The trust governing Rotorua's only partnership school is disappointed the pin has been pulled on a Taupo partnership school, but isn't concerned a similar fate awaits it.

Ngati Whakaue's education arm, the Te Taumata o Ngati Whakaue Iho-Ake Trust, governs Te Rangihakahaka Centre for Science and Technology. The school opened in Rotorua on January 30 after years of planning.

Yesterday, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced the Education Amendment Bill would end the previous government's "charter schools experiments" among other things.

He said charter schools were driven by ideology rather than evidence and Labour believed there was no place for them in New Zealand education.


Hipkins said in terms of charter schools, he preferred to explore the early termination of contracts by mutual agreement, though the schools could continue in other forms.

"If however, early termination is not agreed by both parties, I am reserving my right to issue a notice of 'termination for convenience', under charter schools' existing contracts, by the middle of May 2018. This would take effect at the end of the school year," Hipkins said.

"Operators wanting to be involved in education can apply to me to establish another form of school, such as a designated character school."

Te Taumata o Ngati Whakaue Iho-Ake Trust general manager Roana Bennett said the trust was disappointed and surprised by Hipkins' statements as the school had already started negotiating the future with the Ministry of Education.

"We're not concerned we'll be closed down. We're disappointed and somewhat annoyed the minister would say those things," Bennett said.

"While we acknowledge the model is not something the Government wants we think they should at least let them run for two to three more years because there are some good results coming out of some of the schools and we're expecting the same results."

The school has more than 80 foundation students with another 20 ready to join in term two.

The bill also includes provisions for existing charter schools to discuss possible ways forward with the ministry.

Hipkins said the Ministry of Education would negotiate with all existing charter schools including Te Rangihakahaka on the options available.


This includes becoming a designated character school in the state school system or a private or state-integrated school.

On Wednesday it was announced a partnership school which was to open this month at Wairakei Village, near Taupo, had been scrapped.

Blue Light Senior High School would have had an initial intake of 23 students and a maximum of 90.

Bennett said she was saddened by the announcement and there was a need for that type of school.

In the meantime, Te Rangihakahaka pou matangirua (principal) Renee Gillies said nothing had changed at the school.

"We're in the business of educating our tamariki and we're prepared and have begun speaking with the ministry."