“The kids won’t notice any difference,” says Chris Hipkins

Yesterday a couple of the Charter schools finally had their first meeting with the Ministry of Education. They had been left hanging in a vacuum over the school holidays only to be hit with a press release from Hitman Hipkins telling them to walk the plank or be shot.

Credit: Luke

“The kids won’t notice any difference because it’s transferring the schools from part of the Act to another part of the Act. In terms of what the kids do on a daily basis – they literally wouldn’t notice a difference.”

The requirements of Villa Education Trust, which runs two Partnership schools in Auckland, are very simple:

  • That the ownership/governance structure stays the same
  • That they receive the same amount that State schools of the same size, decile and age group get and that they continue to be bulk funded and
  • That their staff stay outside of the collective pay scale because their job descriptions are so very different.

These three small alterations to the designated character school legislation will allow a transition that “the kids won’t notice”. The million-dollar question is whether or not Jacinda Ardern is prepared to make these three small compromises in order to keep the schools open and avoid disruption for the students.


We have obtained a PDF of a Cabinet paper discussing the process for removing the Charter school model and the options for existing schools. It makes for very interesting reading. Judge for yourself if they are aiming to avoid disruption to the students by providing a real transition to a new model or not.


Number six is interesting. Why would there be legal issues/risks if what they are doing is reasonable and er… legal? Could it be because they are planning to break binding government contracts?

Why would their actions affect “continuity of schooling”? If they are planning to manage the transition well from one model to another then surely there would be no need to close schools or to terminate contracts by a certain date.



Number 18: the massive costs to the government alone should justify waiting until the contracts end. Breaking the contracts and forcing termination is not only dishonourable and exposes the government to legal challenges it will also cost the taxpayer millions in financial compensation.


Number 33: Whatever happened to the pathway that Jacinda Ardern promised? The schools have already indicated the flaws in the special character legislation that will prevent them transitioning. If the kids are not to notice any difference as indicated by Chris Hipkins then the flaws in the legislation need to be addressed asap so that all Charter schools that wish to transition to the new model can transition. Offering a choice that is not possible is no choice at all. 





It is clear from the document that the government is expecting trouble. Litigation risks, as well as bad publicity, are mentioned. All of these can easily be avoided if they make the compromises required to enable the schools to transition to a new model and if they do so without breaking existing contracts.

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