Looks like this school could have done with proper National Standards earlier

Readers might remember a school called Dalefield School because its principal Kevin Jephson has featured in posts on the blog about National Standards. He was a very vocal opponent of them.

Regular readers will be aware of a nasty little Wairarapa principal called Kevin Jephson.

His style is to slag off the Government, National Standards and Anne Tolley to his local papers – which dutifully print every word, without wondering why he would be so critical.

Well, now we know.

Yet again, brave, plucky little Kevin is getting in the first blow against the big bad Government by going public with his school’s National Standards results – apparently instead of him and his teachers being responsible for poor standards at his school it is the government’s fault because they measured him and found him wanting.

But this usual smokescreen won’t hide the tragic facts for kids and parents at his school.

These results are shocking. That’s why the MoE wants to give them help.

Finally the Ministry of Education has acted and sacked the board which included Kevin Jephson

The Dalefield School board of trustees has been sacked in a shock move that has baffled outgoing chairman Ewan Hyde.

Jim Greening, Ministry of Education senior manager, yesterday confirmed the board had been dissolved “because of the risk of the educational performance of its students and the operation of the school”.

It is understood the board – comprising principal Kevin Jephson, a staff representative and five parents – was dissolved on March 8 and a commissioner put in place at the decile 5 school, which has a roll of 56 pupils.

Mr Hyde said an ERO report from two years ago had “identified some issues” at the school and a ministry consultant had throughout last year led a series of training sessions with the board, and with staff.

The latest ERO report on Dalefield School was published in December and had recommended ministry intervention after identifying areas of incompetence within the board and saying the school was “not well placed to improve its performance”.


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  • Cadwallader

    A self-righteous leftie git! This type of prick eternally answers the question: Why we hate teachers?

  • Pissedoffyouth

    Oh so if you insult your boss you do get fired?

    Justice is served

  • Macca

    LOL. It just goes to show what a complete moron the outgoing chairman must be when he is ‘baffled’ by his sacking……ummmm, I reckon even a 3 year old could have figured that one out!

    • coventry

      Chairman is local Caterton librarian, probably too busy with Dewey decimal system to figure out what was going on under his nose.

  • But he’s qualified and registered. That means he is teaching the kids better.

  • BigDes

    On the surface the reasons given in the article appear to be primarily the principals responsibility, overseen and approved by the board. Wouldn’t surprise me if the BOT wasn’t aware of the non performance, esp if they are inexperienced or poorly trained. Getting suitable BOT members is an issue at some schools.

    • Gazzaw

      Spot on Des. Attracting qualified & motivated BOT members is a massive challenge in low to mid decile areas. The legal & finance issues faced by most boards are way beyond the plateau of competence of a group of unqualified albeit well meaning parents.

      • In Vino Veritas

        Gazzaw, from my experience on school BOT, I’d say you are spot on. Many of the parents in low and medium decile schools will be led by the nose by the Principal. Educators speak in anacronyms and it is easy to be baffled. Lots of questions have to be asked just to get yourself in a space where you have even a little understanding. The Chair has to be strong enough to stand up to the Principal and say no. Many Chairs are not.

        • BigDes

          IVV, you are, of course, correct. It takes 18mnths+ as board chair to get to the stage of being able to confidently challenge and raise expectations. This can be made VERY difficult by some principals who see the board as irrelevant. Can be very rewarding if you have a good principal who is willing to work along side you IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF OUR KIDS. Also not to be forgotten is that BOT members by and large all have full time jobs etc and so don’t have the same time invested in board matters as the management, so are on the back foot if you don’t have a great open relationship with management, supported by strong and clear policies and procedures.

          • Gazzaw

            Totally agree with you IVV & Des. Our kids were fortunate enough to attend a school with a top BOT – members were ‘appointed’ by the parents rather than elected and always a lawyer, a finance person, a property manager plus others with appropriate backgrounds. The principal was modern and forward thinking and as there was only one union member amongst the staff the teachers’ rep was always a good contributor and a great link with the school’s coalface. It was and still is a top little state primary school and a showcase for the current system IF the necessary checks and balances are maintained and the right staff employed. They get top ERO reports as well.

      • PM of NZ

        You’d think in the past century or two all normal legal and financial issues that could have affect an educational establishment would have occurred. After all, how many combinations of such issues could 56 rugrats have? But then remember modern day schools are socially engineered baby sitting services, not a place to instil the 3R’s.

        And you’d also think that the Ministry of Education might have a readily available online “How to guide” with clearly laid out step by step flowcharts to cover most contortions of legal and financial matters. Lets face it, the bloody bureaucracy there needs to actually do something to justify its existence, the core job of teaching has not changed one iota.

        • Gazzaw

          The problem is PM that the core of teaching has changed along with parental expectations. For instance, fifteen years ago a primary school student report consisted of a single fold A4 form (often photocopied) that teacher filled out in ballpoint with subject grades, attitude etc ticked off as excellent, good, fair or poor and a comment o two such as ‘could do better’ (a regular for me). Reports were all done and dusted in an evening, accepted by parents and that was it. Priemary reports are now so detailed that they take even an experienced teacher four or five nights to complete on their laptops, they are then peer reviewed,assessed by the principal, uplifted by parents and followed up with one on one parent/teacher meetings. To be frank its a load of bollocks but it is all largely in response to parental demands.

          Yes, the MoE is a bureaucratic nightmare and one of the worst government departments. Overstaffed, inefficient and in need of atotal cleanout from top to bottom.

  • johnbronkhorst

    Is my theory correct? The teachers screaming the loudest, against the govt., are the incompetent ones and should be fired. Or is this moron an exception?

  • 56 kids in the whole school, and he received the same sort of street cred from the media as a principal running a 1000+ roll. Ridiculous.

  • peterwn

    OK the Principal was sacked as a board member, but presumably not from his job as Principal. Should have been the other way round. A failing of Tomorrows Schools IMO has been with Board make-ups – 5 parents, Principal, teacher’s rep and student’s rep (secondary schools). IMO the Principal should not be on the Board, nor should there be a teacher’s rep. Student’s rep OK, my main concern is whether the student rep can maintain confidentiality where required especially concerning staff or disciplinary matters. Parents reps OK of course, but there should be a few suitably skilled and experienced prople wit business acumen. A large decile 10 school can probably attract a skilled board, but others could be struggling. A fairly prominent businessman asked a principal how he could help the school and got the response ‘get on the Board’ which he did and contributed his skills to the school and the wider education community.

    • BigDes

      Board make up can be an issue. Particularly if you have a parent member who also happens to be a teacher. That makes 3 teachers, 4 parents. Allowing for 1 inexperienced member and possibly a parent member who won’t “rock the boat” and you have the teachers running the board, speaking in gobble de gook and getting away with anything.

  • coventry

    Read the 2012 ERO report:

    “Trustees do not receive sufficient information or support from the principal to assist them to effectively govern the school.”

    Sounds like he had his own little empire going on. I see in another article he was stating 60 kids, 10 staff – surely they can be merged in to something better (go on Hekia I dare ya)

  • Phil

    If only he’d put his effort into teaching kids how to read and write…..