Charter School Investigation: Vanguard Military School – the students

Student comment on Vanguard Military school's facebook page.

Student comment on Vanguard Military school’s facebook page.

The students of Vanguard have strong feelings about their school. I will let their own words tell you just what they think of Vanguard Military School and whether or not it is a system that works for them.


Vanguard Military school students

Do you prefer this school to other schools you’ve been to?

If yes why? If no why not?

Yes because I actually learn things and I can excel in my subjects. It’s more disciplined and I like P.T

Yes, because it is strict which keeps your mind set in place.

Yes, because I want to join the forces and this school being a Military Prep School provides a great basis/foundation for my career in the near future.

A student from Vanguard Military School is accepted into the Navy. PHOTO-Vanguard Military school facebook page

An ex student from Vanguard Military School who has completed his basic training for the Navy. PHOTO-Vanguard Military school facebook page

Because I am doing so much better at this school and I feel like I kinda fit in here also I feel like people care if I’m passing and want to help me pass.

Yes because I am starting to be more responsible and getting taught more discipline.

Because it provides me with the discipline to succeed.

Yes because I am actually learning things and I feel like I have a purpose.

*NOTE Out of 23 responses not one student responded no.

Gun  Drill at Vanguard Military School PHOTO- Vanguard Military school Facebook page

Target practice at Vanguard Military School
PHOTO- Vanguard Military school Facebook page

Is there anything you’ve learned here that you didn’t learn at other schools?

  • Discipline
  • Drill, marching, advanced rifle drill.
  • Drill, Self discipline
  • Respect,discipline,drill, life lessons.
  • Being responsible and disciplined. Also to follow the rules.
  • Maths,P.T, P.E
  • Marching, self discipline, respect
  • Science, discipline

Yes I’ve learned new techniques not only in P.E and P.T but also in English and Maths. I’ve also built more knowledge around those subjects.

I learned my timetables here. I also learned discipline here and how to have pride in myself. Respect for others and to always put in 100%

Yes, I couldn’t write essays or do Maths equations plus more. I didn’t speak proper English ( slang ) and Vanguard has taught me to speak formally.


Vanguard Military Canteen which is run by the students for the students. Each Section takes its turn preparing the food and serving.

At Vanguard breakfast is provided free to the students, many of whom have got up very early in the morning and travelled a long distance in order to attend school. The free breakfast is provided by Sanitarium and Fonterra but the school then extends the food for morning tea and lunch.The school canteen is run by the students for the students as each Section takes its turn on the roster to prepare and serve the food. Students are learning food preparation and cooking and hygiene skills at the same time as customer service skills.

What do you like about this school? What don’t you like about this school?

I like that everyone is treated the same and everyone knows each other and they make the extra effort to talk to you. There is nothing I don’t like about this school. Everything is good.

I like the free breakfast and education and uniform. I like that we do P.T every day and all the staff try their hardest to help us. I don’t like that students interrupt other peoples learning and there isn’t any time for potential leaders to flourish.

I like the atmosphere of the school environment and the way they run the school. I don’t like that it is the end of term two and there’s still some recruits that are playing up and that Staff Mueller left.

I like that Vanguard is my second family. I like the games we play eg Intersection competition and P.E also Drill that builds discipline and obedience. No dislikes yet.

I like how everyone is family and that everyone feels comfortable in the environment.

I like the staff and people and how much most people and staff care about you.

I don’t like that it is not big enough with no fields.

I thought it was going to be hardcore. It is in a way but kick back if you follow the rules.

I like that that the students are cool but I don’t like that I feel that some staff here dislike me.

I like the discipline and how it is strict so you don’t have any distractions. I don’t like the CT system.

I like the focused curriculum. I don’t like a distracting class environment.

I like the Military Ethos. I don’t like people playing up in class constantly.

I like how it supports teamwork. Some staff can be very nitpicky and pick us up on the smallest things.

How long have you been here? If new what are your first impressions?

8 weeks 2 days and my first impression was that it was going to be hard but fun.

I started this year and straight away when the first words the Staff spoke to the school I knew it was going to be different and better than all my other schools.

Just starting this year and felt like I wanted to be there and had a good feeling about it.

First year at Vanguard. My first impression was why am I here? But it actually turned out to be better than I expected.

One term. My first impression was this school really fits the criteria for me and I want to stay here until I leave.

I started 2014 at year 11. I loved it although there isn’t much time guidance and we need to have harder C.Ts.

Two months, very good because of how the teachers treat the students.

This is my first year at Vanguard, they welcomed me with open arms which made me feel welcome.

Since you have been here have your grades improved?

*NOTE 21 of the 23 students responded yes to this question.

Yes because before I only got, Not Achieved or an Achievement, barely and now I know that with hard work and the major help from all the staff I now get Excellence and Merit as my grades.

They’re slowly improving but it’s still only the beginning.

I don’t know but I know more that I did last year.

Don’t know yet

Vanguard Military school students. PHOTO-Vanguard Military School Facebook page

Vanguard Military school students.
PHOTO-Vanguard Military School Facebook page

Would you recommend this school to a friend?

Yes, but only to a friend that I knew it would be good for.


Yes I’m already trying to get friends here.

I’m already trying to get one of my best friends to come.

Yes. My friend came with me to Vanguard this year and my other friend wants to come.

Yes although this is a school you choose for yourself. I mean all the staff try to help all the students the best they can, but I wouldn’t like to see my friends take advantage of my Staff and school in a bad way.

Yes and I have before.

For sure, this school has so much to offer, it’s just a matter of accepting the challenges along the way.

*NOTE  22 of the 23 students responded yes to this question.
One student responded, ' maybe.'
Vanguard Military School Students. PHOTO- Vanguard Military School Facebook page

Vanguard Military School Students.
PHOTO- Vanguard Military School Facebook page

 Did your parents decide to send you here or did you have a choice in the matter?

  • It was a bit of both but I’m glad I chose to attend Vanguard.
  • It was mutual x 2
  • I had a choice x 9
  • I chose this school for myself because I didn’t want to be on WINS for the rest of my life smoking pot every day.
  • I chose to come here on my own account.
  • I decided to come here myself and my parents agreed with my decision.
  • My parents suggested the school then I got to decide.
  • Both, mainly my parents though.
  • Parents sent me because of my sister.
  • My parents but I also wanted to.
  • I chose it’s good.
  • It was my choice Dad didn’t want me to go.
  • I decided.
  • Grandparents suggested it to me and it was my last resort.

How did you find out about this school?

  • Grandparents.
  • Through the NZDF
  • Friends x 3
  • Internet x 2
  • I went to ATC
  • Mum
  • From my Dad
  • Through people talking
  • Mum and Radio
  • On the Radio last year x 3
  • My Aunty
  • My sister came here last year and she recommended this school to me.
  • The Radio and a friend of my Mums.
  • I found out about this school when I did the LSV course and I decided I wanted to come back to school.
  • Friends and newspapers
  • Through a friend and on the radio
  • My mate got accepted and put it on facebook and so I checked it out.
  • Through family who are also attending Vanguard.
  • I don’t know.

Are the teachers nice?

Yes x 5

They are teachers who mirror your attitude. If you are nice to them they are nice to you. Same if you are negative towards them.

Yes, they are nice when they need to be and strict when required.

Yes, because they want to teach us and they see that we want to learn.

Yes they are great. Although their many different ways of teaching often lead to inconsistent discipline as a school. They provide experience on how to handle different employers for future employment.

Yes, because they’re always there for you and you form a different kind of relationship with them than you would at other schools. It feels like they’re just another one of your mates.

Most teachers are nice. The other teachers aren’t so bad but it is okay because they’re not angry all the time.

Yes I can tell they respect me. They also give me lots of help.

Yes, because they have humanity, enthusiasm, personality and patience.

Yes they are but not when it’s serious like in the corridor.

Yes, I enjoy having staff which I can joke around with every now and then. They are also very supportive.

Yes, because they are always there for me and support me.

  • Yes, because they are easy to talk to and are caring.
  • They are good because they help all the time.
  • Sometimes not all the time.
  • Most of them are nice but some are not nice.
  • Yes, they care about us and our education.
  • Yes, they are welcoming and teach us the way we learn best.
  • Yes because they are friendly and are willing to take time out of their own for a student.
  • Vanguard Military School students

    Vanguard Military School students

Have you ever been bullied here?

No x 18

Yes x 3

Well no because I’ve actually built a real tight friendship/family bond between the students.

Yes it made me feel very small and scared to come to school and it affected my confidence a bit.  * Student ( A )

How do teachers deal with bullying?

  • I don’t know x 7
  • With CTs x 3

CT stands for corrective training.  CEO Nick Hyde says it can range from standing at ease in the hangar for 10 minutes of their time once school is dismissed so they recognise that their actions have consequences for themselves or it may involve having to continue doing academic work after school.  The CT system is a gradual build up.  The first 5 a student does are  10 minutes each.  Once they accumulate 5  the parents are contacted and informed that their child is moving up the CT scale.  If it becomes a persistent problem as time increases, it can become a charge or community service where the student must return and work a day or two for a community group that needs some help.

They have zero tolerance for it and deal with it very seriously

I haven’t seen any bullying so I don’t know what they do.

With difficulty especially with certain people but eventually it is dealt with* Student ( A )

I don’t know I haven’t seen it happen which makes me believe that they probably deal with it swiftly and silently.

Well it is actually not tolerated so if someone is bullied they will find out and take care of it immediately.

  • They do not tolerate it, suspended or expelled.
  • It is not tolerated.
  • Big growling
  • Yelled at him
  • They are good with it
  • Very well
  • CTs, charges,Suspension, parents phoned in
  • I don’t know. Almost certain bully gets kicked out

If you ask for the teachers help do they ignore you or help you?

  • Help me x 14
  • I don’t know
  • No, they always listen
  • Mostly help
  • Depends
  • They are on your case straight away

They’ll help me ASAP for example if I have problems with school my Section Leader assists me.

They help me a little though sometimes they don’t really take the time to listen to my question sometimes and I don’t really understand how specifically to get an (E) on my test/assignments.They do help me with learning the basics.

Usually help if a valid matter

Because there are other students who also need help it takes a little while but they never ignore you.


Vanguard Military school students PHOTO-Vanguard Military School facebook page

Vanguard Military school students
PHOTO-Vanguard Military School facebook page

Have you ever been yelled at for something very minor?

All the time

Yes x 10

Nope x 6

I’ve been given warnings but never yelled at.

Yes but it was my fault and it taught me discipline. ( Yelled at for my necklace showing at the induction days at the start of last year. )

Yes but our classrooms are quiet. Stressful for some staff.

For talking in the corridor but I’m real talkative so I don’t blame them.

Yes for not facing the front and moving while in parade but it was for a good reason.

Not myself but as a full class.

Do you like the Principal?

  • Yes x 12
  • Yes for good reason of course!
  • No!
  • Yes but he talks too much
  • Yes he’s the man
  • Yeah I do, he’s not that bad he’s not like other Principal’s so that’s good.
  • Yes he seems cool
  • Yes very much so
  • Yes, he’s cool
  • Yeah he’s cool
  • He needs to interact with students more

Yes he is the best Dean I have ever had. He always has funny/crazy stories to explain things but is always fair when teaching and always listens.

Does the Principal know your name?

  • Yeah of course
  • I think so x 5
  • Yes x 11
  • I don’t know I’m not sure if he does
  • Not sure but most likely
  • I don’t know x 2
  • Yes I’m the coolest

Yes for good reason of course!


Vanguard Military School students. PHOTO-Vanguard Military School facebook page

Vanguard Military School students.
PHOTO-Vanguard Military School facebook page




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