One of New Zealand’s first-ever
charter schools is on the verge of being shut down. Education Minister Hekia Parata
has just announced a proposal to end an agreement with Nga Parirau
Matauranga Charitable Trust to run Te Pumanawa
o Te Wairua School in Whangaruru. Let’s cross over
to Oriini Tipene-Leach for more information. Oriini, does this decision come
as a surprise, or were there signs that this
was going to happen? Scotty, this decision does not come
as a surprise at all. The Minister has given
another lifeline to the school. On January 15,
that is, in four weeks, the trust must present a new plan if the Minister is to reverse
her decision to cancel the contract for running
Te Pumanawa o te Wairua School in Whangaruru. It’s with sadness and difficulty
that we take action in preparing for the closure
of this school at the beginning of next year. The school has been reviewed twice – what was the ERO’s finding from their investigations
in October? Minister Hekia Parata says the trust has made
significant efforts to fix the serious issues brought
to light at the start of the year. However, she is still worried
about the 39 or so students enrolled at the school. Some, the Minister says, wouldn’t be
allowed to enrol at other schools. The board may be doing well
financially as well as with the
governance of the school, it is failing in providing education and with the curriculum delivered
to the students. So what will happen to the students? Have alternative arrangements
been made for them? It looks like the minister
and the ERO have begun working out the logistics of getting
the 39 students sorted out. It seems the plans are made. Here’s the minister. I apologise. It seems we’ve lost the footage
of the minister, but she did say that that they’ve
made provisions and that discussions have begun with community members. They understand that Whangaruru is a long way from Whangarei
and other areas. Here’s what the minister had to say. They’ve received NCEA credits,
but if they do close, the board and the Ministry
of Education will work together to find the best options
for the students of this school. One of the biggest questions
that remains unanswered concerns over $3 million spent
by the government on this school. The school has only been in
operation for the last two years. The question is on whether or not
the money will be returned or not. Thank you for the update
Oriini Tipene-Leach.