School Board of Trustees in a sticky situation

By Dean Nathan

Teachers with New Zealand Post Primary Teachers Association membership are prepared to walk out of class rather than teach students from charter schools.  So much so it has become a real scenario in the North this week where the Whangarei Partnership School is preparing to open its doors.

The focus centred on the Board of Trustees of Whangarei Boys High School who are considering a memorandum of understanding to teach key subjects to students from the Whangarei Partnership School.  It is an initiative the PPTA are dead against.

The president of the PPTA, Angela Roberts says that “the board needs to think through the implications and we are hoping that it won’t actually come to that because that’s going to be a really hard situation for those students to be in and for those teachers to be in.”

WBHS Board of Trustees chairman, Tim Robinson says they initially saw the Memorandum of Understanding as “an operational matter”

But what has transpired in Northland since the Government announcment of two charter schools in the district has spiralled into a higher-level political and ideological debate with the Board taking further time to consider with 95% of WBHS teachers being PPTA members.

Mr. Robinson continues that “it has meant that we've had to obviously take into consideration their views on the matter and in particular I guess their intentions around what actions they may take if we were to proceed with the agreement.”

The new partnership school in Whangarei opens its doors this Saturday but only time will tell whether the education pathway set for its students is cut by the current debate in education over charter schools.

Says Ms. Roberts, of her expected outcome, “what we're hoping is that when the Board of Trustees have a very clear understanding about the implications for their students that they won’t have those students in the school”

The Whangarei Boys High School Board of Trustees will sit before the end of the month to discuss further options.