'Disquiet' as heads seek answers on charter school

TINA LAW
Last updated 05:00 10/08/2012

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Christchurch school principals hope to get some answers to their questions on the Government's controversial plan to create a charter school in the city.

Principals from almost 20 schools, mostly in the east, will today meet Associate Education Minister John Banks and Catherine Isaac, chairwoman of the working group charged with shaping the model for New Zealand schools.

The Government's intention to create charter schools in New Zealand, starting with trials in Christchurch and South Auckland in 2014, was announced as part of the National-ACT coalition agreement last December.

The "charter school" name is no longer being used after being rebranded last week to "partnership schools".

Avondale School principal Mark Scown, who helped arrange the meeting, said there was disquiet among principals on the possibility of a charter school being trialled in Christchurch, particularly in the east.

He said there was evidence that charter schools were not as successful overseas as they had been touted to be.

"We've got some good questions lined up, so we'll see if they are prepared to answer those," Scown said.

"We're all pragmatic people. If they show us the evidence [charter schools work], then lets go with it. At the moment, the evidence does not really stack up."

The meeting is closed to the public and media, but people will have a chance to hear about charter schools at a forum this month hosted by the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI).

The forum, at 7pm on August 22 at Shirley Intermediate School, would hear from a panel that included Massey University Professor John O'Neill, NZEI president Ian Leckie and Post Primary Teachers' Association Canterbury chairwoman Brigid Raymond.

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- The Press

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