Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua are a new way of delivering public education which will bring together the education, business and community sectors to provide new opportunities for students to achieve education success. The schools will be in areas where learners are currently underserved by existing education provision.
The schools will have greater freedom and flexibility to innovate and engage their students in return for stronger accountability for improving educational outcomes. These schools will particularly focus on the Government’s priority groups of Māori, Pasifika, learners from low socio economic backgrounds and learners with special education needs.
The Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua Working Group has been meeting since April 2012 to provide advice to the Government on how best to implement this concept and enable these new schools to be established. The members bring together a range of expertise and experience in education, business and community development to offer a fresh perspective to lifting student achievement.
Waka Hourua is the Maori name for the traditional sea voyaging double-hulled canoes used on expeditions where great distances needed to be travelled. The two hulls joined together created a stronger and more versatile vessel better able to cope with all of challenges of the vast Pacific Ocean.
This is an apt metaphor for the journey of partnership the Government and community are embarking on with Partnership Schools/Kura Hourua. The close partnership between the sponsor and the Government, and the sponsor and the community will create a stronger, more versatile school which is better able to meet their students’ and community’s needs.
Waka Hourua took many forms and shapes and were adorned with any range of special characteristics, just as Kura Hourua will be able to take on many forms and shapes with special characteristics tailored to their students’ needs.
Waka Hourua were used for great voyages which sought out new horizons by following new pathways. This reflects the journey that Kura Hourua will be undertaking within the New Zealand education environment.
Kura Hourua is the term that has been chosen to best represent the intent behind partnership schools, with hourua encapsulating the notion of partnership and journeys, and kura being the commonly used and known term for ‘school’.
This working group provides advice to the Government on how best to design and implement these new schools.
We bring together a range of expertise and experience in education, business and community development to offer a fresh perspective to lifting student achievement.
We are drawing on best practice and key success factors of overseas models of school such as charter schools (the United States and Alberta, Canada), free schools (the United Kingdom and Sweden) and academies (the United Kingdom). We are looking to build on innovative and successful practice that is already happening in New Zealand schools.
We are consulting with the teacher unions, principal groups, parents, businesses, iwi, Pasifika groups, communities and educational experts as we develop our advice.
Note – this group was known as the New Zealand Model of Charter School Working Group.