Sacking of 'amazing principal' shocks

CHARLEY MANN, FRANCESCA LEE AND TINA LAW
Last updated 11:54 05/11/2012
Prue Taylor
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ

SHOCKED: A sign at Christchurch Girls' High School shows how pupils feel about sacked principal Prue Taylor.

Prue Taylor
John Kirk-Anderson
SACKED: Prue Taylor.

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The sacking of Christchurch Girls' High principal Prue Taylor has sparked ''uproar'' among pupils.

The school's board of trustees announced Taylor's "termination" on Friday.

It has published a statement on the school website explaining there had been difficulties between the board and the principal since 2009.

Two year 13 pupils, who did not want to be named for fear of repercussions, said the news came as a shock.

''I don't think anyone is very happy,'' one said. ''It is a big uproar.''

The pair are due to finish school in two days as they prepare for exams that begin next week.

Losing their ''amazing'' principal has ''ruined our last week of high school''.

Both girls were disappointed Taylor would not be at the year 13 leavers' assembly tomorrow or at the leavers' ball.

''I'm pretty sure there will be [tears] tomorrow because she won't be there,'' one said.

One said they would consider "buying her a ticket" to the ball so she could attend.

The pair learnt about Taylor's dismissal through social networking site Facebook on Friday night, with parents told by a text message that advised an email would follow.

PROBLEMS DATE BACK TO 2009

The Christchurch Girls' High School board of trustees says it has been working since 2009 to resolve issues with the principal.

The statement to pupils, and emailed to parents, follows the dramatic announcement by the board that it had sacked its principal because of lost trust and confidence.

The "termination" of Taylor's employment was announced in a press release at 3.30pm on Friday.

The board today issued further details in a question and answer statement on the school website.

A statement was also read to pupils.

It said there had been a ''serious breakdown'' in the relationship between the school's board and its principal and that it had been ongoing since 2009.

The board said the Ministry of Education had expressed support for the board and requested the board urgently implement an action plan in the hope of ''speedily resolving these issues''.

''The seriousness of the situation has resulted in the board taking this action at this time, which the board acknowledges is a very significant step.''

The statement said the board unsuccessfully pursued all possible avenues to resolve the issues, but had committed to taking responsibility to ensure that the situation was resolved without further delay, hence the action taken on Friday to sack Taylor.

Taylor, whose husband, Brian, was killed in the Canterbury Television building collapse in the February 2011 earthquake, has said she would fight for her position through the Employment Relations Authority.

Kathryn Dalziel, who lectures at Canterbury University on legal ethics, public law and employment law, said she believed Taylor was in a good position to get compensation.

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The board had not shown trust, confidence and good faith as an employer by releasing a statement to the public about her termination, she said.

Dalziel, whose daughter is a year 9 pupil at the school, said the dismissal was badly handled by the board.

"You can't just say you have lost trust and confidence in her. Why have you lost trust and confidence in her?" she said.

"We have got no reasons for it whatsoever, no preparation, no consultation with parents and students.

"As a parent, I'm horrified. I have read the distress of senior students on Facebook and they should not be going through this when there's no evidence from senior management [about why Taylor had been dismissed].

''Why they had to do it in this critical month of the year just defies belief."

Board of trustees spokesman Peter Macdonald said Taylor had been informed of the reasons for her dismissal.

He could not say anything more on the matter as Taylor had stated she would fight the board's decision.

- The Press

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