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Heads roll at New Zealand’s largest school

The Correspondence School

Media Release
13 November 2007

Heads roll at New Zealand’s largest school

The Correspondence School PPTA branch says the school’s latest restructure which sees the sacking of all eleven secondary heads of departments has destroyed the teaching fabric of New Zealand’s largest secondary school and will result not in expected better learning outcomes but a huge waste of taxpayer money.

One aspect of the restructure will see the break up of the secondary school into regionally focussed teams. Yet, no compelling evidence or analysis has been produced to show that learning will occur more successfully in regional groupings.

Another aspect sees the number of managerial positions nearly doubled.

TCS PPTA branch spokesperson Derek Bunting said branch members are devastated, angry and have come out fighting.

“At the meeting where the announcement was made, some teachers walked out in frustration before the CEO had completed his presentation.”

Bunting said the removal of HODs leaves the school in a very precarious position. “These are the teachers who lead the school at the digital chalk face. Together they represent hundreds of years of experience and they are the people who have held the school together in recent years."

“The subject specialist teams that HODs lead and the resources they have developed are among the best in New Zealand schools. We have informed the Board that we refuse to see the break up of these teams – we are not prepared to move.”

After the announcement yesterday teachers decided to hold a three-hour stop work meeting today, including a protest at Parliament between midday and 1:00 pm.

The School has identified a significant problem among the 15% of students at high risk of failing yet has chosen a solution that will affect all 15,000 students regardless of their needs. The school itself is risking failure because there are so many major problems to solve.

He added, “A pilot such as school within a school is a more viable solution.”

“Members welcomed the recent decision by the Education and Science Select Committee to hold an inquiry into the school. This should have occurred years ago. Now, at least, some independent group will have an opportunity to investigate the management of the school” Bunting said.

“We respectfully requested that the BOT put the restructure on hold until the Education and Science Select Committee had time to deliberate and draw conclusions about the school. However, the BOT chose to ignore us.”

“Our experience tells us that we can look forward to yet another restructure in a few years.”


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