Education providers, entrepreneurs and academics appear to be evincing wide interest in the Government’s proposal for establishing Partnership Schools (Kura Hourua) throughout the country.
The National Government has proposed the ‘Education Amendment Bill,’ that provides for a third type of state-funded schools (the other two being state-owned and state-integrated schools.
The Bill returned to the Select Committee for further consultation after second reading in Parliament on May 8.
The Government has constituted the Partnership Schools Authorisation Board, which has thus far received 35 applications from communities and organisations with an expression of interest in Partnership Schools.
The proposals reportedly included institution of primary, middle, secondary and upper secondary schools, ranging from vocational and trades focus to traditional and academic approach.
Board Chair Catherine Isaac described the response as ‘positive.’
“The applications represent diverse communities, while a majority are from Maori and Pasifika organisations. They include many innovative approaches to working with disadvantaged and underachieving students, encouraging them to succeed in education,” she said.
According to her, the process involves detailed work and commitment and that the proposals received thus far demonstrated clarity of thought and purpose and a passion for education.
“The Board is currently working through a formal evaluation process, assessing each application against a common set of criteria. Short-listed applicants will be required to attend an interview and undergo a rigorous due diligence process,” she said.
Ms Isaac said that decisions will be taken only after Parliament passes the Bill.
Partnership Schools/Kura Hourua is an initiative that aims to lift educational achievement among disadvantaged students. The schools will provide parents, students and communities with another education option.
These schools will be accountable to the Government for raising achievement through a contract to deliver specific outcomes. In return, they will have more flexibility to make decisions about how they operate and use funding, including the number of teachers employed, teachers’ salary, the length of the school day and how the school purchases resources.
Successful applicants will sign a contract with the Crown that clearly sets out the responsibilities and obligations of both parties.
Appointed on March 1, 2013, the Authorisation Board comprises Catherine Isaac (Chair), John Shewan (Deputy Chair), Terry Bates, John Morris, Tahu Potiki, Dr Margaret Southwick and Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi.