18 Sep 2013

Charter schools will be scrutinised - Parata

10:36 am on 18 September 2013

Education Minister Hekia Parata says the just announced charter schools have been thoroughly scrutinised and will be extremely transparent and accountable.

The five publicly-funded private schools in Auckland and Northland will be set up next year and will operate outside many of the regulations that apply to state schools.

Ms Parata told Radio New Zealand National's Morning Report the schools will have to report quarterly to the Ministry of Education and will be required to meet the same standards as mainstream schools.

She says the kind of harassment directed at schools trying to deal with students who are not successful in the mainstream is extremely unhelpful.

Charter schools add nothing new

Opponents of charter schools meanwhile say they add nothing to the education system.

Teacher unions and the Principals Federation say they will do nothing that state schools cannot already do, and will hurt other schools by dragging their students away.

They say state schools have a lot of freedom and they cannot see what benefits the charter schools will bring to the system.

The Secondary Principals Association says the schools might be helpful, but only if they remain as niche providers enrolling at-risk children.

Junior vice-president of the Post Primary Teachers Association, Hazel MacIntosh, says they will not do anything state schools can not do.

"It's blatantly nonsense to suggest they will help disadvantaged students, all the evidence from overseas suggests these schools lead to greater segregation and impoverishment for poor communities."

Ms MacIntosh says the new schools will hurt Whangarei's existing schools by attracting students from them and reducing their funding.