Whangaruru the first example of failed ACT Party education ideology.
The closure of the charter school based at Whangaruru is an indictment of the charter school model and not a strength as
David Seymour wrongly claims.
The first round charter schools were hand-picked by the Government and the Authorisation Board, headed by Seymour’s
political ally, Catherine Isaac.
The Minister comments loosely on matters such as “inadequate curriculum leadership” but where was the advice she should
have received from Catherine Isaac on whether it was feasible to put the Trustees’ “vision” into practice?
One can sympathise to some extent with the challenges the original Trustees faced in trying to establish the school in
such a short time period.
But it is a failing of both the ideology behind the model and the politicised authorisation process that these
challenges were not considered more seriously and evaluated properly.
Secondary schools need to be of some significant size before they can offer a broad curriculum and give students the
full range of opportunities they need in the modern world.
According to the Ministry of Education’s database, only one Whangaruru school leaver (out of 15) gained NCEA Level 2 in
2014. But information obtained from NZQA reveals that a good deal of the NCEA credits gained by students in 2014 came
from Fencing and Possum Trapping.
The reality of what has happened at Whangaruru stands in stark contrast to the grand statements promoting the charter
school model made by Authorisation Board member Sir Toby Curtis:
“We do not want to see our children fobbed off with "soft" subjects and meaningless qualifications that take them
nowhere. They need the chance to succeed in subjects such as maths, science and technology, as well as languages, the
arts and trades.”
N Z Herald op-ed, 17 September 2015
Sir Toby gets our vote for Tui billboard of the year.