There are 11 operational schools, ranging from Hastings to Northland, serving 1500 students, operated by 9 sponsors - not-for-profit/charities, iwi and one private business.
In total, since 2014, 111 mainly Māori and community organisations have applied to establish kura hourua.
Their primary purpose is to improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged students:
they must enrol at least 75 per cent Māori, Pasifika, special needs or low-income students
8 of the 11 kura have 100% disadvantaged students
are more accountable than any other type of state school - the only schools that are required by contract to achieve rigorous student attendance and academic performance standards
receive exactly the same funding per student as equivalent state schools (though they get less establishment funding than regular state schools)
receive their funding as a lump sum and are free to spend it in the best interests of their students
must employ registered teachers unless they can show how employing an uncertified teacher will bring additional skills, qualifications and experience to help students learn. In practice most have 100% registered teachers.
can employ teachers on individual employment agreements, instead of union contracts, so can pay more to get the best teachers and have performance-related pay
have exceeded the NCEA and National Standards pass rates of comparable state schools, notwithstanding their requirement to have at least 75% disadvantaged students, and that many of their students had previously dropped out of state schools
empower communities to take the lead in raising their children’s educational achievement
are intended to complement regular state education provision, not take it over
Partnership Schools will be closed down or forced to convert to ‘designated character’ schools - meaning loss of the very factors that underlie their success – autonomy, accountability and flexibility.
Partnership Schools vs
Designated Character Schools
May teach any curriculum that follows the principles of NZC or TMA, but all current schools teach NZC or TMA anyway
Must teach the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (TMA)
Funding per student
Same as state schools (but lower start-up funding)
Same as state schools
Receive a cashed-up, lump-sum payment, giving flexibility to use the funds in the best way to achieve their performance standards
Funds are allocated to specified cost areas, based on Ministry of Education formulae
May negotiate with the Crown to employ non-registered teachers if they bring special skills, qualifications and experience
All teachers must be registered with the Education Council
Can negotiate individual employment agreements with the ability to reward above the state scale based on performance and responsibility criteria
Must use union collective contracts
Contract with the Crown to achieve student attendance, achievement and financial performance standards
No measured targets for student attendance or achievement
Sponsor -who signs contract with Crown- has total control over the Governance model, ensuring certainty of commitment to their vision. Martin Jenkins has described Partnership School governance arrangements as innovative
Must have standard parent- elected state school Board of Trustees and Principal Governance model. May appoint extra board members under an alternative constitution
THE WAY FORWARD
The Government is closing down Partnership Schools simply because they promised the teacher unions they would. There has been no consultation with students, parents or communities. The Government should:
Look at the evidence
release the final Martin Jenkins report
consult with students and whanau
if in any doubt, commission independent analysis of how Partnership Schools are performing – let the schools stand on their results!
Seek a cross party solution so that Partnership Schools do not become a political football
there is support among Government Ministers and MPs across the House for this initiative
Honour the Crown’s commitments: allow the current schools to serve out their contracts with three six year renewals depending on performance, as promised when they signed a contract with the Crown
Honour the rights of Māori to self-determination and to base their children’s education on tikanga Māori.
SOME ACHIEVEMENT HIGHLIGHTS
It is still early days for schools that have been open for a relatively short time (between 4 years and 2 months), but the following (derived from NZQA data for 2017) are some highlights from the latest results of the first two secondary partnership schools that opened in 2014:
2017 NCEA RESULTS (provisional) - Results for NZ Maori
Terenga Paraoa (Whangarei)
Total NZ (all deciles)