22 Jul 2015

Minister responds to angry parents' claims

6:44 pm on 22 July 2015

Bad blood with another school is behind complaints about an Auckland charter school, Education Minister Hekia Parata says.

National MP

Education Minister Hekia Parata Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Angry parents have accused Middle School West Auckland of doing their children more harm than good.

A leaked letter shows some parents - whose children moved from a private Maori Christian school, Nga Kakano, to Middle School West Auckland this year - were not happy.

They said the school had failed to recognise their children's Maori and Pasifika culture and their behaviour was suffering.

Their complaints included the school's uniform, dirty toilets, the quality of teaching, and an allegation that good behaviour was rewarded with takeaway food.

But Ms Parata said the Education Ministry and the Education Review Office had found no evidence of poor leadership at the school.

The Education Ministry said the school now had a plan in place to address whanau concerns and it was helping the school improve its cultural awareness.

Ms Parata said complaints about the school appeared to be the result of a souring relationship between it and Nga Kakano, with which it shares a site.

"I gather that the two schools that are on the site began with a very good relationship and that that relationship has soured and it has led to a range of accusations."

Ms Parata said the agreement for the school to share the ministry property occupied by the private school was not checked with the ministry.

She said the school has told the ministry it did not use food as part of a rewards or behaviour programme.

She said the middle school did serve pizza for a shared lunch but that was not unusual

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