Parents: Children will stay at Salford

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 12/02/2014
Nicola Hornsey
Fairfax NZ
Nicola Hornsey has been appointed commissioner of Salford School, in Invercargill.

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The Salford School community has taken to social media to show its support for the embattled school, following reports parents were pulling pupils out.

A progress report by school commissioner Nicola Hornsey, compiled in January, says parents have removed their children from the school "to a small degree" because of the uncertainty around the statutory intervention.

The report also warns that parents pulling their children out of the school remained a risk.

However, parents commenting on The Southland Times Facebook page yesterday were adamant they would not be shifting their children, saying they still had faith in the "amazing" school.

"I have no plans to pull my two children out of Salford. I believe the teachers have really shown great ability in working through this time whilst still giving my children a great education," one parent commented.

"My daughter is at that school, no plans on pulling her out. Why would ya want to join in school politics," another wrote.

Ms Hornsey said the year had started positively, and she wanted to ensure the school's focus remained on improving educational outcomes for pupils.

She has not yet responded to queries about principal Marlene Campbell's suspension or about the amount of legal fees incurred by the school during the intervention process. It is not yet known when, or if, Ms Campbell is expected to return to the school.

Ms Campbell could not be reached for comment yesterday and Ms Campbell's lawyer, Fiona McMillan of Dunedin, said she was not able to comment on her client's Salford School suspension.

During a statutory intervention, partial or all governance of a school is transferred to a manager or commissioner to address risks to the welfare or education of pupils or the operation of the school.

In November, Education Minister Hekia Parata announced statutory intervention processes, like that instigated at Salford School, would be reviewed.

New Zealand Principals' Federation president Philip Harding said the federation welcomed the review because the intervention process did not seem "very fair or balanced" at present.

Principals who belonged to the federation's legal support scheme could apply for up to $25,000 to help with legal costs "if they get into strife" or are drawn into negotiations with the board of trustees, he said.

However, this amount would not "go very far" towards covering total legal costs of a principal.

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Mr Harding did not know whether Ms Campbell was part of the scheme or had applied for the financial aid.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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