- A brief update on Rangiora:
Over the weekend, the number of readers for this posting burst through 4000, then 5000, and is continuing at a steady rate to 6000 and, it seems, beyond – unprecedented for a site on education.
Many have confided to me that following the commissioner being appointed they were taken in by references to ‘financial mismanagement’, interpreting it as a euphemism for something worse; also the reference to an unauthorised overseas trip.
The gag on the principal and the then silence by the commissioner meant those smears gained a life of their own.
The financial books have now been (and always have been) adjudged accurate and in excellent shape; and the ‘real story’ about the trip was that the principal delivered a paper on the PhD research she had undertaken at Rangiora High School over the previous 4 years (four case studies of Māori student from Rangiora High School). The conference was paid for from the principal’s professional development budget and approved by the BOT in the 2014 budget round.
2. The situation at Te Waka Unua School came to farcical culmination.
The Christchurch Press picked up and ran with the story (link below).
Both the ministry and the principal denied there was overcrowding; this despite the Korean Church and the school hall being used, and extra classrooms being urgently sought. As one parent said, she took her child away because there were just too many children on a small site; some children having to be taken to another site for playtimes, and overcrowding in classrooms, including having to use the school hall.
No matter what the ministry says, there is overcrowding, made obvious in the details released for coping with it, while all the time still denying there was any
The ministry is lying.
Most teachers when they read such ministry behaviour won’t blink an eyelid because for the ministry that is par for the course.
But the principal isn’t the ministry, presumably the over-crowding isn’t her fault (I’m confident she would have been professional enough not to have lobbied for another school to be closed down), so why not be open with parents and the public?
The closing down of Phillipstown School was one of the cruellest and most wrong-headed decisions ever made in any reorganisation process. At every level of decision-making, Phillipstown should have received the most immediate of affirmations to continue its inspired work. It was good to read, though a sad reminder of what was lost, the comments of Tony Simpson, the school’s last and wonderful principal.
And those unfortunate children had to go to one of those cathedral-type schools without their parents having any choice as to an alternative.
One of the points I made to the reporter Jody Callaghan was that it was a pity there wasn’t in the Christchurch area more choice for all parents in the physical environments they could send their children to. Given a choice, most parents prefer the intimate environments of traditional classrooms rather than the cavernous ones of the Hekia variety. New schools in my view should have variable learning environments so as to be able to fit environments to the personalities and preferences of children, teachers, and parents.
So-called modern learning environments, in my view, do not, as I define it, encourage modern learning, indeed, some of the most out-of-date learning I see is in so-called modern learning environments – old-fashioned learning-toting-modern-tool – all quite incongruous, really. My goodness, it looks flash, inquiry this-and-that on the move here-and-there, but when I calculate the actual learning it is reminiscent of a distant past. Which makes it all the greater pity that Phillipstown was closed down.
Have a good break. Thank-you for your support over the year. It has been a lively one for us. (No doubt at some time I have infuriated you, but thanks for hanging in there nevertheless.) I say us because Allan Alach, the site’s editor, plays a key role. Allan has played a significant part in whatever the effectiveness networkonnet has achieved. This should be the last regular posting for the year (though who knows quite what is going to come up?) I will continue the Attack! series throughout the holidays (my hope is to keep building the series into a legacy one for the site).
All very best and thank-you.