Hawke's Bay Today

Absent principal resigns

Intermedia­te school leader had been on extended leave for three years

- Nikki Preston

TBreaching confidenti­ality would not be appropriat­e.

Rob Naumann

he principal of one of Hamilton’s largest intermedia­te schools resigned yesterday after a three-year absence shrouded in secrecy. Formerly of Hastings Intermedia­te, Andrew Shortcliff­e has not been seen at Fairfield Intermedia­te since taking extended leave in mid-2018.

The announceme­nt of his resignatio­n comes three years after the Ministry of Education appointed limited statutory manager Rob Naumann to oversee the school, which this year has a roll of 622 pupils.

Angela Walters has been acting principal since November 2018.

Naumann confirmed Shortcliff­e’s resignatio­n to the Herald.

However, he couldn’t confirm why Shortcliff­e had been absent for so long or whether he had been on full pay the entire time.

“Unfortunat­ely, employment law requires me to keep all informatio­n about the employment relationsh­ip confidenti­al. I recognise that this will be frustratin­g for you but breaching confidenti­ality would not be appropriat­e or in the best interests of the school.”

Naumann said while the board would now begin searching for a new principal, the school had been functionin­g “extremely well” under the leadership of Walters and her team.

“Students are receiving a highqualit­y education and the school has made wonderful progress since its last ERO review in May 2018. There has also been significan­t roll growth in the past two years.”

An ERO report published in March 2018, just prior to Shortcliff­e going on leave, criticised the school’s management. Among the raft of recommenda­tions for improvemen­t were that the principal needed to work collaborat­ively with senior leaders to implement a more inclusive approach to school developmen­t.

In a response to the Herald’s inquiries last month about the school’s management, Ministry of Education deputy secretary sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said it was inappropri­ate for the ministry to comment on an

ployment matter given the ministry was not the employer. She referred any questions to limited statutory manager Rob Naumann.

Naumann also refused at the time to respond to a raft of questions including whether Shortcliff­e was still on paid leave and the details of the legal process.

“As you will appreciate, any details of employment contracts are confidenti­al.

“As all of the questions you raise are of this nature, I am unable to make any comment,” he said.

Shortcliff­e was appointed to the role in Hamilton in 2016 after spending eight years as the principal of Hastings Intermedia­te.

 ?? Photo / Warren Buckland ?? Andrew Shortcliff­e pictured at Hastings Intermedia­te in 2016 — not long before he went to Hamilton.
Photo / Warren Buckland Andrew Shortcliff­e pictured at Hastings Intermedia­te in 2016 — not long before he went to Hamilton.

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