Call for the government to reverse their position on partnership schools

Credit: Luke

ACT leader David Seymour has said that Education Minister Chris Hipkins must now reverse his decision to close partnership schools after the final report from independent consultants Martin Jenkins “has painted a glowing picture of the model.” He pointed out that if the report has found that partnership schools were failing, Chris Hipkins would have been shouting it from the rooftops but, instead, he performed a classic ‘Friday news dump’ by releasing the report in an obscure section of the Ministry of Education website on a Friday night.

These are not the actions of an open and transparent government. Quote:

The report cuts through the spin on partnership schools, delivering blow after blow to government’s hopes it could kill off the model quietly.

The final report shows partnership Schools are strongly focused on disadvantaged kids with complex needs. Students are largely Maori and Pasifika from low-decile schools. Before attending the partnership Schools, many students were transient, disengaged, with poor academic histories and complex socio-economic needs. They often lacked positive aspirations and role models.

The schools are meeting learners’ needs using innovative practices and high-quality standards. Sponsors are driven by a vision to provide an alternative for students who have been underserved. Innovations enabled by the flexible funding model are across the board, in governance arrangements, staffing, student engagement and support, pedagogy, teaching and learning.

Student engagement has significantly improved. Stand-downs and length of suspensions are lower. Students give positive feedback. Whānau feel more involved and more confident communicating with schools.

It is no exaggeration to say that this is the most positive news our education system has had for some time.

It simply beggars belief that Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins would end an educational model that has delivered so much for students that have been so poorly served by our state system

The government must now reverse its position on partnership schools. End of quote.

The National party need to speak out strongly in support of charter schools. Closing schools that are successful, in high demand, cheaper to run than state schools, and are helping Maori and Pasifika students to succeed well above the national average is an absolute disgrace.

Only one partnership school has officially applied to become a school of special character and there is no guarantee that their application will be accepted. Other schools chose the partnership school model originally precisely because they weren’t able to become schools of special character. Chris Hipkins and Jacinda Ardern know this and so their assurances to the public that they will help these schools to transition are a lie. They can’t transition as the rules, as they currently stand, prevent them from doing so.

Hipkins cannot legally close these schools until his bill is passed. National should work with ACT to try to kill the bill. These schools are under the gun for one reason and one reason only: Labour’s obligations to the unions. This fact needs to be hammered home.

Credit: Luke

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