Sir Toby Curtis has reported:
Education Minister has “foot on our throats,” say partnership school leaders
Minister of Education Chris Hipkins has forcibly silenced partnership school leaders from speaking out against the shutting down of their schools, according to Sir Toby Curtis who is leading a Treaty of Waitangi claim against the Crown over its failure to consult on the closures.
Despite achieving outstanding results for students, all eleven partnership schools have received termination notices from the Minister and are being shut down by the government on 31 December.
Sir Toby says that in the past few days he has personally undertaken “more consultation with the affected schools than Minister Hipkins has done during his entire term in Parliament”.
“What I discovered shocked me. School leaders have been given clear signals from government that they are to keep quiet now or risk being cut out of consideration for starting an alternative state-controlled school for their students next year,” he says.
And perhaps no coincidence we learn:
Decisions will be made as soon as possible about the two remaining sponsors’ applications to establish three designated character schools, when more information is available. The schools are Rise UP Academy in Auckland, Middle School West Auckland and South Auckland Middle School.
“I expect to make final decisions on the two state integrated and three designated character schools in September, but have asked the Ministry to try and ensure this happens earlier if possible. This is still enough time for the new schools to open in 2019.
It’s appalling to delay the decision on those schools until September. Students need to know if they will have a school to attend next year.
But I suspect it is worse than that. The Villa schools sponsor has been very critical of the Government’s decision to close down the charter school model. I suspect the Government has delayed the decision so they can minimise protests when they close them down by declining their applications. So their pupils will be thrown back into the mainstream schools that failed them, because the Government doesn’t like criticism.