NZ Principal Magazine Term 1 2017

Page 1

March 2017 Volume 32, Number 1

Thames South School – Cultivating magnificent citizens Also


• NZPF Queenstown Conference • Effective Leadership and Mutual Co-operation are the Keys to Success

• NZPF History 2001 – 2011 • Managing meetings with your Board

Year 7 to Year 13 School Competition

Young Reporters For The Environment (YRE) was established by “The Foundation for Environmental Education” (FEE) in 1994. Over the past 20+ years FEE has established a portfolio of core environmental programmes across the world such as Learning About Forests, Green Key, Blue Flag and the Young Reporters For The Environment. In its 22nd year YRE is a youth-led environmental programme found in over 30 countries with more than 77,000 young reporters. To enter, students (aged 11–18) need to investigate an issue, research a solution




To help you with your planning we have created free resources including: Classroom Guide | Worksheets | Student Handbooks

and then report on it using film, photography or writing. They then need to disseminate their piece via available channels. This could be via their school newsletter, in a class presentation or by contacting local media.

“We had identified a need to extend our programming in the youth sector and with YRE’s main focus being to empower young people to take a stand on environmental issues the fit was perfect.”

One winner will be selected per category and age group. Keep New Zealand Beautiful will put forward all winners for consideration in the international competition.

Ms Saunderson said they have partnered with Wrigley’s who is an international partner of FEE (and a member of KNZB) to bring the programme to New Zealand.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful CEO For more information please email Heather Saunderson said when she Christine White; discovered FEE and the YRE programme she instantly knew she needed to introduce it in New Zealand.



Editor Liz Hawes Executive Officer PO Box 25380 Wellington 6146 Ph: 04 471 2338 Email:

March 2017


Magazine Proof-reader Helen Kinsey-Wightman


Editorial Board Whetu Cormick, NZPF President Geoff Lovegrove, Retired Principal, Feilding Liz Hawes, Editor


Advertising Cervin Media Ltd PO Box 68450, Newton, Auckland 1145 Ph: 09 360 8700 or Fax: 09 360 8701


Note The articles in New Zealand Principal do not necessarily reflect the policy of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation. Readers are welcome to use or reprint material if proper acknowledgement is made. Subscription Distributed free to all schools in New Zealand. For individual subscribers, send $40 per year to: New Zealand Principals’ Federation National Office, PO Box 25380, Wellington 6146 New Zealand Principal is published by Cervin Media Ltd on behalf of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation and is issued four times annually. For all enquiries regarding editorial contributions, please contact the editor.

Thames South School – Cultivating magnificent citizens

Liz Hawes


For all advertising enquiries contact:

NZPF History 2001 – 2011

Geoff Lovegrove


National Standards NZCER Report

Dr Linda Bonne, Senior Researcher, NZCER

NZPF Queenstown Conference Liz Hawes

Effective Leadership and Mutual Co-operation are the Keys to Success in the Hawke’s Bay Teacher Education Partnership

Kirsty Jones, Eastern Institute of Technology

29 33 35 ibc

Managing meetings with your Board

Fiona MacMillan, Employment Lawyer


Lester Flockton

Opinion – ‘Teaching our girls to speak out . . .’

Helen Kinsey-Wightman


service providers

Profiles from education product and

ISSN 0112-403X (Print) ISSN 1179-4372 (Online)

PHOTOS FOR THE MAGAZINE: If you have any photos showing ‘New Zealand Schools at Work’, particularly any good shots of pupils, teachers or leadership staff, they would be welcome. The appropriate permission is required before we can print any photos. Technical details: Good-quality original photos can be scanned, and digital photos must be of sufficient resolution for high-quality publishing. (Images should be at least 120 mm (wide) at 300 dpi). Please contact Cervin Media Ltd for further details. Phone: 09 360 8700 or email:

Thames South School



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Proud to be Gold Business Partners of New Zealand Principals’ Federation

Editorial Liz Hawes


Of all the provisions in the Update of the Education Act, it The Children’s Commissioner, Judge Andrew Becroft, presented a was surprising that ‘cohort enrolment’ would attract such public strong case in his oral submission to the Select Committee saying interest. Children beginning school in cohorts, aged anywhere that the Update of the Act should be stopped because children between four and six years, depending on their birth dates, is an have not been properly consulted. ‘The children’s voice needs to issue that has recently captured the attention of parents across be heard!’ he advised the Select Committee. Again, he was not the nation. The NZPF President is quoted by eight different alone in his view. Other presenters at the Select Committee raised media outlets on cohorts, which the same issue saying that they is greater coverage than on any ‘The children’s voice needs did not believe that the impact of other topic this year. His position proposed changes on children’s is that there is no groundswell of to be heard!’ he advised the learning had been adequately parents demanding a change to considered. Some suggested that cohort school entry and if schools Select Committee. Again, he was proposed changes side-lined and their communities do find not alone in his view. the New Zealand Curriculum cohort entry desirable, legislation by narrowing its focus and thus allows them to do this now. In other words, there seems no reducing the learning opportunities that children can benefit logical reason to be making legislative change to accommodate from when they are exposed to a broad and rich curriculum. cohort entry to school. They argued that the very priority children that are at the centre Cohort entry is one provision which does have an obvious of all government policies would be disadvantaged if the types of impact on parents and they have reacted in a variety of different learning opportunities, especially those that occur in authentic ways. Some have argued that Aotearoa New Zealand is already contexts and have application in the real world, were reduced. unusual by having children start school at age five. Most countries The Minister would argue that she has met all consultation of the western world do not embark on formal schooling before requirements, including seeking student and parental input. age six or seven. That said it has always been the case that no I don’t doubt for a second that the Minister has fulfilled the parent in New Zealand is required to enrol their child in formal legal requirements of consultation. The question is does that education until age six. Common practice is however that consultation process have real meaning for the groups she is children start school on their fifth birthday. required to consult? Has the Minister actually listened to the Some parents have argued that the cohort starting date students and parents and incorporated their views in the Update? chosen is arbitrary and takes no account of whether a particular Judge Becroft certainly doesn’t think so and nor do the many child is ready or not to start school. It takes no account of the parents now speaking out about cohort entry to school. implications for parents of having to keep children in day care It all comes down to what we mean by ‘consultation’. One view for longer, or for schools that may have to provide ‘pre-school’ is that consultation is a two-way process where people discuss education for four year old children who are not ready for views, listen to each other, value each other’s positions and ideas formal education. It takes no account of pre-school education and seek agreed solutions. Another is to see consultation as a centres that would have large numbers of children exiting at a legal but not ethical requirement. If you adopt the latter view certain time of the year. It has ignored the fact that subsidies for then it is easy to make provision for people to express their views, child care (the twenty hours free policy) cease at age five. And such as submission and oral submission processes, but have no so the arguments continue. In summary most are saying that intention of either listening to or valuing the comments and introducing cohort entry to school is a case of administrative positions expressed and even less intention of including them convenience usurping parents’ and children’s needs. in the proposed legislation. Further, it is a case of public reaction to a policy after it has Judge Becroft and the many parents publicly expressing their already reached the Select Committee stage. It is a case of parents views on cohort entry to school, clearly feel consultation on the feeling their voice had not being sought or taken into account Update of the Education Act has not been adequate and certain in the earlier stages of constructing this particular section of the voices have not been heard. The question is whether we will Update of the Act. any longer accept that merely fulfilling a legal requirement for It is not the only provision in the Update of the Education consultation is enough. Act that has met with strong reaction because people feel consultation has not been sought in a way that satisfies them.


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President’s Pen

Introduction in Māori Whetu Cormick

National President, New Zealand Principals’ Federation

Being out of your school gives you a chance to reflect on What I find challenging is accommodating changes that don’t what is great about your school, what counts as school success sit comfortably alongside the hugely positive changes like our and what factors continue to challenge your school. These NZC. The past eight years have included a whole new upheaval reflections are important and having distance from your day in education which I know many of you have not welcomed. to day leadership duties gives you the freedom to focus more Perhaps one of the most unwelcoming aspects of it is that no sharply. I agree with Kim Nikora, principal of Thames South one has really articulated clearly what the new direction is. We School (see p.10 of this issue) when know that it has much to do with the she says that principals need more The new approach to our Global Education Reform Movement regular sabbaticals to give them time (GERM) which has been infiltrating to think and reflect. NZ Curriculum (NZC) would many countries in recent years and My own reflections have gone back appears to have a strong element of twenty years to when I was principal make it even richer and undermining what we know as ‘public’ of a small rural school and stretch greater. education and replacing it with a all the way to my present urban ‘private’ system. Bathgate Park Primary School in To better understand the GERM and South Dunedin. I can identify many changes during that time. its implications we have looked to researchers from the UK and Some have truly inspired me and others have created concerns. During the 1990s being in education in Aotearoa New Zealand was a really exciting time. We collectively worked on developing our revised curriculum. The entire process was so collaborative, our communities contributed their ideas and especially their aspirations for our young children and as a profession we felt uplifted. We saw that our curriculum could be contextualised for Kids Voting is a chance for your students to take part in this our school and its community, and we could put real authentic year’s general election. learning opportunities in front of our young people. We already Students vote for real parties and real candidates, on a real had a world class education system. The new approach to our ballot paper, and compare their results with the results of NZ Curriculum (NZC) would make it even richer and greater. the real election. All manner of authentic learning opportunities were popping It’s free and easy to hold a Kids Voting election at up in our schools and for our struggling learners, these have your school. proved invaluable. We have also seen an expansion, especially in Register your school or find out more at our lower decile schools, of Education Outside of the Classroom (EOTC) experiences being offered. These experiences are enormously enriching for those youngsters whose own life experiences are very limited, mostly because their parents cannot afford to take them places. EOTC gives these children new conversations, new vocabulary and new topics to read and write about. For most, our NZC is well-embedded but, like all good things, it has taken a long time. For some schools, it is still not quite there. What is great is that it is universally celebrated. From politicians to beginning teachers, there is unwavering acknowledgement that our NZC leads the world. I believe it is our job to keep revising our curriculum to ensure that it continues to represent the aspirations of the communities we serve and continues to be responsive to the changing needs of the young people in our schools.


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the USA to invite to our conferences and we have asked questions Māori medium. During one particular conversation with the and discussed these issues with our international colleagues in well-respected Tūhoe leader, Tamati Kruger, we discussed Australia and the UK. Last year, at the National Association of the ‘purposes of education, schooling and learning.’ This Head Teachers (UK) conference, which the NZPF president is conversation challenged me to think about why we teach what always invited to, we learned how 80 per cent of all the public we teach, whose knowledge we impart and how this affects our schools are now private or Academy young people’s learning journey. Schools (much like NZ charter In my first month as NZPF As a leader in my school, I schools) and that the schools’ first contribute just a small part to young loyalty is to the brand of the business President I met with a number people’s learning. Whānau and the or business chain sponsoring them wider community are central to my not to the communities they serve of influential education children’s lives, their views, hopes, (see article in NZ Principal, vol 31 sector people from dreams and aspirations. That is (3) September 2016, pp.31–33. Here why we embrace the views of our in NZ we have seen many legislation both English and Māori community when we construct our changes of late, including the current schools’ vision and curriculum and in Update of the Education Act. Many of medium. my view that is what any responsible these changes are consistent with setting up a structure for radical Minister and parliamentary debaters will do when considering reforms and privatisation as we have seen in the UK. legislative change in the House. After all, these people are our This year New Zealand goes to the polls again. I will be putting representatives! in front of all the political candidates the sort of education system we want. It will start and end with preserving our world class Hoei anō public education system and our equally world class NZC. It will also include a focus on Māori and Pacific Island education, an area in which we have made significant in-roads recently and in which the current government firmly believes we need to do better. In my first month as NZPF President I met with a number of influential education sector people from both English and

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2017 FUTURE TRANSPORT COMPETITION Investigate - create - and win.


New Zealand school students in Years 1–13. TEAM SIZE:

Three or more students. WHAT TO DO:

MORE INFO competition

Investigate transport challenges in NZ. Create solutions or explore possibilities for the future. Share your ideas as a playable game or narrative. Competition entries can be in many formats to reflect student learning. PRIZES:

Categories for Years 1-6, 7-10 and 11-13. DEADLINE: FRIDAY 30 JUNE 2017


Is Your school takIng actIon for the WellbeIng of students? Increasing rates of childhood anxiety and depression is a growing concern for New Zealand schools. This is evident as decreased student wellbeing, decreased school attendance, increased health difficulties and social isolation. It can include difficulties with attention, concentration, social interactions, low self-esteem, establishing and maintaining relationships with peers and can lead to depression. Anxiety is one of the most common psychological disorders in school age children and yet is frequently unidentified and therefore untreated. Estimates are 1 in 5 (20%) of the population experience significant emotional distress. Often children can present as conscientious, well behaved students in the classroom but parents report their child as having a stress ‘meltdown’ when arriving home. Anxiety and depression are more prevalent than drug use, ADHD, or any other mental health problem. The FRIENDS programs are based on cognitive behavioural therapy principles and have been developed to support children and youth build their understanding and skills in resilience to enhance their wellbeing. These programs have been successfully implemented and evaluated in a number of countries. A New Zealand evaluation of the FRIENDS Youth program in secondary schools has recently been undertaken The evaluation showed that the largest shifts showing increased student wellbeing centred around the aspects from the Wellbeing@School survey, and in particular, the social dimension of wellbeing. HPE Programme Design – taking action for well-being helps schools to develop policies, procedures, and school-wide programmes through which they can establish healthy school environments. The FRIENDS programs correlate well with the Health and Physical Education curriculum. Research shows students can achieve more when they are fit and healthy in body, mind, and spirit The FRIENDS Resilience programs have been cited in many international studies. In particular, these programs showed considerable success and in particular a marked improvement in the children’s emotional wellbeing. Common themes around social validity were found among studies. Many of the programs were delivered by teachers or skilled support staff who had attended the official training days required. Researchers commented that this leads to more sustainable delivery compared to other facilitators or health professionals. This also contributed to a higher success rate. These programs are very adaptable for use in small groups or with a class, and also in one to one situations, when indicated. There are four developmentally sensitive versions of the FRIENDS programs: Each program targets the different challenges associated with each stage of the lifespan. In brief, the FRIENDS programs are; ■■


Supporting the Key Competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum

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Recommended interventions in Tier 2 PB4L School-Wide Part of the Prime Ministers Youth Mental Health Initiative in Secondary Schools Evidence-Based, using Cognitive Behaviour Theory Endorsed by the World Health Organisation Developed to be used in schools

Principals wanting to develop sound practice in their school for addressing student wellbeing would benefit from having key staff trained to implement the FRIENDS program. Jenny Bell of Jenny Bell Oranga is a licenced trainer of the FRIENDS programs in New Zealand. She attends Dr Paula Barrett’s FRIENDS International Conference, in Brisbane, annually. Prior to becoming a FRIENDS licensee, she was a Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour.

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Foundations & My FRIENDS Youth



Foundations, FRIENDS for Life, Fun FRIENDS



Foundations & My FRIENDS Youth



Foundations, FRIENDS for Life, Fun FRIENDS



Foundations & My FRIENDS Youth



Foundations, FRIENDS for Life, Fun FRIENDS



Foundations & My FRIENDS Youth



Foundations, FRIENDS for Life, My FRIENDS Youth



Foundations & Fun FRIENDS



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The New Zealand Principals’ Federation is not an oldestablished organisation. It’s early roots trace back only to 1980, although there had been many attempts to form a national organisation for “Head Teachers” prior to that. The Auckland Headmasters’ Association was formed nearly 100 years ago – probably the oldest established local association for school leaders in the country. Their early history makes for most interesting reading – including the debates preceding the opening up of membership to women! During the 1970s, several of the Auckland principals set out to form a national association, and with missionary zeal, they sought to enroll the masses. Carloads of principals (then Head Teachers, of course) visited the Waikato, Taranaki and the Bay of Plenty, to stimulate interest in the idea of a national organisation. Initially, only a few hundred took up the challenge, and it was not until the Tomorrow’s Schools changes of the late 1980s that membership numbers at a national level began to accelerate. Not many current principals will remember Merv Wellington, a National Minister of Education of the early 80s. Although not universally admired at the time (he was, after all, a minister in the then Muldoon administration), Mr Wellington gave his blessing to the formation of a national body for principals, and endorsed its first conference. The founders of the Federation did some sterling work in bringing people together for the common cause. A federation was seen as a professional support group for principals, not a union. Nearly all NZPF members have also been NZEI or PPTA members, as those bodies deal with the issues of salary and conditions of service, while the NZPF has always strived to handle the professional issues for school leaders. Initially, there was some strong resistance from the unions to the formation of the Principals’ Federation, and it was fortuitous that one of the NZPF’s founding fathers, Tom Brown, was also a highly respected member of the NZEI, and chair of its Ethics Panel. Tom helped steer the formation of the fledgling organisation through some fairly choppy waters, and played a major part in bringing the NZPF to a reality. Other key players at the time were Ian Payne (Auckland) and Don Le Prou (Waikato). The first 20 years of the NZPF’s history “First Principals” was written by Tom Brown, and covered the period from 1980 to 2000. Tom remained archivist of the Federation for many years, and members mourned his passing in May 2016. Tom had most certainly been the “hand on the tiller” that set the direction of the Federation. He always saw it as a “Federation” and not an Association, in order that it might encompass all elements of school leadership across all sectors. His work in travelling and visiting other regions to encourage principals to be a part of this new organisation was legendary – all at his own cost and in his own time. An amazing man, and a hugely respected colleague.

Some of the early memories of those original executive members make fascinating reading. Subscriptions were set at $1 per member, and remained at that level for some years, until they rose to $2 and then $5. Executive meetings moved around the country, and members often held a raffle to provide postage stamps to send out the regular newsletters. 1989, and Tomorrow’s Schools brought massive changes to the way schools operated. Now self-managing, Boards of Trustees made their own decisions about everything the school did, and there was minimal input from the Ministry at the time. Principals immediately saw the need for a strong professional organisation that they could look to for support. Membership of the NZPF doubled, and doubled again. Membership fees were set according to the size of school, and this practice has remained. The idea of holding Executive Meetings in the regions, and cities outside Wellington, also continued, along with the practice of having one or two observers from local associations of kindred organisations. Annual conferences became “The Place To Be”, with some outstanding keynote speakers and relevant workshops. Annual attendances rose to 400, then 600+, as principals realized this was the best professional learning they could access, while spending valuable time chatting with colleagues. Communication was critical, and with the arrival of electronic media, the Federation moved with the times. While the old “fax tree” had allowed a rudimentary form of quick contact with schools, the arrival of the internet provided more instant two-way communication. The organisation could conduct “One Minute Surveys” of members on the many issues of the day, providing the president and executive with instant feedback and opinion on some of the very contentious challenges at the time (Bulk Funding, Special Needs Resourcing, Principal Stress, National Testing . . .) Tom Brown’s book “First Principals” includes many hundreds of anecdotes from principals at the time, and makes fascinating reading. And now, ten years on, it is time for an update, covering the period 2001 to 2011. The NZPF has commissioned Past President Geoff Lovegrove to carry out this assignment. Geoff served as Magazine Editor from 1989 to 1997 and 2008 to 2010, and also wrote the Federation Flyer (now Principal Matters) for many years. During his 21 years on the executive, he also served as National Treasurer for 6 years from 2002 to 2008. Any members, past or present, with any material or memories that might be relevant or useful, are invited to contact Geoff: Email: Phone/Text:  0274 842 665 or National Office: We hope to publish this update early in 2018.

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Thames South School – Hoterini ki te Tonga

Cultivating Magnificent Citizens Liz Hawes


Kia tupu ai ēnei kākano hei rakau nui. May these tender seedlings grow into mighty trees


Māori metaphors are such elegant expressions. They are sharp and discerning and provoke thinking and imagery at many levels. They also project the values and aspirations of the people who adopt them, thus communicating who they are and what they believe in. The Thames South School impressum, ‘May these tender seedlings grow into mighty trees’ is a splendid example. Children arrive at school as young five-year-olds (tender seedlings) and all being well, leave as life-long, self-directed and reflective learners (mighty trees). The imagery of the seedlings is apparent in the school’s seed growing shade house and throughout the gardens, whilst the ‘mighty trees’ are represented by the ancient twin oaks at the entrance to the school. During their time at school, children are fed and nurtured with knowledge, ideas and information through ‘Inquiry Learning’ and offered a wide range of experiences both inside and outside of the school. They are empowered with a strong sense of their own culture, language and identity and learn how to contribute as thoughtful, local and global citizens who are connected to their environment. It’s a big ask, but according to principal Kim Nikora, or Whaea Kim, as the children call her, and deputy principal Jeannie Apthorp, these are realistic, relevant and achievable aspirations. The close connections the school has to its own natural

environs is evidenced in the scrupulous attention paid to growing and maintaining the school’s flower, vegetable and herb gardens, developing the orchard, planting trees and tending the grass areas. The twin oaks stand guard at the school’s entrance, like kaitiaki offering protection to all who walk through the school gate. The grounds are a picture of beauty not just for the colour, design and landscaping but for the care the children and staff take to ensure their environment is fed, nurtured and sustained. ‘We are an ‘enviro’ school,’ says Kim, ‘and fulfil all the expectations of ‘silver level’, but while it has been great to access resources for establishing our gardens and worm farm, we are not ambitious to continue on to gold level,’ she said. The reason is that at Thames South School, the students are encouraged to have a voice and to do the questioning. It is therefore preferable to have the children’s ideas driving further development of the school’s environment rather than a prescribed programme. Connections with the environment extend beyond the school gate. The school’s philosophy for learning embraces the whole community and is stated as care for oneself, for others, for property and for the environment. It is as much about service to the community as it is about acquiring academic skills. One tradition at Thames South School is completing a daily

A section of the original Kauri classroom block used by Parawai School which became Thames South School in 1915

Total Immersion students are assessed on both the mainstream and Māori national standards with pleasing results. Whaea Kim and the Immersion teacher check that the assessments are in order

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Kim Nikora, Principal Thames South School

fitness circuit. This activity includes scaling a nearby staircase, locally known as ‘Jacob’s ladder’. In the course of running up and down the stairs, the children observed that people were littering the areas at both the top and bottom of the stair case. They determined to clean up the area and were quickly collecting more than a bag of rubbish every week. Their efforts on behalf of the 130 year old ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ did not stop with the rubbish. They devised a plan to paint the 135 steps in rainbow colours, number the steps in both Māori and English and write motivating messages at intervals urging people to make it to the top. They presented their plans to the Thames Coromandel District Council, whose members embraced the children’s efforts and are working with them to complete the project. ‘The children did their own sales pitch to the Council,’ said a proud Whaea Kim, ‘and had to present a fully itemised budget to support their plan,’ she said. The school reaches out to the community in other ways too. ‘The local garden centre gives us vegetable seeds to raise in our seed house and plant in our gardens,’ said Kim,’ and when the vegetables are ready anyone from the community can harvest and use them for their families,’ she said. Whilst connections to the environment are strong so also are the children’s connections to their own cultural identities. The school’s Māori population is sixty-five percent of the school roll of 169 children. Kim extols the vision of former principal Mike Lander, who had set up a Māori Immersion Rūmaki and a dual language unit. ‘It was the strong foundation that Mike had already established that drew me to apply for the principal’s position when Mike retired,’ she said, ‘because I was looking for a school with things I believed in.’

Mike’s drive to develop a bi-cultural approach for the school led him to become a facilitator for the Te Akatea/NZPF initiative the Māori Achievement Collaborations (MAC) PLD programme. Kim has continued the MAC PLD for her school and after their last ERO visit the review team wrote that ‘the students are strongly affirmed in their culture, language and identity [including through] Kapa Haka, waiata, whaikorero and karanga [which strengthen the connections].’ ‘They participate and celebrate cultural, sporting and academic achievements [and] teachers, parents and whānau are involved in regular Te Reo Māori classes and other initiatives.’ ‘The school actively promotes Māori ways of being.’ Kim’s biggest challenge is finding the teachers to fulfil the bi-cultural dream. Networking with

The children enthusiastically show off their first aid kits and explain to Whaea Kim what they have learned from their St John’s class

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the MAC and accessing quality PLD that supports the Rūmaki and the dual language unit is paying off though, with Māori students’ achievement data lifting across the school. Not only is it lifting, but for the ten – twelve students in the Rūmaki, their success is strong against Ngā Whanaketanga Māori. Clearly being bi-lingual has advantages in both languages. ‘We can have it all,’ says Kim. ‘We can have educational success and success as Māori. We go for the lot!’ None of this is achieved in a vacuum. Local iwi groups are deeply involved with the school and frequently come in to share local stories, myths and legends with the children. Shortly Thames will be celebrating its first 150 years. It is important that the children learn about the contributions Māori have made to shaping the history of Thames and not just focus on the gold mining. It is this richness that gives the children feelings of pride

‘We need both the old and the new,’ says Kim. Thames South has four beginning teachers (BTs) who are very ably mentored by the more experienced teachers. ‘The BTs love the inquiry approach and have all the tools and technology to get ready for registration,’ she said. All the teachers at Thames South School are offered PLD opportunities to advance their repertoire of teaching responses. ‘I encourage them to think about their own careers and their own teaching approaches,’ says Kim. ‘It is important to have time to link teaching theory with the practical experience and reflect on how theory can inform practice,’ she said. ‘They also take time to visit other schools and see how other teachers are applying their ideas in different learning contexts,’ she said. Fridays are flexible at Thames South School. This is the time that small groups will be out biking the new cycle track recently completed, participating in duathlons and some will be in small

Sometimes former students return to the school to touch base with teachers and younger students, to share their news

In the total immersion classes only Te Reo is spoken

in who they are and where they are from. It also gives non-Māori children an understanding of a different world view, a world that is just as real and relevant as their own. Not all of the children are from the Thames area but all are encouraged to research and express their own journey, their own whakapapa. ‘At our leavers’ ceremony, we had one year eight student who was from the South Island and he got up and performed a rap about his own life journey and time at Thames South School,’ said Kim proudly. Empowering the children through inquiry learning is one thing but just as important are the teaching staff. They too inquire into their own practice and are all on their own learning journeys.

arts groups creating things. The purpose of flexible Fridays is to identify what the children are passionate about and good at so that teachers can build on those strengths. ‘If we can build on the emotional, physical and intellectual strengths of our children we will be more successful in our teaching,’ says Kim. The local Thames schools are geographically close and have always nurtured strong supportive relationships. For example the Thames South School has a swimming pool which they have long shared with the local Catholic School so that all the children can benefit from learning to swim and acquiring water safety skills. Forming healthy, trusting relationships between the schools, in Kim’s view, is the key to enabling maximum opportunities for all Thames students. Having already established these connections meant that when the notion of establishing a Community of Learning (CoL) was raised, Thames was well placed. ‘Thames is a strong community,’ says Kim, ‘and as principals [of Thames schools] we each bring unique strengths and have trust in each other,’ she said. Principals from the seven primary schools and the local High School together with the Early Childhood Education leaders met to begin their journey together as a CoL. We first set out to create a plan for our Thames schools.’ Only after the plans were developed was Kim chosen to lead the CoL. The next step was to submit the achievement challenges which the Thames schools agreed they could work on collaboratively. There has been some further discussion on details and changes have been made. The plan has yet to be accepted but Kim says, ‘I am looking forward to [pursuing] the direction we are taking as a community.

The School cycle track weaves its way about the perimeter of the playing field


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Learning about sea life the total immersion way

Jeannie Alpthorp, Deputy Principal (left) and Kim Nikora, Principal (right) of Thames South School shelter from the sun in their beautiful school gardens

There is another challenge for Kim, and possibly all principals and that is having the time to reflect. ‘I think sabbaticals should be compulsory for all principals because they need breaks for thinking and reflecting,’ she said. ‘Often breaks come too late,’ she said. ‘Colleagues everywhere are talking about ‘hauora’ and the need to manage stress. Systems, structures, rules and regulations do not have to control us,’ she said, ‘especially if the cost is our health. We don’t want to feel like a crayfish in a pot where without realising it, one day we might be cooked!’ she said. With her new role leading the local CoL, Kim is well aware that her time for reading, researching and reflecting will be even more limited and she is determined that the children in her school

will not suffer from her dual roles. To this end she has devised a plan whereby she will share her principal’s responsibilities with her Deputy Principal. ‘Jeannie and I will become co-principals of Thames South School,’ said Kim, ‘so that the children will not miss out and I won’t burn out!’ Jeannie Apthorp is as committed to the bi-cultural drive as Kim. She fully supports what the school is trying to achieve and the changes that they must implement to develop strong and empowered children. She, like Kim, subscribes to the position of renowned researcher Russel Bishop who says, ‘What is good for Māori is good for everyone.’ Together the co-principals believe that the whole country will benefit culturally, economically,




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The library is filled with fun things to do at lunch time like playing ‘Mancala’

socially and educationally if we fully embrace bi-culturalism now. That means making changes first at the school level, then the community and ultimately for the nation. Thames South School is located in a low decile area and many of the children come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Kim is determined that her school will be an ‘equity space’ where every child will have fruit every day, with the support of the ‘Fruit in schools’ programme, every child will have breakfast every day with the support of parents and whānau and every child can have music lessons. The business community is generous to the school, supporting the cycling programme and providing every child with a bike helmet, supporting the environmental programme and the outdoor education activities. The school also

Every child is supplied with a cycle helmet for biking at school


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accesses social agencies such as KidsCan to ensure every child has appropriate clothing for school. ‘We do not have a school uniform here,’ says Kim. ‘I believe uniforms are ‘systemic’ things that belong to another era! We celebrate diversity and it is our point of difference as a school.’ The connections the children make and the relationships they develop with their teachers during their time at Thames South School are often very strong and it is not unusual for groups of former students to visit the school to tell their teachers how they are getting on at secondary school and to catch up with younger children they befriended whilst at the school. Jeannie Alpthorp observed that it is quite normal for the older children to look out for the younger ones and include them if they are a bit shy or lost. It is the ‘whānau’ way to be inclusive and care about others and older children will often be seen playing with the younger children or organising games for them. For the visitor Thames South School presents more like a great big family home than a school. Everyone in the ‘household’ has their say. Everyone is listened to, everyone is cared for, everyone contributes and everyone is welcome, whether they are a student, parent, from the local iwi, an expert or a community member. As in any family, there are differences, discussions, arguments even and decisions are made which will not please everyone all of the time. But what is certain is that no decision will be made that is contrary to the bicultural vision of the school and every decision will be intended to progress the learning of the Thames South School children.

DOC’s ‘in the environment’ education resources A series of investigation tools for primary and intermediate schools throughout New Zealand.



Education resource

Education resource

The resources encourage students to go outdoors, explore local green spaces, and collect robust scientific data that leads to action for local conservation. The first three resources in the series are available online.


The series, underpinned by DOC’s actionorientated inquiry learning process, encourages students to participate in citizen science projects and includes Science, English, Maths and Social Sciences learning objectives.

Find all our Conservation Education resources at plus information about our programmes

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PreParing new Zealand students to be citiZens of the world In Learning Languages, students have a unique opportunity to see themselves as members of a world wider than their own, to learn about themselves and how others see them. Learning other languages is a required part of school education in most countries but in New Zealand some students miss out on this opportunity. At the 2016 NZ Association of Language Teachers conference, Andrea Ewing, former pupil of Nelson Girls College and now successful international criminal lawyer, spoke about how studying languages had opened doors for her professionally, enabling her to work in Bosnia and Cambodia. Learning a language at school had taught Andrea three important lessons. The first of these was bravery: ‘Languages demand bravery. There is no waiting until you’re perfect. There is only diving in head-first, failing constantly, and toughing it out until things start to make sense.’ The second important lesson was in curiosity: ‘I made enough French friends to start to understand their outlook on life, and that contrast allowed me to see more clearly what it means to be a New Zealander’. Last, but not least, learning another language taught her humility. ‘What better way for Anglophones to learn how the rest of the world feels every time they’re trying to talk to us’. Career-proofing for the future Recent research (Erlam & Pimentel Hellier) shows that there is need in NZ for speakers of languages other than English in the

business, professional, retail, hospitality, and tourism sectors. Learning a language could be important ‘career proofing’ for the future. Cultivating a fertile patch Andrea, the international criminal lawyer, commented that learning languages ‘gives you a skill set beyond just vocabulary and grammar. It makes your brain a fertile patch in which any new language will thrive’. Research suggests that those who have never had a chance to learn another language during their adolescent years will find learning a language as an adult more difficult. Like a muscle, you have to use it to not lose it. Ensuring success in the language classroom While it might not matter what language you learn at school, it does matter how you learn it. Students need to experience success at language learning. Todays’ teachers of languages need to know how to give students the chance to use the language. They need to make sure that they understand the principles that underpin effective language teaching. They need the opportunity to ‘see’ their classroom practice through the eyes of another and the chance to reflect on what might need changing. All teachers of languages (primary and secondary) should be encouraged to complete the TPLT (formerly TPDL) programme. This programme is consistently rated by those who have done it as ‘the best professional learning opportunity’ available for NZ language teachers.

Transforming Language Teaching TPLT (formerly known as TPDL) supports existing and new teachers of languages apply pedagogy that has a real and positive impact on student learning. The programme also supports teachers to gain internationally recognised language qualifications and accreditation in language teaching. TPLT is a year-long programme funded by the Ministry of Education. For primary and secondary school teachers of Chinese, Cook Islands Maori, French, German, Japanese, Niuean, Samoan, Spanish, Tongan or Tokelauan. FOR MORE INFORMATION: | 09 623 8899 ext 46302 |


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National Standards:

How are they playing out in schools now? Dr Linda Bonne

Senior Researcher, NZCER

Nearly seven years after National Standards became focusing on these students, up from 47 per cent in our 2013 mandatory, are they driving what is happening in our schools, survey. While this may seem a positive change in itself, concern or is the New Zealand Curriculum1 (NZC) at the forefront? Are was evident about the negative effects on those students whose National Standards data used to set strategic goals for raising performance is labelled as ‘below’ or ‘well below’ National student achievement? Have students with additional learning Standards and whose progress is not visible in terms of current needs benefited from the introduction of National Standards? reporting practices. These are the sorts of things we asked a random sample of Teachers’ concern about some students’ anxiety about National principals in the 3-yearly NZCER national survey of primary Standards affecting their performance had increased since and intermediate schools in 2016.2 We also sought the views of 2013, and was higher for teachers of older students. Teachers teachers, trustees, and parents and whānau. also voiced concern about students not having enough time to The introduction of National Standards for Years 1 to 8 consolidate learning before being moved on, in order to attain was controversial, and there were concerns about how this their expected level of performance. might impact the work schools were National Standards seemed to have still doing to develop and embed their With growing little to offer students with additional local interpretations of NZC. National learning needs. Few principals or Standards were introduced as part of a numbers of schools teachers agreed that National Standards government strategy to raise students’ working in Communities help with the inclusion of students with achievement levels and communicate additional learning needs. Concern this information to parents and whānau of Learning (CoL), about the negative effects of labelling in plain language. these students’ performance—often S o on after their intro duction, developing shared as ‘below’ or ‘well below’ National consistency of overall teacher judgments understandings will Standards over the long term—was (OTJs) about students’ achievement of particularly clear. Some principals National Standards was identified as also support the expressed concern that including problematic, so consistency is one of National Standards data for students the themes we have continued to ask sharing of reliable with additional learning needs in their about in our surveys. Consistency of information. overall school data lowered their results, OTJs made by the teachers at the same leading people to think the school was school enables meaningful communication about teaching and not performing as well as it was. learning, among teachers and leaders, with students themselves, Students with high achievement were the focus of a smaller and with parents and whānau. Consistency of OTJs between number of comments. Responses from teachers indicated teachers at different schools is important when students make some students who already exceeded the National Standard the transition between schools. With growing numbers of for their age or year level were receiving less attention and schools working in Communities of Learning (CoL), developing so were not being challenged to extend their learning. Some shared understandings will also support the sharing of reliable parents and whānau commented that students who excelled information. Finally, consistency matters if OTJs are to inform were not having their high achievement acknowledged, using a national picture of achievement patterns and show whether the existing terminology of simply being ‘above’ National student achievement as a whole is improving from one year to Standards, and that this could have a de-motivating effect the next. for students. Effects of National Standards on students Although one of the intentions of introducing National Standards had been to raise student achievement, in our 2016 survey only 16 per cent of teachers agreed the impact of National Standards on students’ achievement overall had been positive. What was clearer was an increased focus on students who are ‘below’ or ‘well below’ National Standards: 63 per cent of teachers were

Reporting to parents and whānau The second intention of introducing National Standards related to communicating student achievement information to parents and whānau in plain language. At least 85 per cent of parents and whānau reported receiving clear information in their child’s mid-year report about their achievement of National Standards for each of reading, writing and mathematics. Fifty-one percent

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of parents thought National Standards provide a valuable record of their child’s learning. In 2016, more principals indicated they use illustrations in their reporting to parents and whānau to give them a picture of their child’s achievement in terms of National Standards (41 per cent, compared with 25 per cent in 2013). There was a small decrease in the proportion of principals using the four levels (‘above’, ‘at’, ‘below’, ‘well below’) for all students in written reports – 66 per cent compared with 74 per cent who were doing this in 2013. Working with National Standards data National Standards data were being widely used by principals to inform decision making. Most principals (88 per cent) used the data to set strategic goals for raising students’ achievement and slightly fewer (81 per cent) used them to focus particularly on students who are achieving ‘below’ or ‘well below’. Just over threequarters of principals were using National Standards data to: ■■

■■ ■■ ■■

make decisions around teaching and learning at the school level monitor individual student progress over time identify the learning needs of Māori students identify areas of need for teacher professional learning and development.

Although two-thirds of principals reported using National Standards data to make decisions about resource allocation (other than PLD), just under half of trustees thought the data were useful for this purpose. Most frequently mentioned in the comments principals wrote about National Standards was the unreliable nature of National Standards data. In particular, principals commented that OTJs made by teachers at one school were not consistent with those made by teachers at another school. Working collaboratively with another local school to moderate OTJs could improve betweenschool consistency; just over one-third of principals reported their school was working with other schools to moderate National Standards judgements. There were clear signs from both principals and teachers that further support was needed for teachers to feel confident about their work with National Standards. Only 41 per cent of principals and 49 per cent of teachers thought teachers had had enough external support and guidance. Many teachers (71 per cent) indicated that their school has a shared understanding of National Standards that means that overall teacher judgements (OTJs) at the school are consistent, and slightly more reported that their moderation work with other teachers3 has provided insights for their practice. There was doubt about whether National Standards data provide a reliable picture of student performance, either within one school or across all local schools. Principals’ and teachers’ comments echoed a perception that National Standards represent a narrow slice of what students know and can do, rather than their overall performance. National Standards and NZC In 2016, National Standards was shaping the curriculum in some schools. Over two-thirds of teachers reported a narrowing of the curriculum they teach, associated with National Standards. Forty percent of principals reported the focus on literacy and mathematics had taken their attention away from other aspects


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of NZC. Almost one-third of principals said National Standards were driving what they do in their school. At the same time though, 54 per cent of principals said that NZC is driving what they do in their school (up from 38 per cent in 2013), and 43 per cent said that they were continuing to build approaches and practices that align with NZC. Where to in the future? The 2016 NZCER national survey of primary and intermediate schools found that, while National Standards are part and parcel of teaching and school decision making, questions continue around their effects on students, differences in their interpretation and their impact on the wider curriculum. Over half of teachers and principals still feel they have not had the support they need to work with National Standards. The survey results indicate some schools are confident that they have woven National Standards into their wider NZC work, rather than National Standards narrowing what they do. It would be useful for this successful practice to be shared with other schools. We need more knowledge of how to use the National Standards in ways that develop student agency and efficacy, along with other key competencies that are central to students’ learning and later life success. The Learning Progression Frameworks4 signal significant learning steps for students in reading, writing, and mathematics, and are linked with NZC. These frameworks have the potential to help teachers focus on all students’ progress, as well as their attainment of National Standards. For students with additional learning needs in particular, more fine-grained information about likely learning progressions would help teachers to notice small learning steps and share these with parents and whānau in a way that avoids the negative effects of labelling. References Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealand curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media.





Thematic reports from the NZCER National Survey data, and details about the methodology and sample, are being published on the project’s web page: national-survey This includes the report, National Standards in their seventh year (Bonne, 2016), on which this article is based. NZCER also tracked experiences and perceptions of the National Standards in our 2010 and 2013 national surveys. We are unable to tell from the survey data whether this refers to moderation work with teachers in their own school, a neighbouring school, or a cluster of local schools. The Learning Progression Frameworks can be found at https://

About the Author Linda joined NZCER as a Senior Researcher in 2013. Her main research interest centres on ways in which the capability of our education system can be strengthened, in particular, the contributing roles of teachers’ on-going professional learning, and leadership for school development and change. Linda’s roles in education in the wider Wellington area have included primary teacher, assistant principal, numeracy adviser, and mathematics education lecturer.





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’Remarkably Different’ – NZPF Liz Hawes


This year’s national conference for New Zealand principals will be held from 19–22 September in Queenstown. Normally we host conference much earlier but the ‘Lions Rugby Tour’ precluded that this year. We trust that the later date will not create any inconvenience for you. Queenstown has always proved a popular venue for conferences, in part, because of its stunningly beautiful landscape that runs from the shimmering lake to the majestic heights of the sky-soaring ‘Remarkables’ mountain ranges, which provide a playground for skiers in the winter months. Somehow the combination of lake, mountains and lush green bush creates a tranquillity that is difficult to ignore. You quickly become absorbed in the peacefulness and sheer beauty of the place. You immediately feel it is OK to submit all your stresses and worries to the winds of Hector, Cecil and Walter Peaks, or to submerge them in the depths of Lake Wakitipu’s far reaches. Having divested yourself of every worrying concern, you can then head for the town centre which offers any number of modern cafes, bars and restaurants and for those so inclined, the usual retail therapy options are all on offer. They are available within walking distance of each other right there in the centre of town. For the conference organisers, it seemed almost natural that this conference would involve wellbeing, restoring health and morale and generating up-lifting feelings. The over-arching conference title, ‘Remarkably Different’, clearly references the geographical backdrop and there are activities you can expect to engage in at conference this year that are also ‘remarkably different’ from the norm! Without giving too much away, we trust that you are going to really immerse yourself in some super fun this year in Queenstown, because you deserve it! We chose the conference theme of ‘principal hauora’ not just for the Queenstown location but because a number of studies, including NZCER’s survey on wellbeing, indicate that increasing demands are causing increased stress for principals in New Zealand. We are well aware that principal hauora is a major issue for many of you and that it is often discussed at your local principals’ association level. We also hear from our Principal Leadership Advisers (PLAs) that wellbeing is an issue for many of the principals they are meeting. These are some of the reasons we chose ‘hauora’ as a focus for conference this year. Hauora is also one of the strategic areas of interest for the work of NZPF. The executive has been pursuing a number of initiatives from rural principal support mechanisms to the PLA service itself. Concerns about the wellbeing of principals and the lack of advice and support for them drove the advocacy work resulting 20

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in the first appointments to the PLA service two years ago. A team from the NZPF executive committee researched models of leadership support and advice, including those from Victoria and New South Wales in Australia, to devise a model that would best meet the needs of school principals in New Zealand. We thank our Australian colleagues for their generosity in sharing their own models and pointing out some of the deficiencies which they had discovered through their own practice. In constructing our own model, we drew heavily on what we had learned in Australia, most especially that the success of their programmes hinged on having practising principals in the advisory and support roles. We also thank the Ministry of Education for accepting our PLA proposal and agreeing to fund the PLA service. Evaluating the work of the early PLAs and recognising h o w mu c h p r i n c i p a l s appreciated them, led NZPF to lobby for more PLAs to be appointed right across the country. This year twentyfive PLA positions will be appointed. The service will be managed by ‘Evaluation Associates’ and Diane Manners, formerly principal of Kohimarama School in Auckland, has been appointed to co-ordinate the service. PLAs go some way to supporting principals and reducing stress but principals also need to apply stress reduction strategies in their own lives. That is why we have chosen hauora as our conference theme and that is why we have lined up hauora experts to address you. We know that the quality of the conference programme is the most important factor when you are choosing to attend a conference. That is why the organising committee is dedicated to providing the very highest quality speakers we can find for you. Dr John Edwards Speakers secured so far include Dr John Edwards, of ‘Learning Network NZ’. Dr Edwards’ research has always been led by his fascination for the human mind. He is a trained teacher and has held senior positions in curriculum development and written textbooks for schools. He is also an avid academic researcher mostly in the area of cognitive science. More importantly he is now the Managing Director of Edwards Explorations in Australia which focuses on developing human potential through strong cultures of learning. Judge Andrew Becroft Judge Andrew Becroft is the recently appointed Commissioner for Children in New Zealand. He has already made his mark with educators through his oral submission on the Education

Conference 2017 Act Update to the Education and Science Select Committee in February. Our own NZPF president Whetu Cormick presented on the same day and was impressed with the way that Judge Becroft insisted that the progression of the Act Update must be stopped until there had been a proper consultation process with children. His strong words calling for the children’s voice to be heard was refreshing and powerful and very much supported NZPF views that all good education policy must ultimately benefit children and their learning. We know that Judge Becroft is not just a powerful speaker. He also brings a wealth of experience as a former Principal Youth Court Judge and has forty years of legal experience. He has worked with some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable youth and has first-hand extensive knowledge of inequality, poverty and family violence. As Children’s Commissioner he wants to ‘build fences at the top of the cliff ’ rather than being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. He understands that school principals have a growing number of challenging children in their schools and will be sharing some of his wisdom with us about how best to make a difference for them. That after all is what principals want to do for all of their children.

Steve Francis Steve Francis is a popular Australian speaker on teacher and principal wellbeing and ‘Happy Schools’. His experience as a principal in very small and very large schools means he knows the demands and the stresses of being a principal. These experiences led him to write his Master’s degree thesis on teacher stress which he completed in the 1990s. Out of this work came his concept of ‘The Happy School’ programme. Schools all over Australia subscribe to his weekly articles on ‘Happy Schools’ and use the messages in them to boost the morale of their own teachers and reduce stress. ‘Work-life’ satisfaction has become a focus for Steve more recently and we don’t doubt that he will enthusiastically engage you in his latest solutions for achieving a better life-work balance. Mike King Mike King, former comedian and television personality, now speaker and advocate for adolescent and adult mental health has also confirmed he will address our conference. Whilst guaranteed to bring his signature humour and energy to the stage, let us not forget that he is also the journalist who did some probing work

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investigating New Zealand’s pork industry, bringing insights into some of the less than acceptable factory farming practices going on at the time. He believed that the public had a right to this information and used the television medium to expose his findings. Ironically his connection to the industry began through accepting a television advertising opportunity to promote New Zealand pork with ‘quick-fix meals’. He later apologised for this promotional work. More recently he has been working in the mental health field heightening awareness of drug addiction and some of the conditions that drive addictive behaviours. As a person who has suffered depression and drug addiction himself he is well placed to understand and articulate factors that lead to these behaviours and stress in the job is right up there. You may also have heard of Mike’s ‘The Nutters’ Club’, an online and offline phenomenon designed to change and save lives. It has an extensive facebook presence with in excess of half a million followers and has infiltrated Māori Television as a very popular series. Through his unique personality, humour and motivation, Mike is driven to reduce New Zealand’s unfavourable depression and suicide rates. Dr Melinda Webber Dr Melinda Webber, (Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāpuhi), Associate Dean from the University of Auckland Faculty of Education and Social Work, will not so much speak of principals’ wellbeing as demonstrate why having culturally inclusive practices can build self-esteem and wellbeing of cultural minorities, especially Māori, in schools. She is well qualified to talk about those aspects that contribute to creating a culturally inclusive school having researched and written and been sole author or contributing

World Asthma Day Tuesday 2nd May 2017 DID YOU KNOW








Support our Breathe Easy programme and help us recognise World Asthma day with a Dress up day in May at your school. For more information about our Breathe Easy Schools programme, delivered by fully trained registered nurses, please contact Linda Thompson at Asthma Auckland DDI: +64 9 623 4775 • Fax: +64 9 623 0774 Mobile: 021 919 182 Email: • Web:

author of countless book chapters, books, journal articles and reports across a long academic career. Currently her research is focussed on racial ethnic identity construction, Māori gifted learners and Māori student success. Melinda also brings the latest thinking of her research students who are studying a diverse range of topics from the factors contributing to Māori success in secondary schools to what counts as identity capital to the cultural identity of Māori youth offenders and factors that affect the implementation of the PB4L programme in schools. Melinda is a dynamic speaker and in high demand as a presenter. We are delighted that she is able to attend our conference in Queenstown. Conference organisers are researching every day to locate and secure the best speakers who can help you make a difference to your own lives by reducing stress, developing a better work-life balance and developing systems that are helpful in managing work-loads. Importantly, we want to find presenters who understand your particular context as school principals in New Zealand who are not only leaders of learning and curriculum in your own schools but also manage all the staffing and administrative functions too including property, and policy development alongside systems and structures, charters and compliance issues. Feedback we have received tells us that ‘hauora’ is currently the number one concern for the greatest number of you. Let’s hope by the end of the Queenstown conference that will no longer be the case. The day-time venue for conference will be the Queenstown Events Centre, which is some distance out of town. For this reason, the conference social and networking events will be based in town itself, within walking distance of the hotels and restaurants, ensuring that delegates can fully sample what the Queenstown centre has to offer. The pre-conference evening social event on Tuesday 19 September will include a distinctive twist and will also be our opportunity to welcome new principals coming to conference for the first time. An exclusive afternoon on Wednesday will ensure that you have plenty of opportunity to experience the delights of the wider Queenstown area. Both events are included in the conference registration fee. Any conference with ‘hauora’ as its theme must have a component of relaxation, enjoyment and chance to network with colleagues. It is also about getting away from the pressures of every day school life. We have made sure that there is no room for stress or pressure in this social programme! The conference dinner promises not just to feed you but to give you an experience that you will dine out on for months to come. They don’t call the restaurant ‘Skyline’ for no good reason. You will quite literally be heading to a restaurant on a mountain top. On arrival you will find that ‘mixing with the glitterati’ takes on a whole new meaning . . . only these stars don’t show off in flash dresses! Organisers tell us that accommodation in Queenstown will be at a premium in September. Accommodation options are currently available on the website and Earlybird registration is open until 25th July so book early to secure a place. The Queenstown Events Centre also has limited capacity and as Queenstown tends to be a popular location for conference, you will also have to register early. To keep abreast of conference progress and to register visit the conference website at Key dates to remember: Conference starts Tuesday evening 19 September 2017 Conference finishes With lunch on Friday 22 September 2017 Earlybird registration closes 25 July 2017


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Effective Leadership and Mut

are the Keys to Success in the Hawke Partnership Kirsty Jones

Eastern Institute of Technology

Teacher quality is most commonly defined by the various teaching contexts. The programme has now been running outcomes learners achieve and is used to indicate the critical as a three-year degree since 2013 and 2015 saw the first cohort influence teachers have on how much students learn (Alton-Lee, of candidate teachers graduate. The programme’s successes can 2003; Hattie, 2009). Raising achievement by improving the quality be seen through employer feedback about the excellent calibre of teaching has therefore become a key policy focus for many of the graduating teachers, all of who have secured teaching countries, including New Zealand. The importance of teacher positions for the start of the 2016 school year. quality on student achievement has led to a widespread review Leadership and innovation have been central to the Partnership of initial teacher education which has resulted in criticism that model. To achieve the programme goals, principals, mentor graduates are under-prepared for the realities of the classroom teachers and teacher educators have all played critical and and ill equipped to implement student-centred activity based collaborative leadership roles, which have been pedagogically teaching practices. Thus, focused and emphasise there has been growing teaching and learning to demand to improve raise learner achievement. teacher quality through Mainly these roles are practice-based models described as follows. of teacher education that The principal, as the help training teachers professional leader of make connections the school, is responsible between theor y and for overseeing the practice, and develop implementation of the the expertise to adapt school-based learning their teaching practice aspect in the school. in response to learners’ School-based learning needs (Timperley, 2013). is the consistent In Hawke’s Bay a Teacher school presence in the Education Partnership programme. By spending team are responding to two days of each week in this demand. the same school setting T h e Ha w k e’s B a y candidate teachers are Te a c h e r E d u c a t i o n able to see, feel, and Partnership team consists explore the complexity The founding group of school principals and mentor teachers. These schools of representatives from 21 of teaching. The mentor have been partners of the programme since it started and are now on to their primary schools located teacher is the professional second cycle. in Napier, Hastings, teaching leader based Havelock North and Gisborne, and the teaching staff of the at the school. This person is selected from the school staff by Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) programme at the Eastern the principal in consultation with EIT staff. He or she is the Institute of Technology (Napier and Gisborne) [EIT]. These manager of the school-based learning on behalf of the school and people are working effectively together to deliver a practice-based principal, and the ‘face of teaching’ for the candidate teachers, initial teacher education programme that focuses on preparing someone who supports and guides, interprets experiences, and skilful teachers for New Zealand schools, and graduating more mentors. Mentor teachers are expert practitioners, good models, Māori teachers in line with regional demographic needs. The and patient and proactive teachers who establish strong rapport Partnership is about more than schools simply ‘agreeing to with their junior colleagues and become critical friends. help’ the teacher education institution. It is characterised by The teacher educator is the professional leader from within effective leadership, mutual co-operation, respect and support EIT. This person oversees the entire programme and has overall and a collaborative collegial focus on teaching as inquiry and responsibility for the design, content and implementation of both reflective practice to improve teacher quality. Candidate teachers the on-campus courses and the school-based learning. Teacher (more commonly known as student teachers), work alongside educators have expertise with course content. They ensure that the primary school and EIT staff to develop high quality teaching clear links are made between theory and practice, and that the skills that enable them to promote learning for children in New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the New Zealand 24

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tual Co-operation

wke’s Bay Teacher Education

Education Council accreditation requirements are being met. All members of the Partnership team are committed to working closely with one another for the collective success of the group and they share consistent understanding of the Partnership’s expectations and their own leadership roles and responsibilities. All partners foster a ‘no blame’ culture by taking collective responsibility for issues that arise and working collegially to find resolutions in the best interests of everyone. Terms of agreement, which clearly articulate the obligations of each partner, have been developed collaboratively and are reviewed annually. The eight leadership dimensions identified in Robinson, Hohepa and Lloyd’s (2009) School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why, Best Evidence Synthesis guide the Partnership. Commitment to the eight leadership dimensions can be seen in the following ways. 1. Partnership members deliberate together to establish realistic and achievable goals that align with all parties’ strategic and institutional goals, and they regularly review the joint direction. 2. A collective and strategic approach is taken to resourcing. One example is the commitment made by all partners to ensure funding is available to release mentor teachers or other staff as needed for the programme. 3. Teacher educators, principals and mentor teachers work together to design programme content so that close links are made between the candidate teachers’ learning focus, the school curriculum, teaching and learning, and student achievement. 4. All parties take an active role in promoting and participating in the Partnership’s teacher learning and professional development programme. 5. Candidate teachers are valued and included as part of the staff when they are engaged in school-based learning and their involvement enhances the teaching and learning environment. School operations, expectations and responsibilities are clearly communicated to them and there are consistent practices for resolving conflict or issues that may arise. 6. Opportunities are intentionally provided for teachers to build relationships and engage in learning conversations with candidate teachers and with other colleagues within their own school and across the Partnership schools. These opportunities give participants the chance to talk about their learners’ diverse needs, to learn ways to address those needs, to develop consistent teaching practice, and to improve continuity for learners as they transition from one classroom to another, and from school to school. 7. Close alignment is made between the theory taught at EIT and its application to practice in schools. This enables candidate teachers to engage in constructive problem-

solving discussions that build formal theories of practice by challenging assumptions. 8. The use of digital technologies and an online environment are embraced so that there is up-to-date application of smart tools by the Partnership community and instant internet connection to pursue various aspects of teaching and learning.

Recently one of the programme’s teacher educators conducted a small case study to explore the success of the Partnership practices. Principals, mentor teachers, teacher educators, candidate teachers and students in schools were asked to comment on Partnership practices where they had seen improved learner outcomes. This was done through a questionnaire and/ or as part of a focus group interview. Four common areas arose from the study. They were: The Knowledge Building Community, Leadership, Teacher Practice and Teacher Capacity. These areas align with findings about improved learner outcomes in the best evidence synthesis studies

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carried out by Timperley, Wilson & Fung (2007), Robinson (2009) and Alton Lee (2003). The Knowledge Building Community Regular formal and informal learning opportunities occur between Principals, mentor teachers, teacher educators, teachers and candidate teachers enabling participants to draw on expertise and a wide knowledge base to inform their own practice. As one of the principals said: We have developed as a learning community, for the betterment of our community (shared ownership and responsibility) – EIT, schools, iwi, external experts, up to date teaching and learning practices, knowledge building and sharing, support and desire to succeed together, pooling resources etc. etc. etc. His comments are supported by those of a Mentor Teacher who said: We value the strong relationship that has been established between EIT and the other schools. There are open lines of communication and strengthened professionalism throughout the school and community. A Teacher Educator also reported that: The close connection EIT has with the local schools helps me to keep up to date with new teaching initiatives. I have also been able to get to know teachers in the field and tap into their expertise. Timperley, Wilson and Fung (2007) found that, when groups contain and have access to appropriate expertise, the opportunities to learn and process new ideas collegially provide conditions that improve student outcomes. Leadership Case study participants affirmed the collaborative model of the Hawke’s Bay Primary Education Partnership for enabling the growth and distribution of leadership among the team. They reported many examples of participants building their leadership skills. Principals commented collectively that: The partnership allows us to grow leadership within and across our schools as it enables more staff to take on mentoring roles within and outside the programme. We believe in and practise distributive leadership and this programme allows us to expand how we provide opportunities for our teachers to be leaders. A mentor teacher said: I have improved my leadership relationship skills by having to balance the staff needs along with the candidate teachers’ needs. Candidate Teachers were also able to see themselves in roles of leadership. One reported: When I was on practicum I got to do heaps more teaching. I also led the syndicate in learning Te Reo Māori because that was my strength. I think that because the school knew me so well through school-based learning they trusted my capabilities to lead. Findings from Timperley et al. (2007) indicate that building leadership capacity impacts positively on student outcomes. Through the BTP partnership, the regular and ongoing opportunities to develop teaching capacity our candidate teachers develop during school-based learning in term strengthen their capacities to lead during more formal practicum teaching opportunities. Teacher Practice Participating in ongoing professional development is central to the Partnership and schools work collaboratively with each other and EIT staff to design and implement development programmes that improve teacher quality. This collective approach has exposed participants to a wider range of new learning, and 26

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enabled each party to appropriately pool their resources and draw on each other’s expertise for the common good. Principals acknowledged this in the case study, one saying: The many regular and varied professional development opportunities available through the Partnership has enabled me to cost effectively expose staff to wider learning, better meet their development needs and subsequently improve the children’s achievement. Mentor teachers saw the usefulness of collegial support too saying things like: I have become a better mentor teacher by attending the professional development with my principal and through having regular dialogue with the other mentor teachers. Similar thoughts came from teacher educators who said for example: I have become very clear on the links between theory and practice and I work hard to ensure my teaching makes a close connection to school-based learning. I reflect on the campus teaching in dialogue with teachers in schools in order to improve my course work so that it is based on best practice and closely linked with what candidate teachers will learn when in schools. In addition to planned professional development, having candidate teachers in the schools has enabled ongoing and continuous teacher learning and development to take place informally. Comments from participants such as this were common: The conversations between candidate teachers and teachers have improved the quality of teacher reflection and feedback. Reflective practice was certainly enhanced and became a ritual as teachers prepared for time with the candidate teachers in their classrooms. Research shows us that participating in teacher learning and development has the biggest effect on student outcomes (Robinson et al., 2009). The BTP partnership not only develops candidate teachers’ learning and development but the learning and development of the teachers who host them also. Teacher Capacity In the case study Partnership participants commonly reported that the presence of the candidate teachers in school positively impacted on student outcomes and were one of the ways they were addressing the findings from the Quality Teaching For Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis (Alton-Lee, 2003). Teachers reported: Having additional adults in the classroom who are becoming more and more able to assist with teaching learners means you can work with small groups and individuals for longer and more often. Principals’ comments were similar, one saying: The Candidate Teachers have enhanced the school in so many ways. In addition to teaching they are willing and able to help with extra-mural activities, sports events, duty, fundraising etc. They give back more than they take and are such a valuable part of the staff. The learners themselves also recognised the added value of having candidate teachers at their school. A group of year six learners collectively talked about that saying: The EIT teachers help us a lot. We get extra sessions of one on one or small group time when they are at school. They also provided more and different activities at lunchtime and afterschool, like learning to juggle and photography. The comments above, along with many more from the case study, showed it was evident that Candidate teachers add to the teaching and learning capacity of the school. In addition to learning themselves and applying their own teaching skills to practice they share their talents and provide additional support in the classrooms and playground, and help to evoke a culture of continuous improvement.

Challenges and Lessons Learned Evidence from the case study suggests that the Partnership successes outweigh the barriers however there have been some lessons learned. The two main ongoing challenges faced by the team are around the organisation and management of the schoolbased learning component of the programme, and resourcing it. Crucial to overcoming those challenges is the ongoing commitment by all parties to address barriers by being solution focussed. Close connections and frequent contact between EIT and the schools along with detailed documentation, regular review, ongoing programme modifications and a ‘no blame’ culture enables the Partnership to stay focussed on the group goals and overcome barriers. Conclusion A collective commitment to improving teaching quality was the catalyst for the Hawke’s Bay Primary Teacher Education Partnership initiative and that focus has remained central throughout the development of the locally operated practicebased initial teacher education programme. Effective leadership practices and mutual co-operation in the Partnership has been key to the successful outcomes of The Knowledge Building Community, Leadership, Teacher Practice and Teacher Capacity; and challenges are addressed as they arise through a solutions focussed approach. With the inaugural cohort of graduates securing teaching positions, a full intake of new Candidate Teachers joining the programme and continued support from local schools, the Partnership is in a strong position to continue the important work of making a difference for learners.

References Alton-Lee, A. (2003). Quality teaching for diverse students in schooling: Best evidence synthesis. Wellington, NZ: Ministry of Education. Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning. New York, NY: Routledge Ministry of Education, (2012). Iterative best evidence synthesis programme/He Kete Raukura, quality teaching/He Ako Reikura BES Exemplars/Nga Kete Raukura – Ngā Tauira. Wellington, NZ: Author. Robinson, V., Hohepa, M., & Lloyd, C. (2009). School leadership and student outcomes: Identify what works and why: Best evidence synthesis Iteration. Wellington, NZ: Ministry of Education. Timperley, H. (2013). Learning to practise: A paper for discussion. Wellington, NZ: Ministry of Education. Timperley, H., Wilson, A., & Fung, I. (2007). Teacher professional learning and development: Best evidence synthesis iteration. Wellington, NZ: Ministry of Education. About the Author For the past 25 years I have enjoyed working in Primary Education in various roles from classroom teaching to school leadership and teacher development, both in New Zealand and overseas. Currently I work at the Eastern Institute of Technology, Hawke’s Bay as a Teacher Educator and Practicum Co-ordinator on the Bachelor of Teaching Programme. I hold a Master of Educational Administration and Leadership, and have research interests in how initial teacher education can be strengthened through institutional and school partnerships.

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Managing meetings with your Board Fiona McMillan

LLB, BA, B.Ed, PG Dip Child Advocacy, Employment Lawyer

As the school’s professional leader and the Board’s Chief 4. Ensure the Board has complied with its obligation to advise you of the potential outcome of the meeting (i.e. what Executive you will have numerous meetings with your Chair, disciplinary action you may be facing); and has provided you your Board and various sub-committees, as well as with parents, with everything you need to consider your response. staff, professional groups, and community members. You will It is unfortunately not uncommon for a principal to meet with have your own processes for managing those meetings. But it is a different story if the Board want to meet to hear the Board Chair on another matter only to be told that there your response to complaints or about potential disciplinary are issues with the principal’s conduct or performance, and that or competency matters. If you are the subject of a complaint, it is in the principal’s best interests to take ‘discretionary leave’ face potential disciplinary action, or are subject to competency while the matter is resolved because if the principal has to be processes then the collective agreement entitles you to be advised suspended the Board is obliged to report the problems to the in writing first about the specific matters causing concern. It is Education Council. The lack of logic in the proposition should wise to contact a legal advisor at this point or your own legal be clear- but probably not to a principal who has just been told they are in trouble and given no chance advice scheme. You do not necessarily to take advice. A Board is entitled to need to announce that you are contacting The Board has a suspend the principal only if the matter your legal advisor but can just quietly is serious and there is some risk to the give them a call; it is often better to keep statutory obligation school in leaving the principal in charge things low key rather than risk escalating to be a fair and and the allegations turn out to be true. matters unnecessarily. In most instances your legal adviser can remain in the reasonable employer But if the allegations are sufficiently serious to justify a suspension, the Board background while advising you as to how has no choice but to report the matter a meeting might best be managed, but if and must be properly to the Education Council whether the you do need a lawyer to represent you at communicative with principal takes leave or not. So if a a meeting then you can take one. principal is told it is in their interests to The Board has a statutory obligation you. take discretionary leave they are almost to be a fair and reasonable employer and must be properly communicative with you. That means they always being misled; there is no situation which is sufficiently must comply with the requirements of the collective agreement serious to justify suspension but not sufficiently serious to require (which simply reflect the general law). You should never be a report to the Council. If you find yourself in that situation put ‘on the spot’ at a meeting by being required to provide an remember that the Board must consult with you and allow you immediate answer to allegations about which you have had no to take advice before it can decide to suspend you. There is no prior notice before you have had a reasonable opportunity to advantage to you in agreeing to take leave rather than being consider how best to respond and take advice if the matter is suspended. You should not agree to do so and if it is suggested serious. My advice to principals who are asked to respond to your best option is to tell the Board that you wish to take legal potentially serious allegations in a meeting without being given advice before responding to the proposal. If the response is to a proper opportunity to consider their response and take advice suspend you then you are almost certainly in a stronger position is to listen to the complaints, obtain more detail if necessary and than if you had taken the Chair’s ‘advice’. At any meeting, including one which may be described as then to say they will give the matter some thought and get back ‘informal’ it is not OK for your Board to: to the Board as soon as possible. If you are asked to attend a disciplinary meeting then I suggest 1. Ambush you with allegations that you did not know about and that you; require your immediate response; 1. Do not agree to attend the meeting unless you have had sufficient time to prepare and to contact your legal advisor; 2. If the Board insists on holding the meeting simply listen to what they have to say but do not respond immediately; 3. Contact your legal advisor as soon as possible, and provide details of the complaint(s) or issues and how you propose to respond;

2. Call the meeting ‘informal’ if it has possible consequences for your employment such as a warning or dismissal; 3. Talk you into taking discretionary leave while the issues are investigated; 4. Encourage or pressure you to sign settlement agreements without first being able to seek advice;

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5. Suggest that you leave gracefully as a better option than a report to the Education Council or dismissal; or 6. Abuse or threaten you;

These may sound like outlandish suggestions, but all of these things have happened to NZPF members over the last couple of years. It is not uncommon for principals to need legal advice at some stage in their career, and when things are busy and you are juggling the many competing demands for your attention it can be difficult to identify the point at which you might need to seek help. It only takes the appointment of a new Board, one rogue Trustee, or an unreasonable and persistent parent determined to make your life difficult to turn an otherwise benign situation into a full on employment dispute. Most principals will be aware of at least one colleague who has experienced a dramatic change in their relationship with their Board of Trustees, from a friendly and cooperative ‘business as usual’ to an unpleasant ‘mission impossible’; a change which usually leaves the principal somewhat bewildered about how things reached that point. The first thing to remember is that it is unlikely to be helpful to simply bury your head in the sand and hope it all goes away. In some instances principals who have tried to cooperate with persistent unreasonable conduct from their Board have ended up cooperating themselves out of a job. It is equally unhelpful for principals to overreact and become defensive, as that risks escalating a situation that would have been better resolved informally.


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If you become aware of issues that could affect your employment and your relationship with your Board, then make sure you contact your legal advisor as soon as possible, even if turns out that you do not require legal advice at the time. It is certainly easier to resolve potential problems when your legal advisor has been involved from the start, and even easier if the problems are avoided altogether. Leaving gracefully Some principals decide that life is too short to spend stressful months defending unreasonable complaints from their Board, and just want to leave. If you end up at that point it is still important to contact your legal advisor before agreeing to anything or signing a formal settlement. Principals have been known to contact their legal advisor only after signing an exit agreement with their Board, when they have had time to reflect on the situation and regretted agreeing to resign, or consider the settlement itself to be unreasonable. Unfortunately it is often too late for a legal advisor to assist at that point. If it is what the principal wants, then a legal advisor can usually negotiate some kind of exit package after taking steps to ensure that everything has been done to obtain the best outcome possible and all of the relevant factors have been considered. If dealing with complaints from the Board is causing you to be unwell, you are entitled to take sick leave if necessary. You are also entitled to refuse to be rushed at any point and to take the time you need to consult with your advisor and consider your options. But it is equally important to remember that most Boards of Trustees are not attempting to subvert proper processes. There will be many situations in which the Board has absolutely no intention of taking action against the principal and is simply trying to establish the best way to respond to a complaint. The Board is entitled to expect you to be communicative in that situation and do all you can to assist. The school would grind to a halt if you were not prepared to discuss any possible criticism without taking legal advice. But while you are being communicative, you do need be on the alert for signs that the situation is not developing into one in which you are being required to justify your conduct or performance and the Board or Chair does not appear to be supportive. In short, contact legal advice before taking action on matters which could affect your employment. If your advisor can help they will, and if they can’t help with a particular matter because it is really an issue for the Board’s advisers they will explain why that is, and will usually be able to advise on what steps to take in order to avoid problems arising for you personally.

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School Lines Lead and dig up the diamonds around you! Lester Flockton

When Bill English, architect of his Government’s National Standards policy, gave his first press conference as Prime Minister late last year, he quoted the words above from a poem by Selina Tusitala Marsh. It’s a great pity that ‘and bury all that does not glisten’ was not added to that line! Such burials, of course, would include the last rites administered to National Standards, given their abysmal failure to achieve what the Government said they would. Over five years of intensive pushing, resourcing, data manufacturing and curricular, pedagogical and leadership distortion, the change in student achievement is almost indiscernible (there is more than ample ‘best evidence’ from reams of ‘data’ to verify this). Sharing this demise would be the Numeracy Project mathematics programme, given our nation’s progressively sliding maths performance since its inception. Again, the “data” proves this, and without doubt it’s the programme design that is most clearly at fault – but they keep on blaming the teachers. With time, many other policies will prove to qualify for equally ignominious interment, but we know all too well that those who command, control, legislate, regulate and ‘grow’ such policies and programmes believe in life eternal for all things they create, initiate and mandate, no matter which way the wind doth blow their spin and seduce the abiding acolytes. So denial is alive and well, particularly when some profit is to be made by living the moment and grasping at any illusory riches that may be in the offing. But seldom do we find that ‘diamonds are forever’! To return to Marsh’s line – it does provide some useful notions, metaphorical and otherwise. Take leadership, for example. Considerable play is variously made around its imperatives by professional groups, who have their experience-based, practical view of leadership (‘Kiwi Leadership’); academics, who conjure up their well-intentioned pet theories, and Government officials who narrowly contrive the purposes of leadership. However, put all of this aside, and leadership in itself is not a particularly complicated construct, despite those who would make an industry of it. Simply put, leadership is about influencing, motivating, inspiring, guiding and enabling others to follow pathways and practices towards shared goals. For this to happen, the credible school leader requires a few essential attributes including a good knowledge of their field, resourcefulness, trustworthiness, good judgment, enthusiasm and, above all, a natural ability to form empathetic relationships and exercise true humanity. They eschew technicism, shows of flimsy fashion, and sheltering behind compliance. Arguably, some leadership attributes can be taught, caught and coached, whereas others are substantially inherent dispositions and qualities that no ‘course’ can impart. Riley (2000), went so far

as to say that principals do not learn how to do leadership, that there is no one package for principal leadership, no one model to be learned and applied, regardless of culture or context, and that good leaders are often rule breakers. Bennis (1989) maintains that leaders are made, not born, but made more by themselves than by any external means! Importantly, leaders need to be sharply aware of the fact that they shape, but equally that they themselves are shaped. So constant awareness, discernment, caution and oft-times resistance to some insistent ‘shaping’ forces can help give a satisfying sense of the true meaning of professional leadership. Many principals will identify with Neyland’s advice: Never attend a course on how to become a leader. Why? You can only learn leadership from a genuine leader. And a genuine leader would never lead in this way. Similarly, it is easy to spot the fake education expert. She is the one who comes armed with a method, with codes and research data for guiding professional practice, and with advice she expects to be followed because she knows best. The genuine education expert could not be more different. (Neyland, p.7) Clearly, the intent or outcomes of leadership are not neutral, impartial or universally shared. Not all leadership agendas are directed at what many might value as good, virtuous, and inspired directions or outcomes. These days, school leadership agendas of Government agencies are typically around raising achievement and reducing disparities in accordance with mandatory and measurable standards within a narrow yet inflated slice of the curriculum. Leadership that ‘follows’ this orthodoxy is applauded and rewarded for complying with a myopic vision. This, perhaps, is understandable, considering that officials are accountable to Government for driving its particular priorities, so many Government funded leadership courses typically drill such priorities into the heads of vulnerable participants. But Government priorities are not necessarily in harmony with what a school community might come to value as a good and rounded education for its children. It might have its own ideas on the shape of the metaphoric diamonds that should sparkle in children’s eyes. More often than not they reach this vision because of the kind of successful leadership at work in their school; leadership that results in rich, stimulating learning experiences of great relevance to children, culturally and otherwise – learning experiences that reflect the direction, intent, scope and flexibility of The New Zealand Curriculum. As a widely involved educator and educational thinker, it gives me inestimable pleasure to visit, observe, and know principals and schools where this kind of leadership is driving this kind of N Z Principal | M a r c h 2 0 17


learning. In one such school, the principal’s regular community world (‘do it my way’). Be yourself, brighten up the landscape, newsletters talk only of its ‘great curriculum’, with wonderful and do it your way! stories from children and illustrations of its programmes at work. National Standards are never mentioned. In another great school, its mission of ‘wide eyed and enthusiastic learners’ is on Clarification of Author’s Positions • ‘Standards’ are fully supported in the lips of every teacher and student – and principle, but the current National it’s lived out in the daily life and spirit of But Government Standards policy, system, and curricular its fantastic learning environment where prescriptions are not. the true meaning of inquiry is understood priorities are not • The Numeracy Project is fine in theory, and practised. but it is failing far too many teachers necessarily in harmony Great school leadership takes its license and students. They deserve better, but from strong professional beliefs and with what a school malignant denial prevails. convictions about what is right and good • The abundant literature on School for children growing up in a complicated community might Leadership is an invaluable resource for world of challenge, opportunity and reflective leadership practice – provided come to value as it is considered and mediated with contradiction. It is a kind of leadership discerning critical analysis and constant that recognises and understands that a good and rounded mindfulness of practical realities. children are children, not mini adults – and that childhood is theirs for a relatively education for its children. short part of their life-span. It is a kind of leadership that thrives on creating and seeing the sparkle in References children’s eyes rather than the sparkle of hard-edged diamonds Bennis, W. (1989). On Becoming a Leader. New York: Addison Wesley dug out of political and bureaucratic turf with the biggest destined to adorn those who seek fame. It is a kind of leadership Neyland, J. (2010). Rediscovering the Spirit of Education after Scientific Management. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. that ably differentiates between good sense and nonsense in what is too often dished up by a system intent on its own limited way. Riley, K. Leadership, Learning and Systemic Reform. Journal of Educational Change (2000) 1: 29. Thrupp (2007) hit the nail on the head when he said effective leadership and teaching in one local context is just not the same Thrupp, M. (2007). Education’s ‘inconvenient truth’: persistent middle as effective leadership and teaching in another. There is no one class advantage. Waikato Journal of Education, 13, 253–272 best formula, yet there are just too many Frank Sinatras in this


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Teaching our girls to speak out . . . Helen Kinsey-Wightman

At a pre-Christmas barbeque I was involved in a conversation about the war in Syria and the bombing of civilians and children in hospitals. A group of men present strongly defended this as an act of war – I commented that this was indefensible and showed total disregard for the Geneva Convention. The response was, “Oh you would say that – you’re a woman . . . ” I was so stunned that to my shame I said nothing and backed away. Having berated myself extensively and thought of 50 things I should have said as a response, a few days later I went Christmas shopping at Unity Books. So it was that Tara Moss’s book ‘Speaking out – a 21st Century Handbook for women and girls’1 became my Christmas present. Tara’s premise is that worldwide only one in four people we hear from in the media is female and in Parliaments men outnumber women by three to one (hearteningly in New Zealand this is currently 2 to 1.) Her focus is on teaching women and girls to overcome gender bias and their own socialisation and speak out. She begins by debunking the myth that women speak more words than men. Whilst there is no scientific basis to the oft quoted statistic that women use 20,000 words per day vs only 7000 for men it is frequently quoted. So much so that in 2007 Scientific American published an article investigating how this fictional statistic came to be used so frequently, “Gender Jabber: Do Women Talk More than Men? In a word: No. But then, how did the rumor get started?”2 She goes on to suggest that perhaps this is a way society encourages women to speak less . . . Her book is an accessible tool that is useful in teaching young women to deal with diversions, put downs, and criticism they may receive both in person and via social media when they choose to speak out. As with all other areas of our teaching I believe we need to model and show our students examples of confident, competent speaking. I will miss watching Barack Obama speak. His delivery

from a prepared script was impressive but his ability to debate and speak off script fluently, calmly and with empathy inspired me. During the US election period Obama’s firm but empathetic response to a crowd of his democrat supporters who booed a heckling Trump supporter and serviceman emphasised his statesmanship, dignity and humanity. My role model for extemporaneous speaking – unscripted speech – in my school environment is one of our senior students. Last year Hana competed, as a Y11 student, in the senior section of the Ngā Manu Korero speech competition against students who were mostly 2 years older than her. This competition is comprised of a prepared speech and an impromptu section – where a student has 5 minutes to prepare a 3 minute speech on a previously undisclosed subject. The standard of speaking is very high and giving our students the opportunity to see confident, accomplished speakers is much easier now that speeches are available via the internet. Hinepounamu Apanui-Barr of Wellington College who won the senior English competition in 2017 is a great example.3 During my time teaching primary school I focussed a lot on oral language and ensuring I taught both girls and boys to speak up with confidence. In a girls’ school our students do not experience the opportunity to speak out in the presence of young men in their learning environment. So how do we prepare them for this in a tertiary context? Elleke Boehmer, an Oxford English professor, says: “I often observe my female students’ silence and lack of confidence in class with concern. How anxious they are about coming forward to express an opinion, to risk a point of view, so often letting the male students speak first and second and even third. And in this way they lose out in the discussions that are going to help them hone their pitch, write winning essays, secure the out-and-out firsts that male students in Humanities subjects still are securing in far greater numbers, proportionately, than they are.”4

N Z Principal | M a r c h 2 0 17


One of our school goals this year is “To prioritise the my class that their time should be spent on thinking, drafting acquisition of quality teaching and learning strategies to develop and redrafting their writing rather than creating a “perfect” independent learners.” Interestingly our discussions around exercise book. the teaching and learning strategies we would need to use to Reshma Saujani the founder of Girls who Code, says in her develop independence centred around developing risk taking, Ted Talk5, “We are raising our girls to be perfect and we’re raising our boys to be brave.” In 2012 she building collaboration, confidence and started a company to teach girls to code growth mindsets. One of our school and she tells them that coding requires As I started teaching my English perseverance and imperfection. She Enrichment class of students entering goals this year is “To continues, “Lev Brie, who is a professor Year 9 without the level of literacy needed prioritise the acquisition at the University of Columbia and teaches to thrive at high school, I began to think Intro to Java tells me about his office about how I could encourage confidence of quality teaching hours with computer science students. and risk taking in these students. We When the guys are struggling with an started by creating a mind map of all the and learning they’ll come in and they’ll reasons why they might have missed out strategies to develop assignment, say, “Professor, there’s something wrong on the groundwork required for strong with my code.” The girls will come in literacy skills in their education so far. We independent and say, “Professor, there’s something talked about physical challenges to sight wrong with me.’” Saujani advocates or hearing, moving schools, missing out learners.” actively teaching girls to be brave and to on crucial teaching, whether their parents had the time or skills to read to them, whether they had been be comfortable with imperfection. As I finished Tara Moss’s book on speaking out, Donald happy during their early years at school. Then I asked them to write some personal notes about which of these applied to them Trump’s inauguration prompted 5 million people worldwide – and I watched as some of them tried to turn my slightly random male and female – to turn out to for the Women’s March (with over a million marchers in Washington alone). One of the most diagram into something neat and tidy in their books. I reflected on myself as a young learner striving to keep my powerful speakers I heard was actress America Ferrera who exercise books neat and feeling the need to rip out pages and spoke out forcefully and bravely as a woman and an immigrant. rewrite notes so that everything looked perfect. Now my notes The organisers are now consulting with communities throughout are more often mind maps, records of my thinking with arrows, the US to plan 10 Actions for the First 100 days of Trump’s highlights and crossings out. From now on I am expressly telling presidency6. Whilst we are watching with growing concern the challenges to respect for diversity, respect for women and the right to free speech in the US as well as the rise of Nationalism in Europe, it is heartening to be able to show our girls examples of women Resene featured in the media who are prepared to stand up and speak Such Fun up, despite these troubled times . . . References Moss, T. Speaking out – a 21st Century Handbook for women and girls. Harper Collins 2016


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