No charter schools on the cards for Porirua
There won’t be a partnership school coming to Porirua any time soon.
Nineteen applications for partnership schools – often known as charter schools – were received from organisations around the country earlier this year.
The Caribbean- based Davidic Centre Trust overcame the first hurdle to open a faith-based school in Porirua, but was declined in the second round of consideration on May 12.
Five partnership schools have been given the green light, none in Porirua.
Parata said the negative press around partnership schools was unwarranted.
The schools, given the goahead as part of a coalition between Act and National, would go ahead regardless of Act MP John Banks’ exit from Parliament, she said.
They had been tested and researched rigorously.
‘‘ We’ve approved five schools in New Zealand, catering for 370 kids,’’ Parata said. ‘‘There are 36 teachers, 32 of whom are fully registered.
‘‘The idea that these partnership schools are full of unregistered people is just not true.’’
She said the schools were funded as a decile 3 school would be.
Outgoing principal at Holy Family School, Karl Vasau, said partnership schools should come from the will of the community.
‘‘If there was a call to base one in Porirua, it should be with the backing of the people,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s not the fix we need in Porirua East and I want to see resources being put into the schools that already exist.
‘‘We have falling rolls and other issues that need to be confronted.’’
Plimmerton School principal Maurice Laird said he did not like the idea of students being drawn away from their current schooling options.
‘‘There are more than 30 state schools doing an outstanding job and charter schools just seem the opposite to common sense to me,’’ he said.
‘‘ It’s bizarre and I don’t think the Government should be financing this model. It’s a political football and should be a pill that National should not have to swallow.’’
Deputy mayor ’Ana Coffey, who is a teacher, said partnership schools were not a solution for Porirua.
She said Porirua City Council’s recent decision to be a part of the Shine education initiative – involving large numbers of the city’s educators – was a more positive step.
Parata said more focus should be on the performance of schools, not the type.
‘‘There are failures in the mainstream system, as well as successes. I can remember the outcry when kura and faith- based schooling came along and look how well they perform.
‘‘There is so much diversity in education in New Zealand, and partnership schools are just giving parents, particularly Maori and Pacific families, another choice.’’
She could not say whether another application for a partnership school in Porirua would be received in the future, but reiterated that it would be held up to a robust process, as the Davidic Centre Trust was.
First things first: Education Minister Hekia Parata said there should be more emphasis on the performance of a school, not its type.