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'Unlawful' - Court on Maldon Primary's decision in acting principal issue

Published:Tuesday | August 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The Supreme Court has ruled that the decision of the board of the Maldon Primary School to recommend the termination of provisional principal, Audrey Bernard-Kilbourne, was unlawful because proper procedures were not followed.

Bernard-Kilbourne told the court that she was given a hearing to challenge allegations made against her by the board.

She was appointed as provisional principal on January 1, 2013 and her appointment was extended up to September 30, 2014.

However, Bernard-Kilbourne remained in the position as she was granted an injunction which barred her removal.

She said in a letter dated July 30, 2014 she was advised by the Board that it would not further extend her provisional appointment or recommend her permanent appointment on the grounds that she failed to follow the Board’s instructions in most cases and lacked of interpersonal skills.

The board also claimed that Bernard-Kilbourne had inadequate team building skills and failed to establish a proper working relationship with the majority of her staff.

The court granted a declaration that there was no regular assessments of Bernard-Kilbourne by the Ministry of Education and therefore the Board was not in a position to make a decision as to whether or not she should be recommended for appointment as principal.

The court said that Bernard-Kilbourne was only assessed twice over the two years that she served as provisional principal and that was insufficient to make a determination.

The court has ordered that the education ministry make an assessment of her performance between January and August 2015 and then make a recommendation.