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More Partnership Schools coming

David Seymour

Students and parents will be offered greater choice in education as a result of Budget 2016 funding for around seven new Partnership Schools (Kura Hourua).

The schools will join the eight Partnership Schools already open, along with further new schools opening in 2017.

The growth of this policy is a reflection of the high level of interest from educators and community leaders.

Last year, for example, we received 26 applications, well in excess of the funding available.

Empowering communities

The new schools will empower community leaders to have a proactive role in educating students. They create new and innovative options so that every child can reach their full potential in New Zealand’s education system.

We look forward to seeing a range of new educational approaches coming out of these schools.

As is the case with all Partnership Schools, learning outcomes will be closely monitored by the Ministry of Education and the Partnership School Authorisation Board, and reported on publicly. This ensures strong accountability to the communities these schools serve.

The exact number of new schools to open will depend on the quality of the proposals received.

Funding has been put aside in a contingency to establish these schools. They are expected to open in 2018 and 2019.

New School established

On a related note, an independent Partnership School support entity, E Tipu E Rea, has been established to support new, existing, and prospective Partnership School sponsors and will receive a conditional funding grant.

The development of an independent support entity shows the maturation of the policy, bringing Partnership Schools into line with international charter school models.

England has the New Schools Network, New York has the New York Charter School Centre, and New Zealand now has E Tipu E Rea.

E Tipu E Rea will join other independent entities such as the New Zealand School Trustees Association in providing support services to the New Zealand school system. It will seek most of its funding from private sources.

It is great to see high-calibre, passionate individuals step up to make a difference in students’ lives.

The Board

We see this at every Partnership School, and now we see it with the board of E Tipu E Rea. The Board is chaired by former CEO of EY Australasia Rob McLeod, and features highly qualified and prominent New Zealanders from the education, business, and community sectors.

Board members include: Rob McLeod (CEO), Dame Tariana Turia, Dame Jenny Gibbs, La’auli Savae, Michael Jones, Bruce Ritchie and Ken Rapson

E Tipu E Rea will support (a) An increased number of high quality applicants to set up Partnership Schools (b) All new Partnership Schools to be set up in a way that maximises their ability to succeed (c) Existing Partnership Schools to continuously develop and perform at a high level (d) High performing Partnership Schools to scale or replicate their practice through new schools or by stimulating others and (e) Public awareness and understanding of the role and work of Partnership Schools in New Zealand

The funding grant of $500,000 will be drawn from a contingency established in 2015.

More information on E Tipu E Rea and its board members can be viewed on its website. Background information can be found on the Ministry of Education website

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