguard Military school is a Partnership school ( charter school ) that is achieving exactly what it set out to do. It’s success and the success of other charter schools like West Auckland and South Auckland Middle school is an inconvenient truth that the Teacher Unions and the Labour Party choose to ignore.

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Vanguard Military school hosts David Seymour’s big announcement

PHOTO-Vanguard FB page

PHOTO-Vanguard FB page

Yesterday I covered a story unknown to the MSM as Chris Hipkins did not invite them. In a historic move after years of turning down invitations, Chris Hipkins finally visited two charter schools; Vanguard Military School and South Auckland Middle School. We need wonder no more at the reason for his change of heart as yesterday David Seymour made a big announcement at Vanguard Military school, the day after Chris Hipkins visited it for the first time.

Now that Charter schools will once again be in the news, I think Chris Hipkins has decided to protect himself from the questions that have been asked of him repeatedly over the years.

” Have you visited a charter school Mr Hipkins? ”

” Why haven’t you ever visited a charter school Mr Hipkins?”

It really has been a bad look that as Labour’s spokesperson for education, he has criticised partnership schools for years despite never having set foot in one. Now with David Seymour’s big announcement it has become clear why the pressure was on for Mr Hipkins to quickly visit two schools.

The Government has announced seven new charter schools will open in 2018 and 2019.

The new schools will expand the flagship ACT policy that saw five schools open, mostly in Auckland and Northland in 2014 – one of which, in Whangaruru has since been closed by the Education Minister – and another four in 2015.

A third round of applications is currently underway and more schools are expected to open as a result early next year.

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Shhhhh don’t tell the Media, Chris Hipkins visits two Partnership Schools

Whaleoil has a scoop that you will not read anywhere else. I was contacted yesterday by two of the charter schools I visited to report the astonishing news that the Labour Party spokesperson for education Chris Hipkins, has finally visited them. Both Vanguard Military school and South Auckland Middle school were visited yesterday by Chris Hipkins.

Both schools have an open door policy to all politicians and a number have accepted their invitation.Chris Hipkins’ office originally made contact with Vanguard Military School on the 26th of April to try and visit on the 27th with just 24 hours notice.  This was in the second week of the school holidays and would have meant no students and no staff at the school.  This offer was declined and his staff was asked to come back to the school with a more suitable date. When Mr Hipkins arrived at Vanguard he was on his own with no aides and no media.

Until yesterday Mr Hipkins was in the astonishing position of having never visited a partnership school despite consistently criticising them for years. I wonder if he told the students he met that his party intend to shut their schools down or force them to become State schools?Perhaps that harsh fact is the reason why he wanted to fly under the radar and the media were not invited?

Prior to actually setting foot in a charter school this is what Chris Hipkins has been saying about charter schools.

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“World Class” education or the system is failing?

Have you ever noticed that when the media and the teacher unions are attacking charter schools they always describe New Zealand schools as world-class? Our teachers are the best in the world they tell us, there is no need for charter schools. Our Maori and Pacific students are doing just fine they tell us; they are not falling through the cracks.
When a story is not about charter schools then all of a sudden the cracks are allowed to show. Have you noticed that they always claim that the education system is failing when they are attacking the Government?
To prove my point here are some quotes.

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How does this new school differ from a Charter school?

Rototuna Junior High School principal Fraser Hill on the first floor of Rototuna High School.
Rototuna Junior High School principal Fraser Hill on the first floor of Rototuna High School.

So the government has built a brand new school called Rototuna Junior High school. As you all know Partnership schools also known as Charter schools are constantly attacked by teacher unions who claim they are too expensive. Since Rototuna is a brand new school let’s do a comparison.

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Newsflash: Journalist admits strong bias but writes a good article anyway

I am not at all surprised that meeting Alwyn Poole made it difficult for Peter Lyons to hold on to his bias about charter schools. Labour’s Chris Hipkins has been wise to turn down all invitations to visit charter schools because, when you meet the people behind them, you are in real danger of being won over.

As you all know, I did an investigative series on Partnership schools in Auckland and met and interviewed both Alwyn Poole and Nick Hyde, as well as many others involved in the running of South Auckland Middle School, West Auckland Middle school and Vanguard Military school. Both men are dedicated and passionate about education and making a difference. It was impossible not to like them and not to be caught up in their drive and determination.


I hate the concept of charter schools, but then I met Alwyn Poole. Photo / Steven McNicholl

I hate the concept of charter schools, but then I met Alwyn Poole. Photo / Steven McNicholl

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What the New Zealand charter school debate boils down to



It is always interesting to distill down the arguments for and against charter schools in New Zealand. After watching a New Zealand debate on the topic I have now summarised for Whaleoil readers the key points raised by people from both sides of the debate.

These are not direct quotes but are accurate summaries of what was said.



  • We want to see ALL New Zealanders succeed but we don’t think that charter schools are the answer.
  • Charter schools are an answer to a problem that doesn’t exist.
  • It is a solution for a problem we don’t have.
  • Poor schools and bad teachers and bad principals failing Maori students is not the reality.
  • The rise of charter schools is directly connected to the Maori failure rates.

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Charter school’s right of reply

Chris Hipkins, despite being the Labour Party spokesperson for Education, has turned down all invitations from Charter schools to visit them. Recently he criticised New Zealand Charter schools, claiming that they received a “bonus for failure”. I follow all the Charter schools I visited for my investigation so I received the below email from South Auckland Middle School along with everyone else involved with the school. I have reproduced it unedited as a right of reply to the recent criticisms in the mainstream media.

Dear Supporters and Interested Parties

In NZ this week the Labour Party spokesperson for Education decided to release a piece claiming that South Auckland Middle School (among others) had received a “bonus for failure” from the Minister of Education for 2014 performance. It was followed by bandwagon pieces from people equally ignorant of the true nature of SAMS that culminated in a nameless and faceless piece in the Dominion Post on March 3rd.

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2015 Vanguard Military School graduation impresses

Charter school, West Auckland Middle School has received its first report card from ERO and the future looks bright. Vanguard Military School recently celebrated its own success in a moving graduation ceremony.

Despite the Labour Party and PPTA’s determined opposition to Partnership schools the success stories will not be suppressed. Note the comment of Lulu Bellisma. Her son is already in a partnership school and she would love that to continue when he is high school age.

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