Principal undergoes scrutiny

21:27, Sep 26 2012

A north Invercargill school principal is facing intense scrutiny after staff members and parents expressed serious concerns about aspects of her leadership.

An Education Review Office (ERO) report about Salford School issued yesterday puts the actions of principal Marlene Campbell under the spotlight.

The report says the school's board of trustees is facing significant challenges, with high levels of staff turnover and dissatisfaction putting school-wide developments and ongoing improvements at risk.

Before and during the review past and present staff members and some parents expressed serious concerns to the review officers about aspects of Ms Campbell's leadership and its impact on staff recruitment and retention and workplace stress, the ERO report says.

The board indicated to ERO it had been unaware of the extent of the dissatisfaction and had now taken steps to investigate the concerns.

The complainants had told ERO officers they were afraid to approach the board, the report says.


The ERO report recommends the board work with the Education Ministry and other external advisers to investigate and address the matters.

Board chairwoman Chris Cole yesterday sent a notice to parents and caregivers saying ERO has provided the school with three main areas for review and improvement: the leadership of the principal, self review and governance.

The note to parents says the board acknowledges the seriousness of EROs recommendations and has begun steps for improvement.

The board had so far reviewed its concerns and complaints procedure and brought in an independent person to investigate ERO's concerns, the notice says.

The board has also asked the Education Ministry to assist and work alongside the board.

"The board is committed to maintaining a high level of student achievement and engagement while also improving the management and governance of Salford School."

The letter to parents also notes that 80 per cent of students at Salford School are achieving at or above the national standards for reading, writing and mathematics.

Mrs Cole, when responding to emailed questions last night, said an independent investigation had found no grounds to take disciplinary action against Ms Campbell. She declined to elaborate.

Ms Campbell declined to comment last night.

Education Ministry regional manager Kathryn Palmer said the ministry was not undertaking an investigation. She said the board of trustees was responsible for all employment matters and performance management of staff.