The Parent Handbook 2009

The Parent Handbook gives you information about how the school is run, and what students and parents can expect from a day of learning at the Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School.


In the copy we were given, the Handbook stated quite clearly on page 8 that:


A CHILD’S LIVING ENVIRONMENT


The child’s teacher and parents are the two most important streams of influence in a child’s life. In a Waldorf school great emphasis is placed on developing a healthy social working between the child’s home and the school environment. It is important, therefore, that parents speak directly with teachers about any issues that may be affecting their child’s well-being.




Yet we were specifically told by Mark Thornton not to talk to the teacher, but to communicate solely with him, who was only at the school part-time, giving rise to the email correspondence which you can read in its entirety on this site.


What confused us what when we started our communication with the Human Rights Commission and we were presenting our evidence, they got back to us telling us that they couldn’t find the above quote anywhere in the PDF copy of the handbook we’d given them.


This was extremely puzzling. On checking that PDF we found that it actually differed from the physical copy the school had given us, and that this section had been replaced with the following:


A Child’s Living Environment


One of the most important aspects vital for a secure and healthy child development is consistency and a harmonious reflection between the home and the place of learning of the child. The child’s teacher and parents are the two most important streams of influence in a child’s life. In a Waldorf school great emphasis is placed and time given to developing this healthy social working between the child’s two living environmental and biological spheres.




Where did we get that PDF copy of the Handbook from? It was the one the school submitted to Health and Safety in response to our 20-page complaint.


Regarding the Health and Safety aspect, according to Kevin Mottram of the Department Of Labour, if something isn’t specifically stated anywhere in an organisation’s publication, then the organisation is under no obligation to do that thing.


Trying to understand this, we asked him: if there is no mention anywhere in the school’s guidelines that a teacher must supervise children when dangerous tools like axes are being used, then is it true that the staff wouldn’t be breaking any Health & Safety rules if something did happen while children were using such tools unsupervised? He surprisingly concurred.


Obviously the Health & Safety Act is highly customisable in New Zealand and so is the Parent Handbook of the Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School!