Jody O’Callaghan at SST reports:
New Zealand’s greatest footballer wants to set up one of the country’s new charter schools.
Oceania Footballer of the Century and devout, born-again Christian Wynton Rufer predicts he will be “adding a bit to the controversy” of the schools being hotly debated in the education sector.
Details of “partnership” schools will not be formalised until the Education Amendment Bill 2012 is passed, but a working group has collected expressions of interest from potential founders of the non-state schools.
Wellington-born and raised Rufer is in talks with a Christian middle school trust to create a school of “excellence”, specialising in football.
The intended location of Rufer’s school is South Auckland, but the Villa Education Trust – which designed Auckland’s Mt Hobson Middle School and Upper Valley Middle School – also intends to open charter schools in West Auckland and Whanganui.
The trust is open to ideas for what the other two schools could specialise in.
Rufer said he had been looking for ways of extending the opportunities offered at his WYNRS football academy in Auckland, to more children than the present 3000.
He jumped at the chance to combine talents with Mt Hobson Middle School and Villa Education Trust founder Alwyn Poole, and his wife, Karen.
They ran an “outstanding” school already, which gave his own youngest son an education that no state school could offer, he said.
“And from my side of it with sport and football, we’re the leading football academy in New Zealand. …
Poole said he wanted to work with Rufer to offer “the opportunity for some superb sports provisions” and good academic support to those struggling in the present system.
“Something else to give these kids something to live for. I think the football would be an interesting start.” After working in classes of no more than 15, pupils in year 7 and 8 could spend a couple of hours three afternoons a week in football training, increasing in frequency for those showing potential by year 9 and 10, he said.
The restriction on charging fees would open the roll to children from lower socio-economic families, where there was a potential to find some real football stars, he said.
While there was a “lot of nonsense” being spoken about charter schools, schools such as that of tennis pro Andre Agassi, in America, had proved successful, Rufer said.
Sounds like a very good plan.