Waitaki Boys’ High School is at a point of crisis and the school’s reputation and roll numbers are seriously at risk, says an independent education consultant called in by the school’s board of trustees to investigate complaints against the school.
“In my professional opinion, Waitaki Boys’ High School is certainly at a point of crisis and needs immediate and comprehensive commitment to rectifying a number of significant risks,” said Cleave Hay in his report to the board.
If changes were not made, Mr Hay said there was the high likelihood of seriously negative effects in student achievement and welfare, staff welfare and staff turnover, as well as health and safety complaints and personal grievances, in addition to the risks to the school roll and reputation.
“In all the interactions I had with staff, ex-staff, parents, management and other persons, I would conclude that all persons expressed a passion and ‘love for Waitaki Boys’ High School and I found no persons whom I would consider vindictive or vexatious towards the school,” Mr Hay said.
Mr Hay was called in by the board to investigate complaints and concerns about the administration and management of the school. He spent four days in Oamaru conducting interviews, 28 face-to-face and seven via telephone to current staff, ex-staff, parents and a number of community members.
In a statement, board of trustees chairman Garry McLeod said although the board took issue with some aspects of Mr Hay’s report, all of the recommendations were accepted.
“There are differing views within the school community around the validity or seriousness of some of the issues raised, however the board is taking the recommendations very seriously and acting on them accordingly.
“We have since been focusing on how we can move things forward.”
Alongside Mr Hay’s report, the board will also consider recommendations from the Education Review Office, which is due to complete a school review this month, as well as the School Trustees’ Association.
“The issues raised should not overshadow the fact that achievement at the school is at a high level and improving,” Mt McLeod said.
“Although this doesn’t in any way diminish the seriousness of the issues that have been raised by the school community, or within the report, it is something the school and its boys should be proud of.”
IN CRISIS: Waitaki Boys’ High School is in crisis following a visit from an educational consultant recently.