Just in time for the election: ACT announce two more Charter Schools

David Seymour

It will be no coincidence that two more charter schools get announced just before the election.

“In education, one size does not fit all, which is why we are pleased to expand choice in education through Partnership Schools,” says Mr Seymour.

“Educational innovators and community leaders like those in Ngati Whakaue and Blue Light have valuable on-the-ground experience in working with young people. Partnership Schools will give these organisations the opportunity to lift achievement for students underserved by the state system.

“One of the strengths of Partnership Schools is the flexibility they have to make decisions about how they operate and to use their funding to meet the specific needs of their students in different ways to the mainstream education system.

“For example, one of the schools has at the core of its curriculum a focus on STEM – the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics disciplines – and infusing it with Kaupapa Māori principles to create an environment that is unique for learners.”

Partnership Schools have been ACT’s flagship success.  Even the one that failed has been sheeted home due to poor management rather than a failure of the charter school concept.

So what are we getting?  

The two new Partnership Schools are:

– Te Rangihakahaka Centre for Science and Technology: led by Rotorua iwi, Ngati Whakaue will be a co-educational composite school for years 1 to 10 located in Rotorua. It will use STEM as a curriculum base, combining it with Kaupapa Māori aspirations in its special character, and will target mainly Māori students, with an opening roll of 80 students.

– Blue Light Senior Boys High School: sponsored by Blue Light Ventures Incorporated, has a well-established relationship with the New Zealand Police. Blue Light Senior High School will be a single sex (male) senior secondary school for years 11 to 13. Located in Taupo, the school will have an outdoor-focused Kaupapa Māori special character, targeting male Māori students, with an opening roll of 30. A residential facility will be attached to the school and most students will be expected to board at the school.

The schools, which will join the ten other Partnership Schools already operating will open in the first term of the 2018 school year. These two schools will have a combined opening roll of 110, growing to a maximum of by 290 by 2021.

On the face of it, two great initiatives to deal with kids that the standard school system has not been able to deal with.


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