30 Aug 2016

Drilling firm behind one of two new charter schools

8:11 pm on 30 August 2016

A drilling firm and an educational trust are behind two new charter schools announced today.

Te Aratika Academy in Napier and Te Kopuku High in Hamilton will open next year, with both schools targeting enrolements by Māori teenagers.

The two schools would bring the number of charter schools to 10 next year.

Under-Secretary for Education David Seymour said the schools were among 26 applicants for the third round of schools.

Mr Seymour said negotiations for a third school - to be run by Te Waipareira Trust - broke down earlier this year but he expected some of the unsuccesful applicants would try again in the fourth application round.

Te Aratika Academy would be run by a trust set up by local civil construction firm Te Aratika Drilling.

Company director Ronnie Rochel said she decided to set up the school because so many young men who approached the company for work were not ready for employment and needed a lot of help.

"We have been working with what I term my atypical stars, super stars - young men that have corrected their ways with the help of mentoring within our company. I am passionate about providing a platform for change," she said.

The academy would be a single-sex school for boys in Years 11 to 13, and expected an opening roll of 67 students and a maximum of 200 by 2019.

The Hamilton school, Te Kopuku High, was being set up Kia Ata Mai Educational Trust.

Trust chairperson Cath Rau said it had been supporting Māori-medium education providers for some time and decided it was time to get more directly involved in education delivery.

"We saw an opportunity through the partnership school initiative to use the cumulative knowledge and experience that we've gained in the Māori-medium pipeline and provide an educational opportunity for Māori students in Hamilton who have not yet had the opportunity to learn te reo Māori or to learn in a kaupapa Māori context," she said.

The school expected to open with 90 students and grow to 300 by 2021.

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