The man behind a denied bid for a Wanganui charter school said the Ministry of Education didn't contact his group for information before making its decision.

The Villa Education Trust's application for a Partnership SchoolKura Hourua (PSKH) site in Wanganui, one of six it applied for, was denied on several grounds, including that there was "a large oversupply" of student places in Wanganui.

It also "did not always demonstrate their competency" in educating Maori and Pasifika students.

Wanganui-born Alwyn Poole, founder of the trust, said the issue of too many student places in the existing state network shouldn't have affected its application as the Education Amendment Act section relating to PSKHs excluded the network as a consideration.


"I would be unsure why they advised on that aspect. The very straight-forward question from our perspective would be: are there 60 year 7-10 children per annum who are not being well enough served in their current school and their parents believe they need a different opportunity.

"Education is about outcomes for children, not filling buildings or employing adults."

Mr Poole said the ministry did not "consult with us, come and see us or access our achievement data" and that it did not use the trust's most recent ERO review.

"We have only had demonstrably outstanding results for children from [Maori and Pasifika] backgrounds. Our experience with Maori and Pasifika children within our school has been of the highest quality academically."

He also took issue with the ministry's concerns regarding oversight, as the trust planned to run five sites in Auckland and one in Wanganui, as it was a one-hour plane flight between the cities and he had "no shortage of very good people lining up to work with us".

He was still very interested in applying for another PSKH in Wanganui if the opportunity arose.

"Many people in Wanganui made it clear they see a need and some of the statistics speak for themselves. At present, we have had good discussions with interested groups in Wanganui and are always happy to talk."

Mr Poole had been on a trip to Tampa, Florida, to spend time at charter schools in the city, and said every aspect of the schools was "outstanding".


"Good resources, high-quality staff and ample evidence that they are changing the lives of children and their families very much to the good. The feedback from families on how much they value the different opportunity is overwhelming," he said.

Although its Wanganui bid was denied, as were those for four West Auckland sites, the Villa Education Trust was successful in its bid to open two PSKH sites in South Auckland. Mr Poole said families there would pay no fees or donations and the school would provide all uniform and stationery and that a partnership with the Auckland Rugby Union to provide fitness, skills and coaching to all of the students was "very exciting".

He said the trust's basics of a 1:15 teacher student ratio, very solid core subjects, and a "project-based" curriculum with an academic morning and activity-based afternoon were all going to be in place at the new sites.

"This is a big chance to provide opportunities that currently do not exist and I know all of the first five providers are working hard towards the goals."