Parents claim lack of governance, seek investigation

Mount Aspiring College. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Mount Aspiring College. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Parents of pupils at Mount Aspiring College in Wanaka are asking the Ministry of Education to investigate claims of a lack of governance at the school - including a vote of no confidence in the principal.

Wayne Bosley. Photo: ODT files
Wayne Bosley. Photo: ODT files
Yesterday, ministry spokeswoman Katrina Casey confirmed it received a letter last week signed by 49 parents or guardians who had concerns around the running of the Wanaka school following the recent resignation of two board members.

Board of trustees chairman Ed Nepia said he was aware a few parents had raised issues about the school, and of the letter, but measures were being put in place to address the situation.

He also acknowledged there had been concerns historically in relation to communication.

‘‘We are addressing the concerns but give us time and especially given the upheaval in our community with the response to Covid-19.’’

The ministry said it would be supporting the school as it took steps to resolve the issues parents had raised, as well as issues identified by a recent Education Review Office report.

‘‘We are confident the principal [Wayne Bosley] and the board are able to find a way forward.

‘‘We will continue to work with the board to support resolution of the concerns raised and offer any assistance that may be needed,’’ Ms Casey said.

The letter, drafted by three parents, was addressed to Otago and Southland education director Julie Anderson.

Those parents, who wished to remain anonymous, shared it with others.

The letter said: ‘‘As parents we want to place firmly on the record a vote of no confidence in MAC’s BoT, including the principal Wayne Bosley, to resolve the issues at MAC’’.

Those issues included ‘‘the ability of the principal to develop and execute a cohesive and effective strategy of reform’’, ‘‘the total lack of a stakeholder engagement plan’’ and... ‘‘school leadership unable to lead and nurture teaching staff, further evidenced by a myriad of employment relations failures and expensive non-disclosure agreements.’’

A spokesman for the group forwarded the letter to the Otago Daily Times.

One of the two board of trustees members who resigned was previous chairman Glenn Peat. He confirmed he left because he did not believe his morals and those of the board aligned.

‘‘There have been several instances recently that have left me questioning the communication of the current board with the parent community and, as a businessman and a genuine person, I cannot support what I believe is an incorrect approach.’’

A teacher at the school who did not want to be identified was concerned about what described as a ‘‘culture of secrecy’’ that had developed.

‘‘Something will go wrong in the school and it will be put in a report and the report will be suppressed, and that information doesn’t go through to the people who should know about it.

‘‘We have spoken in detail to the ERO about these matters, and if the ERO chooses not to take action on these matters then I don’t know what we can do.’’

Following a meeting of board members and parents in March, a group representing about 80 parents sent a report containing a series of ‘‘clear, specific and constructive questions’’ to the board about issues including the leadership of the school, the poor ERO report the school received in 2019 and a lack of transparency and communication.

Group spokeswoman Ruth Heath said they requested the answers in writing due to the large number of parents involved and the Covid-19 restrictions but the board offered a face-to-face meeting to discuss their concerns.

Yesterday evening, Mr Nepia emailed parents of pupils at MAC a four-page ‘‘communication’’ which included a link to an action plan around the key topics of discussion raised at the March public meeting.

‘‘We will now be actively working through the actions that have come out of this session along with those in our strategic plan and annual action plan,’’ he said.

Mr Bosley declined to be interviewed.



Pathetic. If they were having issues last year then they should have dealt with it then.
Can't these people go to a meeting and speak?
They could soimply have said sharpen up or your down the road.
Look, not even many words needed. Or are they a to PC for that? In which case they should blame themselves so should stop sniveling.

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