The board of trustees at an embattled West Auckland school is inviting the Ministry of Education to intervene to help deal with issues including alleged sexual behaviour incidents and a rapidly declining roll.

The board is requesting a Limited Statutory Manager to assist in its operation of the school.

Revelations of issues at Whenuapai School uncovered by the Herald earlier this week involved complaints about two separate incidents of "sexual behaviour".

Both incidents are thought to have involved children. The allegations were reported to police and child support services.


Concerns also included parent claims of a culture rife with bullying.

Six complaints about the school were made to the ministry last year alone.

A letter sent out to parents and caregivers by the Board of Trustees this afternoon said the Board met with the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association to discuss a way forward.

The letter, signed off by chair Mike Leonard, board member Paula Pusich and principal Raewyn Matthys-Morris, assured parents the school still had a "fully functioning Board".

"Following some lengthy and robust conversation, we have requested MOE support and invited the Ministry to provide that support through a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM).

"We have also requested the support from NZSTA to ensure high-quality governance and leadership of the school."

Four Whenuapai School board of trustees representatives resigned this week and another resigned earlier this year. None of them has been replaced, according to the ministry.

Outgoing board members have refused to comment. It is not known why they resigned.

Parents who have contacted the Herald have spoken of a bullying culture and rapid staff turnover.

A parent, who did not wish to be named, said people coming forward with any complaints were made to feel isolated.

A "mass exodus" of families had been felt in the school community along with a high staff turnover in recent years.

She claimed there were "cases where children were abused on school grounds and the BOT and management refused to acknowledge these legitimate cases ... these families were forced to leave for their safety".

Several parents who have contacted the Herald said they have taken their children out of the school due to bullying, cases of abuse, and dissatisfaction around the handling of these instances by school management.

Education Ministry deputy secretary sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said officials would be working through a range of issues brought to the ministry's attention.

However, Casey said Oranga Tamariki and the police were the appropriate authorities to investigate allegations of any form of abuse against children.

"When we are made aware of an allegation we ensure those agencies have been told and they will then make a judgment on what, if any, investigations or action they will take.

The letter sent out today said an election would be held to fill recent vacancies on the BOT.

Student safety, wellbeing and achievement was the board's "highest priority", it read.

"We can assure you that in line with our Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) school-wide programme and the Vulnerable Children's Act 2014, in any instances of inappropriate student behaviour the appropriate agencies and supports are engaged."

It acknowledged "a number of concerns" raised by the community around leadership and governance and said the board would be collaborating with the MOE and NZSTA around how to strengthen community relationships.

"This will include a review on how we can better manage your concerns and communicate with you going forward."