NZEI calls for independent inquiry into school interventions

NZEI Te Riu Roa is calling for an independent inquiry into interventions in schools in the form of commissioners and limited statutory managers appointed by the Ministry of Education.

National Secretary Paul Goulter says the organisation has been concerned for some time about the way in which commissioners and limited statutory managers (LSM) have been appointed to schools, and how they run their interventions.

He says the interventions often have a crippling effect on school finances and this directly affects the ability of the school to provide quality education for children. 

Mr Goulter says there are a number of issues that need addressing, including costs to schools, unclear goals for the intervention and the lack of oversight by the Ministry.

"Under the current system there is no incentive for a commissioner or LSM to finish their task. Perversely, the system incentivises them to draw the process out."

He says schools have to fund a significant part of the costs of these appointments out of their operational grants. This inevitably affects the quality of education.

“In some cases the costs of commissioners and LSMs would appear to be extremely hard to justify.”

“Many communities simply can’t make up, from sausage sizzles, the many tens of thousands of dollars costs that a commissioner can impose on a school.”

“It would be fair to say the Ministry takes a very hands-off role and, quite frankly, some commissioners appear to have remained in place for questionable lengths of time and behaved in questionable ways.”

At least 18 primary or intermediate schools have had their boards replaced with commissioners, while another 27 have been placed under limited statutory management.


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