8 December 2005
Peachey must come clean over Selwyn
Reports that National Party MP Allan Peachey made disparaging remarks about Selwyn College to a contributing primary school add to the growing evidence that his email threat to Selwyn’s principal was more than a mistake, Debbie Te Whaiti said today.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if there is a link between his reported comments to the feeder school, the anonymous letter from some members of the Friends of Selwyn and the email threat,” Te Whaiti said.
“It’s all very well for Allan Peachey to apologise to the school, but the attacks on Selwyn, and comments by other National Party officials, now look like an orchestrated campaign to undermine a quality school.
“Allan Peachey needs to reassure the public that he will not use his position in parliament to undermine state schools serving their community well.”
Te Whaiti said the politicians, a handful of parents and now the Meadowbank Primary School principal that were criticising the school appeared to be doing so for political and ideological, rather than genuine educational, reasons.
“When principals make public statements about other schools, they must be aware that they can influence parents’ perceptions of those schools.
“They have a responsibility to ensure that their comments are on the basis of solid educational evidence, not hearsay.”
Te Whaiti said if a few parents were wary about enrolling their children at Selwyn, it clearly wasn’t based on good information about the quality of education at the school.
“The fact that the school, to quote ERO, “caters well for the diverse needs of students”, has a “clearly articulated school philosophy” in which “board members, school leaders and staff share a common vision of providing a distinctive education to meet the needs of all students in an atmosphere of understanding and respect” seems to irk a few individuals.
“Students at the school are clearly thriving. The fact that the latest benchmarking results show that year 12 and 13 students are above the national norm for their decile seems to be lost on the critics.
“It’s time they stopped undermining the excellent work of the students, parents, teachers and board of the Selwyn College community.”