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Charter (Partnership) Schools

Charter (partnership) schools

A charter school is a new type of school that was established in 2014.

This section has some information about charter (also known as partnership) schools.

What is a Charter school?

Charter schools, also known as partnership schools and kura hourua receive government funding but operate independently of the public school system. Charter schools are run by sponsors such as iwi, businesses, not-for-profit organisations or existing education providers, generally with a goal to raise achievement among Māori, Pasifika, students from low socio-economic backgrounds, and students with special education needs.

Charter schools are autonomous and are free to set their own curriculum and qualifications, teacher’s pay rates, school day length and school term. The government has private agreements with each sponsor that explain the terms of how that sponsor provides education. Generally, these schools will have a particular area of specialisation.

Who can go to a charter school?

Like regular public schools, partnership/charter schools should enrol students who apply to the school and meet the general age and residency criteria unless there are not enough places in the school for everyone who applies. Unlike regular public schools, partnership schools do not have ‘zones’. Although every child has the same right to education to charter schools, the enrolment criteria may also depend on what the contract between the school and the government says about which students they have to enrol as charter schools are generally targetted at a certain population.

What will it cost to go to a charter school?

Like regular public schools, partnership/charter schools are free. You might still be asked to pay some fees, which should cost about the same as fees at regular public schools. Donations can be requested, but these are not compulsory.

Who can teach at a partnership/charter schools?

Regular schools can only hire a person as a teacher if that person has been through teacher training and can be a registered teacher.

Partnership/charter schools have to hire some regular teachers, but can also hire teachers who are not registered teachers. Everyone they hire still has to have a police check to see if they have any criminal convictions.

What will a charter school teach?

Charter (or partnership) schools don’t have to teach the same New Zealand curriculum that regular public schools teach. They still have to follow the big picture ideas and goals of the curriculum though. They also have to give their students the chance to get a recognised qualification. The contract between the school and the government may give an overview of what the school needs to teach.

What rules can a charter school make?

Charter (or partnership) schools are allowed to make any rules that they think will help in controlling or running the school but the rules can’t be against the law in New Zealand.

Charter schools have to follow the same rules about searching you that regular schools have to follow. Unlike regular schools though, partnership schools are allowed to hire contractors to search your property.

Can I get kicked out of a Charter school?

Charter schools have to follow all the same rules as regular schools if they want to stand-down, suspend, exclude or expel you. The only difference is that at a regular school, it is the Board of Trustees who makes the decision. Charter schools don’t have a Board of Trustees, so the decision will be made by the school sponsor. The sponsor can give someone else the power to make the decision on their behalf, however, they can’t give that power to the person who is taking the role of the principal in the disciplinary procedure.

Where can I complain about my Charter school and what is the process?

Charter (or partnership) schools all have independent reviewers who you can complain to if you think the school has done something wrong, treated you unfairly or broken the law. The school may or may not listen to what the independent reviewer says. You can also follow the state school complaints process, but those routes may be very lengthy.

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