Organisations that govern Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua are called sponsors. 'Sponsor' is the formal term for the person or body that contracts with the Crown to operate a Partnership Kura. The Educational Amendment Act 2012 states that “sponsor means a body approved by the Minister [of Education] to operate a Partnership School | Kura Hourua.” Most of the detail of what a sponsor does is set out in sections 158B to 158I of the Act.
The sponsor of a Partnership School has to be a “body,” such as a board, trust, company, or other legal entity.
The sponsor is able to delegate any of their responsibilities to a third party. They may, for example, nominate a person to manage the school from day to day, but they are ultimately responsible for the contract with the Crown.
Despite the name, the sponsor is not necessarily required to provide funding for the school, although they may do. The word sponsor is used in the wider sense of a body or person who gives their backing to the project, and takes ultimate responsibility for the contract.
Sponsors are key to enabling new partnerships for delivery of education. They can bring innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and governing and leading a school. They can also contribute expertise in administration (e.g. human resources, financial management and procurement), as well as additional resources.
Sponsors can be from a range of backgrounds including businesses, philanthropists, iwi, community organisations, faith-based groups, private schools, tertiary education institutions and culture-based educational organisations. They can be not-for-profit or for-profit.
Existing state schools cannot be sponsors under the proposed legislation.
Sponsors are able to operate multiple schools, providing they demonstrate the capability and capacity to do so. State and state-integrated school boards of trustees can run multiple schools and the Partnership Kura model has the same provisions.