Charter schools could employ unregistered teachers
KELSEY FLETCHER AND KATE CHAPMAN
What do you think of charter schools?
Unregistered teachers will be able to teach in the new charter schools framework, Associate Education Minister John Banks announced.
Teachers undergo registration after they are trained.
The move has drawn criticism from education professionals and opposition parties who have called the framework "disturbing".
The first charter schools could be open by the 2014 school year, it was announced today.
In a re-branding exercise, Education Minister Hekia Parata said the schools would be known as "partnership schools", or kura hourua.
Parata and Associate Education Minister John Banks today announced the framework for the schools, a cornerstone of the ACT Party's agreement with National.
Parata confirmed it would be possible for non-registered teachers to teach in the new "partnership schools".
It would depend on the overall proposal for a "partnership school" for what proportion of the teaching staff were non-registered. They would have to be police vetted.
"But what we are saying is, there will not be a requirement that 100 per cent of the teaching staff have registration as a full teacher," Parata said.
There was already a provision for unregistered teachers to work in schools under the "limited authority to teach" provision.
"This is much more a focus on how do we get learning outcomes and student achievement rather than as we have done focus always on what the inputs are."
Among the other details of the framework was the ability to negotiate the percentage of registered teachers they wish to employ and to decide on their own pay rates for teachers.
The schools will also be able to set their own hours and term dates.
The Minister of Education would approve the schools and the contracts would include detail, including the maximum number of students allowed which can be reviewed annually.
They would have to accept all students regardless of background and have to report against National Standards for Year 1-8 students and offer NCEA or an equivalent qualification.
The schools' contracts with the Crown would be for a fixed term and require specific targets which would be reported on.
Labour's education spokeswoman Nanaia Mahuta said it was disgrace.
"You wouldn't let an untrained doctor treat your child, or let anyone design your house. So why do John Banks and Hekia Parata think it is okay to have untrained (sic) teachers in front of children in our school's classrooms?"
New Zealand students deserved trained professionals, she said.
"There is simply no evidence that charter schools lead to improved results for kids."
Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said the details of charter schools were disturbing.
"The fact is no corporate is going to want to be involved in a school unless it can make a buck."
NZ First education spokesperson Tracey Martin said charter schools were a further grinding down of the state education system.
"They pour money into privately-owned 'teaching' entities that do not have to adhere to the New Zealand curriculum or employ registered teachers in all their classes."
PPTA general secretary Kevin Bunker said using the name "partnership schools" was an insult and the schools were still something New Zealanders did not want.
"It seems crazy that you have to be registered to do the electrical wiring at a charter school, but not to teach the children there. I hate to think how Ministry of Education and Teachers Council officials feel about having to justify this."
- © Fairfax NZ News