Community of west Auckland's Matipo School 'polarised' as mediator called in to address concerns

School classroom with blackboard
Photo credit: Getty

A west Auckland school community is "polarised" as a mediator has been called in to address troubles dating back more than a year.

One group of parents has no confidence in the Matipo School principal, but NZME reported that another group is supporting him.

A parent of Matipo School, who Newshub agreed not to name, said Paul Wright was appointed the school's principal in September 2017.

The parent said by mid-2018, the entire board of trustees had resigned, triggering a commissioner - Dennis Finn - to come into the school.

More recently, a letter of no-confidence against Wright was sent to the commissioner and the Ministry of Education, the parent said, which had been signed by about 250 past and present parents of the school.

"This letter has triggered an investigation," the parent said.

The person running the investigation is Judith Scott, a professional mediator.

Ministry of Education sector enablement and support deputy secretary Katrina Casey confirmed to Newshub a range of concerns had been raised in relation to the school.

NZME reports that in response, a grievance case had been taken against the commissioner by Wright. A group of parents with an opposing view were also supporting Wright.

Newshub has contacted Matipo School for comment. Meanwhile, Casey said the situation was complex.

"We are working with the commissioner to ensure the wellbeing of the students, staff and the wider community," she told Newshub.

"The commissioner holds all functions, powers and duties of the board and has the authority to make decisions about the school. 

"We are confident the commissioner is effectively managing issues raised with him."

Casey said the ministry encouraged parents to use the school's formal complaints process if there are any concerns about wellbeing.


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