Vanguard on charter schools

A comment on charter schools from Nick Hyde, the CEO of the Vanguard Military School.

Maybe I can shed some light on the performance of charter schools.

Vanguard Military School has achieved the following NCEA results over the past 2 years.

  • 2014 NCEA Level 1 96% and NCEA Level 2 100%.
  • 2015 NCEA Level 1 at 93%, Level 2 at 100% and Level 3 at 93%.

It is compulsory to take Maths, English and PE in every year.

We offer Science, Maori, Engineering, History, Computing and Defence Force Studies as electives.

Maori and Pacific Island students are achieving at around 30% above the national average and a previous commentator is correct with regards to us engaging with students who had stopped attending school.

Our stats have shown we have enrolled 60 students so far that were previously not attending any school.

From their website:

 

Vanguard Military School teaches the New Zealand Curriculum to Year 11, 12 and 13 students with the specific aim of gaining the NCEA and UE qualifications that students, parents, employers and other education providers like universities are looking for.

The school operates under a military ethos with a high level of structure and discipline that promotes teamwork and aims to eliminate the unsavoury aspects of school life.

Vanguard opened in February 2014 and achieved NCEA pass rates well above the national average during its first academic year.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Nick says he is happy to provide further information.

Leave a comment

47 Comments

  1. Strong For Life

     /  5th May 2016

    Seems a success story to me, no wonder Little is against it.

    Reply
  2. Its the religo charter schools that we need to keep a sharp eye on…….

    Reply
    • Iceberg

       /  5th May 2016

      There’s been religious schools in NZ for more than a century. What, in particular are you worried about?

      Reply
    • Eliza M

       /  5th May 2016

      2/3 of the board of Vanguard are Anglican ministers.

      Reply
      • Pantsdownbrown

         /  5th May 2016

        So?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  5th May 2016

          As long as none of them is Brownie I don’t see why that’s a problem. I know one great Anglican minister and I prefer the Anglicans to the Catholics.

          Reply
  3. Eliza M

     /  5th May 2016

    http://www.vanguard.school.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Curriculum-2015.pdf
    Their curriculum leaves a lot to be desired, ensure success by eliminating choice.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  5th May 2016

      I don’t see a big problem with that curriculum. It will be a big stretch for the kinds of kids they are taking on but also a huge reward and satisfaction for them when they succeed as seems to be happening. They will be well set up for life to achieve anything they want to.

      Reply
    • Iceberg

       /  5th May 2016

      If you’re determined to find fault in charter schools, you’ll find it. But you’re focussing on the wrong stuff. The question you should be concerned about is; why is there a segment of society globally that sees a need for, and value in, charter schools? Why are millions of kids attending schools that aren’t public schools?

      If you don’t have (or seek) answers to these big questions, you’re just nit picking for no purpose other than to salve some hidden ideological poition. It’s tedious.

      Reply
    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  5th May 2016

      Eliza M: “Their curriculum leaves a lot to be desired, ensure success by eliminating choice”.

      Bah Humbug! (Eliza Scrooge anyone?) – Even finding something to moan about with success……….and hypocritical too as you yourself are ‘eliminating choice’ by saying parents shouldn’t have the opportunity to send their kids to a charter school because we should ban them.

      Reply
      • Eliza M

         /  5th May 2016

        “as you yourself are ‘eliminating choice’ by saying parents shouldn’t have the opportunity to send their kids to a charter school because we should ban them.”

        Show me exactly where I said that. What I’m addressing is the lack of options available to study, your average high school has a pool of at least 10 options, whereas these ‘recruits’ have only 2.
        In their march newsletter they have more detail on NCEA, while their pass rates were high the merit/excellence endorsements were very low. 7 merit, 1 excellence at year 11 and 1 excellence at year 12. So getting the bare minimum out of kids doing the bare minimum of electives that’s what I’d want for my children -NOT.
        On that thought, how many of you pro-charter people have school age children and how many of them are at charter schools? Or are these just idealogical decisions you’re prepared to make on behalf of the poor brown kids and religious nutjobs – and of course the trust, or business that creams the money off the top?

        Reply
        • Pantsdownbrown

           /  5th May 2016

          Eliza: “Show me exactly where I said that”.

          You are clearly firmly in the anti-charter school camp which is against even trialling charter schools in the first place.

          Your distaste for charter schools is clear in your last statement “Or are these just idealogical decisions you’re prepared to make on behalf of the poor brown kids and religious nutjobs – and of course the trust, or business that creams the money off the top?”.

          ‘Poor brown kids & religious nutjobs’ eh……..nothing like a bit of generalisation. Hate to break it to you but the students that are failing in our state schools ain’t all brown and/or religious.

          I’m fortunate that my kids are succeeding in a state school however if the state school system had failed them (as it does with many students) I’d be thankful of the opportunity a charter school would provide at another chance of a decent education.

          The state school system you say offers all these study options has already failed a large chunk of these kids so why do the same thing and expect a different result? Far better to instead keep things simple and precise – baby steps.

          Reply
        • Iceberg

           /  5th May 2016

          “What I’m addressing is the lack of options available to study”

          So what? No one is there at gunpoint.

          My local high school has a “lack of options” as well. Not all schools have the scale to be able to have all subject options.

          Reply
          • Eliza M

             /  5th May 2016

            You should change schools then, become a jackbooted, beret-wearing ‘recruit’.

            Reply
            • Iceberg

               /  5th May 2016

              Godwined so early in the day. Sigh.

            • Eliza M

               /  5th May 2016

              Not a Godwin, that’s a Vanguard ‘recruit’.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  5th May 2016

        Dear Eliza, at high school I could choose between languages (Latin, French, German) and extra science (Chemistry, Biology, Geography). We had pretty much the same basic subjects as Vanguard (excepting Maori) – English, Maths, Science/Physics, History, Music.

        Strangely enough that turned out an enormous range of successful people graduating in every profession and plenty of arts. I can’t see the Vanguard syllabus doing anything but good. It certainly beats hands down getting NCEA credits for all the nonsense courses our public schools resort to for similarly economically and socially disadvantaged students.

        Reply
        • Pantsdownbrown

           /  5th May 2016

          All together now! “There’s a hole in your argument, dear Eliza, dear Eliza………”

          Reply
        • Eliza M

           /  5th May 2016

          Dear Alan that seems like a lot of choice and options you had compared to these recruits. As far as academic subjects go they have Maths, English and Science with one option between History and Maori. No choice of languages like you had, no Latin, no French, no German, no choice of sciences like you did, no Chemistry, no Biology, no Physics, no Geography, no Art, no Music.

          Reply
          • Pantsdownbrown

             /  5th May 2016

            You’re right! A lot of these kids didn’t even go to school previously so we should foist upon them French lessons, modern art appreciation studies and classical music theory from day one at the new charter school……..that’ll teach them!

            Reply
            • In your own words Pantsdown, “nothing like a bit of generalisation” eh?

            • Eliza M

               /  5th May 2016

              Restricting them to basic maths, basic science, English, History/Maori and PE (an easy pass course) will definitely make it easier to spoon-feed them through their NCEA internals though.

            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  5th May 2016

              PZ: “In your own words Pantsdown, “nothing like a bit of generalisation” eh?”

              To communicate effectively sometimes you have to speak to people in the only way they can understand……

            • @ Pantsdown – Really!!!?? New word # 56, ‘Presumptiority’, presumption of superiority? ‘Superiossumption’ might be better? And ad-hominem songs too I see? “Hole in your argument” …

              If ad-hom songs are permissable I have an absolute beauty! It’s based on ‘Camptown Races’ … although many other words can be substituted for “races” … Here’s a ‘Vanguard’ song for you instead I found on YouTube. Hey, the kids are all right PDB! (You can tell from the vid eh?)

              I’m searching online for any alternative schools at the other extreme from ‘military’. What might be called ‘liberal’ colleges, like the Alternative School in Mt Eden years ago? Or like ‘Summerhill’ in England? Places where the root causes of mainstream truancy and dissaffection might be addressed more gently and tolerantly perhaps than with strict ‘armed services-style’ discipline; or just avoided completely? Places of freedom and democracy? Haven’t found any yet … Sad.

              http://www.summerhillschool.co.uk/

            • Eliza M

               /  5th May 2016

              There are the Rudolph Steiner and Montessori schools.
              Wai Ora Montessori in Wellington has NCEA results of 100%, 100%, 100%.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  5th May 2016

            They’ve got Maori and English which seems appropriate for them and should give them some understanding of language structures, idioms and styles. I don’t have a problem with a school that focuses more on technical science and engineering than arts. Obviously that is not for everyone but it will serve them well when they seek a productive career.

            Maori culture is very strong on music and dance so I doubt they are missing much there without having formal music.

            My view is that it doesn’t matter too much what kids are taught above basic maths and English so long as they are taught how to study and succeed. How to set high goals and achieve them is the most empowering thing you can give kids after social and personal skills.

            Reply
    • Pickled Possum

       /  5th May 2016

      I cannot see any wrong in their curriculum. Reading, Writing, Maths, Biology, History,
      Fezz Ed, Recruitment development, Second language, no school fees, no uniform fees.

      What more could a unsatisfied public school student want … lessons on how to get a big view like Kim Kardasdian? The Military stylz teaches the teens in a quick hurry how to become reliable in the Real World. I wish this school all the best.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  5th May 2016

        Ae Possum. Just what young men with little experience of it need to learn self-respect and self-discipline. My concerns with charter schools are only around the inability of Ed Dept when approving proposals to be able to recognise the good ones from the crap ones. That’s the part of the system that needs looking at. My opinion on charter schools, previously opposed, is now open and will be determined on the facts and the evidence.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  5th May 2016

          PS: I went to a private, single sex Catholic college. My only regret is that I took languages, because that’s what all the “bright dudes” in some tests were streamed into. I wish now that I had taken Commerical Practice.

          Reply
        • @ Gezza – It would be interesting to propose something like a Summerhill School to them and see if it got approved? Its been operating successfully in England since 1921.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  5th May 2016

            @ PZ – horses for courses. There’s room for more than one model. What counts is that children and young people learn the skills & attributes, in a safe environment, that they need to succeed & thrive in a world that owes no one a living but those unfortunates who are for genuine reasons truly incapable of self-sustenance with a good quality of life.

            Reply
  4. duperez

     /  5th May 2016

    ” … the state school system had failed them (as it does with many students)…”

    What do you mean ‘failed them”? If teachers make their best efforts, try all sorts of creative alternative ways, and a pupil cannot pass a test has the school failed them? Or is the kid incapable?

    Reply
    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  5th May 2016

      Vanguard thus far seems to show that a portion of the same kids not doing well at state schools are doing far better at their charter school – what has changed?

      Reply
  5. duperez

     /  5th May 2016

    I’m not being smart pantsdownbrown just reflecting on the 50% who failed School C and UE in my day. You know the sort who own plumbing and electrical companies now and the others who own houses, boats and baches and are positive contributers to society in all sorts of ways including being good employers.

    Reply
    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  5th May 2016

      Unfortunately I don’t think many of these kids nowadays dropping out of ‘normal’ schooling are going straight into apprenticeships or paid work – more likely into the streets, crime, gangs and the like.

      Reply
      • Dubious assumption there Pantsdown. I can’t disprove it though, despite a quick search along the lines of “success & qualifications” etc. Why would ‘drop-out’ kids be any less successful now than in the past? Is there a lack of unskilled or menial tasks to perform?

        Something that strikes me about the conversation is this: Here in the modern neoliberal economic age, where we are told change is the only constant, work and career requires continual retraining, businesses restructure and people change positions and career paths often, always in pursuit of the higher dollar; we seem fixated on keeping young people locked into linear school qualification pathways for longer and longer to attain ever higher ‘job specific’ qualifications? [There’s problems even with ‘choice’ here since up to a certain age it’s ultimately the parents’ choice]

        I sense assumptions like a) people need a stable career qualification in a flexi-career world? and b) people can’t really change much despite the modern workplace & economy requiring them to constantly change? Or could it be that people haven’t changed all that much despite neoliberal economic “units of production and consumption” pretentions?

        I also sense a sort of ‘hidden’ or perhaps unrecognised agenda, vis, as much as anything else we need the ‘qualification industry’ to prop up our economy? I guess the question (for me) is “to what extent is education really a marketplace”?

        Does this ‘academic’ emphasis – which I’ve got nothing against per se, having engaged in it myself – adequately cater for those students whose skills are more practical and kinesthetic than academic? I don’t know, I’m just asking. I certainly hope so. Shortages in “the trades” seem to indicate otherwise and also indicate that a “free market” approach doesn’t really sort things out? That some element of industry-wide and economy-wide planning is required?

        How’s that for Thursday afternoon waffle? Ψ

        Reply
        • Pantsdownbrown

           /  5th May 2016

          Surely if they are leaving school and seriously looking at going into a trade or something they wouldn’t then be sent off to a charter school……….considering some of these kids as under 16 years old seems more unlikely.

          Youth today from my experience are more ‘labour work’ adverse, so there is a big difference in what school leavers were willing to do for a job in the past and now (hence why trades struggle to attract people even though with hard work a great career beckons).

          Reply
          • Eliza M

             /  5th May 2016

            Go read the student testimonials on the school websites. They paint a different picture. Haven’t read one yet that says “I wasn’t at school” with the exception of a girl at Vanguard who had left school, been to Aus, and gone back to 5th form at 18. Plenty of bunkers, but not so with the dropouts.

            Reply
            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  5th May 2016

              Nick Hyde, CEO of Vanguard on this very blog yesterday: “Our stats have shown we have enrolled 60 students so far that were previously not attending any school”.

            • Eliza M

               /  5th May 2016

              The student testimonials don’t reflect that fact, nor do any figures beside the one that came from the mouth of the man that’s profiting from government handouts to private education.

            • Gezza

               /  6th May 2016

              @ Eliza – Isn’t he citing NCEA pass results? Where are your figures disproving them?

        • Iceberg

           /  5th May 2016

          “to what extent is education really a marketplace”?

          To the extent that it needs to be designed for the needs of those consuming it, otherwise it’s worthless, nobody would “buy” it. Education has value. Ergo it’s a market.

          Currently the state is a monopoly player in the education market. It buys and sells nearly all related products and services. Many people think the state does so badly as a monopoly provider that they are prepared to pay twice to educate their kids, via private schools.

          Also to the extent that a market offers choice.

          Adding “neoliberal” to every sentence is a tiresome irrelevancy.

          Reply

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