Governance issues at Wanaka Primary School have led to
Ministry of Education intervention to address ''risks'' to the
A letter sent to parents last Thursday signed by the ''chair
committee, for and on behalf of the board of trustees'',
announced the appointment of Cleave Hay as limited statutory
manager for the school.
The committee has governed the board since former chairman
Richard Cubie resigned in December, citing his concern over
the way the school had dealt with complaints from parents.
Last week's letter said during term four last year, the board
faced ''a number of challenges, which required a considered
and proper response''.
Following a meeting on December 17 between the board and
ministry representatives, the board voted unanimously for the
ministry to appoint a limited statutory manager to ''help us
with the difficulties we face''.
The letter gave no insight into what the difficulties were.
Mr Hay, a former commissioner of Rotary Park School, in
Dunedin, was the board's preferred choice as he had already
been working closely with the board since November and had
its full confidence, the letter said.
''The board of trustees sees this appointment as a very
positive move for the children, staff, parents and all
members of our school community and we anticipate that it
will make a significant and valuable contribution over the
One parent, who declined to be named, said the letter was
''so vague'' and lacking in information it had created much
confusion and rumour among parents.
''It kind of makes people wonder more,'' the parent said.
Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support
Katrina Casey confirmed yesterday the ministry had appointed
Mr Hay on January 10, ''because of risks to the operation of
Mr Hay's role would be to pick up the powers of the board in
relation to its responsibilities as employer of all school
staff. He would also act as adviser to the board, providing
advice and support on board processes, roles and
Mr Hay had experience and understanding of governance and
mediation, as well as being an experienced training provider
for boards of trustees, Ms Casey said.
The board would carry on as normal in all other respects and
Mr Hay's appointment would not affect the role of principal
Wendy Bamford, who would continue managing the school, which
ended last year with a roll of more than 550 pupils.
Dr Bamford said she was ''delighted'' the ministry had acted
so quickly in appointing Mr Hay to support the board.
''It's a new board that needs to work on board systems and
processes ... there's no problem with the organisation of the
school. Our Ero [Education Review Office] reports said we're
a high-performing school with high-performing staff and a
high-performing principal,'' Dr Bamford said.
''I'm here, I'm running the school like I always do ... the
board has just a few teething issues that we need to get
Mr Hay, a Dunedin business director, told the Otago Daily
Times that although he had been working with the school board
in a governance training role and was aware of some of the
issues, he was not prepared to comment on them until he had
viewed the memorandum of understanding between himself and
the ministry today.
''[The MoU] outlines what the situation is in the school,
officially, and what the desired outcomes are, officially,''
Mr Hay said.
His first visit to the school as limited statutory manager
would be early next week.
Ms Casey said Mr Hay would report regularly to the ministry
on progress and his appointment would be reviewed within 12
''The aim of any intervention is to return the school to full
self-governance as soon as possible, and the vast majority of
schools achieve this within two years.''