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High school Samoan language relief teachers 'more like babysitters', Auckland student says

Photo of McAuley High School in South Auckland, NZ

South Auckland, NEW ZEALAND — The principal of a high achieving South Auckland school has come under fire for not appropriately staffing its Samoan language class.

More than 200 parents and students flooded the board of trustees meeting at McAuley High School last night, singing hymns at a sit-in - the latest in peaceful protests at the all-girl decile 1 school in Otahuhu.

Teachers with no command of Samoan language had lead the language class after its teacher’s sudden absence five weeks ago, the students say.

"I’ve missed hours and hours of learning," a year 13 student said.

“How do they expect us to pass if they’re not giving us qualified teachers?”

The student, who Newshub has agreed not to name, said reliever teachers would hand out worksheets and play videos but could not speak Samoan so could not help with their NCEA assessment on conversation skills, which is due next week.

“They’re more like babysitters,” she said.

It wasn't until this week that a Samoan-speaking teacher started, but students believed the teacher did not have a good handle on the material or where the class was up to, she said.

The board of trustees said the current reliever was an experienced Samoan language teacher and the school would ensure students were not impacted by the matter.  

But that has not stopped students blaming the principal, Xanthe Sulzberger.

“She’s not listening to us so she needs to go.”

Read more at NewsHub