Girls' High tensions since 2009

Christchurch Girls' High School
Christchurch Girls' High School

Tensions between the principal and board of trustees at Christchurch Girls' High School Board have been simmering since 2009, says the board.

Details have emerged of the history of the dispute which led to Friday's dramatic announcement the school principal Prue Taylor had been sacked.

The trustees have published a series of questions and answers on the school's website relating to the termination of the principal's employment which explains that efforts have been underway to resolve "issues of concern" since 2009.

Here is the statement in full:

Q1: Why did the CGHS Board of Trustees (Board) take this action?

A1: There have been issues and tensions between the former Principal (Mrs Taylor) and the Board over a long period of time. Although the Board has worked hard to resolve the issues, the recent Education Review Office (ERO) review and subsequent report highlighted the ongoing problems, which meant that the Board needed to act without further delay. The ERO report, dated 28 August 2012, has been publicly available for many weeks.

Q2: What action did the Ministry of Education want to happen?

A2: There has been a serious breakdown in the relationship between the Board and Mrs Taylor; the seriousness of which was highlighted in the recent ERO report. Following the publication of the report, the Ministry of Education affirmed their support for the Board and requested the Board to urgently implement an Action Plan to address the identified issues.

Q3: Why has the action been taken at this time?

A3: Following the release of the ERO report, the Ministry of Education expressed support for the Board and requested the Board to urgently implement an Action Plan in the hope of speedily resolving these issues. This was underway but the seriousness of the situation has resulted in the Board taking this action at this time.

The Board acknowledges that this is a very significant step.

However, despite unsuccessfully pursuing all possible avenues to resolve the issues, the Board has been committed to taking responsibility to ensure that this situation was resolved without further delay, hence the action taken on Friday 2 November 2012.

Q4: What has the Board done previously to address the issues?

A4: The Board has since 2009, been working on resolving issues of concern which have been expressed by a wide range of stakeholder groups as to the serious breakdown in the relationship between the Board and Mrs Taylor. The seriousness of these issues and tensions were highlighted in the recent ERO report.

Q5: Who made this decision?

A5: The decision to end the employment of the Mrs Taylor was made unanimously by the Board. The Board received information from a number of sources but the decision was made by the Board as Mrs Taylor's employer.

Q6: Why does this appear to have been done in secret?

A6: The Board has been working on this quietly and proactively to reach an acceptable solution since 2009. It is obviously a significant employment matter so it was neither possible nor appropriate to advise and/or involve other stakeholder groups (eg parents, staff, students) over this period.

Q7: Why did the Board not wait until after exams?

A7: The Board appreciates that exams are close but the serious issues and the resulting tensions have been getting much worse, which meant the Board had no choice but to act without further delay.

Q8: Who will lead the school now?

A8: Peter Sawyer, the current Deputy Principal, will be Acting Principal until a new Principal is appointed

Q9: Can I contact Mrs Taylor?

A9: It is quite appropriate for any member of the wider school community to communicate with Mrs Taylor if they desire.

The Press