Extra money may be needed to set up the first charter schools
as official documents reveal more about the contentious
schools and why some applicants, including Destiny Church,
Documents outlining the decision process behind the charter
or "partnership" schools' approval were released by the
Ministry of Education yesterday.
Five organisations in Northland and Auckland successfully
applied to run New Zealand's first state-funded, privately
run schools from next year.
But a report given by Education Minister Hekia Parata to the
Cabinet before the schools were approved shows the $18.95
million set aside may not be enough.
"This funding is a sufficient envelope for about four schools
opening in 2014 with particular student roll levels," the
July 12 document notes.
"During contract discussions we will gain certainty about the
total funding required. Additional funding will be required
if I approve five schools."
Last night a spokeswoman for Ms Parata, who is overseas, said
the issue of additional funding was under active
consideration. That has angered education unions, who are
strongly opposed to the schools.
New Zealand Educational Institute national secretary Paul
Goulter said the Government seemed to be making it up as they
"It [any additional funding] will come out of taxpayers'
pockets and directly into the hands of private interests."
Post Primary Teachers Association president Angela Roberts
said it was a "kick in the guts" to know more public money
might be needed for "an experiment".
The same document to the Cabinet also details risks
associated with some of the approved schools.
A secondary school to be established in Whangaruru,
Northland, by Ngatiwai Whangaruru Whenua Toopu Trust might
not have suitable premise in time, and "there are some risks
around developing a sound curriculum and financial skills".
The Villa Education Trust, which runs a private school in
Newmarket and will establish a middle school in South
Auckland, "has no direct relationship with the communities of
South Auckland and little experience with priority groups".
The Authorisation Board received 35 applications to run
partnership schools. Of those, 13 made a final short list,
and the documents reveal why each was accepted or rejected.
An application by Destiny Church to turn its private school
into a partnership school was declined primarily because,
from the Government's perspective, there was little to be
gained from doing so.
A June 28 board report noted that the application "appeared
to represent the integration of a well-performing and
financially strong private school into the state system".
The board also had concerns about the enrolment of
non-Destiny members, as 98 per cent of current students were
In announcing the first schools this month, the Government
promised they would have publicly released performance
targets, a high proportion of registered teachers and will
not be able to stray too far from the national curriculum.
There will be a range of sanctions for schools which
performed badly, including closure, but they will be given
time to bed in and have been awarded six-year contracts.
The documents reveal discussion on a "performance management
regime" for schools, under which 1 per cent of payment could
be linked to meeting performance indicators.
- Nicholas Jones of the New Zealand Herald