The principal of Napier Girls' High School has met with Anela Pritchard, her father and sister following a speech that criticised teachers and told them to work harder.

Earlier reports suggested the Year 10 student at Napier Girls' High School was stood down over the speech, which also said the teachers made students feel useless and taught them useless information.

But principal Mary Nixon said the 15-year-old was never stood down or suspended from the school.



Schoolgirl suspended for criticising teachers

She confirmed she had met Miss Pritchard and her family yesterday, at the earliest convenience for all involved.

"The matter was resolved the student is welcome back at school today."

Ms Nixon said student voice was valued at the school and all staff were working hard to personalise learning.

"But when issues involving student and staff wellbeing are raised, it is important to deal with those involved with proper consideration."

Ms Nixon said the Miss Pritchard's speech, which she had emailed to a number of teachers, was provocative.

"Colleagues and students in the wider school were shocked and upset."

As many of you know I recently got suspended from school. Here is what for: We were given the task to write a...

Posted by Anela Pritchard on Monday, June 29, 2015

She said on hearing about the speech she immediately arranged a meeting with the student and her father to better understand the student's thinking and objectives.


A meeting was also held yesterday with Miss Pritchard's classmates.

One student, who has the same English teacher as Miss Pritchard, has spoken out in defence of the teacher, saying she is one of the "kindest, most compassionate teachers I ever had".

"She has taken me for two years and hopefully I will have her again next year.

"Although it is Anela's right to freedom of speech, the way that she worded it could have been much better.

"Sending the speech to other teachers was also inappropriate and immature. Posting it online has blown the entire issue out of proportion."

The student also defended her school's right to act as they did.

"I know myself and many other students back them with everything they have done on this issue."

Debate over the merits and the flaws of the education systems has been raging over the teenager's comments.

Many have applauded Miss Pritchard for speaking her mind and drawing attention to what they see as the flaws in the education system.

One reader, Rosemarie Crow, said there were some valid points: "the relevance of the curriculum, the discontent of teachers, we all know these things."

But despite the strong support for Miss Pritchard's speech, otherpeople have come out in defence of the teaching profession and pointed the finger at the wider issues, including teacher exhaustion, relatively poor pay, a lack of resources and a limited pool of qualified candidates.

Teacher Johanna McHardy said though she supported the girl's comments about teachers who did not actually teach, the reasons for this needed to be explored further.

Post Primary School Teachers' Association [PPTA] Angela Roberts said though she didn't want to comment on the particulars of the teenager's speech, teachers were faced with numerous challenges when it came to teaching "life skills".

"The political target of an 85 per cent pass rate for schools has meant that students don't always take the best subject for them," she said. "The 85 per cent mantra about passing limits the student's ability to just enjoy learning, as the discussion becomes just about the credits."

She said of course teachers wanted the children to succeed in life, but often this process was interrupted by bureaucracy.

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Ms Roberts said at the end of the day it was about resources.

"We do have a world-class system that is broad and permissive and lets teachers cater to their students."

But the increased bureaucratic requirements of NCEA were unsustainable, especially with the huge workload associated with frequent internal assessments.

"We understand the need for this...but there has never been any extra resources, not time or money, that has been given to help with this increased workload.

"NCEA is still tugging along on the goodwill of the profession."