WBHS commissioner starts work

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Waitaki Boys’ High School newly-appointed commissioner Nicola Hornsey will read through all school documentation this week as part of the initial phase of her role, which she assumed yesterday.

Ms Hornsey, an employment law consultant, was appointed as commissioner by the Ministry of Education during a meeting last Monday in order to resolve serious issues at the school.

She will take over the role of the board of trustees following a lack of confidence in the governance of the school.

Ms Hornsey said she will be completing the initial Scoping Phase over the next four weeks which will result in a Scoping Report and Action Plan.

This week she will be reading through the school documentation before meeting with the rector and staff next week.

The following week she will invite parents and caregivers to contact her and in the final week she will invite members of the community to come forward.

The Scoping Report and Action Plan will be finalised on November 12.

At this stage, the commissioner cannot confirm what’s needed to address the issues but she will be looking over documents including the full policies and procedures to get an idea of the way the school operates.

“From that I’ll get an idea of what the issues are.

“I just like to be well prepared and well read and then hear what people have to tell me.”

Because it is a governance role she will not be based at WBHS but she will usually visit once a week or fortnight and have regular contact with the school.

The rector will be responsible for the day-to-day management and Ms Hornsey will work with him to ensure the school provides the opportunity for all students to thrive.

The commissioner visited WBHS senior management on Friday and said she got the impression they welcomed her input.

“I am looking forward to working with the WBHS community, which is clearly very proud of the school’s history and traditions.”

Ms Hornsey, who lives on a farm near Lake Pukaki, has been doing this type of work for the past nine years and is currently the commissioner at Salford School in Invercargill and Aparima College in Riverton.

The governance of a school by a commissioner will usually be completed within two years with the aim of getting the school back to self-direction and the board of trustees being re-elected, she said.

“That’s the whole aim of the job.”

The situation is usually reviewed by the Ministry of Education after one year.

Ms Hornsey has significant experience in governance and recently completed a successful term as limited statutory manager at Omarama Primary School, where she was appointed to handle employment issues.

She has had a long involvement with South Canterbury community organisations, including as a board member of the South Canterbury District Health Board from 2008 to 2013 and a trustee of the Mid and South Canterbury Community Trust from 2005 to 2013.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

GOVERNANCE ROLE: Waitaki Boys’ High School’s newly appointed commissioner Nicola Hornsey.