More charter schools to become character schools

By Jessica Tyson

Six more charter schools are set to become designated character schools next year.

The Ministry of Education says a character school has a particular character which sets it apart from ordinary state schools and kura kaupapa Māori.

The six schools include Te Aratika Academy in Whakatu, both Te Kāpehu Whetū teina and tuakana schools in Whangarei, Te Kōpuku High in Hamilton, Pacific Advance Secondary School in Auckland and Te Rangihakahaka Centre for Science and Technology in Rotorua.

Kapa haka tutor Tatai Henare recently told te Kāea reporter Leah Te Whata that despite a change of model, the school is determined to continue what they’ve started.

“No matter whether it'll be called a charter school or mainstream, our values remain the same.  We want to merge the students within the teachings of the 28th Māori Battalion.  Only the descendants of those who served are capable of delivering that. They are the elders leading the transfer of knowledge.”

The Education Minister Chris Hipkins has appointed Establishment Boards of Trustees to help the schools be ready for the start of the school year.

“They include members of each charter school's governance board, to provide continuity and support its character,” he says.

In addition, two applications for state integrated schools have been approved to go through to the final stage relating to Tūranga Tangata Rite in Gisborne and Waatea School in Auckland.

“This means the ministry will begin negotiations on integration agreements with these schools' applicants, from which I will then make a final decision.”

Decisions will also be made about the two remaining sponsors' applications to establish three designated character schools, including 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,” says the minister.