Darfield High School back on track, statutory management period ends

Andy England. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Andy England. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Darfield High School principal Andy England has welcomed the end of the limited statutory management period for the school.

New systems introduced by the school seem to be working well, with a dramatic drop in stand downs and suspensions.

Darfield High was put under limited statutory management in September 2019, after the Ministry of Education identified concerns around the board of trustee’s policies and procedures with regard to employment matters and communications.

Limited statutory manager Gillian Simpson worked with the school's board of trustees and leadership team to address concerns raised by the community.

England, who was appointed in January, said the notice being revoked this month showed that the ministry now had full confidence in the school and its team.

“Interventions like LSMs aren’t bad for schools. They can be good, a bit like surgery when it’s needed. But it’s always good when they finish,” England said.

The limited statutory management period for the school has ended. Photo: Geoff Sloan
The limited statutory management period for the school has ended. Photo: Geoff Sloan
He said the community had rightly pointed out some areas to improve.

The school had listened and was working to ensure Darfield High was “an amazing school for our whole community.”

The school was improving communication with its community, developing its curriculum to be more culturally inclusive and fresher, and introducing positive systems within the school.

These positive systems included establishing a new vision and values.

Stand-downs and suspensions have dropped dramatically. There were 24 stand downs in 2019, 70 last year, and only five so far this year.

There were seven suspensions in 2019, 21 last year, and none so far this year.

England said NCEA attainment had been at continuously good levels over the period, with results comparing to the national averages of other high decile schools.

Board chairwoman Sue Robinson said the board is close to completing its new vision and a set of school values, which would inform a three-year strategic plan.

“We’re at the start of a new chapter and we’re confident about the path ahead,” Robinson said.






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