Posted on Behalf of Amanda Malu, Board Chair
Kia ora koutou
This week we have had a series of questions from the news media which have caused me to respond, as the Chair of the Board of Trustees, on behalf of the school.
It is unusual for the Board to become involved in media issues, but the nature of the questions made it impossible for us to shirk that responsibility, and important for us, in answering them, to make a very strong statement about our belief in the leadership of our school, and the positive learning environment that our girls experience here.
In essence, a group of the journalists’ questions relates to issues raised by a family with a girl in our Special Needs Unit two years ago. The issues were a matter of some concern to us and so at that time, our school sought specialist assistance from the Ministry of Education in the areas of infrastructure, funding, specialist and psychological services. We undertook a learning area review to provide more detailed information about the management of the special needs unit. We implemented the findings of that review, and those are reflected in the way the unit is currently managed.
Some of the questions relate to staff culture and include suggestions about bullying. We have been clear with the reporters that we believe staff and management at Wellington East Girls’ College work in a very respectful environment. We have a good complaints process, and a management team that is very open to responding to staff needs. We have a staff representative on the Board, which means there’s a conduit for staff to raise concerns directly with us. Our staff turnover statistics are evidence of our positive culture - over the period from November 2014 to November 2017 our teaching staff turnover was 9%, which is well under the sector average.
The Principal and staff of Wellington East Girls’ College have the full confidence of the Board of Trustees, and we support the policies and processes that are in place to ensure a positive school culture. Wellington East Girls' College is a positive learning community for our girls and teachers. Across the board, our students achieve at levels consistent with or above students in the other excellent schools in our region. We have strong cultural diversity and an inclusive student and staff culture. We are proud of our school, our staff, our girls and our Principal.
In making such strong statements in support of our school and our leadership, we don’t mean to say that we are perfect. We have much to learn, much to improve, and one thing that gives the Board comfort is the open, inquisitive and responsive approach that this management team takes. When issues arise they are very quick to listen, respond, learn and improve. To me, this is the mark of a healthy organisation.
If you are interested to see the full text of our response to the journalists, please let me know.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you wish to discuss this.
Chair, Board of Trustees