Pupils in limbo

Stuff reports:

Students, parents and staff at two of the country’s 10  say they are in “limbo” over whether they’ll have a school to attend in the new year.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins is reviewing all 10 charter schools on a case-by-case basis and he has written to them saying the Ministry of Education will meet with them individually in February, but until then all contractual agreements remain in place.

But Alwyn Poole, who oversees two charter schools in Auckland, says everyone is in “limbo” waiting to hear the fate of the schools under the new Government after Labour campaigned to get rid of them.

“There’s been this underlying expression of concern, from our students as well, who are quite politically aware. Even though they’re relatively young they follow what’s going on and they’re concerned about their own education,” he said.

“There’s some strange things going on and we think there’s some Ministry officials who have pre-empted Mr Hipkins taking anything to Cabinet. We’ve had one comment come through that we’ll all have to close and reopen after some new configuration if that’s possible.”

Poole believes the Ministry is “overstepping their jurisdiction” given no specific directive has been given by Hipkins yet.

In the meantime, he says he has a growing waiting list of 100 at South Auckland Middle School and the end-of-year prizegiving next week at both schools run by Villa Education Trust, but no answer for parents as to whether they’ll face closure at some point next year.

Last month Hipkins said there were currently about 1200 young people attending charter schools and he wanted to “take the time to work to find a solution that works for them”

They have a solution that works for them. They’re doing really well at them.

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