4 Dec 2013

Ministry pushing for resolution at college

4:59 pm on 4 December 2013

The Ministry of Education says it wants a stand-off between teachers, their union and the management of a prestigious Presbyterian girls' school in Dunedin resolved as soon as possible.

The dispute, centring on staff complaints at Columba College over the management style of long-standing principal Elizabeth Wilson, has been growing all year.

The Post Primary Teachers' Association describes the workplace as toxic and says it may need outside intervention.

It says a union survey of about half its teachers reports high levels of stress and a fear of falling out of favour with Ms Wilson.

PPTA general secretary Kevin Bunker said while Columba's Board of Trustees is making changes in four areas, none address the main problem.

Columba College's board of trustees said Ms Wilson has its unqualified support.

In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, the ministry said it spoke to the board's chairperson earlier in the day and would hold further discussions this week about the board's plan to resolve the dispute.

The ministry said it wants the situation resolved as early as possible in the new year, and would provide any support required - ranging from further advice to statutory intervention.