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Boards of trustees abandoned in hours of need

Anne Tolley MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman

27 June 2008

Boards of trustees abandoned in hours of need

Imperilled boards of trustees are waiting years for help from the Ministry of Education because staff have been given no guidance on when to intervene, says National's Education spokeswoman, Anne Tolley.

An Auditor-General's report tabled in Parliament yesterday cites examples of schools waiting years after being identified as being in trouble, before a statutory manager was brought in to help out.

"The Ministry has available all the information it needs to assess whether schools need intervention, but they have no written policies or procedures on how to use that information.

"The welfare and educational performance of students is being put at unnecessary and unacceptable risk.

"In one example quoted in the report, it took three-and-a-half years from when problems with teacher quality and student achievement were first recognised by ERO for support to be provided by the Ministry.

"In another example, a school was recognised as being in trouble in 2002 and it wasn't until 2007 that a statutory manager was appointed.

"These are not isolated problems. The Auditor-General points out that 7% of ERO reports suggest there are big problems, but statutory intervention is happening in only half of those cases.

"Boards of trustees must be supported because they are the life support system for the school and students. If boards are in trouble, the consequences down the line are dire.

"Education Minister Chris Carter must address the concerns raised by the Auditor General as a matter of priority."


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