Commissioner appointed to Hamilton school

FLORENCE KERR
Last updated 05:00 13/08/2014

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A commissioner has been appointed to a Hamilton primary school after the school's newly-appointed board of trustees resigned.

Silverdale Normal School's board was elected at the beginning of July, and a notice on the New Zealand Gazette website said the board was dissolved weeks later on July 29.

School commissioner Richard Clarke was appointed to the school the following day.

This is the first time a commissioner has been appointed to the school.

Clarke said the board's resignation meant the Ministry of Education was obligated to appoint a commissioner to take over the school's governance.

"They [Silverdale Normal School] had mid-term [board of trustees] elections.

"After those mid-term elections there would have been a board in place and it was that board, for whatever reason, decided that they felt that they needed to resign."

Clarke said he did not know the reasons for the resignation, but said once he had conducted his scope, which is expected to take four weeks, he should have a clearer picture.

He said his job is to work alongside the principal, staff and the school community to ensure the school goes back to "self-governance."

According to the Ministry of Education website: "A commissioner is appointed by the secretary for education to govern the school, because of risks to the operation of the school, or the welfare, or education performance of the students".

Clarke said he had been appointed to Silverdale Normal School for all of those reasons.

"Obviously a board is in place to ensure all children have got equity in education and equal rights to good education."

Clarke said his observations so far are pleasing.

"I've done two walkabouts of the school and what I see is lots of things functioning very well."

School principal Lynne Holder said she could not comment on the matter.

In a statement to the Waikato Times the Ministry of Education's head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said the report, to be completed by Clarke, would look at key areas for development at the school.

"[Clarke] will then work with the principal, staff and school community to identify suitable candidates to stand for election [of] the new board.

He is expected to present his findings to the ministry next month. "The decision to intervene at a school is never taken lightly. Interventions are initiated when there is a risk to the operation of the school, student achievement or student welfare and safety. "Our priority is to support the school to return to effective self-governance as soon as possible," Casey said.

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