South Auckland Middle School

Roadblocks to expansion for Partnership schools where demand exceeds supply

A little over two years into its existence, Middle School West Auckland’s roll has already increased to 200. Capacity for 2017 is 210 and they are now working on a strategy to facilitate the full roll of 240 in 2018.

South Auckland Middle School which opened first is already full and currently, has 70 students on its waiting list. Despite the waiting list people are still enquiring?about places on a daily basis.

The challenge of funding expansion is a stumbling block for these successful and popular partnership schools. Middle School West Auckland and South Auckland Middle School both lease their buildings. In order for these two Partnership schools to expand they need funding to lease, refurbish and equip additional buildings.

The Villa Education Trust and He Puna Marama Trust say the schools’ property funding does not stretch to building or fitting out new classrooms to keep up with enrolment increases.

Both trusts own growing charter schools and the Villa Education Trust wants extra funding for growth while He Puna Marama Trust is seeking access to a government loan.


The funding model for Partnership schools has changed from what it was three years ago. David Seymour says that “The adjustments to the funding model provide Partnership Schools with greater incentives to grow, and will ensure that the schools are efficient while they are small. It will also share a greater proportion of the risks with the sponsors of Partnership Schools, and incentivise sponsors to partner with external parties for resourcing, thus enriching the linkages between school and community, and allowing more Partnership Schools to be opened for a given budget.”

Read more »

Three years down the track how is New Zealand’s first Charter School doing?

PHOTO-South Auckland Middle School facebook page

Three years on from when the first Charter School was opened it is now much, much harder for a Charter school to get off the ground. It is not just the continued opposition to the model from the left but the funding for the model has been reduced by the government to the point where some organisations keen to open a Charter school have been withdrawing their applications once they discover the reduced funding alongside other issues.

The Government’s charter school model has been branded “an unworkable mirage” by former MP John Tamihere, after he pulled the plug on a proposed bilingual West Auckland school.

The Te Whnau O Waipareira Trust, headed by Tamihere, was on the verge of announcing a new partnership school with the Ministry of Education, with 100 children already signed up to enrol.

The trust was ready to invest $250,000 into the kura which would have opened next year in Henderson.

-NZ Herald

I visited New Zealand’s first Charter school as part of my Charter school perception series and was very impressed with it. It is a?real?pity that the model has been changed as New Zealand needs more schools like South Auckland Middle School who have proved what can be done when the model is right.

Read more »

Rodney Hide hits Teacher Unions hard

Over at the NBR Rodney Hide is hitting the teacher unions hard. He is not playing nicely as the gloves are clearly off. It is great to see that the same fantastic results I wrote about here are now appearing in the mainstream media. Alwyn Poole and his loyal staff at South Auckland Middle School deserve all the praise Rodney has given and more.

The teacher unions oppose the charter schools with every fibre of their being.? Their opposition is well-founded: The charter schools highlight the failure of the unions.


Read more »

Decile one charter school compared with decile one state school in the same area

...South Auckland Middle School asked for a review of its decile rating last year and in June the Ministry of Education decided it was a decile 1C school, meaning it had a high concentration of children from the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

…”Having a look at the other schools in the locality we realised that they were all decile 1 or at most decile 2, so we asked for a decile review… because there is some incremental funding if you are at a lower decile.”

Mr Poole recently compared his school’s results for 2015 to those of two other decile 1 schools, which had much lower national standards pass rates…

Across Year 7 & 8 these are the combined National Standards figures for SAMS at the end of 2015

SAMS?(decile 1 – 93% Maori or Pasifika)

Reading: 71.6% of students At or Above National Standard

Writing: 73.4% of students At or Above National Standard

Maths: 70% of students At or Above National Standard

Compare and contrast:?Manurewa Intermediate is the same decile level and is located in the same area.?

Manurewa Intermediate (decile 1)
Reading 34% of students At or Above National Standard

Writing? 37% of students At of Above National Standard

Maths 37% of students At or Above National Standard Read more »

Bryan Bruce believes that in education less choice equals fairness

Journalist Bryan Bruce is not a fan of charter schools. He thinks there are other ways to fix our education system. Despite this mindset he still is able to admire what South Auckland Middle School has achieved and particularly admire how it is run. He believes that too much choice is a bad thing as it creates inequality. He is particularly concerned with administration (how schools are run) and he wants a light centralised system to keep things ” fair”.

Instead of less administration to take the burden off teachers, I think he should consider the model I have seen in three Auckland charter school where teachers do not have to do admin. Admin is for administrators and teaching is for teachers. You cannot get any lighter than that.

44 minutes of television airtime isn?t a lot for a topic as big as Public Education, so when it came to editing my recent documentary WORLD CLASS? one of the decisions I reluctantly made was not to include a discussion about Charter Schools.

Why? Because it seemed to me after listening to the arguments for and against Charter Schools that they are part of the larger issue of how much consumer choice a public education system can tolerate.

…Which brings me to South Auckland Middle School and my interview with Principal Alwyn Poole that I unfortunately could not find space for in my programme.

If I’d wanted to do a demolition job on Charter Schools I certainly wouldn’t have picked to film in South Auckland Middle School , because in terms of its teaching practice, pupil to teacher ratio , staff?qualifications, the liaison with parents, the passion teachers have for their job and the engagement of children in?learning?and meeting their needs, South Auckland Middle School stacks up , in my opinion, as a pretty good school.

No. I asked to film at this particular Charter School precisely because?it removes the quality argument from the debate and leaves us with the philosophical question ??

Read more »

The inconvenient truth about Vanguard Military school

I will let the percentages and students speak for themselves. Vanguard Military school is a Partnership school ( charter school ) that is achieving exactly what it set out to do. It’s success and the success of other charter schools like West Auckland and South Auckland Middle school is an inconvenient truth that the Teacher Unions and the Labour Party choose to ignore.

Read more »

Vanguard Military school hosts David Seymour’s big announcement

PHOTO-Vanguard FB page

PHOTO-Vanguard FB page

Yesterday I covered a story unknown to the MSM as Chris Hipkins did not invite them. In a historic move after years of turning down invitations, Chris Hipkins finally visited two charter schools; Vanguard Military School and South Auckland Middle School. We need wonder no more at the reason for his change of heart as yesterday David Seymour made a big announcement at Vanguard Military school, the day after Chris Hipkins visited it for the first time.

Now that Charter schools will once again be in the news, I think Chris Hipkins has decided to protect himself from the questions that have been asked of him repeatedly over the years.

” Have you visited a charter school Mr Hipkins? ”

” Why haven’t you ever visited a charter school Mr Hipkins?”

It really has been a bad look that as Labour’s spokesperson for education, he has criticised partnership schools for years despite never having set foot in one. Now with David Seymour’s big announcement it has become clear why the pressure was on for Mr Hipkins to quickly visit two schools.

The Government has announced seven new charter schools will open in 2018 and 2019.

The new schools will expand the flagship ACT policy that saw five schools open, mostly in Auckland and Northland in 2014 – one of which, in Whangaruru has since been closed by the Education Minister – and another four in 2015.

A third round of applications is currently underway and more schools are expected to open as a result early next year.

Read more »

Shhhhh don’t tell the Media, Chris Hipkins visits two Partnership Schools

Whaleoil has a scoop that you will not read anywhere else. I was contacted yesterday by two of the charter schools I visited to report the astonishing news that the Labour Party spokesperson for education Chris Hipkins, has finally visited them. Both Vanguard Military school and South Auckland Middle school were visited yesterday by Chris Hipkins.

Both schools have an open door policy to all politicians and a number have accepted their invitation.Chris Hipkins’ office originally made contact with Vanguard Military School on the 26th of April to try and visit on the 27th with just 24 hours notice.? This was in the second week of the school holidays and would have meant no students and no staff at the school. ?This offer was declined and his staff was asked to come back to the school with a more suitable date. When Mr Hipkins arrived at Vanguard he was on his own with no aides and no media.

Until yesterday Mr Hipkins was in the astonishing position of having never visited a partnership school despite consistently criticising them for years. I wonder if he told the students he met that his party intend to shut their schools down or force them to become State schools?Perhaps that harsh fact is the reason why he wanted to fly under the radar and the media were not invited?

Prior to actually setting foot in a charter school this is what Chris Hipkins has been saying about charter schools.

Read more »

Mike King does what Chris Hipkins won’t

I love Mike King and I was thrilled to see yesterday that he is prepared to do what Chris Hipkins so far has refused to do. He has visited a charter school. Unlike Chris Hipkins both Mike and I have accepted invitations to visit South Auckland Middle school. I was very impressed by what I saw and experienced and it looks like Mike was impressed too. The school is very lucky to have an opportunity to experience “ Cool to Korero. ” with Mike.

PHOTO-Facebook Mike King visits South Auckland Middle School

Mike King visits South Auckland Middle School

Read more »

Chris Hipkins wants to close down these two highly successful schools

Amateur photoshopping effort by Spanishbride

Amateur photoshopping effort by Spanishbride

Chris Hipkins and the Labour party want to close down every single charter school in New Zealand. This includes Auckland’s Vanguard Military school and South Auckland Middle school. These schools are not just bricks and mortar. This cold-blooded threat from Chris Hipkins’ bill is an attack on real people. For the students of these schools this threat of closure is frighteningly personal.

Chris Hipkins and Labour are not talking about closing down non-performing Charter schools. They are trying to shut down successful and popular Charter schools with waiting lists. These schools are wanted, appreciated and supported by the students and their families. Chris Hipkins’ bill is pure political point scoring; it has nothing to do with what is best for the students. The very students who are failing inside our State schools are being focused on by our Charter schools.

Read more »