A warning has been sounded to the government that its decision to scrap charter schools has upset a number of prominent Māori leaders.

National's Māori Education spokesperson Joanne Hayes explains the significance of Māori leaders becoming upset.

"It signifies that once you start getting the dames and the knights out, that if it isn't dealt with, then they're going to step up and they're actually going to make the biggest noise this country has ever heard."

Charter schools that want to stay open have to apply to become special character schools. 

Hayes explains that  charter schools who have had to apply to become special character schools have now relinquished their autonomy.

"If you look at section 155 and 156 of the Education Act to which the designated special character schools are under, they're quite tight. There is no room for flexibility, whereas, within the charter schools, they have lots of flexibility."

Education Minister Chris Hipkins disagrees.

"Some of those schools over a long period of time had previously tried to be designated character schools and that was made so difficult for them that they found an easier option to become charter schools - in the case of some of the schools this was their preference all along."

Hayes also adds that charter schools were set up to address Māori underachievement because the 'mainstream' model had continually failed Māori.

"These schools that started in 2013 have been able to produce results that have exceeded 80% in NCEA level one and two. And the Rise Up Charter School we had students passing level one writing, reading and mathematics exceeding 80%."

Only time will tell if protest action will take place.

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