Principals' union urges better communication from Corrections after paedophile put in house near Wellington school

The principals' union wants better communication from the Corrections Department after a paedophile was released into a house near children.

The Department of Corrections admits it made a mistake.

Newtown School sits in the middle of a Wellington suburb of the same name. Its principal Mark Brown spent Tuesday morning searching for answers after reports a child sex offender was moved into the area.

"A person has potentially been placed in our community that places our young people at physical and emotional risk," said Brown.

That person - Aaron Laurence, now known as Aaron Castle - was convicted of serious sexual offences against children.

He was released on parole last month into a Wellington suburb near a school. Corrections wouldn't confirm where exactly, leaving principals guessing.

A Parole Board hearing last week revealed more than 62 children lived in the neighbourhood where Castle was staying, close to areas where children regularly spend time.

Castle himself pointed out there were kids around.

"This decision really beggars belief," said Perry Rush, President of the New Zealand Principals' Federation.

Castle was placed at the address after four separate assessments by Corrections deemed it suitable. The department admits it should not have been approved, and says the man has been moved.

But Rush says the lack of communication with schools isn't good enough.

"Providing reassurance through direct, clear, consistent communication would be appreciated," he said.

Corrections has to accommodate more than 15,000 prisoners released on parole each year, and Rush wants assurances this won't happen again. 

"There does need to be a protocol established," he said.

But Corrections insists there is a protocol in place, and that it notifies communities about the placement of high-risk child sex offenders.