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Principals: CYF performance not good enough

Principals: CYF performance not good enough

More than half of New Zealand’s principals do not think Child, Youth & Family (CYF) is doing a good job. The results come from a survey conducted by the New Zealand Principals Federation, which represents principals at all levels throughout New Zealand’s education system.

Pat Newman, NZPF President, says it is time to be realistic about the role principals have to play within their schools. “When CYF fails, the onus to act falls back onto the principal. There may be a number of reasons as to why CYF seems to be ineffective, but those reasons and that debate are not our primary concern. What we’re saying is that because CYF is functioning ineffectively, principals are being forced to act as surrogate social workers for these children. Children with severe behavioural problems are one of the biggest threats to both student and teacher safety in our schools. Most of these children are also CYF clients.”

Newman suggests that if the Government wants children to be adequately monitored, it should release some of the CYF funding to schools and other valid community organisations. “Let CYF look after the emergency situations, while schools employ staff and use resources to concentrate on the long-term monitoring of children. We deal with these pupils everyday, which gives us a huge advantage over social workers."

The survey revealed that low-decile schools in particular are frustrated with the performance of CYF. “When comparing decile one and two school principals against decile nine and ten school principals, we found the number of low-decile principals unhappy with CYS’ performance was almost double that of high-decile principals. In all likelihood, that is probably because the low-decile principals see a greater percentage of children in need of CYF help,” says Newman.

The NZPF is calling for the Government to urgently move funding into schools to cater for these children and their families. “When the people working at the coalface with these children tell you that CYF is failing, surely the Government is obligated to make changes. We can help these children, if we’re given the resources to do so. ”

-ENDS-

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