Chris Hipkins not sure if Labour would halt charter schools again in future

It's not yet clear if a future Labour Government would once again halt charter schools. 

David Seymour has reinstated the model but, speaking to AM, Labour leader Chris Hipkins - who was the Education Minister when charter schools were scrapped in 2018 - explained why he didn't back the system. 

"There's no evidence from New Zealand or around the world that suggests charter schools actually improve educational outcomes overall," he said. 

The likes of Whangārei's Te Kāpehu Whetū was forced to change to the state system in 2018.

Principal Raewyn Tipene claimed her students were happier and performed much better under the charter school model before it was scrapped.  

"Essentially, we were a high-performing school - we were in the top quartile of schools in the country and no.2 for UE (university entrance) in Northland at the time," she told AM

As part of the reinstatement announced on Tuesday, charter schools would be contracted by the state for 10 years. 

Hipkins wasn't sure what their fate would be should Labour be returned to power in the coming years. 

"What we did last time is we integrated them into the state education system - some became integrated schools; some became designated character schools. 

"It's too soon to say what we would do next time around because we don't yet know what the contracts are going to be, we don't yet know what the structure is going to be - but we do believe that schools should be part of the public education system," Hipkins said. 

But Seymour, the Associate Education Minister whose ACT Party campaigned on bringing charter schools back, said the model provided more options for students. 

"It will bring kids into a school that is different and engage them differently so that they can feel a sense of pride and purpose that ultimately leads to achievement," he said.  

While the Primary Teachers' Union has slammed the Government's charter school announcement and called it a "misuse of money", Seymour believed unions only dismiss charter schools because they're a threat to their model.