Partnership schools “mostly good”

A generally positive report card for the controversial (in the Labour Party) partnership schools (charter schools).

RNZ: NZ’s charter schools given good report card

Most of the first eight charter schools are good at teaching and testing children from Māori, Pasifika and poor backgrounds, an independent evaluation says.

The report (PDF, 2.8MB) by the firm Martin Jenkins for the Education Ministry said most of the children enrolled in the schools were from high-priority backgrounds and many had previous problems with achievement and attendance.

“All schools/kura report that high proportions of their students have poor achievement histories and are achieving below the age/stage-related standards that could be expected on entry to the school/kura,” it said.

It said the schools showed mostly good and in some cases innovative practice in their approaches to working with the children.

It also said their assessment practices were good.

“We are confident that all of the schools/kura are either already delivering, or are on a path towards delivering, assessment practice that is ‘good’ or ‘very good’ overall.”

The report said literacy and numeracy dominated the curriculum of all of the schools and most had average or lower than average class sizes.

It said in 2015 most of the schools met or exceeded their contracted targets for student attendance, engagement and achievement.

The evaluation said most of the schools said their reporting requirements were burdensome, and some said they had unresolved contract issues and/or a complex relationship with their key partner, the Education Ministry.

“These issues have at times diverted attention and resources away from delivery,” it said.

This adds to the debate over partnership schools, especially within the Labour Party.

Also at RNZ: Charter school opens for business

A new charter kura says some of its students have come to its classes because they were close to being kicked out of their old schools.

Te Kura Māori o Waatea in Auckland officially opened for business today.

The school is operated by the Manukau Urban Maori Authority, while its head is the broadcaster and former politician Willie Jackson.

“You know, sometimes we’ve got to be bigger than our parties, and it’s not about Labour, sometimes, and it’s not about national, and it’s not about ACT.

“As you said, David, it’s about our kids: the kaupapa is the main thing here.

“You either get involved or you get out”.

The kura’s tūmuaki, Tania Rangiheuea, said some of her pupils had been in trouble with other teachers in the past.

“A lot of our children have come here because they were on the verge of getting kicked out of their school.

“Some of them have behavioural problems – not all of them – most of them are really, really good kids and I love them.

It is her first time leading a school; previously she has been a lecturer at Victoria University.

She said the kura’s philosophical approach to education involves the whole lives of students and whānau – not just the time pupils spent in the classroom.

Tania Rangiheuea said her people were good at finding out what makes the tamariki tick.

“I have a full time Whānau Ora navigator attached to the kura; she goes in and works with the families.

“For example, I had two children from one household who for two days didn’t come to school, and when I found out when they didn’t come to school they had no lunch.”

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  1. Bill Courtney

     /  10th May 2017

    I wonder if Pete George has even read the Martin Jenkins evaluation report, before using it as “evidence” on this blog?

    The report is essentially a white wash (the words PPTA used) as it looks primarily at the assessment practices of the schools and not student achievement itself. There are many other shortcomings in both its methodologies and what issues it ignores.

    As I pointed out on the other item, the footnotes to the brief section on Student Achievement contain a massive caveat that says the Ministry’s final assessment of the schools relating to the 2015 year had still not been released at the time of writing the report. And the November 2016 report was not released until May 2017. Why?

    And neither have we seen the Minister’s decision on releasing the performance related funding for the 2015 school year. Why?

    If this cover up was being done by a Labour government, the blogs would be screaming. But they are silent. Why?

    Here is my release:

    • I wonder if Bill Courtney has even read my post before accusing me of using it as “evidence”. I posted what was said in an RNZ report, as is quite clear.

      You obviously have a strong view on partnership schools, fair enough.

      Launching with an attack on the messenger isn’t a great way to make a case though.

      Why do you keep calling them charter schools when that is not what they’re called in New Zealand?

      • Corky

         /  10th May 2017

        Bill doesn’t understand nothing could be worse than the trash mainstream education has dished up to children over the last 30 years. And I don’t think he’s a regular visitor to blogs.
        National,and especially Parata, are hammered constantly over education. That’s understandable given education in Aotearoa is a Leftwing business.

        • duperez

           /  10th May 2017

          When the narrative has it that the “trash mainstream education (has dished up to children) over the last 30 years” I get confused.

          I wonder if the hoards who post with such perspicacity and so voluminously in so many forums on all facets of life including education, are the products of that trash system.

          I wonder if those who pat themselves on the back each time an international survey comes out which has New Zealand near to top, are the products of that trash system.

          I wonder if those who who soberly look at the range of the achievements of New Zealanders in all facets of life, major or mundane, unique or ordinary, and recognise and marvel them, are the products of a trash system.

          I wonder what sort of mainstream education system could produce those with a mindset that has Partnership schools “mostly good” and state schools “mostly bad.”

          • Corky

             /  10th May 2017

            ”I wonder if the hoards who post with such perspicacity and so voluminously in so many forums on all facets of life including education, are the products of that trash system.”

            What hoards? We are a bunch of nutters, maybe a thousand or two at a real stretch, who basically post amongst ourselves. What about the hoards who are sub literate? What about remedial classes at universities?

            ”I wonder if those who pat themselves on the back each time an international survey comes out which has New Zealand near to top, are the products of that trash system.”

            Yes, international surveys who basically rate OECD countries suffering the same education malaise as us. Have you heard of the new trend among Indian and Asian migrants? They either send their kids back home for a real education, or they arrange Skype lessons with overseas teachers.

            ”I wonder if those who who soberly look at the range of the achievements of New Zealanders in all facets of life, major or mundane, unique or ordinary, and recognise and marvel them, are the products of a trash system.”

            That is in many cases in spite of…not because of. We are talking of the gifted, the driven, the creative,the hard workers. What of the other New Zealanders who would be better suited to third world countries even after a kiwi education?

            ”I wonder what sort of mainstream education system could produce those with a mindset that has Partnership schools “mostly good” and state schools “mostly bad.”

            That’s easy. People who just go through the motions with mainstream education. People who go Whoa…do I want that experience for my kids?
            The uneducated teachers indoctrinated a teachers college. The vicious bullying by Polynesian kids. The cultural and political pc shoved down children throats. The lack individualism. The lack of results from exams that are considered a joke by employers. That’s if the exam paper aren’t recalled by the Ministry because of mistakes first.

            • Gezza

               /  10th May 2017

              It’s the hordes of illiterates we need to be concerned about. The dictionarily deficient must never be allowed to Deeside watt hour education systems should teach.

            • Corky

               /  10th May 2017

              What a clever little chappy you are. Thanks for bolstering my argument.

  2. Bill Courtney

     /  10th May 2017

    So, have you read the Martin Jenkins evaluation report, or not?

    • No I haven’t. I don’t have time to read everything that’s out there. I commonly put up news reports to promote discussion.

      Why don’t you try stating your case rather than trying to discredit the messenger (which was RNZ)?

  3. Perhaps partnership schools are mostly good if they service your ideology?

    And perhaps for some directly involved, if they service your bank account?

    The question that must be answered though is: Are partnership schools good for students’ educational outcomes, in the broadest possible sense?

  4. Bill Courtney

     /  10th May 2017

    If you haven’t read this report, then I would suggest you be very careful using it to imply that the schools are “mostly good”.

    Charter schools are a political creation and are driven by the ideology of privatisation, as is clear in the USA, where the original education sector based idea was hijacked by the “education reformers” in the 1990s.

    In NZ, they also appeal to a group who value “self determination”, i.e. give us the money and we’ll do the job ourselves.

    Whether the model works across the full set of schools is debateable and the source of a mini industry in the USA. People like John Hattie rate charter schools very lowly.

    The specific issue with this item, Pete, is that we are not seeing a genuine, unbiased evaluation of the initiative, as we were told we would get. Instead, we get a report that Sir Humphrey Appleby of Yes Minister would be proud of.

    In particular, the cover up of the true state of the student achievement is a disgrace. Hekia obviously wasn’t prepared to release her decision on the 2015 performance payments prior to leaving the job. But that is unacceptable for such a controversial initiative.

    By delaying the release of the true picture, anyone can get away with claims that they are “doing well”. Willie’s school, in particular, had a very poor first year, but you have to dig to find that out.

    I could go on, but there is far more to this than meets the eye.

  5. Pete Kane

     /  10th May 2017

    Why didn’t Andrew simply say this yesterday? Such unnecessary harm.
    Chris Hipkins defends Labour’s charter school policy.'s-charter-school-policy

    • High Flying Duck

       /  10th May 2017

      So Hipkin’s solution for children failed by the current school system who have moved to an alternative model is to move the alternative schools back into the model that failed them.

      That is pure Labour genius. It is incredible that that kind of thinking hasn’t had them storming onto the Government benches come election time.

    • @ Pete Kane – “Why didn’t Andrew simply say this yesterday?”

      I hate to be facetitious but can’t resist. Answer: Because they had a team of policy advisors and spin doctors working on it overnight !!!

      @ High Flying Duck – If partnership schools do not offer a different model of ‘school’, as opposed to a different, special ‘private’ delivery system for different, special ‘community-of-interest’ students, the concept of ‘alternative delivery system’ should have been incorporated in the existing state school system in the first place. Hipkins is merely suggesting a return to basic common sense …

      Partnership Schools is analogous to building an alternative State Highway system of toll roads, bridges and tunnels, using taxpayers money, and then subsidizing only low-income peoples’ private cars to use it by the taxpayer paying their tolls for them …

      • High Flying Duck

         /  10th May 2017

        Either that or Partnership Schools allow different thought processes outside the ministry guidelines for the mainstream, so that new and innovative learning methods can be applied.

        I believe the Partnership schools to date are all run by charitable interests rather than corporates?

        Government has to have a level of inflexibility built in to keep the system working and to provide consistency in education methods and outcomes. By allowing separately funded and externally managed schools operating within a broad framework you can get the flexibility necessary to help these children in the margins.

        Don’t forget the schools are not mandatory – they are a choice and state school options are still available.

        Comparing schooling to roading is ridiculous – even for you. A road is a one trick pony to get from A – B. But education is a complex beast.

        But to shoehorn a metaphor:

        If mainstream schools are the “road”. Partnership Schools are the equivalent of alternative transportation means (sea or air perhaps!) to ensure those who get car-sick can still get to the destination.

        They achieve the same thing using the same funding but by different methods.

        These schools are monitored and will succeed or fail on their merits. They get no more funding (and in many cases less) than a state school so i cannot see why there is such opposition, if not ideologically driven.

        • Some cogent points there HFD …

          I’m having difficulty getting beyond my own perception that partnership schools are basically only different ‘transmission model’ delivery systems designed to achieve the same mainstream outcomes as mainstream schools … Indeed, as you say, “they will succeed and fail on their merits” and the mainstream measures those merits …

          “Transmission model – This term refers to … the dominant, mainstream approach … What defines mainstream education is its view of the learning process: Knowledge is seen as an established, objective, authoritative body of facts outside the learner’s experiences or personal preferences, and the role of the educator is to transmit this knowledge, along with accompanying academic skills and attitudes, to the learner’s mind.

          The transmission model denotes a one-way, largely authoritarian process. The educator is in charge and holds the authority to evaluate learning according to how well learners meet his or her expectations. According to a transmission understanding of education, instruction is “delivered” and classrooms are “managed” as efficiently as possible.”

          To me this means PS’s not really ‘alternative’ or at best not very alternative. I dare say some, the military-style ones, are considerably more authoritarian? As they say though, they are choices, not mandatory … although for a low-income parent with a child on the brink of expulsion from mainstream, I wonder how much choice they really have?

          Summerhill was an alternative. “Freedom, not licence” … “a place that minimises the authoritarian elements and maximises the development of community and really caring about the other people … ”

          And there are numerous others –

        • What I’ve learned today –

          1) Partnership schools are ideologically driven … and any questioning or criticism of them must be ideologically driven too …

          2) Partnership schools are not an alternative to mainstream education … they’re an alternative form OF mainstream education … some even more authoritarian.

          3) I’m not against partnership schools. Indeed, I believe genuine educational alternatives could and should go a whole lot further. Its just best to know what partnership schools actually are …

          4) Those who approve of partnership schools – which appear to be a kind of ‘educational enclaving’ along racial, ethnic, social class and religious lines – don’t have a leg to stand on if they’re also complaining about separatism, race-based politics, Maori privilege and (so-called) ‘apartheid’ in other areas of society. Please don’t complain about certain minority races and ethnicities not “assimilating” when you, the taxpayer, are happily paying for their children to be educated separately.

  6. Bill Courtney

     /  10th May 2017

    In response to High Flying Duck:
    A lot of what you assert is just plain wrong.
    Vanguard is a for-profit school but you do not need to operate as for-profit to extract funds from a charter school. Management fees is all you need to prosper, even if the school operation is notionally fronted by a non-profit organisation.

    Second, the funding is far different from the picture you paint. The Whangarei secondary school now in its 4th year gets $3.09 million for 216 students, or about $14,300 per student. Whangarei Boys High gets $8.09 million for 1191 students, or about $6,793 per student. These differences are very significant.

    Last, we simply won’t know whether the schools will stand or fall on merit if there is no transparency around their performance data and no honest rigorous evaluation.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  10th May 2017

      Or…you are comparing apples with oranges.

      State school funding excludes property and insurance costs as well as centrally funded support costs, which partnership schools fund themselves.

      When costs are compared “like for like” including decile rating partnership schools cost the same or less than State equivalents.

      Regards your last comment, one partnership school (Whakaruru) didn’t meet criteria after 2 years and was accordingly closed.

      The others are being monitored and results are being published regularly. Discrepancies between Partnership school reporting criteria and state school reporting is also being worked through so that the reporting improves over time.

  7. Bill Courtney

     /  10th May 2017

    Ah, the same dismissive comment and ignoring the massive difference in amounts of funding. The centrally funded support costs are paid to charter schools and are in their funding, albeit at $276 per student, so this is NOT a major item.

    Again, you do not quote any figures to compare the charter schools directly with their LOCAL schools, from whom they draw students.

    And the flippant comment that results are being published regularly, when the lack of transparency over this data is criminal and a major part of my criticism.

    Oh the hypocrisy!

    And, you must be an insider, to casually talk about “discrepancies” in reporting. So are you in on the cover up?

    When does the Minister come clean on the 2015 performance related funding decision?

    • Andrew

       /  10th May 2017

      Would you learn to reply to a comment please, rather than just adding a new comment. It has been shown, time and time again, that partnership schools do not receive more funding that state schools.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  10th May 2017

      You’re not a fan of reasoned debate are you?

      I have no inside knowledge at all – i read the news reports a few months ago of critics saying the reporting of results was different for PS compared to SS’s (after the PS school results showed marked improvements) and the ministerial response that there were reasons for this due to the early stage of PS and the monitoring criteria but that over time the reporting would be standardised across all schools to allow easier comparison.

      And the funding model is published on the Ministry of Education website (a bunch of conspiracy nut-jobs i know..):

      Click to access StatePartnershipSchoolsFunding.pdf

      And this has also been reported many times elsewhere to debunk the partisan line that funding has been skewed to favour the Partnership Schools over State School equivalents.

      But don’t let me get in the way of your over the top hyperbole and tinfoil hat commentary.

  8. Bill Courtney

     /  10th May 2017

    Treasury on charter school funding:
    “The relative cost of partnership schools compared to state schools has been a contentious issue receiving significant publicity, and this may be raised again during the second round of partnership schools. The per student funding for the first five partnership schools (ranging from $9,689 to $40,333 at opening roll and estimated to be $8,004 to $11,188 at maximum roll of 100-300 students) is higher than the average funding per student for state and state-integrated schools ($6,991.08 in 2013).”
    Treasury Briefing to Cabinet Committee, 23 July 2015.

    But seeing you chose to reproduce the MoE propaganda brochure, why don’t you comment on how high Paraoa’s actual 2017 funding is compared to the contrived adjusted figure of $8,452 that they showed in the brochure?
    And remember, Paraoa is now in its 4th year of operation – way past its establishment period – and still it gets over $14,000 per student!!

    Geez you people are dishonest.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  10th May 2017

      Us people?

    • High Flying Duck

       /  10th May 2017

      If you compare start up costs for state schools vs partnership schools you will find the same thing.
      There is guaranteed minimum funding for all schools as they set up and build up their roll.

      But once more keep on cherry picking.

      For example Ormiston Senior College.

      Started 2011
      Supposed to have a roll of 1600, but only had 445 after 4 years. However still received significant funding on top of land and buildings: $1.5m establishment funding $7,688 per student excluding central services…

      You will get the answers you want if you compare apples with oranges – try comparing like for like and then I’ll take your argument seriously.

    • PDB

       /  10th May 2017

      Bill’s getting paranoid………people out to get him, cover ups everywhere………..partnership schools are no more expensive (when all costs are taken into account) than state schools but even if they were why would you object to the kids struggling most to do well at school being given more financial assistance to do so?

      • High Flying Duck

         /  10th May 2017

        Agree entirely. And the positive benefits to the state schools of having often disruptive students enrolled in alternative schooling should not be understated.

        The kids at the margins take up significant time and resource which would be better spent on children who can work well in the mainstream system.

        Both cohorts should be better off.


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