New chair­man for group

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

A prin­ci­pal who trans­formed a fail­ing school into a flour­ish­ing success story has been ap­pointed chair­man of the In­ner City Prin­ci­pals’ Group.

Bill Barker took over as head­mas­ter of Grey Lynn School in 1998 when the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion was on the brink of clos­ing it down.

‘‘The school was in a shock­ing state when I ar­rived.

‘‘There were only 85 chil­dren here and it was a decile 2 school.

‘‘Its board had been sacked three times dur­ing the 1990s,’’ Mr Barker says.

The Grey Lynn res­i­dent worked tire­lessly to turn the school around and cre­ate a wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment where chil­dren would want to come.

‘‘Our hook was Ar­bor Day where each child gets a tree to plant.

‘‘We started that in 1999 and we have been plant­ing ever since.’’

The school grounds now boast a small for­est and growth in the area means it is now a decile 7 school with fund­ing for 365 chil­dren.

It has also just added a fur­ther eight class­rooms.

Mr Barker says the over­haul would not have been pos­si­ble with­out the sup­port of the com­mu­nity.

‘‘I’ll be the first to ad­mit that you can’t turn around a fail­ing school with­out com­mu­nity sup- port, they really helped make it hap­pen. And now it’s my turn to branch out and be a bit more vis­i­ble, so I took on this role.’’

The In­ner City Prin­ci­pals’ group cov­ers schools from Pt Che­va­lier to Free­mans Bay, and in­cludes Wai­heke Is­land.

It fa­cil­i­tates pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment and pro­vides a voice for prin­ci­pals within the Auck­land Pri­mary Prin­ci­pals’ As­so­ci­a­tion and the New Zealand Prin­ci­pals’ Fed­er­a­tion.

Photo: DANIELLE STREET

Flour­ish­ing: Grey Lynn School prin­ci­pal Bill Barker has been ap­pointed chair­man of the In­ner City Prin­ci­pals’ Group.

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