The Government has signed contracts to open two new partnership schools (kura hourua) based in Rotorua and Taupo in 2018.
Te Rangihakahaka Centre for Science and Technology in Rotorua will be led by local iwi Ngāti Whakaue as a co-educational composite school for years 1-10.
The Blue Light Senior Boys High School in Taupō is sponsored by Blue Light Ventures Incorporated and will be a single sex (male) senior secondary school for years 11 to 13.
The Minister for Māori Development has expressed support for the introduction of the schools and says kura hourua are delivering strong NCEA results for Māori students.
“Conventional schooling has not fared as well for Māori students' success and kura kaupapa Māori and kura hourua met their aspirations in a different and more effective way.
“It’s also good to see that along with the success of kura hourua, kura a iwi and kura kaupapa Māori are all achieving significant successes for our tamariki,” says Flavell.
However, NZEI Te Riu Roa Matua Takawaenga, Laures Park says the introduction of more charter schools is not the educational solution for Māori or Pacific students.
“I have no doubt that the people in the organisations behind these charter schools have nothing but the best intentions for the welfare and future of their tamariki.
“But the fact is, more than 85 percent of Māori tamariki go to mainstream public schools. It’s a cop out for the Government to present charter schools as a solution for Māori while failing to adequately resource that schools that the vast majority of Māori attend.”
The new charter schools will join ten other partnership Schools already operating in Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Hawkes Bay.
Minister Flavell says, “The Māori Party agree with whānau, iwi and Māori leaders that the government should expand the initiative and allow more Māori students to succeed through the creation of more charter schools.”
Laures Park of NZEI believes the focus should instead turn to improving outcomes for students in the public education system.
“Māori and Pasifika children will continue to be let down by governments until politicians from all parties sit down with the educational experts and agree to do what’s needed to improve education for all our tamariki.
The solution for Māori is in a strong public education system, including resourcing the overcrowded Rotorua kura kaupapa that will now be competing with a cashed-up charter school.”
The two new kura hourua are expected to open in the first term of 2018 with a combined opening roll of 110, growing to a maximum of 290 by 2021.