Microsoft, Datacom – and the Auckland Theatre Company – have signed up as partners for New Zealand’s newest charter school.
The new City Senior School for 300 students near Auckland’s Victoria Park will share space with a “Launching Pad” for new business start-ups that will work with students on joint projects.
It is one of four new partnership schools announced today by Education Under-Secretary and Act Party leader David Seymour. The others are in Gisborne, Christchurch and Mangere, where an existing charter school run by Labour candidate Willie Jackson’s wife Tania Rangiheuea will open a new high school.
However all four schools will not open until 2019 and could be torpedoed if Labour wins this month’s election. Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkins said Labour would not go ahead with opening any new charter schools.
“The Government should not be entering into new charter school announcements when they know full well that it is a heated and contentious debate during the election campaign,” he said.
City Senior School Ltd and its parent Launching Pad Charitable Trust have been set up by Hobsonville Point Secondary School deputy principal Claire Amos and Brett O’Riley, who was until recently head of the Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development agency (Ateed).
O’Riley’s wife Robyne Walker is also a director.
It is the first charter school to be approved under new criteria allowing schools to specialise in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) subjects. All 15 other charter schools set up or announced to date have been approved under the initial criteria requiring them to serve Maori, Pacific and low-income students.
The school will take students only in Years 11 to 13, starting with 100 Year 11 students in 2019 and adding Year 12 in 2020 and Year 13 in 2021.
Amos said students would work on projects with established technology companies and new start-ups.
That sounds great. What a pity that Labour doesn’t want innovative schools like this.