INDEPENDENT NEWS

A Call For Support For Schools With Commissioners

Published: Wed 3 May 2000 04:50 PM
A Call For Community Support For Schools With Commissioners
The New Zealand School Trustees Association is asking communities to rally around the three schools whose boards of trustees have recently been replaced by commissioners.
President Owen Edgerton says the ministerial-appointment of a commissioner is a stressful time for those involved, and it is important the community works hard to get the schools back on track.
“It has been identified that these schools need help, and it is a positive step in the right direction to ensure they do get it. Now is the time for everyone to come together and make sure this help is provided.”
He stresses that other schools that have had a commissioner appointed have worked through their problems, a board was then able to be re-established, and they have returned to being self-managed.
“Obviously the appointment of a commissioner to any school is a last resort, and it is only ever intended to be a short-term arrangement for schools. The aim is to help get the school heading in the right direction, so the community can once again take over the running of the school.”
Owen Edgerton says it is also important to put the issue in perspective. Of the 2,700 schools in New Zealand, just six or seven will have a commissioner appointed in one year.
“The overwhelmingly majority of boards are doing excellent jobs in running their schools. Since school boards were introduced 10 years ago, less than a quarter of a percent of schools has had a commissioner take over.”
He says the track record of school boards compares very well when compared with those boards working in the private sector.
“School boards carry out an important task, and they have a high level of accountability to the community. The Education Review Office recognised this in its annual report, commenting favourably on the behaviour of school boards in comparison to that of some Crown Entity boards.”
Owen Edgerton says in recent times ERO reports have been more specific, which has made it easier for schools to identify exactly where improvements may be needed.
[ends]

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