Education Minister Hekia Parata ignored official advice and approved the opening of a charter school that has been plagued with problems including bullying, drug use, absenteeism and management infighting, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
“The Ministry of Education advised Hekia Parata against approving Whangaruru School, raising concerns the school would not provide a ‘safe environment’ and questioning its processes. She chose to ignore those warnings and the responsibility for the subsequent problems rests squarely on her shoulders.
“This school has only been operating a year and yet the Education Review Office has already identified a number of concerns including bullying, drug use, management infighting, and health and safety issues. There have also been ongoing concerns about the quality of teaching, learning and student engagement.
“The whole charter school approval process is a train wreck. The Authorisation Board is recommending schools for approval that the Ministry of Education doesn’t think are up to scratch. It’s just another of many flaws in the whole charter school model.
“The situation at Whangaruru School can be added to Hekia Parata’s ever growing report card of failed decisions which include National Standards, her class size backdown, Novopay and the controversial expert teachers plan,” Chris Hipkins says.