The Ministry of Education has appointed a statutory manager to a troubled Northland school after a request for intervention from its board of trustees.

Auckland-based former school teacher Sally Dalziel will provide governance support to the board of trustees at Kamo High School until the ministry is satisfied the school can return back to full self-governance.

It's the second time within a decade that the Ministry of Education has intervened at Kamo High School that has had issues around leadership, management and falling student numbers in past years.

In 2011, the ministry appointed Chris Saunders as statutory manager after the Education Review Office (ERO) produced a report critical of the school's leadership and management.
The next ERO review is due in November.

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The latest appointment gives Dalziel powers and duties relating to employment, communication, curriculum management including teaching and assessment practice.

Her appointment will not impact on the day-to-day teaching and learning at the school.

The board remains in place and is responsible for all other governance functions, duties and powers.

A second statutory manager has been appointed to troubled Kamo High School in less than a decade. Photo/John Stone
A second statutory manager has been appointed to troubled Kamo High School in less than a decade. Photo/John Stone

She was appointed almost two weeks ago and started work this week.

"I am right at the beginning of information gathering or scoping and I've sent a letter out to the community advising them that the intervention is at a governance level," Dalziel said.

"The information-gathering could take four weeks and I hope to report back to the parents and the ministry in the last term, just to keep them up to date with what's happening."

School board of trustees chairman Brad Flower directed all queries to Dalziel.

Ministry deputy secretary sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said by far, the majority of schools in Northland operated successfully but a small number developed difficulties or have unanticipated events they could not resolve without outside help.

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The ministry, she said, always supported schools to resolve problems themselves and only intervened as a last resort when there was risk present at the school that could not be addressed in any other way.

"Where we do step in, an intervention aims to bring expertise and a fresh perspective. It also acts as a circuit breaker so that the focus of the school can go back on teaching and learning," she said.

The ministry was unable to comment on any matters relating to employment as these are matters for Dalziel and the board to address.

"We will work with the LSM and school board to return the school to full self-governance. We monitor all interventions in schools closely and will continue to do so in relation to Kamo High School," Casey said.

The school lost 700 students between 2010 and 2014 and about 20 staff in 2012 and 2013.

Principal Joanne Hutt was appointed in 2015 after the resignation of Gavin Greenfield.

Hutt did not respond to an email request for comments by edition time.

Kamo High School principal Joanne Hutt will continue in her role during the statutory manager's appointment. Photo / John Stone
Kamo High School principal Joanne Hutt will continue in her role during the statutory manager's appointment. Photo / John Stone

A statutory intervention could range from appointing a limited statutory manager to work with the board through to appointing a commissioner to replace the board.

An Intervention may happen when a board requests help with a particular issue, or occur after an ERO report or a concern has been raised with the ministry.

Kamo High School was one of the first in Northland to be given the Principal Recruitment Allowance, which was launched in March 2014 as part of the Government's controversial policy Investing in Educational Success (IES).

The allowance aims to recruit successful principals to fill current openings at schools facing significant challenges.

Other Northland schools that have had ministry intervention in the past included Te Kura o Panguru, Oromahoe School, Maungakaramea School, Te Hapua School, Ngataki School, Mangamuka School, Kaikohe Intermediate and Maungakaramea School, Tikipunga Primary.