Board members at an Otaki Catholic primary school have resigned after five- and six-year-olds were made to pick up used condoms from the playground.

Four St Peter Chanel board members resigned and walked out of a board meeting last week, saying they had no confidence in the principal, board chairwoman or school management, The Dominion Post reported.

Concerns have been also raised about a steady decrease in the school roll and falling numeracy and literacy standards.

Kath Doyle resigned after her six-year-old grandson and four other children were forced to pick up used condoms without protective gloves during a playground cleanup.

She said an older child noticed the condoms and told a teacher, who said they had to be picked up.

"It is a health and safety issue," Mrs Doyle said.

Former board member Kathleen Heenan said she was withdrawing her two children from the school.

Principal Maia Williams had handled management poorly, as well as numeracy, literacy and homework issues, she said.

Board chairwoman Anna Bradbury said Ms Williams had reviewed rubbish collection procedures after a complaint about the condom incident.

"Changes were made and implemented," she said.

The school also had measures in place to improve literacy and numeracy standards, and appropriate homework had always been a significant part of school practice.

New Zealand Catholic Education office chief executive Pat Lynch said commissioner could be appointed to run the school if the governance issues were not resolved quickly.

- NZPA