Taieri College receives glowing ERO report

Despite allegations of severe bullying among pupils at Taieri College, a recent Education Review Office investigation has given the school a glowing report.

However, parents of bullied pupils at the school say the report is "farcical" and "not worth the paper it is printed on".

The report is a snapshot of the school's practices in February this year and said overall there was "good quality teaching" and pupils learnt in a "well-ordered, calm and positive atmosphere".

The report also said the principal and teachers used a wide range of initiatives to provide support for pupils and took all reasonable steps to ensure their safety.

"They identify issues that arise and make extensive efforts to respond appropriately. Initiatives to support students include providing strategies to deal with text and cyber bullying, opportunities for students to set and achieve personal goals, and a restorative justice process to resolve issues when they come to the attention of the principal and teachers.

"The culture of the new school is now well embedded and the school is focused on improvement. The board and senior leaders are well placed to lead and manage the school into the future."

A parent, who declined to be named, said her 14-year-old daughter tried to commit suicide in 2007 after a 12-year-old Taieri College pupil threatened to rape and kill her.

The mother said she asked the college to expel the boy, but was told the school could not because some of the texting was done outside school hours.

The school did not seem to be interested in what had happened during school hours, she said.

"We did go to the police and laid a complaint with them and they took it very seriously and dealt with the boy through youth aid."

She said the latest ERO report was "a joke".

"As far as I know, bullying at the school has not been dealt with. I know of parents of children who are still getting bullied, who have been to the school to get it sorted, and haven't had any joy. So they've gone to the police to get action."

Donna Munro, the mother of a 16-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, said she was forced to remove her daughter from Taieri College last July because the school failed to protect her from bullying.

"She was kicked, pushed over, they mimicked how she walked and talked, they threw food at her, she was ostracised - it all happened on a daily basis.

"It wasn't just one or two students. She seemed to be the whipping girl for a large part of the school population."

Ms Munro agreed the school was trying to help and did provide support for victims of bullying, including her daughter, but their practices did not seem to work.

"The report sounds great in theory but I don't think it matches up with reality. It's not worth the paper it's printed on."

The parents were two of half a dozen spoken to by the ODT, who agreed the school's policies for dealing with bullying were ineffective.

Acting principal Paul Bolton said he was delighted with the findings of the report.

The reviewer was confident the board of trustees was managing the school in the interests of the pupils and the Crown, and ERO was likely to review the school again as part of the regular review cycle.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

Add a Comment