Another charter school

Stuff reports:

The Vanguard Military School chief executive is defending against the threat of a teachers’ union boycott and promises from opposition parties to scrap them.

Nick Hyde is running the North Shore’s first partnership school and says he wants to “dispel the myths”.

He says the current education system is good for 80 per cent of students.

“Our place on the education map is to provide a place for those who are struggling.”

To be fair, I think it is around 85% who are doing well. The tail is around 15% not 20% according to latest research.

Vanguard Military School in Albany will be sponsored by Advance Training Centres (ATC), the military prep school Mr Hyde manages in Rosedale.

It is one of five partnership schools due to open at the start of 2014 in Auckland and Northland.

Labour and the Green Party have promised to repeal charter schools and the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) is considering a boycott of any sporting, cultural or professional contact with them.

PPTA junior vice-president Hazel McIntosh says they are “a terrible experiment on New Zealand’s children that must be stopped in its tracks”.

A terrible experiment that is 100% voluntary. Not one family will have their kids attend a charter school unless they choose to do so. Unlike most state schools where uif you are in their zone, you have basically no alternative but to attend.

It is the choice that the PPTA opposes. They do not believe in it.

Vanguard Military School will cater for 108 year 11 and 12 students and expand in 2015 to include year 13.

Registered teachers will be used for core NCEA subjects like science, Maori, English and physical education. Non-registered teachers will take defence force studies and engineering classes.

“We felt someone with experience in these roles would be a better fit,” Mr Hyde says.

Students will also be taught computing, CV writing, leadership skills and will work towards their driver licences.

There will be a student-teacher ratio of 1 to 12.

Sounds terrible eh?

And they are not getting any extra state funding. They are getting the same as any new state school would get.

One of the reasons Mr Hyde decided to set up a charter school was over-demand for places at ATC.

“The horrible part of my job is to write to parents and say ‘Your child is eligible but we can’t take them on’,” he says.

ATC is entitled to have each student for only a year.

“It’ll be nice to have them for two or three years and we can take some of our most gifted students all the way through to university which is exciting,” Mr Hyde says.

He says charter schools have a place in the system as long as they are of a high quality.

The focus should be on quality. The five approved to date look promising.

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