National | Education

New funding model could mean charter school job losses

The CEO of a trust which operates a Northland charter school says transition to a new state model could result in job losses if funding is determined by student numbers.

"Any cut in the pastoral support area is going to be detrimental to the kids," says the CEO of He Puna Mārama Trust, Raewyn Tipene.

The move follows the launch of the Education Amendment Bill in February which seeks to formally end partnership schools, redefining some as 'designated character' schools under the state.

"We are quite positive about maintaing our kaupapa and maintaining the standards that we've established and keeping the results going," says Tipene.

The latest University Entrance results published by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority show Te Kapehu Whetu ranked in the top two charter schools in Northland last year.

64.3% of students gained guaranteed entrance to a tertiary institution compared to the national median of 50.2%.

"One of the major findings and research was that culture counts and it's been to a large extent lost in this move," she says.

Tipene adds that pastoral support workers at the school, such as kapa haka tutors and other support staff may be compromised in a possible restructure.

However, she's confident the school will make a smooth transition.

"We've made huge gains in the last five years and none of that will be lost.  What it does is it makes it difficult on day one of 2019."

Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the new legislation has been supported by the vast majority of the education sector.

However, Tipene is satisfied with the status quo.

"We've proven ourselves as capable of managing the state's funds and producing the results"

Tipene says Te Kāpehu Whetū management remains in open dialogue with the Ministry of Education over the transition.