More strain for our student,families and staff

Published: Wed 25 Jul 2018 02:20 PM
Alwyn Poole
Villa Education Trust
Mt Hobson Middle School - Academic Manager
South Auckland Middle School - Academic Adviser
Middle School West Auckland - Academic Adviser
More strain for our student,families and staff and a Minister let down by his Ministry.
Today we heard from the Minister of Education that he has deferred making on the applications of South Auckland Middle School and Middle School West Auckland until mid-August. This is despite the promise of "easy transition" and a decision by July 31st.
Today we got to read the report the officials compiled - with an absolute minimum of consultation - for the Minister about our applications. We had asked to preview this application for accuracy (given past experiences) but the Ministry refused - claiming a right to "form an opinion".
The report they presented is both inaccurate and incomplete.
Inaccurate in they the included our draft "Designated Character Statement" (May 7th) that we had completely altered (May 29th) as they told us we could. Our final statement was buried later in the report in a way that makes it seem like an after-thought and both statements being there is clearly confusing.
The Minister has said what needs work is more information around how "our curriculum differs from that of ordinary state schools". Unfortunately for the Minister the Ministry officials did not even include the work we did for that section in the report (again supplied on May 29) despite a direct re-assurance that they would. (Please see second section of the attached document.) This makes the report incomplete as does several statements throughout it saying more information would be needed on some aspects (i.e. why didn't they ask then like they promised they would?)
When we had submitted our applications senior Ministry officials assured us that if any more work/information was required they or the Minister would ask for it to ensure deadlines were met. This has simply not happened - there has been no process (one meeting with senior officials on Feb 13) - and today's deferral is a massive shock and will be so to all involved in our schools - not least the children.
The Minister had the Ministry's report on July 3rd. The Ministry had our application on May 7th and updated information on May 29th. For them to have had all of this time - and now ask us to work with an "independent evaluator for more information is bizarre" for but - for the sake of our families & staff we have agreed to. We have written to the Minister today with the information the Ministry did not present in the report. We are hoping he will see that it more than adequately explains the differences in curriculum provision (that are certainly well known in the education community). If not - and we have to do the work with the independent evaluator - we have asked that this would be a quick process - not the extra 4 - 5 weeks the Ministry outlined to us today.
We believe the Minister is trying to do the right thing but has been let down badly his officials who have simply not carried the transition process that he promised they would - causing him to break his July 31st and "easy transition" promises. The Ministry official today did re-assure us that both schools would get through to the new status but the further delay has been entirely unnecessary and simply has another massive impact on the students and families that have found a home in our schools. This shows a complete disconnect from the day to day reality of working with these thriving children who stated so clearly through the Martin Jenkins report that they have found a wonderful school environment where they are thriving and becoming more aspirational
Speaking of one:
Charlize Wilson is a beautiful Year 9 student with Down's Syndrome at SAMS. She has just one IHC's People's Choice Art Award for 2018:
Charlize (and he wonderful family) are just one example of the people continuing to wait and being stressed by it.

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