Kimberley College principal Paul Thomson is the subject of competing petitions.
Kimberley College principal Paul Thomson is the subject of competing petitions.

School audited, divided over principal

AN INDEPENDENT review into the financial management of a private school south of Brisbane has been launched, amid a war that's broken out surrounding the status of its outspoken principal.

The review into Kimberley College's financial processes and systems began last week and is expected to take several weeks.

It's the latest controversy for private schools across the southeast this year, with calls for the Carbrook school's principal Paul Thomson to be stood down.

Mr Thomson last night told The Courier-Mail he did not want to comment.

However two change.org petitions were recently created regarding his status - one calling for him to be sacked and another calling for him to stay.

More than 500 people had last night voted on the "We demand Paul Thomson be removed from Kimberley College" petition, while more than 1300 people had voted on the "We demand Paul Thomson remains as principal of Kimberley College".

 

Kimberley College principal Paul Thomson
Kimberley College principal Paul Thomson

 

While one petition is critical of Mr Thomson's management, and his dealings with students, parents and staff, the other states Kimberley College is a "refuge for children who have been the victims of bullying", with Mr Thomson's zero tolerance of bullying providing a safe environment for students.

Mr Thomson has previously spoken out against NAPLAN testing, claiming he did not believe in standardised testing.

The school also introduced a controversial mobile phone policy in 2016 that gave him the power to - "peruse and copy" the contents of any mobile brought to school by a student.

In a letter obtained by The Courier-Mail, which was distributed to staff members on May 4, Kimberley College board chairman Paul Wilton wrote that the review had been instigated following a number of concerns raised by Australian Taxation Office and the college's banks and auditor.

"The review will take several weeks and is not intended to interfere with normal operations of the school," it read.

"We want to reassure you that the values of Kimberley College and the quality of education provided to our students by you are paramount.

"The board and college community respect the work that has been done by the management team and teaching staff to establish Kimberley College as an independent multi-age high school with a focus on the values of courage and compassion.

"Nevertheless, we have important obligations to act on the questions that have been raised with the board so that we can ensure the College has solid financial foundations."

Mr Wilton wrote that if any shortcomings in financial management were found, they would be dealt with "properly, respectfully and professionally".

"The board and management of the college are working closely with the independent advisers to complete the review, without unduly disrupting teaching and learning for our students.

"Naturally, we will provide updates to the college community as information becomes available from the review."



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