Partnership school groups eager for news

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 09:13 09/06/2014

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Three Hamilton groups who applied to set up partnership schools are eagerly waiting to hear if they've got the green light.

Creators Collaborative Trust, Te Kohao Health and Whakawatea Kaporeihana were each keen to set up a school which, if approved, would open in February next year.

Across New Zealand 19 groups put in an application, and eight were shortlisted.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said recommendations from the Authorisation Board were due on her desk "any day now".

More than 60 years of combined education went into the newly formed Creators Collaborative Trust application, foundational trustee Rick Fourie said.

Its proposed school would cater for disengaged students in years 0-8, and would have an attached early childhood centre.

"Our target audience are those who have pretty recently had bad experiences, may have been expelled from schools, may have been just finding themselves in a bad place with the education system," Fourie said.

Working with a student's whanau would be a way to win trust and engagement.

Individual learning plans and collaboration between multiple community trusts - including those working in healthcare and parenting solutions - would also be a strong feature.

Te Kohao Health Ltd has thrown its hat back in the ring after an unsuccessful bid last year and was waiting "with bated breath", chief executive Tureiti Moxon said.

This time around the proposal is for a bilingual "bush" kura for primary-aged students, hopefully based in Enderley.

"Every child in the school will get to go into the bush, play in the bush, learn from the bush, once a week, every week, throughout the year."

Activities could range from tree climbing to learning about height or Maori medicines.

The school would also be bilingual, follow tikanga Maori and involve whanau.

Te Kohao Health is also seeking resource consent for an early childhood centre with the same philosophy.

A third local bid came from incorporated society Whakawatea Kaporeihana.

Members of the group were unable to be contacted before the time of print, but a previous application shows the society has links to Hamilton's Te Kohanga Reo o Whakawatea and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Whakawatea.

According to a Hamilton city service group listing, the group is also involved in budget services, parenting courses, education and welfare.

Parata said that Authorisation Board recommendations would be followed by a decision-making process.

This could take a few weeks, but the number of schools approved would depend entirely on the merit of applications.

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"It's quite a rigorous process to get through," she said.

"Schools cost a lot of money. It's taxpayers' money, and we want to be assured that it's going to be put in the hands of people who know what they're doing and will be accountable for that."

The ministry had also said it would prioritise certain areas, such as provision for primary-aged children and schools in areas of roll growth.

In the first round of applications 35 were received, and just five schools were approved to open in February this year.

- Waikato

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