Urgent questions put to Minister of Education Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Dear Minister Hipkins

Sorry to bother you but as you can see from an email contained within the timeline we have been told to address our questions to you by a senior Ministry official.

The questions are:

1. Have the Ministry explained why they included a draft Special Character Statement as the main one in the report when we clearly told them to disregard it?

2. Why was this draft statement the one sent to local schools for consultation – after we had sent the full and updated one?

3. Why was our full Special Character Statement added later in the report in a confusing way?

4. Why were the statements on how our curriculum differs from “ordinary State schools” only in an appendix when they were clearly written by us to be a complete statement?

5. Why were we initially told that this would be a consultative process (words you kept mentioning publicly – but that on?May 29?Katrina Casey shut down all communication?

6. Why was the report writer a person who we have never met, spoken to and someone who has never visited our schools? She had no knowledge of our model or curriculum at all!

7. If the report writer felt that more information was required – why did she not ask for it so as we could supply it (as was promised to us in the initial discussions)?

8. Why were we denied the opportunity to check the report for accuracy?

9. The report was given to you on?July 3. Why were we not immediately asked for the extra information?

10. You signed off the report to defer on July 15 – why did it take the Ministry 9 days to inform us of this decision?

12. You signed off the report to defer on July 15 – why on July 16 did you write to one of our parents reassuring them of a decision by?July 31?

13. Your hand written note on the report (attached) – is reassuring? Why has the Ministry disregarded it and not acted with urgency at all? Clearly, they could have asked for information throughout June. Clearly, they should have acted immediately on your sign-off on the 15th. Even yesterday we heard nothing from them on the “independent evaluator”.

All of this is very difficult to understand Mr Hipkins. It would be unfair to say this mess is deliberate but it has certainly not been competent or fair and in talking to other schools they have been treated in quite a different manner.


Alwyn Poole
Villa Education Trust