Proof that bad schools aren’t just low decile

In this morning’s Herald we have proof that bad schools aren’t just low decile:

The Education Review Office has recommended intervention at a top Auckland primary school after a scathing report.

Chelsea Primary School in Birkenhead is a decile 10 school for up to 400 children.

Its 2008 ERO report showed off an excellent school with a high expectation of students and a sound relationship between members of senior staff and the board of trustees.

However, its latest review – released at the end of January – notes “disharmony” between senior staff and a breakdown in communication with parents and the wider school community.

“The school is not well placed to sustain and improve its performance,” the report reads.

“Governance operations are compromised by disharmony within the board. These poor relationships are a barrier to school progress.”

The report says aspects reviewed at the school included the emotional safety of students – including prevention of bullying – physical safety of students, teacher registration, attendance and stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions. It found a number of areas of non-compliance relating to school governance and management.

“ERO recommends that the Secretary of Education consider intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to support the board of trustees to address the issues related to governance and management identified in this report.”

It just shows that must mean there is such a thing as a good teacher, a good principal or a good board…and likewise that bad teachers are in good schools which turn them bad along with bad principals in good schools turning them bad.


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  • Hakim of phut

    O RLY. The pupils arent learning ‘because there is disharmony within the board’.

     Looks like someone  in the ERO got their knickers in a twist during the visit and there is some utu going on.

  • Parent

    I have children at this school and am not surprised at this report if you are to visit this school there is a lack of atmosphere. As it seems to be a retirement school for old white female middle class teachers who no longer enjoy teaching or children, who only turn up for their paycheck. Hopefully this will bring some more accountability as they hide behind students academic results which are only so good due to the quality of parents in the area and out of zone kids from Birkdale and Beachhaven who are dropped off each day with a far greater desire to learn.

    • Hakim of phut

      Go to a nightclub if you want ‘atmosphere’, and where you wont be offended by the sight of ‘oldies’.
      Sweetie, you will be an ‘old white female middle class’ one day, maybe even sooner than you think

      • Sarrs

        Wow – Hakim, that was incredibly rude. You don’t know the person commenting and as they (no gender given) have children there I think they are more entitled to an opinion than you. 

      • Parent

        That is very strange accusation as I am the father. Yet if your form of entertainment is trolling blogs and insulting people I suppose I will just take pity on you.

  • Top Bloke
  • peterwn

    I would like to know if there is disharmony among the five parents’ representatives, or if it is between the principal and/or the teachers rep and the parents’ reps. IMO there is no place for principals (unless the board co-ops the principal with power to remove him or her at any time), teachers reps or pupil reps on the Board.  In this instance it seems the principal should ‘walk’, unfortunately the Ministry would probably recommend sidelining the board instead. Perhaps Judith Collins coud give Hekia some advice on how to dump principals (Judith has had experience with police and prison chiefs).

    • Hakim of phut

      What police  or prison chiefs dumped. ?
      They served out their contracts.  She had to sit ….and wait ….and wait. Not surprising really when she isnt their employer. 
      She may have a ‘view’ about which new CEO but she cant do SFA about someone in a job allready

      • Vij

        You are really very stupid

      • peterwn

        Frankly – which is important – our children being properly educated or job security for principals and teachers? So, what you are saying, is where childrens’ education is suffering, the Ministry should put another person in the place to run the school and at the same time to try to put enough pressure on the principal that he or she throws the sponge in and goes on sick leave.

        Police and prisons can continue functioning OK with poor departmental CEO’s – a school on the other hand goes downhill faster than a roller coaster with a poor principal.

      • Gazzaw

        As you say she could do SFA about Broad & Matthews while they were there but there will be bugger all scope for them in post-retirement sinecures.

  • Russell Hutchinson

    Whale, this article isn’t proof of a ‘bad’ school – it’s proof the ERO has some questions about management and governance.

    The journo must have jumped for joy when they got this from a parent “…What it says is that your kids actually aren’t safe…”

    We’re very happy with the school and have two children there. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t disagreements – but I don’t think any of the teachers would allow this to affect child safety.

    • Hakim of phut

      Thats what I thought. Good to hear a parent at this school confirming it.
      If they are running a pretty good school and the paperwork is missing a bit or there is some  bitching among the staff, you dont throw it back in their face.

  • LOK

    Well said Russell! Oh and do I have eyesight issues I could have sworn I have seen several young male teachers on board! And I have a very happy little girl who loves her school and two very happy children who left with great memories and a sound education.

  • PauliePaul2012

    You parents who have commented on this post need to wake up! It takes a lot for ERO to issue recommendations like these. It must be VERY serious. I have been part of schools that I felt had some issues that ERO made no comment on.

  • Pukakidon

    The problem is that in most schools the manager is a Teacher.   They are normally piss poor leaders and managers.   They get all personal and bitchy and often alienate the parents and dont know how to relate to the normal public, nobody can tell them because they are always better than you. 

    Best idea is to get rid of Headmasters unless they are qualified managers.  Put managers in who can sort out the dross, ensure performance is measured and therefore compensated and get rid of the crap teachering staff.  There are too many loser wet blankets working in the teaching industry. 

    Remember those who can do, those who cant teach!!!

    • Pukakidon

       and that is how crap my education was because I said crap teachering staff, instead of crap teaching staff.

  • yebo gogo

    Glad to hear this School has finally been busted. We need new leadership at this school.
    This school has done more harm than good to my child.
    My child is now a top achiever at a private school after being so badly sidelined by these old styled teachers.

  • missfc

    I second yebo gogo’s comment. As an ex-pupil (same principal back when I was taught there) some of the things I witnessed both at the time and later (as an adult, with friends’ children at Chelsea) were beyond belief, and I’m glad this is finally being highlighted. I sincerely hope some good comes of it.

  • Sophie

    Wow …REALLY? I’ve 2 children attending this school who have flourished and who love attending and learning each and every day!! I remember waking up as a child and dreading going to school and it makes me so happy to see my children and so many other children who ‘LOVE’ going to school – they love their teachers and respect their principal. The school community is also one that I’m proud to be a part of and I know I speak for many who are totally supportive of the fantastic and high caliber teachers we have at the school who are hard working and committed to their jobs of teaching our children and future generations too…..It really saddens me that instead of celebrating the successes of the school and the staff and management there is a report written with a few concerns that are actually being addressed the board have been seeking guidance from an external advisor from the ministry of education to deal with 1 board member who has had a personal agenda and quite frankly been agressive and rude. The rest of the board members are working towards improving the school the systems investing in our childrens learning environment but are continually challenged by the 1 member hell bent on disrupting the progress that is needed……Before each person gets on their soap box I suggest you reseach before you spout off nonsence and print damaging information….If nothing else I hope that this makes us stronger and unites us all in supporting our fantastic school, principal and board. Whatever has happened in the past should be left there …In the past…. the present is what I’m interested in,  and the proof of the pudding is in the results and the attitudes of the children who are proud of their school and their teachers.

    • Positive Parent.

      I second that, Sophie! 

  • Lizzie

    I am a parent, with a child at this school, who is a lovely well behaved boy with suspected dyslexia.  For over a year, I have been asking his teachers to please refer me for a test.  No luck, despte his continual failure to read and write at the expected level, but being well ahead in maths (oh, and we have dyslexia in our family – so we are aware of the symptoms). Now, two years into schooling, I discover the Chelsea Principal has spent the funds designated for Special Learning (specifically intended for students with learning disorders) on ESOL (English as a Second Language).  There is no Reading Recovery in the school, and no teacher aide support available beyond new entrants. But there is a very good ESOL programme!  How unfortunate for us that we’re not Chinese. The Principal blames the lack of reading programmes on the school’s decile 10 status, but in fact all other decile 10 schools on the North Shore that I’ve rung offer these services.  Ironically, Chelsea prides itself on its literacy and numeracy results  –  but it is a Darwinian sink or swim system, and many parents whose children have struggled have simply left.  Chelsea is fine if your children are happy with a pressured, accelerant environment, but if they struggle then you are in for a tough, unrelenting road.  You can only judge a school as you can judge most relationships – how do they behave under less than ideal conditions?  If your children are average or bright then I’m sure you haven’t noticed anything wrong. But, if, like me, you have put even the slightest bit of pressure on the school to do their job as every other state funded school is required to, the amount of defensiveness and hostility is unbelievable.  I am in the process of selecting a different school for my son to attend, as I now know we are not the only family to meet with this rigid attitude and lack of appropriate support.