Partnership Schools

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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West Auckland Charter school gets its first report card

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 5.05.57 pmAfter its first year of operation West Auckland Middle School has received its first report card from ERO.

The Labour Party and the PPTA have warned us that any money spent on Charter schools is money wasted and that Charters are doomed to failure and that they are a reckless social experiment.

So how did MSWA do on their report card?

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Face of the day


Today’s face of the day Michelle Schneideman, has recently been announced as Head Girl for Epsom Girls’ Grammar for 2016.

Michelle is a former pupil of Mt Hobson Middle School, which is the educational model on which Charter schools, South Auckland Middle School and West Auckland  Middle School are based.

I wish her all the very best for her future and am glad that students in West and South Auckland will now have the opportunity to get the kind of middle school education she gained at Mt Hobson.

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Applications for new Charter Schools Mainly from Maori and Pasifika

Vanguard Military School students doing PT PHOTO-Facebook

Vanguard Military School students doing PT

Four of the original five Charter Schools have been successful and this success has resulted in a significant level of interest from mainly Maori And Pasifika community groups. While Education unions opposed to Charter Schools continue to focus on Te Pumanawa o te Wairua, in Northland that now has reduced funding for 40 students because of ongoing problems, the four successful schools have shown what can be achieved.

The board that vets applications for new charter schools says it is not surprised at seeing so many applications.

…It said much of the interest was from educators and community groups representing Māori and Pasifika people, and most of the applications were from the North Island.

The board’s chair, Catherine Isaac, said the level of interest reflected confidence in the charter school system and showed it worked well.

“We do see it as a vote of confidence in a policy that is connecting innovators with disadvantaged students whose needs are not being met by the existing state school system.”

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The hits on education keep coming

Trevor Mallard

Trevor Mallard

There seems to be a rash of negative education stories at the moment.

Firstly there is the upset over un qualified Grandmothers providing pre school care for 3-4 year olds with Trevor Mallard saying…

“I’m not saying that grandparents can’t look after grandchildren but they’re not professionals or trained and don’t think it’s the role of the state to be paying people who don’t have the training.”

Ironically the situation Trevor is criticising was created by the Labour government.

The Labour government brought in 20-hours free ECE for three and four-year-olds in its final term.

-Kirsty Johnston A Newspaper

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He says brochure for a cruise ship holiday like it’s a bad thing

Tom Haig in his article on the PPTA Blog writes disparagingly about a recent report’s findings on Charter Schools. As he highlights each positive statement from the report I can almost hear the scorn dripping off his fingers as he types.

“It’s a private commercial organisation” , a very profitable one too ”

Guess what? Charter school students love their small class sizes and feel like teachers really have time to work with them as individuals.

That’s the stunning new finding from the just released round one evaluation.

This report feels a bit like a brochure for a cruise ship holiday. Yep, cruise ship customers love it. But let’s not talk about the impact on the islands where the ships stop, discharge tourists and waste, and move right along.

confused child

confused child

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