Moko Foundation seeks to save charter schools

By Tema Hemi

Moko Foundation founder and chair Dr Lance O'Sullivan thinks charter schools are the educational model that best benefits students who fall through the cracks.

He's on the campaign trail, advocating for the schools that have been scrapped by the government, and he believes the model may provide a lifeline for Hato Pētera.

Student of Vanguard Military School, Parris Bryant says, "I literally trained every morning.  I'd come into school, I'd get up at 5.30am and come to school at 7am and train really hard and started going to the gym as well and basketball- as much as I could."

O'Sullivan also believes the youngsters of Vanguard Military School have a message the government needs to hear about charter schools.

Another student of Vanguard Military School, Josephine Newton says, "You're here because you want to be here and if you want to be here your gonna have to try because you don't have everything handed to you on a silver platter, you know you have to work hard for what you get."

O'Sullivan says, "it also denies the education system an opportunity to grow from the learnings of this model and maybe apply some of these learnings to elsewhere in the mainstream system so they can benefit more than just Māori achieving at charter schools." 

Sir Toby Curtis penned an open letter asking the government to keep charter schools.  He's joined forces with the Moko Foundation leader. 

Curtis says, "Now we all know that the charter schools as such operate a little differently than the normal State-run school, operating differently in the sense that they have opportunities to explore and expand beyond the tight curriculum that is found in the ordinary state school."

O'Sullivan says, "What I hope this message will do is...it will challenge all of our MP', in particular,r our Māori MPs to rethink this idea of getting rid of the partnership schools model."

O'Sullivan says discussion around the future use of the grounds at the Hato Pētera are ongoing,