28 Jul 2012

Concern at religious groups' interest in charter schools

9:14 pm on 28 July 2012

The Green Party says it's worrying that so many religious organisations are interested in setting up charter schools.

The party says it has been told by Associate Education Minister John Banks, that 18 groups have consulted him about setting up the schools, which would get government funding and be free from many of the rules that bind state schools.

Seven are religious groups - including the Destiny Church - two are experimental education groups based overseas, and the rest provide alternative education.

Victoria University has also expressed interest.

Greens education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty says there's a risk churches like Destiny will push extreme views, like homophobia and non-mainstream views on evolution.

Gathering information at this stage

The Destiny Church says that at this stage it is gathering information about setting up a charter school.

Spokesperson Richard Lewis says the church already runs a private school based on Christian education and would seek government funding to extend that.

Mr Lewis says that would enable the church to deliver a "model of education for Maori and Pacific kids" that would help them move forward.

A trial of charter schools will be carried out as part of Mr Banks's ACT party support deal with the National-led government.