Establishing designated character schools

Establishing designated character schools is covered in sections 155 (for kura kaupapa Māori) and 156 (for other designated character, including other Māori-medium, schools) of the Education Act 1989 (the Act).

The two sections are repetitive and cover many of the same requirements. The Education (Update) Amendment Bill (the Bill) proposes to amalgamate sections 155 and 156, and to make the process for designating character schools more accessible and simple to follow.

Additionally, the Bill proposes to remove the requirement that the Minister of Education (the Minister) must be satisfied that the parents of at least 21 people who would be entitled to enrol at the school have requested it be established. In practice, at the point the Minister reaches a decision to establish such a school, he or she will be satisfied that there is demand for the school, through the operational processes undertaken by the Ministry of the Education.

Further information 

When will these changes take effect?

The Bill is expected to come into force in 2017.

Will parents still have the right to request the Minister considers establishing a designated character school?

Parents will still be able to contact the Minister to ask that he or she considers establishing such a school.

Will the current requirements for a kura kaupapa Māori remain?

Yes. Kura Kaupapa Māori will still be required to have te reo Māori as the principal language of instruction and operate in accordance with Te Aho Matua. These requirements are specified in sections 155(7)(a) and 155A of the Act.

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