New principal at Mana College
Troubled Mana College has appointed a new principal.
John Murdoch, currently the head of Taita College, will start in term 2.
Originally from Scotland, Murdoch has taught in several schools in New Zealand.
‘‘The board hopes John’s background in school leadership and management, curriculum innovation and in building community partnerships will strengthen the college and grow its relationship with the community,’’ a statement from the college board of trustees said.
Statutory manager Helena Barwick took control of Mana College in March to address a plummeting roll, poor financial management and a lack of direction among staff and students. Marion Tuite later took over.
Mana’s academic, leadership and financial performance was criticised in an Education Review Office report in September 2014, and the board decided to ask for support before it was voluntarily imposed, board chairman Chris Toa said.
Since 1989, Mana’s roll has fallen from 777 to 373. To reduce costs and save teaching staff, back-office administrators had been let go, which led to inefficient budgeting and management.
The roll had fallen partly because of a trend for Porirua students in the western part of the city to attend either Tawa College or other schools outside the city. Demographic changes also showed fewer children lived in Mana College’s zone and Barwick said the reputation had also declined markedly.
‘‘There’s an element of people not being convinced that Mana is providing what students need,’’ she said.
Staff and students were getting insufficient oversight and information was not always reaching the school’s board.
Barwick, who held statutory manager roles at Porirua School and Kimi ora School, was initially installed at Mana by the Ministry of Education at the request of the board of trustees. Principal Mike Webster officially retired in August.
As the appointment has been made late this year, Murdoch will return to Taita College in term 1 before heading to Mana College. Tuite will continue in her role until Murdoch takes over.
A powhiri will be held early in the new school year to welcome Murdoch to Mana.
Mana College’s new principal, John Murdoch, who starts in term 2 next year.