Round 1 - Partnership Schools application process briefings and advice

This section includes documents briefing or advising Ministers on matters relating to the first round of application, including the selection of the successful applicants.

All potential sponsors of Partnership Schools opening in 2014 went through a comprehensive application process run by the Authorisation Board and the Ministry of Education. This process was run according to the All-of-Government procurement rules and principles.

The application process had four parts:

  1. Initial evaluation – the Authorisation Board and the Ministry of Education thoroughly assessed all 35 written applications against set criteria. In addition, the Ministry conducted due diligence on each applicant, and checked financial information.
  2. Evaluation of long-listed applicants – the Authorisation Board then selected a long-list of 17 applicants on which to focus more intensive evaluative effort. It sought clarification and additional information from the long-listed applicants on specific aspects of their proposals.
  3. Interviews with short-listed applicants – the Authorisation Board then invited 13 short-listed applicants to an interview to respond to questions relating to specific aspects of their proposals. Ministry officials took part in the interviews. The Authorisation Board carried out reference checks. The Ministry undertook due diligence on each applicant.
  4. Provision of advice to the Minister of Education – the Authorisation Board and the Ministry drew all of the information together to provide advice to the Minister of Education to consider when making her final decisions on which sponsors to progress to contract negotiations.. The Authorisation Board and the Ministry occasionally had different viewpoints on the strengths and weaknesses of an application. This reflects the rigour and robustness of the process.

The Minister selected five applicants to progress to contract negotiations to open a Partnership Schools, and informed Cabinet of this intention.

Information Withheld

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analyses for the four long-listed applicants that did not proceed to the interview stage have been withheld under section 9(2)(b)(ii) of the Official Information Act 1982 to ensure their commercial position is not unreasonably prejudiced.

Ministry of Education Network Analysis

  • Because Partnership Schools are schools-of-choice for parents, they are expected to draw students from a much wider catchment than is usually the case. In the Ministry’s analysis for a new Partnership School we continue to look at the immediate area because a broad network analysis is not feasible. But that is not an indication of the actual likely impact – it is simply in line with the typical scenario used.
  • In both Round 1 and 2 before the Partnership Schools were approved, the Ministry analysed how the new Partnership Schools would fit into the existing network of state, state-integrated and private schools in the area. This was done to ensure that the approval of a Partnership School did not lead to existing state schools becoming non-viable.
  • New state schools are built in areas of population growth where the capacity of the existing schooling networks is no longer able to meet demand.
  • In Round 2, the Government introduced a preference factor giving priority to applications for new Partnership Schools in areas of roll growth.

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