Riled parents turn up heat on principal
Letter to school cites concerns over ‘bullying culture’
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.”