Te Horo School is still working with a limited statutory manager after he was appointed by the Ministry of Education on June 10.
The manager, Kevin Palmer, says he is working with the board of trustees to support its governance work. He was appointed after the board asked the Ministry of Education for assistance.
He told Ōtaki Today he was working alongside the board “around employment and communications, and also advising in regards to consolidating new systems into board practice”.
He said his role as a limited statutory manager was “to work in
partnership with the board, the principal, the school’s teaching and support staff, parents and the wider school community to identify areas for change and improvement across all areas of the school to further lift student achievement, progress and well-being”.
It’s understood the board called for assistance to resolve recent issues that included teacher resourcing and staffing to deal with problem children, and how the management of those children was affecting other pupils.
The school has also lost some long-term staff members recently and figures show a falling roll.
A teacher who had moved said the school had been “going in a direction that I wasn’t happy with any more”, prompting the move. They wouldn’t eleborate, but a parent, who also didn’t wish to be identified – having a pupil still at the school – said there had been several parent complaints to the board of trustees about school management.
The parent said the complaints were largely about alleged violence from one or two pupils in the classroom, and how that was managed.
The parent “absolutely” supported the appointment of the limited statutory manager, believing it would take pressure off a board “who all have jobs outside of school”.
Kevin Palmer said recent initiatives at Te Horo School included:
creating an additional class for term 3
appointing a new second deputy-principal
improving lines of accountability and communication around the separate junior and senior syndicates
developing teacher capability around the Universal Design for Learning framework through MoE-supported funding
surveying parents about their views and aspirations for the school, and
working with MoE’s Special Education Services to introduce the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) programme and process that is already well established in many other schools.
He said schools often required professional assistance to resolve issues.
“Schools are complex organisations full of daily challenges that can at
times affect students, teachers, support staff, leaders, parents and school community members,” he said. “So it’s not unusual for schools to reach out for help and assistance from various contractors, professional development providers, Ministry of Education advisors and specialists from time to time.”
Kevin said he had so far enjoyed working with the board, staff and parents at Te Horo.
“I am confident that together we can build on the excellent history and reputation the school has, and ensure that the school continues to meet the needs of all its students and the expectations of the community.”
Neither board chair Steven Gadsby nor principal Michelle Tate, who has been heading the school for about 18 months, would comment, referring all communication to the limited statutory manager.
The ministry says it may apply a “statutory intervention”, such as the appointment of a limited statutory manager, where the education minister or education secretary “perceives that there is a risk to the operation of an individual school, or to the welfare or educational performance of its students . . . “.
The school’s board, as in the case of Te Horo, may also request an intervention. The school will have to pay the manager’s fees and “any reasonable expenses incurred during their work”.
The educationcounts.govt.nz website in July last year had Te Horo School’s roll at 228. A teacher advertisement in June this year stated the roll was 206.