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Partnership Schools are Good for High Needs Communities

Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga
MP for Maungakiekie

03 August 2012 Media Statement

Partnership Schools are Good for High Needs Communities

MP for Maungakiekie Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga welcomed yesterday’s announcement of the framework for the New Zealand Model of Charter School, in future to be known as Partnership Schools or Kura Houra

Partnership Schools are a new type of school in the New Zealand education system. It brings together the education, business and community sectors to provide new opportunities for students to achieve educational success.

The announcement by the Minister of Education, Hekia Parata and Associate Minister of Education John Banks referred to the term ‘partnership’ as capturing the essence of the charter school concept. It is a partnership between the Crown, the school’s sponsor, and the community.

“At a public meeting on charter schools recently held in the Maungakiekie electorate there were some probing questions around the structure and framework of the New Zealand Model of Charter School”, Mr Lotu-Iiga commented. It is therefore pleasing to have the formal framework announced serving as a further reference point and follow-on to our local electorate discussions on the concept”, says Mr Lotu-Iiga.

Mr Lotu-Iiga went on to refer to a recent visit to the USA as part of his activities as co-chair of the US-NZ Council Friendship Group. During this visit he was able to witness first hand an established and successful charter school in action.

He said that “This opportunity allowed to better understand the workings of a successful charter school. I visited E.L. Haynes Public Charter School. Founded in 2004, it is the first year-round public school in Washington DC serving predominantly minority children (including approximately 50% Black and 30% Latino children). 90% of last year’s 8th graders scored proficient or advanced in math and 75% scored proficient or advanced in reading. That is a remarkable achievement for a school serving high needs children in Washington DC”, Mr Lotu-Iiga explained.

“In New Zealand we already have a number of different types of schools operating, such as state, integrated, or private schools. In fact, one such example of a successful local partnership-type school in my electorate is Onehunga High School. It contains a business school and building and construction school with strong private sector partnerships”, says Mr Lotu-Iiga.
“With our Government’s focus on raising achievement for all our students, I see partnership schools as just another option for our parents and students. It will give them more freedom to choose the type of education that best suits their children’s learning needs.

“I look forward to the introduction of legislation to Parliament this year to make this concept a reality for our children”, Mr Lotu-Iiga concluded.

For more information and to see a list of key features of the Partnership Schools framework, visit: http://partnershipschools.education.govt.nz

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