Two charter schools to open in North

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The legislation was drafted by Act party leader John Banks. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The legislation was drafted by Act party leader John Banks. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Two kura hourua, the new name for charter or partnership schools, will open in Northland at the start of the 2014 academic year with a focus on catering to Maori students.

The Government announced five partnership schools would be open in February next year, three in Auckland, two in Northland.

He Puna Marama Trust in Whangarei already runs four early childhood centres and a residential hostel facility the Leadership Academy of A Company and from next year will operate Te Kura Hourua O Whangarei Terenga Paroa.

Trust chief executive Raewyn Tipene said statistics from 2007 drove the trust to establish the Leadership Academy for Maori boys in 2009.

"In 2007 81 per cent of Maori boys in Whangarei failed to achieve NCEA level one."

The operation of the kura hourua was "more of what we know", she said.

"We know that the pastoral care and the personalised learning plans are working well for the boys." The new school will be opened in the Trust building on Lower Dent St.

Te Kura Hourua Ki Whangaruru will offer a bilingual school option where the coastal rural setting plays a part in teaching, says curriculum director Natasha Sadler.

"The environment is a large part of the school's intent to normalise Maoritanga through whakapapa links to Ngatiwai," Ms Sadler said.

"Our commitment is to develop youth into courageous and motivated learners who are supported in reaching their potential."

Nga Parirau Matauranga Trust is the sponsor for Te Kura Hourua Ki Whangaruru, which will be built on a new site in Whangaruru and have 80 per cent of its teachers registered or holders of Limited Authority to Teach labels.

Additional learning opportunities like farming will be available alongside New Zealand and Maori curriculum Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

The announcement has been condemned by unions. The Post-Primary Teachers Association said it would consider boycotting the schools.

The legislation was drafted by Act party leader John Banks, and Whangarei Act representative Robin Grieve said he was thrilled.

"While we always hoped that one of the schools would be in Northland, having two is beyond our expectations, it is very exciting for our region," he said.

Why are they called Kura Hourua?

Waka Hourua is the Maori name for the traditional sea voyaging double-hulled canoes. The two hulls joined together created a stronger and more versatile vessel - an apt metaphor for this journey of partnership.

The Ministry of Education says the close partnership between the sponsor, the Government and the community will help create a stronger, more versatile school, better able to meet their students' and community's needs.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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