top of page

Subscribe Form

Thanks for submitting!


ALWYN POOLE: The most vital thing about the re-introduction of Charter Schools is that EVERYTHING is done well

I have no doubt Chris Hipkins is the worst and most ignorant (or dishonest) Minister of Education our nation has seen. He said this on NewstalkZB last week:

“If people are concerned about kids who aren’t achieving in mainstream schooling, the area to look is alternative education and activity centres.”

Hipkins and Ardern said to NZ before banning Charter Schools (2018) that they would develop Designated Character Schooling. They – and their Ministry accomplices – turned down several brilliant applications. Hipkins and the teacher unions walk hand-in-hand blindfolded while:

– a significant portion of our primary school teachers cannot do basic English, Maths, or Science.

– the top 30 high schools see an average of 87% of their leavers attain UE; for the bottom 30 high schools it is 2.7%

We are not talking being concerned about a few kids Mr Chipster – but around 40% of our high school students in abject failure.

Charter schools are a part of the solution but the last introduction of them was an appalling policy-and-implementation failure that was saved by a few high quality and incredibly dedicated educators and social entrepreneurs who carried the camel across the desert.

Hekia Parata had no enthusiasm and was a handbrake. The Ministry of Education ran interference and were incompetent and obstructive at every turn. The teacher unions were delighted to have something to bang on about to give their members the false impression that they actually do something for their fees and care about kids. The contracts contained aspects that were, frankly, stupid and were first seen by those organisations willing to start the schools on the day they had to sign in October of 2013 (i.e. followed by a 3 month run in to start). Individual Charter School organisations took the Ministry to formal mediation on up to six items. The media did what NZ media does – took press releases from the left and ran them as fact.

And yet … the skill, passion and perseverance of a few individuals, organisations and supportive families and students has allowed some widespread enthusiasm and support for their re-introduction. They are needed – but everything must be done well.

  1. The contracts must be good. The goals set exact, important and achievable.

  2. The authorisation boards – and whoever is writing the policy and contracts – should be meeting constantly with previous providers. All of the Ministry reports of the last tranche are abject nonsense and not worthy of being doorstops. My understanding is that few previous providers have been consulted at all.

  3. Authorisation and monitoring must be completely independent of the Ministry and any reference to protecting bums on sets in the Ministry’s network of schools.

  4. The schools must be completely transparent in all aspects. When I was involved in the two Villa Education Trust Charter schools they were acknowledged as being the most transparent by evaluators and had very high relative results for NCEA from their Y10 leavers who went into State schools. Their first two external evaluations as Designated Character (State) Schools had their results diving and investigations being started for avoiding OIA’s.

  5. They must be allowed to grow when they succeed and closed when they fail.

Just restarting Charter Schools, kind of like last time, will do very little good at all. There are already too many signs that this is going to be the case.

Starting them expertly and in good numbers – could significantly improve NZ Education for the good of NZ children, their families and society as a whole.

Alwyn Poole

Innovative Education Consultants

2,152 views98 comments

98 commentaires

Nothing changes in our education system unless the root caused is addressed: teacher education is 50 years overdue for an overhaul and Tall Poppy Syndrome that drives an anti-intellectualism in NZ needs to end. We need authentic leadership, and quite honestly, I don't see any hope out there.


one of the biggest inhibitors to any change or improvement in education is the Ministry itself.

The Minister of Education needs to front the Head of that Ministry, and demand full support from that position down, or the position should be vacated and a new person of neutrality given the task.

And as for the latest bollocks that all teachers should be qualified to a masters level (🤪), I was educated, at primary levels, by 3 year teacing training graduates, and certainly wasnt disadvantaged by that.

En réponse à

Well said !!


I have wanted to write this for so long now, so it's about time I did so.

New Zealand is our home, our sanctuary, it's the country we grew up in, raised a family in ,thrived in, fish and hunt in, and happily live in.

For all the negatively that surrounds us, for all the letdown, you know what?

You weigh it up.

Why? Because of the innate kindness and this inbuilt empathy we possess towards others, we transcend the hate and the bitterness , I've seen simple acts of kindness in new Zealand from stranger to stranger that make your heart just smile. They may be simple , but they are so important to me for defining who …

En réponse à

I totally agree Aaron. It's all too easy to become dragged down by much of the negativity around us . In my work , I dealt with the grimmer aspects of society. I soon realised that it was important to look for the good. Otherwise I would be overwhelmed by negativity.

We are basically decent people. I despise those who would create hostility and division, often based on race.


Hipkins, the name says it all--arthritic all over.


Why can’t all the benefits of Charter Schools be introduced into the already existing education system?

En réponse à

This is what I sent to the President of the NZEI on it today ... plus - add in they have had decades to bring about these improvements and have failed. Mark asks for honesty on the Charter schools but stated that the independent evaluations of the  schools involved showed no positives. Attached is the Cognition report on the Middle Schools and below is the link to the Martin Jenkins report - the third one is pretty much all about the Middle Schools.

re Union membership - both the NZEI and PPTA banned Charter School teachers in the last round.

If you simply don't know these things, Mark, then say so - rather than giving the impression that you are…

bottom of page