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Ministry of Education seeks charter school sponsors

Published: 8:35PM Wednesday March 06, 2013 Source: ONE News

The Ministry of Education has today released a request for applications from potential charter school sponsors.

The Ministry's Authorisation Board will review the applications and advise Education Minister Hekia Parata which applicants should be considered.

The legislation that would allow charter schools to operate is still being considered by a select committee.

The Ministry said in a statement that no contracts will be made with potential sponsors until the Education Amendment Bill 2012 is passed.

It said contracts were expected to be in place by the middle of this year so successful sponsors could prepare schools to be opened in 2014.

The Ministry says the Authorisation Board will also review of each school's progress against "agreed performance targets".

Associate Minister of Education John Banks last week infuriated education officials by announcing the formation of the board and naming its members.

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) called it an act of desperation, while the Quality Public Education Coalition described it as a "two-fingered salute to Parliament" that undermined the authority of the select committee.

QPEC chairperson John Minto said the same board choosing and monitoring the progress of the schools was a conflict of interest, because because "those who approve applications will typically be the last to admit failure".

Associate Professor Peter O'Connor from Auckland University's School of Critical Studies in Education also objected, saying Banks was showing an assumption that charter schools legislation would be passed.

Potential sponsors have until April 16 to get applications in.