By: Isaac Davidson

Act Party leader David Seymour says he is proud of the growth in charter schools in the last three years. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Four new charter schools have been announced, including one to be run by an organisation associated with Labour candidate Willie Jackson.

Act Party leader and Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education David Seymour said today that the schools in Auckland, Christchurch and Gisborne would open in 2019.

That will bring the total number of charter schools, also known as partnership schools, to 16.

“The growth of the partnership schools … policy has been significant,” Seymour said today. “When I started as Under-Secretary there were just five partnership schools. Soon there will be 16, teaching students from Whangarei to Christchurch.”

The news schools are:

  • City Senior School in central Auckland, a school for boys and girls in Years 11-13 with a maximum roll of 300 students. Students will focus on mathematics, engineering, science and technology.
  • Turanga Tangata Tire in Gisborne, a Maori-focused school for boys and girls in Years 9-11 with a maximum roll of 55 students.
  • Vanguary Military School in Christchurch, a military-based school for boys and girls in Years 9-11 with a maximum roll of 210 students.
  • Waatea High in South Auckland, a bi-lingual Maori and English school for boys and girls in Years 9-13 with a maximum roll of 145 students.

Seymour said City Senior School would focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics – the STEM approach which the Government is trying to encourage to get more students into careers in engineering and tech.

The other three schools would be focused on students who have not succeeded in state schooling.

Two of the successful applicants, Vanguard Military School and Te Whare Wananga O MUMA, already have existing charter schools.

Te Whare Wananga O MUMA is a subsidiary of the Manukau Urban Maori Authority run by Willie Jackson, who is standing on the list for Labour.

Jackson’s involvement in charter schools puts him in a difficult position because of his party’s opposition to the schools.

Labour has promised to scrap the charter school model if in government. It will not close existing schools but may require them to make some changes such as increase the number of registered teachers.

The charter schools regime is a key part of the Act Party’s confidence and supply agreement with the National Party.

Source: NZ Herald

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