New Zealand Labour Party

Report proves troubled school shouldn’t have opened

The long-awaited release of an Education Review Office report into Northland’s troubled Whangaruru charter school proves it should never have been approved in the first place, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“This report identifies problems with absenteeism and disengaged students and found the school’s board received numerous official complaints from parents concerned about health and safety issues.

“The ERO found students – as well as untrained teachers at the school – needed more support and there was a lack of urgency and poor planning. This led to a lack of classroom resources.

“The report also highlighted concerns about the quality of teaching, management and leadership. It found the relationships between governance and management were ‘dysfunctional at times’.

“Education Minister Hekia Parata must be held to account for approving the opening of this school despite official advice warning her not to.

“Even more concerning has been her attempt to cover up the true situation at the charter school by withholding this damning report for six months and releasing it when Parliament is debating deploying troops to Iraq.

“There is no point in the ERO being sent in to do a readiness assessment if the warnings they raise will be ignored, the school opened regardless and the whole thing hushed up by the Minister,” Chris Hipkins says.