High Quality Staff at Charter Schools: PPTA NIghtmare

Back in February the PPTA were in full panic mode, and still are, about Charter Schools in NZ.

Their recommendations and comments:

– that PPTA members should not seek to work in charter schools and should avoid all professional, sporting and cultural liaison with the sponsors, managers and employees of said schools

– that the five New Zealand charter schools are simply “useful idiots”

The PPTA exec must have wept when the new schools attracted staff and must be apoplectic when schools like Vanguard Military School and South Auckland Middle School generated quality ERO reports (not a bad effort for “useful idiots”).

For kids who need choice this is clearly good news (a point lost on teacher unions) and there seems better to come. The new Middle School in West Auckland recently announced their leadership and highly academic intent.

James Haggett has been appointed Principal of West Auckland’s newest school, Middle School West Auckland, opening in February 2015.

The new school, based at 4341 Great North Rd in Glendene, is for boys and girls in Years 7-10.

Mr Haggett brings experience in two educational examination systems (NCEA and Cambridge), as well as the context of teaching in both the UK and New Zealand.

“I am delighted to lead the establishment of Middle School West Auckland. I identify strongly with the absolute academic drive of the school.

“My experience in the secondary school sector will be useful to ensuring our students are well prepared and transition effectively to the high schools of their choice.”

Mr Haggett’s early teaching career was in low socio-economic schools in the UK. Emigrating to New Zealand seven years ago, he was the Deputy Headmaster in charge of Curriculum at St Peters College, a Catholic secondary school for boys. In addition, he has operated an education consultancy, tutoring students to Excellence level.

Right…another “useful idiot”.

Bizarrely…from a PPTA perspective…he seems to know what he is talking about too:

Mr Haggett says the learning model at Middle School West Auckland, which is project-based and integrates the eight learning areas of the NZ Curriculum, is both challenging and engaging for students. “The opportunity for success is enhanced in a community environment where the class sizes are small, and families are closely connected to the learning process.”

So where to next for the PPTA?

They said no one would teach at the schools…but they are.

They said no one would go…but they have.

They said they would not make a good start…but 4 have.

They said they were overfunded…..they Ministry have shown they are not.

Impertinent questions:

If the “useful idiots” are succeeding where the PPTA has failed what does that make PPTA members? Really it must be time for secondary teachers to ask hard questions about their representation.

If you have a child aged 10-14 in West Auckland – which sounds better for their future – the PPTA or Mr Haggett’s school?


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  • Blue Tim

    PPTA = Primative Pathetic Teachers Associatipn

  • ozbob68

    It seems like this is the beginning of “market forces” in education. if the metrics stack up, there may be a quiet revolution in education in NZ. Bring it.

  • Timboh

    Another gem from WO. Sitting and relaxing on a Sat. evening, put my book down, checked WO and saw this story, Angela Roberts who is apparently a registered teacher in a family of registered teachers must be feeling the warm wind of accountability and measurability blowing in their faces. Well it is Christmas so thanks Team WO.

  • Franco.Prussia

    Why on earth is that school called “Middle School West Auckland” instead of “West Auckland Middle School”? WAMS would be an awesome acronym.

  • metalnwood

    I know a couple of teachers that cant find work outside of substituting. It seems hard to get work as a full time teacher

    Great work that the teachers union think no work is better than some work. Thats the union working for you :-/

  • Aucky

    I can’t wait for the first round of Chippy v Hekia at Question Time.

  • Dave_1924

    Teaching Unions can cry all they want but they have had 30 years since the changes introduced by the Lange governemnt to get the failure rate down and the 20% failure tail has persisted.

    We have heard every reason and excuse: the parents, soceity, unpaid teachers, not enough teachers, School Cert is unfair, ….. never once have we heard from the teacher unions we, the teachers, need to change – at least not in a meaningful way.

    I know a few teachers – they work hard and want the best. But you have to ask is the system just plain wrong when money and people have been thrown at it and it still produces 20% of students as failures….

    Here is hoping the diversity of provider and approach model brings success

  • Sunshine

    James Haggett was excellent at St Peters, Middle School West Auckland will be a fantastic school under his watch. If I I had a child in that age bracket, I would be enrolling them in that school.
    The boys, parents and staff at St Peters all have tremendous respect for Mr Haggett and St Peters has big shoes to fill.

  • Mainstream Mike

    The Conservative UK government has turned every state school into a charter. Every one, in only four years. NZ is a much smaller country than the UK: we could (and absolutely should) do it by next Christmas. Especially as NZ – under National – has already done this once before!

    There is no excuse for National not turning up in Feb and just chartering every state & integrated school in the country.

    Doing that now would leave enough time before the next election to crush the unions like Maggie, and the benefits would be clear to every Kiwi with kids. National would be re-elected even more strongly than last time!