I saw the Sunday Star-Times hit job this morning, on Mt Hobson Middle School by Simon Day.
It had all the signs of a pre-prepared hit job where the journalist has already pre-supposed the outcome and only seeks comment to try to ‘balance’ the article.
I contacted Alwyn Poole this morning offering a right of reply to the Sunday Star-Times that would be much more fulsome than anything that they would allow.
He has emailed his response.
Â Mr Slater
Thank you for the invitation to respond to the Fairfax media article relating to the Villa Education Trust. I have to acknowledge that I wonâ€™t be reading the article but after interactions with reporter, Simon Day, during the week, I am aware that there would be two main thrusts â€“ and a broader implication. Although I will not be reading it people who look after our interests no doubt will and I hope Mr Day has taken all care (he chose not to meet or come to the school to clarify his points). I will reply here only because the quality of Mr Dayâ€™s methods and questions left me in significant doubt that he would be accurate and/or fair.
1) That Mt Hobson Middle School did not meet its obligations with a child that attended during term 1 of 2014.
2) That special needs funding was not fully used.
The implication â€“ that because the Villa Education Trust runs Partnership Schools there could be a problem with that model.
On the specific student situation I will not comment on the child or the family. Clearly we consider we work very hard and skilfully with every student. In 2014 the family did question that through a formal channel and the school was found to have fully done exactly as they specified they would. This information was given to Mr Day â€“ it was inconvenient for him so he ignored it.
On funding. I doubt that there is an organisation that works more closely with official bodies such as the Ministry of Education and ERO than the Villa Education Trust does. We take all care with systems and when in doubt, or when we get things wrong, we take full care to clarify and correct. We are an organisation that is audited financially and fully reviewed by the ERO. As a Charitable Trust and an organisation operating Partnership Schools â€“ we take massive care. In this case we will pro-actively ask the Ministry to re-check if there is any legitimacy to the claim the parents appear to be making through the media â€“ which conflict with written understandings we had with them. If any detail is found to be needing to be rectified that will happen immediately as would be our normal process.
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