School back on track - ERO

18:06, Nov 25 2012

Community confidence in Rai Valley Area School is being restored and relationships strengthened, the school's latest Educational Review Office report says.

The report, made public this month, said the school was well placed to provide a high quality education and to improve performance.

There had been significant upheaval since the previous review in 2010, which noted that the school had to sort out employment problems.

Librarian Faye Leov was sacked in 2008 and took a claim of unjust dismissal to the Employment Court. Half the parents signed a petition expressing no confidence in principal Muff Newton, who resigned last November after extended sick leave.

This year Education Ministry commissioner Janet Kelly led the school instead of a board of governors.

The report said the community had advised the commissioner on its perspectives and priorities and helped select a new principal.


Parents were helping in the classroom, at cultural and sports events and through a Friends of the School group set up to organise events and raise funds.

However, processes for managing complaints were inadequate and had to be developed and publicised so problems could be quickly identified and dealt with, the report said.

Maori students made up 20 per cent of the roll and outperformed their peers in years 11 to 13, the report said. A teacher taught Maori language to year 1 to 10 students, mentored Maori boys and looked at ways of affirming the culture through the curriculum, especially in creative arts and technology.

However, the report recommended that plans to support Maori be formalised.

Other priorities for improvement included staff learning how to self-review, curriculum planning in multi-level classes and better timetabling and assessment.

The report said a board of governors election would be held early next year.

During the troubled times, ERO assessed Rai Valley School every one or two years. Now it returns to the standard three-year cycle.

The Marlborough Express