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Thrice denied - Osborne

Thrice denied: The decision to close Charter Schools took no account of parent or student preferences, is a denial of their success and is contrary to the principle of placing kids needs and interests first.

Within the space of four short years, 11 small Charter Schools with 1500 students, of which at least 75% are 'priority learners', have delivered educational success for Maori & Pasifika students which has eluded the State education system for decades.

E Tipu e Rea Chief Executive, Graeme Osborne says ‘the claim that New Zealand has one of the world's best education systems is not supported by global comparisons such as PISA, TIMMS (, PIRLS ( all show we are sitting static in the middle of the pack. Worryingly, the PISA data (as above) shows the literacy and numeracy competencies of our students is in decline, while our own Tertiary Education Commission has demonstrated that 40% of school leavers with at least Level 2 NCEA are functionally illiterate’.

The assertion that Charter Schools are 'taking money out of the State system' is a manipulation of reality: if an under-achieving student opts out of their local state school then of course the funding for that student will move with them, but the funding formula for the school is unchanged.

Graeme Osborne says ‘the Ministry of Education confirms that Charter Schools are funded comparably to equivalent State Schools’, and school funding is based on the number of enrolled students, end of argument’.

Graeme Osborne points out that ‘the assertion that Charter Schools are taking registered teachers out of the state system and compounding the teacher shortage is totally unfathomable ... the short supply of high quality teachers is more to do with teachers pay and conditions and a lack of union and political foresight and planning than anything else. And then there is the hypocrisy of the Charter School detractors ... on the one hand it is a criticism of Charter Schools that they have the freedom to set their own pay and conditions and employ unregistered teachers, but then Charter Schools get caned for not using registered teachers’.

Osborne says ‘Charter Schools were never an experiment. They are succeeding, they are cost efficient, and they are contractually accountable. By way of example there are now more than 500 New Schools (Free) and Academy Schools in the UK.

It would have been acceptable for the Government to tweak the model, and even to re-brand the model, but not to attack and hurt our most vulnerable students by closing Charter Schools?’

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