Governance problems at Wanaka Primary School present ''no
immediate risk'' to pupils' learning, a Ministry of Education
representative has determined.
Dunedin business director Cleave Hay was appointed by the
ministry in January as limited statutory manager for the
school after a breakdown in board of trustees' relationships
late last year.
Former board chairman Richard Cubie resigned from the role in
December, citing the school's handling of parent complaints
as the reason, but remained as a board member.
Local policeman Mike Thomas was appointed the new chairman
In the latest school newsletter, Mr Hay said that after
completing the scoping period of his appointment and sending
his first report to the ministry, he wanted to share with the
school community part of the report's executive summary.
''Wanaka Primary School has long been recognised as a
high-performing school with very strong leadership, staff and
programmes; a safe and effective learning environment for its
500-plus students and staff,'' Mr Hay wrote.
''This, in my opinion and observations, is still the case and
I see no immediate risk to student engagement, progress and
achievement outcomes. The board of trustees, principal and
all staff are focused on the students and ensuring they are
well equipped for their future.''
He said recent breakdowns in relationships at governance
level needed all parties to work together to re-establish an
environment of trust.
''There are issues at the board table but I do not consider
them irreconcilable if all persons commit to correct process
and relationships with their shared vision for the
Mr Hay told the Otago Daily Times his work at the
school to date had been predominantly with the board and
principal Wendy Bamford.
He reiterated his belief that the issues identified should
not have ''any effect on the classrooms''.
Disaffected parents at the school were a minority, he said.
''There are some disgruntled people, but the majority of
people aren't. So it's really looking at what issues are
there amongst the smaller numbers and are they of any major
consequence or not?"
At a school the size of Wanaka Primary School, it would be
impossible to keep everyone happy, ''but that doesn't mean we
don't address matters'', he said.
Mr Hay would now spend up to 20 hours a month implementing an
action plan to help resolve the issues.
Providing ''everyone pulls together'', his involvement would
probably taper off within six months, although he would
continue to attend monthly board meetings for the rest of the