Q: Are Partnership Schools all being run by private business for profit?
A: The Partnership School | Kura Hourua policy allows for schools to be established as either ‘not for profit’ or ‘for profit’.
Of the ten Partnership Schools in operation at 01 February 2017, nine are ‘not for profit’. The predominant legal entity of choice for these Partnership Schools is the Charitable Trust, with only one of the ten having been established as ‘for profit’ and therefore as a Limited Liability Company.
Q: How is it that these schools can employ non-registered teachers?
A: The percentage of teaching hours to be covered by non-registered teachers is a subject of negotiation with the Ministry of Education at ‘contract time’. Generally speaking a high percentage of teaching time in Partnership Schools is undertaken by registered teachers, or teachers with a ‘limited authority to teach’. Where a school has a strong focus on cultural identity, on the trades, on IT … or where there are teacher shortages, then a school will employ non-registered teachers with specialist skill sets, and from appropriate backgrounds. It goes without saying that all teaching staff are subject to Police vetting.
Q: How are Partnership schools held accountable for the work they do?
A: Partnership Schools are granted flexibility that is designed to enable more effective teaching and learning of ‘Priority Learners’. This ‘flexibility’ is balanced by way of strict contractual accountabilities that are exercised by the Ministry of Education, The Education Review Office, and the Authorisation Board..
The contract each Partnership School enters into with the Ministry of Education specifies targets for educational success (e.g. the Better Public Service Standards for National Standards and NCEA), student engagement and financial performance. Their educational environment is ‘audited’ routinely by The Education Review Office, school monitoring is undertaken by the Authorisation Board against quarterly reports, annual reports and annual financial audits that are provided to the Ministry, while the Ministry of Education manage the contract.
Q: Partnership Schools are funded at a higher per pupil rate than equivalent State Schools
A: Not true.
As at 21 April 2017, Partnership Schools receive 0.16% of total Ministry of Education schools budget. In simple terms, for every $100 dollars spent on schools funding by the Ministry of Education, Partnership Schools receive 16 cents.
Partnership Schools receive an Establishment grant comprising a fixed sum component (that varies depending on whether the school is Primary, Secondary, or Composite), a property grant component (calculated at 6 months of the property grant based on estimated opening roll), and funding sufficient to allow a Principal to be employed five terms in advance of opening. An equivalent State School would be provided with buildings, fit out, grounds … and a staffing allowance that enables a Principal to be appointed five terms in advance of opening, two senior HODs two terms in advance of opening, and a full staff being employed one term before opening. If these comparative sums were translated to a per pupil funding amount it is immediately apparent that the Partnership School is at a disadvantage.
Partnership Schools receive a property & insurance grant that allows them to lease premises – State Schools are provided with buildings and grounds. These contrasting approaches could have the effect of making it appear as if Partnership Schools receive more funding per pupil than their State School equivalents.
Partnership Schools receive a teaching and operations grant that is calculated by way of a Ministry formula that ‘cashes up’ the various (actual) funding components provided to State Schools. The graphs below show the funding distribution of New Zealand Primary and Secondary Schools in 2011, at the point when the funding formula for the first Partnership Schools (opening in 2014) was modeled.
(Secondary School – regression line – 2011, MoE)
The red line shows the level of funding for Year 9-13 Partnership Schools.
(Primary School – regression line – 2011, MoE)
The red line shows the level of funding for Year Year 1- 8 Partnership Schools.
It needs to be noted that Partnership Schools receive no payments that are over and above what State Schools receive, rather, the opposite is the case: two examples; Partnership School teachers salaries are calculated as an average of those paid to equivalent State Schools based on 2011 benchmarks, Partnership Schools are prevented from participating in the Ministry of Education’s ‘Investing in Educational Success’ programme (to include the Communities of Learning initiative) that has been allocated a budget of $360m over four years.
The final component to the Partnership School’s funding arrangement is ‘centrally funded support’ that has been based on the ‘cashing up’ of the various strands of funding that State Schools receive under this heading.
The graphs above demonstrate that Partnership Schools are funded at a level that is broadly equivalent to comparable State Schools.
Q: What’s the difference between a partnership school and a ‘charter school’?
A: Some people refer to ‘Partnership Schools’ as ‘Charter Schools’ because that is the name used for similar models of schools in the United States.
Q: Why did you form E Tipu E Rea and what is its purpose.
A: E Tipu e Rea’s purpose is to work with existing, new and prospective Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua to help them deliver outstanding educational outcomes for their students.
E Tipu E Rea has been established in order to provide independent support to Partnership Schools to ensure gains are made in raising educational achievement in targeted student cohorts. E Tipu e Rea is committed to supporting fresh thinking and innovation that will drive reduced inequality and improved student success across the education sector.
Q: Is E Tipu E Rea independent of Government?
A: E Tipu E Rea is a Charitable Trust that is contracted to deliver progress against five key objectives defined by the PSKH sector and outlined in a funding agreement that E Tipu e Rea has with Government. In return, Government has provided two years of establishment funding for E Tipu e Rea after which time the goal is for E Tipu e Rea to be ‘self funding’. Although E Tipu e Rea views the Partnership Schools as it’s ‘clients’, E Tipu e Rea functions independently of Government, independently of the Authorisation Board, and independently of the schools themselves.
The global context supports the view that organisations similar to E Tipu E Rea have been a critical feature of successful school models of this type. Because they are based on a contractual rather than a regulatory relationship with government, Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua do not have access to many of the ‘hands-on’ support services provided routinely by the Ministry of Education and other agencies to regular state and state-integrated schools. There is therefore a need and an opportunity for some services to be provided independently, which is why the Government has made a limited amount of funding available for E Tipu e Rea, to assist it in getting established.
Q: How has E Tipu E Rea been funded to date, and how will it be funded?
A: To date E Tipu E Rea has received pro-bono professional services and a small amount of philanthropic funding. It has been established with considerable voluntary support from a number of people, including the governors.
The Government is providing some initial establishment funding for E Tipu E Rea to be established. In the future, the expectation is that the organisation will be philanthropically funded, and may bid for contracts from government to deliver services, but it will not continue to be a publicly funded organisation. It will remain independent of Government.
Q: Why has the Government chosen to fund the establishment of E Tipu E Rea? How will the organisation be accountable for expenditure of this funding?
A: The establishment of E Tipu E Rea was initiated at a meeting of Partnership School and tailored specifically to the needs of Partnership Schools in New Zealand. It is therefore uniquely suited to carry out this role.
E Tipu E Rea will be accountable for the expenditure of the funding provided by government through a funding agreement which stipulates milestones and deliverables which need to be met. The funding will be paid in instalments, to ensure that the organisation is established and is operating as expected before the full sum is released. The agreement stipulates that E Tipu E Rea will be required to report on its impact and undertake annual financial auditing.
Q: Why do you support Partnership Schools?
A: E Tipu E Rea has been set up in the belief that all children in New Zealand should have the same opportunities to achieve success. We believe that Partnership Schools are a way to provide a greater range of opportunities to achieve this, and meet the varied learning needs of children.
- Partnership Schools are a new type of school designed to increase the choices available specifically for those young people and their families who on average underachieve in education in New Zealand. This includes Māori, Pasifika, young people from low-income backgrounds, and those who have Special Educational Needs. Partnership Schools must have on their roll high numbers (currently 75% or more) of children from these ‘priority learner’ groups.
- Partnership Schools also encourage innovation because they have greater freedom to decide how the school is organised, and how and what they teach, compared with regular state and state-integrated schools. This enables each school to tailor its educational experience to the children it serves.
- We believe that this increased choice and innovation will help every child in New Zealand have the same opportunity to achieve success.
Doesn’t the failure of Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru raise a number of concerns?
- As with any new start-up business, the period of highest risk is the ‘start-up’ phase, and so it proved with Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru. Te Kura ki Whangaruru was one of the first five partnership schools to be opened in January 2014. It was closed by the Ministry of Education in early 2016 for not meeting its contractual obligations.
- This closure illustrates an important difference between Partnership Schools and mainstream schools in New Zealand. Although Partnership Schools have greater freedom, they also have greater accountability in the form of strict requirements to achieve high educational outcomes and benchmarks. These are monitored by the Ministry of Education and the Authorisation Board. Failure to deliver against these outcomes can lead, such as in the case of Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru, to closure. This allows for swift intervention where a school is failing, and limits the negative impact that such failure can have on a child’s education long-term.
- Whilst the disruption for the young people who attended Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru is deeply regrettable, the impact on these young people was significantly limited by the school’s closure.
- There are lessons to be learned from this experience. It also illustrates the high level of accountability and transparency in reporting that Partnership Schools accept, and the serious consequences for not delivering against this accountability. We see this as a key feature of the model and an important aspect of ensuring high expectations are met and a high quality, results-driven teaching and learning environment is provided for the children who attend these schools.
- The interventions available to at-risk State Schools to address various areas of default include ‘Statutory Management’. In the event that Partnership Schools fail to achieve their contractual performance standards then ‘breach of contract’ interventions are triggered. The ‘Statutory Management’ option is not available to Partnership Schools. It is worth noting that at 01 March 2017 there are almost 100 State Schools under Statutory management.
What services does E Tipu E Rea intend to provide?
- The services that E Tipu E Rea intends to provide will be for sponsors of Partnership Schools. These sponsors could be at one of several stages: considering an application; applying; setting-up following a successful application; or already operating a school.
- A ‘sponsor’ is a group who prepares an application, sets a Partnership School up, and governs the school once it is operating.
- For sponsors who are considering or going through the application process we intend to provide information and guidance to help them to understand the process and to build the capability necessary to develop a strong application which will be the foundation of an outstanding school.
- For sponsors who are setting up a school following a successful application, we intend to support them to develop the high quality systems, structures and procedures necessary for them to operate as an outstanding school.
- For schools which are already open and operating, we intend to support ongoing development and facilitate networking between the schools.
All of the services that E Tipu E Rea will provide will have the aim of helping Partnership Schools to deliver the best possible outcomes for the children they serve.
Will partnership schools have to pay for E Tipu E Rea’s services?
- Initially, it is anticipated that the services that E Tipu E Rea provides will be free to Partnership Schools and sponsors. In the future, it is possible some services will need to be charged for in order to ensure ongoing viability and sustainability.
Do partnership schools have to teach the New Zealand curriculum?
- Partnership Schools may set their own curriculum, providing it uses the vision, principles, values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum or equivalent statements in Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, and is capable of being mapped against these curricula. The school’s curriculum is described in the sponsor’s contract.
- The reason for this is to allow flexibility to innovate and tailor the learning these schools offer to the needs of the children they serve. A major part of all applications to start
- Partnership Schools is that sponsors present a clear, viable and effective curriculum plan. They must also show they have educational expertise on which to draw as part of their governance plans.
- The school must offer the qualifications specified in their contract, and have in place and use appropriate instruments for assessing the performance of students in each class level to achieve the relevant qualification.
- At senior school level, Partnership Schools must show they are supporting their students to enter careers and further education, and as such will choose to deliver curricula acceptable to New Zealand tertiary institutions, such as NCEA, International Baccalaureate or the Cambridge Exam system, as do other types of schools.
How does E Tipu E Rea differ from the Ministry of Education and the partnership schools authorisation board?
- E Tipu E Rea is an independent, not-for-profit organisation. As such, it is not connected or controlled by either the Ministry of Education or the Partnership Schools / Kura Hourua Authorisation Board. Although E Tipu E Rea has a representative of the sponsors among its governors, it is independent of each individual Partnership School, and should any conflicts of interest arise these will be managed appropriately.
- E Tipu E Rea differs in its role from these other bodies since it provides services specifically aimed at supporting Partnership Schools to deliver outstanding education. E Tipu E Reais not responsible for approving applications, monitoring progress, funding, or managing contracts for Partnership Schools.
- As such, we are able to work closely and impartially with Partnership Schools with a very specific focus on helping them be as effective as possible. Where we feel there are weaknesses or failures in the way the Ministry or Authorisation Board are conducting processes affecting partnership schools, or failings on the part of the schools themselves we will raise these.
Will E Tipu E Rea provide services for other types of schools other than partnerships schools?
- E Tipu E Rea is being set up specifically to support Partnership Schools and will not have the resources available to provide services for other types of schools at this stage. However, we believe strongly in collaboration and are keen to learn from and build links with schools of all types to support the success of all New Zealand students.
Can partnership schools hire unregistered teachers?
- The greater flexibility that Partnerships Schools have includes the ability to employ a number of teachers who are not registered in the traditional way (i.e. who do not hold a Practising Certificate). Partnership Schools negotiate the percentage of teaching hours that will be taught by registered teachers as part of their contract negotiations with the Ministry. Most of the Partnership Schools have a high percentage of teaching hours taught by registered teachers.
- For example, they may employ individuals with post-graduate degrees or trades certificates as subject matter experts to deliver part of their curriculum in areas such as engineering, IT or other trades, the arts, sport and languages. This can provide opportunities to develop students in ways not always provided for in the regular state school system.
As with regular state and state-integrated schools, all those working in Partnership Schools are subject to Police vetting.
Are the E Tipu E Rea Directors paid for their work?
- The E Tipu E Rea Directors are all unpaid and volunteer their time pro bono to support the organisation’s work.