STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) focused students and educators will soon have greater access to the options offered by Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua, Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education David Seymour announced today.
"Partnership School applicants so far have needed to demonstrate a focus on priority learners in order to be approved," says Mr Seymour.
Priority learners are groups of students who have been identified as historically not experiencing success in the New Zealand schooling system.
"This has seen a number of innovative, independently-run schools offer educational alternatives to students underserved by the state system," says Mr Seymour.
"The time has come to extend the options offered by Partnership Schools to a wider range of students and educators.
"The Government has identified STEM subjects as vital for improving economic and social outcomes for New Zealanders.
"We need to step up our efforts in these areas to address labour market needs and maximise innovation and economic growth. This is why, in addition to the existing application pathway for schools focusing on priority learners, we are now allowing for STEM-focused Partnership Schools.
"Partnership Schools are well-placed to provide STEM-focused education, thanks to their high degree of flexibility.
"Partnership Schools could, for example, hire scientists and other STEM experts, and would have flexibility in setting remuneration for STEM teachers.
"School sponsors might include businesses or tertiary providers with STEM expertise, and these schools could develop deep STEM-focused curricula.”
The STEM application pathway will apply from the fifth Partnership School application round, which opens early next year. Successful applicants will open schools in 2019.
Non-STEM applicants that meet the criteria of targeting priority learners will continue to be welcome as in previous rounds.
Round 5 is also the first application round allowing TEIs (Tertiary Education Institutions) to sponsor Partnership Schools.