By Kate LaceyRead moreIt’s been three months since charter schools opened their doors to families and students across New Zealand, and parents are still waiting for a clearer timeline for the opening of the next phase of their charter school.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has said the state-of-the-art charter schools will open in 2019, with the next stage to begin in 2021.
“The next phase will begin in 2020 and the next stages in 2021 and 2022,” MOE spokeswoman Kate Latham said on Tuesday.
“They are now under the supervision of the Department of Education and we expect that all schools will be fully staffed by 2021.”
But parents say the delays have created a huge backlog.
“We’ve got a long way to go, there’s been so much work to be done.
There are still hundreds of children waiting for their charter schools to open,” said Joanna Woodcock.
The charter school industry is worth about NZ$9.5 billion ($12.8 billion), according to a recent report from the NZ Confederation.
But many parents are unhappy with the lack of transparency and oversight.
“I think there needs to be more transparency and accountability,” said Woodcock, who is also an independent teacher and has a charter school in Auckland.
“It’s an industry that’s been built on secrecy.
I don’t think it’s right that it has to be kept secret.”
Woodcock says she is looking to expand her charter school network.
“My main concern is for my children because I know there’s so much waiting for them.
It’s not just going to happen in the next three years,” she said.”
There are so many families who are waiting for us to open.”
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The ministry is trying to resolve the charter school issue through the use of a “shared services approach”, which will see the MOE oversee the schools and manage the charter, while the state provides funding and staff.
However, some parents have criticised the MOEs handling of the issue, with many claiming that the funding will be split between charter schools and private providers.
“If it were up to me, I would have my charter run by my own money,” said one mother of three in the Auckland suburb of Wairarapa.
“This is the first time I’m really worried about charter schools,” said another.
The current system has been criticised by some in the charter industry, with one parent calling it “unfair” for parents to be able to opt out of their children’s charter.
“Children’s charter schools should not be operated by private companies, so the current system is not fair,” the parent said.
The MOE has said there are more than 5,000 charter schools across New South Wales, and the state expects to open some 200 in 2019.
The ministry also said it will consider expanding charter schools in regional areas in 2019 and 2020.
Topics:education,schools,education-industry,education,charter-schools-and-teachers,education–new-zealandFirst posted June 02, 2019 13:27:51Contact Kate LoughlanMore stories from New Zealand