Charter schools welcome
Families are already lining up to enrol their children at two charter schools due to open in South Auckland next year.
That's according to the people who head the organisations chosen to run the controversial schools.
Mangere-based Rise UP Trust and Newmarket's Villa Education Trust have been selected from a list of 35 applicants to open the schools early in 2014.
Rise UP Trust will open the Rise UP Academy, a school for students from years 1 to 6 in Mangere East.
Villa Education Trust will open South Auckland Middle School for years 7 to 10 but has yet to select a final location.
Three other charter schools will open in Albany and Northland.
Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Education Minister John Banks announced the schools on Tuesday and say they offer different options for students and their families.
"They will help young Kiwis be the best they can be by helping raise aspirations and encouraging them to succeed," Ms Parata says.
Villa Education Trust spokesman Alwyn Poole says he's "100 per cent confident" South Auckland Middle School will thrive.
More than 30 families registered their intention to enrol their kids at the school within 24 hours of its announcement, he says.
It will have an opening roll of 90, which will rise to 120 by 2015, and have a 1:15 teacher-student ratio.
No donations or fees will be required and the school will provide free uniforms and stationery for every student.
The trust already operates a Christian middle school in Newmarket and Mr Poole says the new institution will be essentially the same but with a "local flavour".
One difference will be the appointment of a community liaison to work fulltime with student families.
"Their job is to help ensure every child within the school is succeeding and the families feel very positive and very comfortable about being involved in the school," Mr Poole says.
"Our policy will be totally that no child falls through the cracks. We have sleepless nights here if a child isn't achieving."
Community involvement will also be top of the agenda at the Rise UP Academy, trust chief executive Sita Selupe says.
The primary school, which will enrol 50 students for February 2014 and 100 by 2016, will focus on helping parents understand the way their kids learn.
That's an extension of a mentoring programme that the trust has so far delivered to more than 185 South Auckland families.
"We're giving parents the opportunity to set their children up for success," Mrs Selupe says.
"These families have been asking us for the past three years to have our own school."
All teaching staff at the academy will be registered and every student will learn a musical instrument and another language.
The core academic curriculum will be taught from 8.30am to 3pm with sports, arts and cultural lessons taught until 5pm.
The Government committed $19 million in this year's Budget to the schools, which will be run independently and allowed to make a profit.
Ms Parata says they will have to meet publicly released performance targets, including national standards and NCEA benchmarks.
They will be assessed quarterly and could be closed if they do not perform.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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