Education Minister Hekia Parata has issued the Trust running Te Pumanawa o te Wairua School with a performance notice requiring it to take immediate action to address areas of serious concern at the school.
Ms Parata met with the Ngā Parirau Mātauranga Charitable Trust today to lay out her concerns about ongoing issues identified by the Education Review Office (ERO) and the Ministry of Education. The Trust is the sponsor for the school at Whangaruru.
“I have become increasingly concerned at the cumulative failures in performance that have seen declining numbers of kids enrolled, sporadic school attendance and the knock-on effect on educational performance.
“The Ministry has worked extensively with the Trust over the past year to address the issues raised, but ERO has found that it would not be able to operate effectively without further substantial support.”
Ms Parata says she is aware of the challenges faced by the school. “A number of these students have been out of the education system for some time. However, these challenges were known by the Trust when they made their proposal and later signed the contract to run the school.
“The Ministry has provided support and advice over many months to the sponsor in a number of areas, including governance, management and operational matters.
“There were some improvements at the school last year, particularly when it was under an interim Chief Executive, but they were not sustained after the interim CE left the school.”
Ms Parata says the Trust has put forward a remedial plan, but she is not confident that it is sufficient to make the difference required.
“Therefore, under the agreement, I have issued a performance notice. This sets out exactly what the performance failures are and what must be done to address them.”
She says a Specialist Audit will be conducted at the school in a month’s time to assess progress.
“I intend to use the findings of the Specialist Audit to assist my overall judgement as to whether the failings identified are capable of being rectified.
“Partnership schools are giving many kids who’ve faced considerable difficulties in their lives the chance to get engaged in education again. But it is our duty to ensure they do actually receive the quality of education they need to open the doors of further promise in their lives.”
Ms Parata says she is not predetermining the outcome of the process.
“The issuing of a performance notice is a step in the process to both protect the rights of these students to get a better education while protecting the use of taxpayers’ funding.”