The Mangere Principals Association, says the Government’s decision to finance a Charter School in the area without any consultation with neighbouring school communities flies in the face of the community efforts to raise educational achievement. The Chair of the Association, Fiona Cavanagh, says that the Ministry of Education’s failure to engage with the educational community of Mangere over the matter has damaged trust.
“We had no idea that there was a plan to license a new school in our neighbourhood,” says Fiona Cavanagh. “There are 23 schools in our Mangere cluster and the professionals who work in them know, more than anyone, the educational needs of our community. Yet we were not consulted.”
Ms. Cavanagh says the Principals’ Association wants to know what criteria were used to decide that money be put into a charter school in the area, rather than towards funding innovation and achievement in existing schools.
“Schools in Mangere are very focused on student success. We are working collegially and students’ results this year show that we’re making a real difference in raising achievement in our schools,” says Fiona Cavanagh.
She points to cross-school professional development as an example of the kind of innovation being made across Mangere.
“Collective professional development enhances teaching and improves the learning of children throughout Mangere. We are about to hold a workshop of 130 teacher-leaders who will develop a strategy for schooling improvement across our low-income community. The Ministry of Education ought to be putting its resources into supporting initiatives like this, rather than pouring money and energy into a small school that will cater for a limited number of students.”
Ms. Cavanagh also points to the partnership between the schools and the Mangere-Otahuhu Sports Association, which has improved the quality of sports days in the area and created opportunities for students to excel.
“There are so many good things happening here that are about helping all of our children and are pro-active and forward thinking. Sadly the same cannot be said of the Ministry of Education’s actions in putting a lot of money and resource into a small charter school.”