New Zealand’s second partnership, or charter, school was opened last week:
The Rise Up Trust is a not-for-profit community organisation which provides education services for Pacific and Maori whanau. It currently provides after-school mentoring to South Auckland families.
It grew from a home school started in her garage by ’Auntie‘ Sita Selupe, a teacher on parental leave from Mangere primary school in 2006, using examples from the children’s own lives as the basis for teaching.
Pacific Island Affairs Minister, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, spoke at the opening ceremony and commended all those involved in getting Rise Up to where it is today and looks forward to its students’ success.
“This Government is committed to raising educational achievement amongst Pacific students at all levels. Improved achievement at school will carry these young people into further education, better jobs and ultimately better lives” says Mr Lotu-Iiga.
“We have already started seeing improved results in Pacific achievement in all areas but we are relentless in our pursuit to see all Pacific children succeeding in their educational achievement. Partnership Schools allow our Pacific parents a greater choice in education that better suits their children’s needs.”
The school’s programmes have been designed by teachers who have grown up and worked in South Auckland schools for many years.
The programmes are tailored to the students, their families and the wider Mangere East community where 64% of the population is Pacific.
The academy will follow the New Zealand curriculum and employ registered teachers.
“I congratulate Rise Up Trust for their commitment to raise achievement for all our Pacific children. I look forward to our communities supporting them as we all work to see our children succeed in all things,” says Mr Lotu-Iiga. . .
Among those supporting the school is Sally Ikinofo, Labour’s electorate chair in Mangere, who is asking the party to spare partnership schools if they win the election:
. . .Rise Up is the first Pasifika charter school, offering a Christian-based education involving the whole family and teaching the national curriculum to 50 children up to Year 6. Forty-seven children have been enrolled.
Ms Ikinofo, who also chairs the school’s board, says it is a scary time for them because of Labour’s promise to repeal the partnership schools legislation.
She is lobbying Labour MPs to keep the school open, because she says it can make a difference to the education of Pasifika children.
If Labour does repeal the legislation, the Rise Up Academy and others like it should be allowed to continue as special character schools, she says.
The Opposition has been stridently opposed to partnership schools.
This plea shows that they are out of touch with their own people who understand the potential gains for children most in need of them.