16 Dec Proposal to terminate agreement

media statement

Education Minister Hekia Parata has advised the Ngā Parirau Mātauranga Charitable Trust that she proposes to terminate the agreement under which it runs a partnership school at Whangaruru.

Ms Parata, who met with the board on Tuesday, says a specialist audit conducted in October shows the current board has made significant progress in addressing the governance and management issues that caused her to issue the trust with a performance notice in February.

“However, the core business of teaching and learning appears to have only marginally improved for some students, not for all, and not in a sustainable way.”

As part of the specialist audit, the Education Review Office has identified:

  • student achievement concerns remain and the quality of teaching remains poor
  • inadequate curriculum leadership continues to impact negatively on students
  • the curriculum is not and has not been consistent with the broad ranging curriculum vision articulated in the contract
  • a lack of basic literacy and numeracy underpinning qualification credits achieved

“Even with the resources and support that have been provided, the gains in educational outcomes are unlikely to be significant and future prospects are equally small. This is ultimately what partnership schools are about – raising the achievement of students.

“Therefore, having considered all the information provided to me, I have reluctantly concluded that the challenges facing the board and the kura are too great to overcome.” 

The board now has till January 15 to provide the Minister with feedback on her proposal to terminate the Partnership Schools Agreement on March 7.

If the final decision is to close the school the Ministry will help the kura’s students to transition to other education options and provide practical support to students and whānau.

Ms Parata says her decision is not a reflection on the current board. 

“They have done what they could in the time available to install sound governance and administrative control and to stabilise the kura’s finances. There has, however, been insufficient progress in teaching and learning and the long term viability of the kura remains uncertain due to its heavy reliance on third parties, the difficulty of attracting suitably qualified teaching staff and uncertainty over the future roll.”

Media contacts: Nick Venter 021 803 519, Jasmine Higginson 021 359 076

Notes for editors:

In February Ms Parata issued the Ngā Parirau Mātauranga Charitable Trust with a performance notice requiring it to take immediate action to address areas of serious concern at the school.

In May a special audit identified financial, administrative and governance issues at the school which provided grounds to terminate the agreement.

In July Ms Parata decided to allow the school to continue operating because of concerns about the school’s 39 students, many of whom faced significant educational challenges and had been excluded from other schools. Ms Parata announced at that time that another audit would be conducted in October and that she would consider the school’s future after she received that audit.