Board sought legal advice to deal with principal

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 05:00 06/11/2012
Prue Taylor
John Kirk-Anderson
SACKED: Prue Taylor.

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The Christchurch Girls' High board of trustees brought in a legal advisor in April to help deal with now sacked principal Prue Taylor after three years of ongoing tensions.

The board announced on Friday that it had voted unanimously to fire long-standing principal Taylor because of "issues", "tensions" and a "serious breakdown" in the working relationship.

Employment law adviser Peter Macdonald yesterday told The Press he was approached by the board in April and has since worked as an adviser.

The board yesterday released further information to answer parents' questions and stated there has been issues between it and Taylor "since 2009".

While not naming the issues, the board said they had been "expressed by a wide range of stakeholder groups".

An Education Review Office (ERO) report in August prompted the Education Ministry to request an "action plan" to address the situation.

"This was under way but the seriousness of the situation has resulted in the board taking this action at this time," the board said.

MacDonald was approached by the board to try and resolve the issues and his involvement with the school is "purely advisory".

"In this situation the Board of Trustees approached me independent of the Ministry," he said.

MacDonald has been appointed by the Education Ministry as a statutory manager to numerous schools in the last decade to help boards deal with financial and employment difficulties.

Last year, Macdonald was contracted by the ministry to resolve staff relationship issues at Queenstown's Wakatipu High School.

MacDonald removed principal Lyn Cooper after a resolution could not be reached.

Cooper was reappointed after lodging a claim with the Employment Relations Authority, but resigned months later at the end of the year.

In 2004 the ministry brought MacDonald in to Aranui High as a statutory manager.

During his year tenure Aranui received a $2.2 million loan from the ministry to bail it out of financial strife.

Prior to Aranui, MacDonald worked for 16 months as statutory manager at Catholic Cathedral College. He was appointed by the Government following an ERO report that expressed concerns about the senior management's leadership, the quality of teaching and student achievement.

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- The Press

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