Topics: Education, Politics

Ministry orders school, sack your principal or close your doors

By Gloria (Korōria) Taumaunu
  • Northland

The Ministry of Education has directed a Northland charter school to replace its current principal with someone more “appropriate and experienced” or face closure.

The beleaguered Te Pūmanawa o Te Wairua School in Whangaruru opened last year at a cost of $3million and has suffered a falling roll, truancy and low achievement levels in the year since.

When Te Kāea spoke to Principal Natasha Sadlier late last year she said the school had done a lot of work to address those issues, “There were a whole range of what I'd call teething issues to deal with when the school started but it's not as though we just let the problems continue. No, we actually worked our hardest to address those issues and we have done so.”

The school aimed at raising the achievement levels of youth who haven't thrived in the mainstream school system offers alongside its main curriculum subjects, courses on motorbikes, horses and boat skippering.

Ms. Sadlier believed the criticism of the school to be politically motivated.

However Education Minister Hekia Parata has had enough and she has warned the school that if changes aren’t made to its leadership team within the month it will undergo a specialist audit.

A ministry report has said, "The on-going issues present at the school are directly attributable to the quality of the leadership and management running the school."

The report outlined possible actions for the school which could see a termination notice issued by April and the school closed as early as May.