Partnership Schools

Face of the day

Alwyn Poole(1)

Alwyn Poole, Principal and Academic Manager PHOTO- Supplied

Today’s face of the day has written a guest post over at Kiwi Blog that is well worth a read. You will remember Alwyn from my Charter school Perception series. He points out a few home truths about the PPTA and the Labour Party that deserve further sunlight. Charter schools have the goal of improving outcomes for the exact same students that the PPTA and The Labour Party say they care about. I suspect that the genuine reason behind their opposition to Charter schools is that it wasn’t their idea in the first place. They seem to oppose for the sake of opposition instead of acknowledging that Charter Schools can be an effective solution to the very ills that they demand be addressed.


…You would therefore think that any major disparity in University Entrance results would have opposition politicians, teacher unions and educationalists raging – and parents on the street.

The PPTA used to campaign on this. In a 2009 report they stated:

New Zealand has a tail of students with low academic achievement. Although internationally standardised test data for literacy, numeracy and science show New Zealand does very well in terms of its average performance, we have high quality but low equity achievement. Almost all of the students “at risk” are found in state schools, the highest proportion of which is in lower decile schools. The skewed nature of educational disadvantage correlates with family income and ethnicity. However, there is increasing evidence that genuine solutions can be found to reduce this problem.

The Labour Party manifesto in 2011 acknowledged the problem:

Some children are missing out on a quality education. A good education is a human right and we will work to make sure the most vulnerable students don’t miss out: Māori, Pasifika, children from low-income families, children with special needs, victims of bullying and violence, and those who struggle to achieve academically and don’t have a clear post-school pathway to work or higher education.

However, after the 2011 ACT/National agreement to introduce Charter Schools as a small part of a solution to address the problem for priority learners the issue stopped being of importance. Any effort to point it out might be seen as an endorsement of a policy that the Opposition and associated unions had chosen not to like. Since that moment almost all of their protest energy has gone into trying to eradicate Charter Schools as opposed to trying to find solutions to the huge disparities in the outcomes of young people in NZ. This expensive, false, and misdirected protest finally reached the point of outright comedy when Labour and the unions raged about how a Charter School spent money from multiple sources on a waka. They currently say very little about the outcomes for priority learners in many of our high schools. These schools that receive tens of millions of dollars every year. They have tied their own hands with the mantra of “world-class” that they dreamed up to imply that there was nothing to see here and no need for change. They have fallen silent about inequitable outcomes when this generation needs them to stand strong.

Recently the NCEA and UE qualifications data was released for 2014.

Read more »

Charter Schools Perception Series: The Advocates Part TWO


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Background: Karen Poole has a B.B.S. (Marketing) and is a Business Manager for the Villa Education Trust with over 25 years administrative and business experience in the education sector. She implements strategy, provides development and compliance, and has worked within a number of education establishments around New Zealand.

TELL me how this all came about and why you wanted to do it?

I am the Business Manager for the Trust so I am in charge of  the resourcing, the teachers, the enrollments, the building facilities. Alwyn will have already discussed with you what his vision was and he does the curriculum and the academic side of it. I help facilitate all that. Mount Hobson Middle School being a private school was obviously where we started, it was the only way to start. Then when the Partnership schools agreement came into force it was an opportunity for us to be able to provide what we do, for other students which was always our aim.

NOTE: Karen and Alwyn are a married couple who sold their home to 
fund Mount Hobson Middle School. 

YOU put a lot on the line at the start, with selling your house.

Yeah we did, but it was something we very much believed in and could see that there was a real need for it and it was just something we wanted to do.

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Charter Schools Perception series: The Teachers Part One

March this year  I was invited to visit three Charter schools, South Auckland Middle School, Vanguard Military school and West Auckland Middle School. Before I visited them I also visited a private school, Mt Hobson Middle School that has been in operation since 2003.


The model on which two Charter schools have been based, Mount Hobson Middle School which opened in 2003 -Photo

I did that because the Charter schools of West Auckland and South Auckland are based on the model that Mt Hobson Middle school established when it opened in 2003.

South Auckland Middle school was opened in 2014 but has twelve years of experience behind it because of Mount Hobson Middle School. West Auckland Middle school opened its doors for the first time this year. Both Charter schools have a ratio of one teacher to fifteen students. Mount Hobson has a ratio of one teacher to twelve students due to space constraints.


Science class at Mt Hobson Middle School. -Photo

Below is a transcript/ summary of my interviews with two teachers at South Auckland Middle school. Both teachers that I interviewed are registered and experienced. The teachers at South Auckland Middle School on average are paid 3% more than their counter parts in State schools.


Part of the Middle school model is community service.

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ACT education policy may suit National as Parata wants more charter schools

Sophia Duckor-Jones at ZB reported

Education minister Hekia Parata says the government’s considering a second round of charter schools.

The comment comes after an announcement from the ACT Party which wants state schools to be able to elect to become a charter school.

Ms Parata says the government has commissioned an evaluation of the model before they can make any further decisions.

ACT’s policy won’t be popular with the PPTA – as it is opt-in bulk funding by another name

ACT made the establishment of partnership schools a condition of its confidence and supply agreement with the National-led government, and it now wants to extend the policy.

Leader Jamie Whyte unveiled the party’s education policy in a speech today, saying all school boards should be able to opt out of control by the Ministry of Education and be bulk funded according to the number of students they attract.

“This policy entails no additional government spending,” he said.

Five partnership schools were opened this year and another five are expected to open in 2015.

“These few schools come under constant attack for being additional to the current stock of state schools and therefore reducing the funds available to them.

“The answer is to give all state schools the option of becoming partnership schools,” he said.

The policy will give teachers freedom to adapt their methods to their students and schools the freedom to innovate.

I wonder what ACT will take into any coalition talks as their number one policy.  It will probably be this one.


Te Ururoa Flavell calls out the teacher unions

Te Ururoa Flavell has called out the teacher unions who are boycotting a charter school in Whangarei.

Te Ururoa Flavell, Maori Party Co-Leader, has expressed disappointment at the influence of PPTA in advising Whangarei Boys High teachers to not teach students who attend Te Kura Hourua Te Kapeha Whetu.

“As I understand it the Board of Trustees at Whangarei Boys High was happy to support Kura Hourua students in specific areas such as the visual arts. That type of cooperation has been modelled in the relationships that many other kura establish with general schools, wananga, polytechnics and other education providers across New Zealand. It represents a dynamic relationship that we should surely be fostering in our communities – that the education and learning of our students impacts on us all,” says Te Ururoa Flavell, Maori Party Co-Leader.

“I recognise that Partnership Schools is a major political issue and teachers have a right to their views on educational policy, but what about the kids? Surely we should be putting the best interests of our young people ahead of our politics.”

“I was a teacher for many years and I know that the profession prides itself on putting the interests of our children first, but this flies in the face of those values. I would have thought as teachers, that what matters is that every student experiences success. That’s what Te Kapeha Whetu want. That’s what the Maori Party wants. Come on PPTA – surely there are other ways of making political statements that do not impact so immediately on our kids.”  Read more »

Unemployed teachers – there is a solution

Might be a job at a partnership school?

Hundreds of teachers are out of work as graduates fight for vacancies which can attract as many as 100 applications each.

A new Ministry of Education report on teacher supply shows jobs remain hard to come by.

Aucklander Rebecca Young, 40, has been looking throughout the country for a primary school job since graduating in May last year. At least 40 of her graduating class were in the same position, she said.

“I get letters that say my CV is fantastic, but it is just the high volume of applicants. I got a letter the other day saying I was one of 100, so it has come down a little bit, from 140 or 150.”

Ms Young is now looking overseas after sending in more than 80 applications for primary school posts.

However, both the Government and an education school say the situation has improved, and further relief is on the horizon as population growth increases the need for teachers.  Read more »

John Banks talks to Willie Jackson on Partnership schools

The PPTA are unhinging over Partnership schools.

Meanwhile the government and those involved are getting on with setting them up.

John Banks was on Radio Waatea with Willie Jackson and explains just precisely why he is implementing Partnership schools.

It is a wide ranging discussion and well worth listening to.

Read more »

Oh – this is what the teacher unions are worried about

The first New Zealand Charter/Partnership Schools are about to be authorised. The teacher unions have pedaled all kinds of nonsense about “no evidence” of demand or success overseas. In the US demand cannot keep up with supply…this is also from the Huffington Post a nice lefty site…so the teacher unions can hardly complain about the source for this.

There are 6,000 charter schools nationwide, more than 1,000 in California and upwards of 250 in Los Angeles.

It turns out, that’s not enough.

A report released Thursday by the National Alliance for Public Schools estimates that 520,000 students nationwide are on a charter school waiting list, including 50,000 kids in California hoping for a spot.   Read more »

I bet he was registered

Another teacher is in court on sex charges.

The Labour party tells us that on order to protect children at Charter Schools all of the teachers should be registered. Apparently the mere act of registration serves to protect.

Since it is mandatory for current teachers to be registered it is highly likely that the teacher arrested and charged in Dunedin is/was registered:

A teacher accused of sexually abusing six students has pleaded not guilty and will face trial in March next year.

The man is facing 13 charges and has been granted name suppression to protect his former students.

The man appeared at the High Court at Auckland today where his lawyer Richard Earwaker entered not guilty pleas on his behalf.

The trial has been set down for eight days.  Read more »

Some Charter School effects the Unions are really worried about

The successful Charter Schools in the USA are changing the education landscape. Now other schools are having to adapt to their practices which means teachers working harder and longer days.

Carol R. Johnson, Boston school superintendent, has strived to build a collaborative relationship with charter schools, and she said she ­intends to review the report and identify any best practices that can be adopted by the city’s school system.

But she noted that many characteristics of charter schools, such as high expectations and extended days, are in place in several city schools, and she said she is eager to see that expand to all schools.

“In the highest-performing schools in Boston, we see similar results when those items are in place,” Johnson said.  Read more »