Sunday, February 05, 2006

John Morris: Victim of Injustice?

Auckland Boys Grammar School Principal John Morris has been in the news recently for opening the school a week early and also for denying 80 in zone students the right to enrol at ABGS.

Although legally schools are due to open on the 7th some schools have chosen to open earlier citing the Cambridge exams workload as too large to fit into less time. You can see the article about this here

It always makes me chuckle when I read about Cambridge exams and how some schools insist on offering them even though they are not related to Cambridge University in anyway and the checks and balances on the quality of the exams are dubious at best. The Government and the Ministry of Education must take some of the blame for these exams being offered as they had the opportunity to restrict the use of these exams earlier but probably have missed that boat now.

In reality ABGS and the other schools do not need to go back a week earlier - its really a move to assert authority over the schools a sort of 'my dick is bigger than yours' competition - those are tiresome and the only people that really lose out are the students and there families. More time at school is not a sign of a quality education.

What has me more concerned and upset is the report that AGGS has turned away 80 in zone students who wished to enroll - the story is here.

John Morris is really only playing political football with the education of those 80 students by denying them their rightful place at his school. I bet that he has accepted more than 80 out of zone students to the school this year meaning that those who are in zone do not have a place.

It is not my intention to outline why I believe in school zoning at this stage - it is however my intention to draw attention to the otherside of this story. Not the poor ABGS principal who is a victim of his own success but a story of poor management and a lack of planning.

School principals have an obligation to be smart managers and to plan for school roll increases and decreases. There are several ways that a school can do this with data from years past, family records (to plan for younger brothers) census and stats NZ data. As well as data from MOE. John Morris could have predicted this but he didn't and now he is trying to highlight some kind of injustice that he has come under where really it's those in zone students who have been victims of injustice.