Charter school faces uncertain future under Labour

A charter school run in a military-style is worried about its future, after Government plans to review contracts for six new charter schools that were signed off before the election.

Vanguard Military School is run on military lines with strict discipline, and has delivered NCEA results that are above the national average for its Maori and Pasifika students. It has signed a contract for a new school in Christchurch.

AM Show host Duncan Garner asked CEO Nick Hyde on Monday if he was worried new Education Minister Chris Hipkins would strip his contact away.

Mr Hyde emphasised the benefits of the school, and said he expects the contract to be honoured.

"We haven't had any communication from the minister or the ministry regarding the contact," he says.

"I guess I'm quite a traditional person, quite honourable and I would have thought signing a contract with the Crown would actually mean something, and certainly our intention is to honour that."

Charter schools don't have to hire registered teachers, and tailor their teaching for students who were failing or under-achieving in state schools.

Vanguard Military School's provisional roll-based results for 2016 show Maori students achieved pass rates of 92.3 percent at Level One, 90.5 percent at Level Two, and 100 percent at Level Three.

Pasifika students achieved 85.7 percent, 100 percent and 100 percent at those levels

Mr Hyde said Mr Hipkin's comments "were certainly not helpful", but he hopes Labour wouldn't follow up on its campaign against charter schools.

"Most people would look at the run-in during the election and think 'there's a lot of election promises made,'" he says.

"You've got to take into consideration yes we understand the current Government isn't keen on charter schools but we can't make our decisions around that. We don't know what will happen and in this case we certainly haven't been communicated with."

Garner asked if the schools are helping struggling students then "what's the bad bit?", and Mr Hyde said he wants certainty over Vanguard's status.

"We don't want to end up in a situation where as a school we're flip-flopping between what we are every three years. Change in Governments mean one year we're a charter school then we might be a state integrated school then we might be something else," he says.

"We need some security and to do that we obviously want to honour contracts."