Ministry may intervene at CGHS

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 10:44 14/12/2012

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The Ministry of Education says it still may intervene at Christchurch Girls' High School despite mediation resulting in Prue Taylor's permanent reinstatement this week.

A spokesman said the ministry was ''working with the school to determine the appropriate level of support required to effectively address the concerns raised by ERO''.

The Education Review Office published a report in August saying the school was "not well placed to sustain and improve all aspects of its performance" and that professional relationships were of concern.

The spokesman said the ministry would discuss with the board and Taylor what ''next steps might be necessary''.

This included whether to recommend to Education Minister Hekia Parata that a limited statutory manager be appointed.

''This work won't be completed until the new year,'' the spokesman said.

Taylor returned to her desk yesterday after an Employment Relations Authority (ERA) hearing last month ordered her interim reinstatement. She had been sacked by the school's board of trustees on November 2.

The board was to have its case for Taylor's dismissal heard at an ERA hearing in February.

However, Taylor told The Press the case had been dropped.

She said her reinstatement was made permanent after a day-long mediation meeting with the board of trustees on Wednesday.

Taylor said the board had signalled it would "co-opt" two parents from an action group of nearly 100 families who opposed her sacking, until elections were held next year.

Taylor said her reinstatement was "a big relief" and returning to work was "just wonderful".

"We basically achieved at mediation what could have taken three or four days of hearing time," she said.

Board chairwoman Robyn Burgess would not comment on dropping the case against Taylor, saying she was "bound by a confidentiality agreement".

However, in a statement published on the school's website, Burgess said Taylor and the board had reached an agreement on the principal's return "and the resolution of all matters between them".

The parents who supported Taylor said yesterday they still did not know why she was sacked.

Mark Smith, who led the group, said Taylor's reinstatement was "a real celebration".

"With the board seemingly wanting parents on the group, it all looks very positive for 2013, which is exactly what the school needs," he said.

However, parents were still "quite confused" about what the issues were.

"In the face of everything being resolved happily after only one day of mediation, why didn't it happen before?" he said.

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The ERA said yesterday it had yet to be notified that the February hearing was cancelled.

Board of trustees elections will take place at all New Zealand schools between April 8 and May 30 next year.

- The Press

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