Partnership schools in limbo - Nikki Kaye

  • 03/12/2017
National's education spokesperson, Nikki Kaye.
National's education spokesperson, Nikki Kaye.

Parents of more than 1000 children in charter schools are in limbo because of Education Minister Chris Hipkins, says National's education spokesperson Nikki Kaye.

Ms Kaye says the minister has written to the schools but essentially just instructs them to wait until February for the opportunity to discuss their future.

"The letter also says the meetings about their future will happen for 'existing schools' which raises the question whether those due to open next year and in 2019 will be able to fight for their own futures," Ms Kaye says.

All parties in the new Labour-led Government oppose charter schools and Mr Hipkins has said anyone involved in establishing a school knew "a change of Government would mean change for them".

The Government has been reconsidering contracts for six new charter schools signed before the election.

Ms Kaye said the Labour Government was treating people with contempt and it was not good enough.

"This is one of the largest school reorganisations or potential closure processes in our country's history. It involves more than 1000 children, including a number with very complex needs.

"The fact that these schools have legally binding contracts also means any move to close them could lead to significant legal costs. The minister needs to explain how much these might be."

The partnership schools are an ACT New Zealand policy. In September ACT leader David Seymour, the then education under-secretary, said four new partnership schools were set to open in 2019.

There are 10 existing partnership schools, plus the two set to open next year.

NZN