New Zealand Law Society - Ombudsman Ruru School report released

Ombudsman Ruru School report released

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The Chief Ombudsman has released a report on his investigation complaints by the parents of a student at Ruru Specialist School in Invercargill about the use of seclusion.

The Chief Ombudsman says while he found no evidence of unlawful actions (under the legislation at the time) by any party, he has formed the opinion that the school acted unreasonably in using a particular room to manage the pupil's behaviour.

Judge Peter Boshier has also concluded that the Ministry of Education's failure to provide schools with clear and unambiguous up-to-date guidance in relation to the use of seclusion was an unreasonable omission.

He says Ruru School, the ministry and the Education Review Office have already made a number of changes as a result of the complaint.

"In addition, ERO agreed in the course of this investigation to amend its Compliance Checklist so that schools are expressly asked about significant complaints and investigations."

Judge Boshier says he appreciates that for the parents, the changes do not alter what happened in respect of their son. However, their complaints were without question instrumental in effecting change at a national level, he says.

He recommends that Ruru provides the parents with a written apology for its failings, if requested to do so.