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Charter schools funding announced

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Staff Reporter

14 May 2024, 6:47 PM

Charter schools funding announcedNew model to lift educational outcomes. Photo: AGE School Takapuna.

The upcoming Budget will include funding for up to 50 charter schools to help lift declining educational performance, Associate Education Minister David Seymour announced today.

The new funding of $153 million over four years will establish and operate up to 15 new charter schools and convert 35 state schools to charter schools in 2025 and 2026, depending on demand and suitability.

The application process will open when the legislation is introduced to Parliament in the coming months, with the first charter contracts to be negotiated and signed before the end of the year.

According to Mr Seymour, charter schools provide educators with greater autonomy, create diversity in New Zealand's education system, and raise overall educational achievement, especially for students who are underachieving or disengaged from the current system.

"Charter schools allow sponsors and communities to take their own path...they can set their own curriculum, hours and days of operation, and governance structure," he said.

The new charter school model is informed by the previous government's pilot program and international examples, such as the UK and US, where charter schools have produced positive learning outcomes for students.

A new departmental agency will be created to establish, implement, operate, and monitor the performance of charter schools, providing independence from the Ministry of Education.

Funding will be provided on a 'per student' basis, broadly equivalent to that for State schools with similar rolls and characteristics.

Mr Seymour hopes to see many new charter schools opening and State and State-integrated schools converting to become charter schools, saying "every child deserves the opportunity to succeed, to achieve to the best of their ability, and to gain qualifications that will support them into further study and employment."