Riled par­ents turn up heat on prin­ci­pal

Let­ter to school cites con­cerns over ‘bul­ly­ing cul­ture’

The New Zealand Herald - - News - Si­mon Collins ed­u­ca­tion

AWest Auck­land school prin­ci­pal is fac­ing a re­volt by a group of par­ents who are con­cerned about bul­ly­ing, high staff turnover, un­hy­gienic toi­lets and treat­ing par­ent vol­un­teers “like a slave”.

The par­ents at Hen­der­son Val­ley School have writ­ten an open let­ter ask­ing the board of trustees to ei­ther set up a “men­tor/su­per­vi­sion process” for prin­ci­pal Janet Moyle “or take steps to seek a suitable re­place­ment”.

The let­ter has been signed by the par­ents or care­givers of 37 chil­dren, a 10th of the school’s roll of 363.

Moyle re­ferred Herald in­quiries to board chair­man Michael Alofa, who has called an ur­gent board meet­ing to dis­cuss the let­ter to­day.

“Hen­der­son Val­ley School takes very se­ri­ously all con­cerns raised with it and is com­mit­ted to han­dling these in line with best prac­tice,” he said.

“We can con­firm that our school is li­ais­ing with NZ School Trustees As­so­ci­a­tion and the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion to en­sure that we act in line with MOE/NZSTA ex­pec­ta­tions.”

The open let­ter said par­ents had ob­served “a se­ri­ous de­cline in the of­fer­ing of the school and a grow­ing lack of trust and con­fi­dence in the school man­age­ment” since Moyle be­came prin­ci­pal two years ago.

“We have ob­served a mas­sive turnover of staff and a no­tice­able de­cline in the school roll,” it says.

The roll has fallen steadily since be­fore Moyle ar­rived, from 392 in July 2015 to 387 in 2016 and 370 in July last year, and was 363 in Septem­ber this year.

The let­ter said: “There are a num­ber of par­ents very con­cerned with what ap­pears to be a steady in­crease in bul­ly­ing cul­ture at HVS.

“Many par­ents have re­ported that they have dis­cussed this is­sue with the prin­ci­pal only to be told she is ‘not aware of any bul­ly­ing in­ci­dents’. We ques­tion how more than one par­ent could be given this re­sponse?” The let­ter said staff were un­happy. “Why have so many great teach­ers left HVS over the past two years?”

It also ad­dressed the treat­ment of vol­un­teers. “Some par­ents de­scribed how they felt they were treated ‘like a slave’.”

Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion deputy sec­re­tary Ka­t­rina Casey said the min­istry was aware of the open let­ter.

“To date, we have not been con­tacted by any par­ents,” she said.

“We are here to pro­vide sup­port and guid­ance, if needed at any time.”

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