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Alwyn Poole: Open letter to Iona Holsted, Secretary of Education, Part Three

Dear Iona

Despite sending the previous two letters directly to you ... no response. I will keep this one brief in case detail is a part of the problem.

Results summaries are beginning to emerge from last year's exams/qualifications.

Auckland was particularly in the news late last year as 42% of students decided not to sit exams. The figure is normally around 10%.

You will know this already, but the results are massively skewed with the students least able to afford it missing out even more heavily than prior.

Eleven schools in Auckland had 90% or more of their Year 12/13 students achieve University Entrance (with a high of 98% for three schools). Because these schools have a high retention rate until 17 years old, their cohort (Year 12/13) and all leaver’s figures will not differ a great deal.

Fourteen Auckland schools had 30% or less (low of 17%) of their Year 12/13 group achieve UE. Because many of these schools have a low retention to 17 years old their all leaver’s results will be significantly worse.

I am invested in this, Iona, as the Trust I advise academically has a Middle School (Year 7 – 10) in South Auckland where the Ministry pretty much forces their Year 10 leavers to go to any one of four schools that are in the bottom 14 achievers referred to above. That is not choice. Nor is the current situation aspirational. It’s miles from the Minister's stated aim that every school is a good school. These are young human beings that the Ministry crushes for the sake of “the network”. One size clearly does not fit all.

Since the closing of the Charter School model, the Villa Education Trust has twice applied for a Designated Character School to, in part, see these young people through to the future they deserve. We were promised by the Prime Minister that work was being done to make this model more accessible. You have denied both applications with both a poor process and very unclear reasoning.

How is this acceptable? Why do you do nothing? Where is the plan?

Alwyn Poole

Innovative Education Consultants

Mount Hobson School

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