Latest ERO report slams principal of troubled Aparima College
The latest Governmental report on Aparima College has slammed the school's principal, indicating "urgent" improvement in leadership is required.
The Riverton, Southland secondary school, with a declining roll of 183 students, hit the headlines back in 2014 when the board of trustees' parent representatives resigned en masse, leading to a Ministry of Education commissioner being appointed in September of that year.
In a statement at the time, ex-board chairperson Kere Menzies said the parents decided they were unable to continue because of a "breakdown between the board and school management".
An ERO report published in May 2015 identified the resolution of "ongoing issues with leadership and governance" as key to fostering success at the school.
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However, the latest ERO report released late last month was even more explicit, stating: "The principal is not providing consistent, coherent, effective and sustained professional leadership. Significant improvement in the quality of the principal's professional leadership is urgently needed."
Aparima principal Kaye Day declined to comment when contacted on Monday, saying only that she couldn't comment on any matters relating to employment.
Staff at the college were equally reluctant to speak up, but did indicate that Day would not be back at work until the second week of term due to "special leave."
Some parents and former students of the college have taken to social media to vent their dissatisfaction.
Riverton mother-of-five and member of the board of trustees that resigned in 2014, Marina Seager, said she didn't believe significant improvements had been made at the college in the nearly three years.
Seager had a son and daughter at the college today, with two older children previously graduated, and a fifth child expected to attend on completing primary school.
"Everybody wants the college to succeed and for their children to go to a local school. At this stage I hope for my youngest to go to Aparima as well, but after two dismal ERO reports have highlighted exactly the area that needs to change without progress being made, you just don't know."
Commissioner Nicola Hornsey was working hard to resolve a difficult situation, Seager said.
"I feel the commissioner has been put in a very tricky position and worked diligently, given her limitations. I just don't feel enough has been achieved for change in the school yet."
Hornsey agreed the latest ERO report was "fair".
"ERO have identified one of the key issues as management, and that's something we've worked hard to improve and will continue to do so for as long as required under the terms of the ministry intervention."
She encouraged concerned parents and other community stakeholders to contact her through her latest annual questionnaire.
"I've recently extended the closing date for the questionnaire until the fourth week of term, and we've had about eight completed so far. It's always the case that families know their children best in terms of what's going on for them at school, and what they want in place for them to be able to succeed, so the more that respond the better."
The Ministry of Education would be reviewing the need for continued intervention at the college next month, Hornsey said.
"Understandably they're very cautious in a situation like this, so my feeling is there will continue to be a commissioner appointed for the coming year. Whether that's me, or somebody else, we'll have to wait and see."