February 22, 2015
Whangaruru school crisis blamed on minister
Education Minister Hekia Parata’s tough talk to trustees of a troubled Northland charter school has failed to silence critics of the educational experiment.
After considering a highly critical Education Review Office report, Ms Parata has given the trustees a month to fix the problems Te Pumanawa o te Wairua School in at Whangaruru.
She says she was concerned at the declining numbers of kids enrolled, sporadic school attendance and the knock-on effect on educational performance.
Labour education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says the Whangaruru school’s first year was plagued by bullying, drug use, absenteeism and management infighting.
He says giving it a month to turn itself around doesn’t absolve the minister for responsibility for the failure.
NZEI Te Riu Roa president Louise Green says the ministry advised against opening the school, but Ms Parata refused to listen.
She says the children at the school have paid the price for being caught up in a clash between ideological determination and good advice.
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