The Ministry of Education says it made a mistake in approving the charter of a school that is opposed to the national standards in reading, writing and maths.
But the school's principal believes the ministry was trying to boost the number of schools seen to be complying with the standards.
Valley School in Pukekohe sent its charter to the ministry with no mention of the standards.
The omission meant the charter did not meet the ministry's requirements.
So principal Roger Goulstone was surprised when the ministry wrote back saying the charter was fine.
After inquiries by Radio New Zealand, the ministry said its approval was incorrect.
Mr Goulstone says he has not heard of any other school getting approval for a non-compliant charter.
He says the ministry has asked to meet the chair of the school's board of trustees.