Waiau commissioner notes lack of vision
A lack of vision and trust at the troubled Waiau Area School in Tuatapere have been highlighted as key areas of concern by a government appointed commissioner called in to sort out its woes.
Dr Chris Shaw was made commissioner of the school in September after the parent representatives on the board of trustees resigned "after receiving a comprehensive list of serious workplace issues that had caused them considerable alarm and distress".
Principal Maryse Anderson-Kereti is still on sick leave, but had her letter of resignation accepted by the board in August.
Teacher Steven Mustor has filled the role of acting principal since Mrs Anderson-Kereti went on leave.
Dr Shaw said he had completed his initial scoping report and action plan for the Ministry of Education, briefed the school community, and the focus now was on developing a shared vision for the school by consulting staff, students and parents.
His investigation found there was a lack of shared vision within the school, and also a lack of mutual trust.
"There are two real issues that are going on. A lot of it is about relationships," he said.
"One of the things is clearly a lack of mutual trust between a number of parties at the school, and I think the other thing is a real lack of a shared vision to understand where the school was going and how it was going to get there."
A new principal could be in place at Waiau Area School in time for term two next year, with an action plan for the school released by the Government-appointed commissioner.
The next step in the action plan was to start the process of recruiting a new principal. This would likely happen early next year, with a possible start date of term two, Dr Shaw said.
He and the acting principal, and the future principal, would also ensure they understood what each was trying to do, and ensure clear delegation between the roles, he said.
Mr Mustor would be acting principal until the end of this year, and what would happen next year was under negotiation, Dr Shaw said. They would also look at aspects of the school and would see where they could do things better.
After briefing parents and the school community on the action plan, Dr Shaw thought they were glad that someone was looking at what the issues were.
"There was obviously a lot of surprise because of The Southland Times article and I think people needed some reassurance things would be looked at," Dr Shaw said.
When the board resigned in September it was alleged several teachers had been bullying the principal.
"I am really concerned with what has been in the paper and the reason for that is it doesn't align with what I have found in my dealings with the school."
Dr Shaw said there had already been changes during the past few weeks, which was a positive.
The Southland Times