New Zealand Labour Party

Minister to blame for charter school crisis

Blame for the crisis situation at Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru which led to a final notice being issued today against the Northland charter school falls firmly at the feet of the Education Minister, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Hekia Parata not only went against the advice of her own officials when she allowed Whangaruru to open, she has spent months trying to cover up the full extent of its problems by refusing to make public critical reports by the Education Review Office.

“This is a charter school which has spent its first year plagued by bullying, drug use, absenteeism and management infighting. The ERO has also had ongoing concerns about the quality of teaching, learning and student engagement.

“The Minister was warned the school would not provide a ‘safe environment’ and its processes were questionable.

“Just like she ignored official advice not to launch the Novopay teacher’s payroll system, Hekia Parata thought she knew better. Her judgement has once again proved to be fatally flawed.

“Now the school has a month to turn itself around. The situation at Whangaruru isn’t fair on its pupils, parents or the wider school community; and Minister must take responsibility.

“The National-Act Government’s charter schools policy is such a disaster Hekia Parata yesterday announced she would not be approving any more this year.

“Unfortunately for its students, the final notice against Whangaruru is too little, too late,” Chris Hipkins says.