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School CP - October 1998

Wairarapa Times-Age, 15 October 1998

Caning era now at end

By Jo Seddon

THE last Wairarapa school to cane pupils stopped physically punishing children five weeks ago after an earlier Education Review Office inspection of the school.

Homeleigh Christian School, Masterton, now complies with New Zealand law after caning errant pupils for nearly 10 years.

The school, was set up in 1989, the same year the use of corporal punishment was banned in schools, has been slated by the Education Review Office in its latest report, after an inspection in July.

The office said using corporal punishment is against the law and has been an issue in previous ERO reviews.

"The board has been informed that its practices are against the law and it must change its policy direction for managing student behaviour."

But board of trustees chairman Wim Stolte said the school stopped using corporal punishment about five weeks ago, after the ERO visited in July

"We knew there were some concerns and asked the Education Review Office to come in and help," he said.

"They have given us a substantial report, which is what we asked for."

Mr Stolte said Homeleigh is a private school and as such didn't need to give the review office as much information as it did. "We did this so they could help us," he said.

In 1995 the board said it would review its caning policy after a damning report of another Christian school, in Wellington's Island Bay suburb. Then board member Dennis Bartlett said though the law didn't allow the use of corporal punishment it was a clear Bible teaching which parents supported.

In its latest report, the review office said staffing of the school is unsuitable as no teacher is registered and there is no principal. Elizabeth Hamilton, who was appointed principal at the beginning of last year, and her husband David, also a teacher at Homeleigh, resigned at the end of the year and moved to a bigger school on the Kapiti Coast.

To overcome the shortage of a principal the board has been acting in a governance role and has taken over the principal's duties by forming an

Mr Stolte said this is working well and he is at the school every day.

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