A Northland charter school which was one of the first in the country appears to have passed its first test with flying colours.

The Education Review Office (ERO) report for Te Kura Hourua O Whangarei Terenga Paraoa, released last week, found many areas of the school were doing well and identified just a couple of areas for improvement.

The kura, sponsored by He Puna Marama Charitable Trust, is a co-ed secondary school based in Whangarei that emphasises Maori education.

After initially opening its doors to 50 students on February 27 this year that number grew to 53 students with many more on the waiting list for next year.

The ERO found the kura was committed to providing new and better opportunities for young Maori to succeed.

“School culture is focused on empowering students to develop an approach to learning and knowledge that will allow them to achieve any goal that they set themselves both during their time [at] school and for the rest of their lives,” the report stated.

It was one of five charter schools that opened this year, including another in Northland – Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru. The two Northland charter schools are not connected.

Charter schools are funded by the Government but set their own curriculum, school hours, holidays and pay rates. They were strongly opposed by opposition political parties and teaching unions, but were implemented as part of the National party’s confidence and supply agreement with Act.

The report described the kura’s governance and leadership systems as “robust” and while there were areas for development, ERO said it was confident the kura would be able to address these.

The two main areas for development were the baseline assessments of junior students and more articulated planning of school curriculum to reflect the needs of students.

The kura’s sponsor trust was permitted to open a second charter school, Te Kapehu Whetu (Teina), in Whangarei next year.


Originally published in the Northern Advocate, November 26, 2014
Photo: Principal Nathan Matthews.