WBHS hostel numbers standing up

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Numbers for Waitaki Boys’ High School prospective year 9 hostel students for next year are on par with 2014 indicating confidence in the school is being restored, commissioner Nicola Hornsey says.

Ms Hornsey was appointed to govern WBHS in October during a meeting organised by the Ministry of Education following a lack of confidence in the management and governance of the school.

However, since her appointment she has spent more than a month consulting with staff, students and the community, and released an action plan last week in order to rectify serious issues at the school.

Ms Hornsey said the school has already started to improve and the plan, which outlined what the issues were and what needed to be done, is a step towards achieving her goal of getting the school back to self-governance.

“I think there has been quite a marked improvement already…everyone is watching closely and aware of the situation.”

While there is still a lot to be done before this, people in the community supported the school and an upswing in enquiries for the hostel indicated confidence was being restored.

There were 13 year 9 boarders this year and at least 11 prospective families were being interviewed in the coming weeks for next year.

Ms Hornsey said there had been a number of confirmed enrolments and the number of enquiries so far make it on par with the beginning of 2014.

“I’m hoping people’s confidence is back.”

Following the release of the action plan last week, the commissioner has also organised a senior management meeting today in order to start implementing some of the actions needed for the school.

During this meeting they will work out who will do what and the time-frames, however, given the amount of consultation needed it could take six months for some noticeable changes, she said.

“We’ll look at all aspects to the school operation.”

Throughout the process there will be constant consultation with staff, parents and students and each month she will release a progress report to keep the community informed about what is happening.

“I think there’s a tremendous willingness [to help improve things], people are very passionate about the school.

“I want to leave it in a really good shape for the next board that’s coming in.”

The governance of a school by a commissioner is 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.

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

Decile ratings for all state school’s were released yesterday and WBHS will remain on a decile 6.

By RUBY HARFIELD