Prime Minister John Key officially opened South Auckland Middle School, the first of the five controversial charter schools, on January 31.
Partnership schools are part of a confidence and supply agreement with ACT and offer an alternative education for parents looking for something different for their children, Mr Key says.
"I think this is important because it gives parents choice. It is just one small addition to the education system in New Zealand."
The opening ceremony was also attended by Education Minister Hekia Parata, Justice Minister and Papakura MP Judith Collins and ACT leader and partnership schools orchestrator John Banks. They were welcomed on to the school grounds with a powhiri.
The charter schools are funded by the Government under a performance-based contract.
"The strength in the system is that you are contracting for performance and if you don't get that performance then you can cease to continue with the contract," Mr Key says.
The addition of five alternative schools will not distract the Government's attention from the traditional education sector, which has received $359 million in additional funding, he says.
"The government has been hugely focused on the compulsory sector of education in this country. We do allow parents to have choice, just as parents have choice to go to an independent school or an integrated school or a single-sex school."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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