St Clair School, Dunedin, New Zealand St Clair School Dunedin Education NZ
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Policy Framework


Operational Policy

The principal shall not cause or allow any practice, activity or decision that is unethical, unlawful, and imprudent or which violates the board’s charter or expressed values or commonly held professional ethic.
The principal’s key contribution is day-to-day management of the school and strategic planning based on Board policy.

1. Responsibilities of the Principal - POLICY

The principal is responsible for overseeing the implementation of board policy. Reference in documentation to the school, management and staff is to be read as “principal” for responsibility for implementation. From time to time the chairperson of the board may issue discretions in policies of the school, in minutes of the board, or by written delegation. The responsibilities of the principal are:

  1. Meet the requirements of the current job description
  2. Meet the requirements of the Principal’s Professional Standards
  3. Act as the education leader of the school
  4. Manage the school effectively on a day-to-day basis within the law and in line with board policies.
  5. Develop an Annual Plan in line with the board’s Strategic Plan and seek approval from the board by 1 March each year.
  6. Implement the (annual) operational plans and give priority to the school’s annual targets.
  7. Use resources efficiently.
  8. Put good employer policies into effect.
  9. Approve staff attestation for salary increments
  10. Allocate pay units for management positions
  11. Oversee teacher appraisals and staff professional development.
  12. Hire, deploy and terminate relieving and auxiliary staff positions
  13. Preserve assets (financial and property)
  14. Communicate with the community on operational matters
  15. Keep the board informed of information important to their role.
  16. Report to the board on the compliance with their policies.
  17. Organise operations within the boundaries of prudence and ethics established in board policies on Operations
  18. Act as Protected Disclosures Officer [see STA Link 2001/01]
  19. Appoint, on behalf of the board, the Privacy Officer and EEO Officer.

Only decisions made by the board acting as a board are binding on the principal. Decisions or instructions of individual board members, committee chairs, or committees are not binding on the principal except in rare circumstances when the board has specifically authorised it
The relationship is one of trust and support. Both parties work to ensure ‘ no-surprises”.
The principal is not restricted from using the expert knowledge of individual board members acting as volunteers.

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2. Disciplinary Process and Complaints - POLICY

In the event the board determines that policy violation(s) has (have) occurred and the board judges the degree and seriousness of the violation(s) to warrant initiating a disciplinary process, the board shall seek free advice in the first instance from an NZSTA Industrial Advisor and follow due process.

The Board is responsive to parents and has clearly articulated processes for handling complaints or concerns (see below for detail regarding lodging a complaint).

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3. Principal Professional Expenses - POLICY

The budget will allow for professional expenses and for professional development costs annually. Spending within budget occurs at the discretion of the principal except in the case of overseas professional development. All overseas trips for professional development must be approved first by the board of trustees.
Professional development expenses may include but are not confined to: continuing education, books and periodicals, mentoring, and attendance at professional conferences.

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4. Reporting to the Board (Expressed as Limitations) - POLICY

The principal reports to the board as a whole and keeps it informed of the true and accurate position of the outcomes of programmes and services; financial position; and all matters having real or potential legal considerations for our school. Thus the board is supported in its strategic decision-making and risk management. Therefore, the principal may not fail to:

  1. inform the board of significant trends, implications of board decisions, issues arising from policy matters or changes in the basic assumptions upon which the board’s strategic goals are based.
  2. Submit written reports covering key management areas at each board meeting:
  3. inform the board in a timely manner of any significant changes in staffing, programmes, plans or processes
  4. submit the monitoring data required in a timely, accurate and understandable fashion.
  5. report and explain financial variance against budget.
  6. report on the number of stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions on a per meeting basis
  7. report roll levels and variance
  8. present information in a suitable form – not too complex or lengthy.
  9. inform the board when, for any reason, there is non-compliance of a board policy.
  10. recommend changes in board policies when the need for them becomes known.
  11. highlight areas of possible bad publicity or community dissatisfaction
  12. management/staff reports to the board are to be coordinated by the principal and presented to the board under the principal’s authority
  13. limit public statements about the official position of the board on controversial social, political, and/or educational issues to what the board has formally adopted as ‘positions of record’.
  14. seek approval from the board each year for the Annual Plan
  15. regularly report on the implementation of the Annual Plan
  16. report on any matter requested by the board and within the specified time frame

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5. Curriculum Delivery (Expressed as Limitations) - POLICY

Delivery of the curriculum shall foster student achievement. Therefore the principal may not fail to:

  1. ensure opportunities for success in all essential learning areas and skill areas of the New Zealand curriculum.
  2. report on progress and achievement of students.
  3. identify students at risk of not achieving to their potential (including those gifted & talented students) and implement teaching and learning strategies to address needs.
  4. consult with our school’s Maori community about the policies/plans for improving the achievement of Maori students.
  5. seek board approval before changes to the school curriculum requiring increased expenditure or significant changes to programmes or staffing are made.
  6. ensure achievement of Charter goals and targets.

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6. Personnel (Expressed as Limitations) - POLICY

The board delegates responsibility to the principal on all matters relating to the management of staff in the expectation that they will be managed in a sound, fair, and respectful manner in accordance with the current terms of employment documents. Therefore, the principal may not fail to:

  1. Ensure that employees are not discriminated against on other than clearly job-related criteria, individual performance or qualifications.
  2. Ensure all employees their rights to personal dignity, safety and access to an approved and fair internal grievance process.
  3. Ensure that all required staff are registered or have a current Limited Authority to Teach.
  4. Provide a smoke free environment
  5. Provide for all staff an employment agreement
  6. Provide a suitable professional development programme which takes into consideration the requirements of the strategic and annual plan
  7. Carry out annual performance appraisals
  8. Meet current employment legislation
  9. Take reasonable steps to protect staff from unsafe or unhealthy working conditions
  10. Meet the requirements of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
  11. Provide Protective Disclosure protection.

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7. Appointments - POLICY

To assist in the appointment of quality staff to any vacancy which may arise appointment committees with expertise relevant to the vacancy will be selected to carry out the appropriate appointment procedures. Therefore, the principal may not fail to:

  1. Fulfil legal requirements
  2. Act as a good employer
  3. Appoint the best person for the job
  4. Determine the composition of the various appointment committees according to the schedule outlined below:

a Appointment of the principal is the responsibility of the BOT who will determine the process.
b Appointment of the Deputy-Principal will involve an appointment committee consisting of the principal, the BOT chairperson, a further trustee (should the BOT feel the need to include one) and at least one member of the staff
c Appointment of senior staff will involve an appointment committee consisting of the principal and the BOT chairperson (or delegate) and at least one staff member
d Appointment of permanent teachers will involve an appointment committee consisting of the principal, a senior staff member and a member of the Board
e  Unless determined otherwise by the BOT, appointment of all other part-time teachers, long term relieving teachers, and non teaching staff will be the responsibility of the principal.

8. Financial Planning - POLICY

Budgeting shall not fail to; reflect the board’s strategic objectives, avoid financial jeopardy, nor fail to show a generally acceptable level of foresight. Thus the budget should not neglect to:

  1. Reflect the results sought by the board.
  2. Reflect the priorities as established by the board.
  3. Comply with the board’s requirement of a balanced budget.
  4. Ensure adequate working capital.
  5. Demonstrate an appropriate degree of conservatism in all estimates.

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9. Financial Condition (Expressed as Limitations) - POLICY

The financial viability of the school must be protected at all times. The board understands that the possibility of theft or fraud can not be entirely eliminated however the principal is required to show there are in place safeguards and robust, clear procedures to minimise the risk of either event. Reference should be made to Appendix 2 of the Financial Information for Schools Handbook (FISH). Therefore, the principal shall not:

  • Incur unauthorised debt.
  • Violate generally accepted accounting practices or principles.
  • Use tagged funds for purposes other than those approved.
  • Spend more funds than have been allocated in the fiscal year.
  • Fail to ensure all money owed to the school is collected in a timely manner.
  • Fail to make timely payment to staff and other creditors.
  • Sell or purchase unauthorised property.
  • Spend on single items beyond a board-established limit.
  • Fail to ensure that all relevant government returns are completed on time.
  • Fail to ensure that no one person has complete authority over the school’s financial transactions.
  • Make any purchase:
  • Of over $2000 without having obtained comparative prices and quality.
  • Of over $2000 without an adequate review on ongoing costs, value and reliability.

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10. Asset Protection (Expressed as Limitations) - POLICY

Assets may not be unprotected, inadequately maintained or unnecessarily risked. The board of trustees is responsible for over viewing the programming and funding of general maintenance of the school grounds, buildings, facilities and other assets to provide a clean, safe, tidy and hygienic work and learning environment for students and staff. Accordingly, the principal may not:

  1. Fail to insure assets.
  2. Allow unauthorised personnel to handle funds or school property.
  3. Subject plant and equipment to improper wear and tear or insufficient maintenance or inappropriate use
  4. Fail to maintain an up to date asset register for all items of furnishing, plant machinery, equipment, text and library books costing more than $500.00
  5. Fail to ensure the implementation of the 10 year property maintenance plan
  6. Fail to engage sufficient property maintenance staff for the school within budget limits
  7. Fail to receive board approval for contracts over $5000 for any one contract unless already detailed in Annual Plan
  8. Fail to conduct competitive tenders for contracts over $5000
  9. Fail to protect intellectual property, information and files from loss or significant damage or unauthorised access or duplication.
  10. Receive, process or disburse funds under controls that are insufficient to meet the board-appointed auditor’s standards.
  11. Invest or hold operating capital in insecure accounts, or in non-interest bearing accounts except where necessary to facilitate ease in operational transactions.

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11. Health & Safety (Expressed as Limitations) - POLICY

Students and staff shall have a safe physical and emotional learning environment. Therefore, the principal shall not fail to:

  1. take reasonable steps to protect students and staff from unsafe or unhealthy conditions, including the implementation of practices to control communicable diseases
  2. comply with the provisions of the Health and Safety Act 1992
  3. provide a smoke free environment
  4. ensure a risk analysis management system (RAMS) is carried out where and when appropriate.
  5. consult with the community regarding the health programme being delivered to students.
  6. provide privacy of personal documentation held at school.

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12. Legal Responsibilities - POLICY

School procedures will meet the legislative statutes and regulations as set down in the appropriate Acts, Ministry of Education circulars and the Education Gazette.

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Complaints or Concerns (Procedure)

The Board of Trustees recognises that a clear set of guidelines will help to ensure that any concern or complaint about the school, or the conduct of any individual associated with the school, is addressed appropriately.

In the event of a concern / complaint arising, the complainant is expected to:

  • discuss the concern/complaint with the person at the school most closely related to the issue. If the concern/complaint has not been fairly heard or responded to, within a reasonable period of time…
  • arrange an appropriate time to discuss the concern with the Principal. If after this discussion the concern/complaint has not been "fairly" heard, responded to or resolved…
  • contact the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees to arrange an informal meeting with the Principal and Chairperson to discuss the matter. Initially the chairperson will undertake a liaison role with all parties. If, following the informal discussion, the complaint has still not been resolved…
  • refer the complaint to the Board of Trustees in writing at least four (4) days before a monthly Board meeting. If after consideration by the Board the matter has still not been resolved…
  • the Board may consider (i) independent mediation, (ii) another action or (iii) decide that the matter has been investigated appropriately and is closed.

Reporting and Resolving Bullying (Procedure)

Bullying is a complex social phenomenon that occurs at all levels of society. St Clair School takes an active stance against bullying. Bullying is defined by the Ministry of Education and social development experts as behaviour that is:

  • repeated or ongoing
  • with an element of power (physical size or social control)
  • causing a person harm (physical or emotional).

Any parent with concerns about bullying is urged to contact their child's teacher, a senior staff member or the principal. Typically the school's response is active and will involve:

  • listening carefully to parental concerns
  • speaking to the victim and reassuring them that they have done the right thing in reporting the matter
  • Speaking to the child suspected of bullying - gathering their perspective and reinforcing the school's expectations
  • putting in place management systems that will minimise / eliminate the likelihood of the issue occurring again
  • reinforcing with the victim the importance of reporting any such incidents in the future
  • re-contacting the reporting parent to discuss outcomes and resolution
  • contacting the parent of the child accused of bullying
  • Following up at a later date to see if the matter is resolved.

Additional support or counselling (through our school counsellor) is available for any child experiencing repeated negative social interactions or bullying. A copy of the school's approach to student wellbeing and pro-social skill development is available here.

The school is also interested in other ongoing social issues such as those that occur between friends. These conflicts, though a normal part of child social development, can be stressful on children (and parents) and the school can often assist by helping children to develop their relationship skills. Please contact your child's teacher for more information or support.


Attendance (Procedure / Guidelines)

Click here: School Attendance Expectations and Requirements


EMERGENCY PLANNING - Earthquake, Tsunami and Flood

EARTHQUAKE ACTION PLAN (Ref: Video - What To Do In An Earthquake )

Staff and pupils will regularly practice for earthquakes:

In the event of an earthquake the teacher will call "get under desks. DROP, COVER, HOLD".

Children and staff will get under furniture or shelter near a wall, or drop to their hands and knees away from windows. All will adopt a 'turtle position' covering face, neck, head, with legs in close to body. Where there is no under-desk space, pupils should drop to floor with hands protecting head ~ Drop, Cover. Hold

Classes DO NOT go outside following an earthquake - school buildings are earthquake resistant and the hazard of falling materials and exposure to adverse weather outweigh risks of staying indoors. Teachers are still expected to use initiative and move children to a safe location if the structural integrity of an individual room is compromised. [DCC Civil Defence advice 8/2013].

Classes remain in the buildings even when shaking ceases.

Children will be accounted for and wellbeing assessed. Teachers will contact the office by internal phone or text message to confirm that every child is accounted for.

Classes DO NOT leave the buildings unless/until directed to do so by school leadership. This will only occur if the structural integrity of the buildings is clearly compromised. [DCC Civil Defence advice 8/2013]

If directed to leave, the evacuation procedure is as for fire. Due to glass hazard, Te Manawanui should be avoided and back stairwells used.

NOTE 1: Should a significant earthquake occur during a time when classes are mixed (e.g. kapa haka), children will remain in their 'mixed' group. The teacher will use practical measures to account for all children and contact the office to confirm the situation. A decision about when / if to return to home-classes will be made by school leadership based on aftershock frequency, building integrity and weather conditions.

NOTE 2: Should a significant earthquake occur during an interval or lunch break, or during a school-wide sports event (based outdoors), children and staff will initially assemble on the hard court area. All children will be accounted for. A decision as to whether to move into the buildings will be made by school leadership based on aftershock frequency, building integrity and weather conditions.

School leadership will utilise Twitter and the school email network to convey student wellbeing information and the overall situation at school to parents, along with information on action required by parents (if any).

School leadership will monitor the DCC Twitter feed and DCC website during an earthquake or other civil emergency event.

Loss of essential services (electricity / water) will necessitate the closure of the school and a request for collection of children by parents.

If essential services are operating, children will remain at school as normal with a judgement made as to whether parent collection is required.

Tsunami Hazard Procedures (developed in consultation with DCC Civil Defence)

In the event of a major under-ocean earthquake, a tsunami is possible.
Tsunami detection equipment monitored by the NZ government will give up to 12 hours warning. Civil defence will notify residents of low-lying areas if a Tsunami is possible.

Should the civil defence alarm sound during school hours, staff will turn on radios and listen to local radio stations and follow instructions given.

Should a warning be broadcast prior to the start of the school day, school will open late or open for only half a day if the tsunami arrival time is scheduled for the afternoon. Parents are expected to use their discretion when deciding if they wish to send their children under such circumstances.

If the wave is 3-12 hours away (generated; near Samoa, on the Puysegur fault or in South America) children and staff will remain at school so that parents can collect their children from school if they wish to do so. If a 3 hour warning is issued, Twitter and email messages will be issued asking parents to CALMLY collect children from school.
Actions in the case of a distant wave - if evacuation required:
One and a half hours prior to the scheduled wave-arrival (staff must monitor closely any reports of wave movement down the coast of New Zealand or on the Chatham Islands) , classes will assemble on the asphalt courts and carry out roll procedures and then prepare to move inland. It is anticipated that many children will have been collected by parents before this time.

Teachers are to await direction from a senior staff member and ensure that the school moves together in an orderly fashion. It is possible that the reduced roll due to parental collection of children, may allow some staff to leave and ensure their own families are safe. The first priority of all staff however is the safety of children at school.

Evacuation in the event of a distant tsunami with multiple hours of warning will be via Nile St, West Ave, Surrey St  and Macandrew Rd – eventually arriving at St Bernadettes School.  Civil Defence advise moving inland, away from the coast.  The dissipating effect of the open, gradually rising terrain will spread and halt any flooding. On open ground, waves drop by 1 metre every 200m inland.
Children and staff will shelter in the St Bernadettes School hall and await collection.

If an earthquake of up to magnitude 7 occurs on the Akatore Fault, a tsunami may be generated.  Such an earthquake would be severe, localised and likely to cause significant damage to streets and infrastructure. If a wave is generated, it will arrive within 20 minutes at St Clair Beach and may be up to 1.5 metres high.  The St Clair beach sand-based seawalls can be expected to withstand this size of wave for an period of time (possibly 30 minutes). [DCC Civil Defence advice 8/2013]

Actions in the case of a locally generated wave Akatore Fault:
Children will remain in the main wooden framed, two-storey block (unless it is significantly compromised structurally, in which case children will follow scenario #1 actions).
All children and staff will make their way upstairs, beyond the reach of surface flooding or wave action. The first wave is often not the largest so children and staff will remain upstairs until advised it is safe to leave. [DCC Civil Defence advice 8/2013]

Children and staff will await further instructions from school leadership.
After-shocks from the earthquake can be expected – sheltering from breaking glass is essential. Leaving buildings will only be considered if remaining inside poses clear risks. (see plan re earthquakes above) [DCC Civil Defence advice 8/2013]

Civil Defence advises that this is our best option in this scenario.  It is not an ideal solution. Judgements will be required in the event of such an emergency.


In the event of extraordinary rainfall, surface flooding is possible in St Clair, St Kilda and South Dunedin. Water will be heavily discoloured, 'standing' and up to 45cm deep in some areas. During such a flood event water presents a biological hazard due to contamination. Should extreme rainfall occur resulting in significant surface flooding, the school may decide to evaculate children. If this decision is made, parents will be notified using -

- social media (Twitter and Facebook),

- an announcement on the school website

- an email to the school's newsletter subscriber list

- announcement on local radio station(s).

No child will leave the school site unless collected by their own caregiver or another adult authorised to do so through contact with the school office.

Staff will only leave the school site once children been collected, and at the discretion of the principal.

~ Capable, Caring, Confident, Children Contributing to Our Community ~