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Sacked principal Prue Taylor's job still uncertain

Saturday 24 Nov 2012 6:20 p.m.

By Jessica Rowe

The sacked principal of Christchurch Girls High has been given her job back for now.

The Employment Relations Authority found the dismissal of Prue Taylor may have been unjustified, but the School Board still doesn't want her back.

But she can finally return to work after enduring what she calls a “witch hunt”.

“[I am] delighted, very pleased,” she says. “[It is] a great sense of a relief. You never can be sure how things will work out.”

The board sacked Ms Taylor earlier this month, alleging "deep seated, irreconcilable differences" between Ms Taylor and senior managers. But the Employment Relations Authority found no evidence of unprofessional behaviour.

Ms Taylor says she was sacked not long after taking a disciplinary action against the chairman of the board's daughter.

“I haven't fiddled the books,” says Ms Taylor. “I haven't assaulted anybody. I haven't done anything that others get dismissed for. It's just a range of allegations.”

Mr Taylor's students have made her a quilt to let her know they're on her side.

“A ship without its captain,” it reads, “is like a bird without wings. We will all miss you Miss Taylor. You are great captain.”

“Everyone has a high respect for her and they all think she is a great principal and were very disappointed by the way she was dismissed,” says student Clara Todd.

“From what I’ve heard all the teachers want her back, and also all the girls want her back,” says student Zoe Smith. “I'm part of a Facebook group that has 800 members.”

Concerned parents have formed a group to question the School Board's role in the dismissal.

“I think Miss Taylor has a very strong case,” says parent Catherine Hurley. “She should have never been dismissed.”

But the board has argued Ms Taylor's reinstatement would cause staff to leave because of stress.

“That's conjecture,” says Ms Taylor. “The majority of the staff have been totally in support of me.”

Ms Taylor is hoping to start back at school next month. Whether she's back for good will be decided at a hearing in February.

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