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March 2019 Volume 34, Number 1

PRIDE IN DIVERSITY

INVERCARGILL MIDDLE SCHOOL

Also

featuring

• Initial Teacher Education • Leadership Dynamics Within and Across Schools

• Designing Your Future • Religious Instruction in Schools • Te Ariki On-line Tool


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CONTENTS  Editor Liz Hawes Executive Officer PO Box 25380 Wellington 6146 Ph: 04 471 2338 Email: Liz.Hawes@nzpf.ac.nz

March 2019

2 EDITORIAL Liz Hawes

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Magazine Proof-reader Helen Kinsey-Wightman

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

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Advertising For all advertising enquiries contact:

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Cervin Media Ltd PO Box 68450, Wellesley St, Auckland 1141 Ph: 09 360 8700 or Fax: 09 360 8701

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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.

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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

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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.

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PRESIDENT’S PEN

Whetu Cormick

Initial Teacher Education

Pauline Barnes

Leadership Dynamics Within and Across Schools

Phil Ramsey & Jenny Poskitt

Designing Your Future

Carolyn Stuart

ICP Council Meeting Liz Hawes

Religious Instruction in Schools

Professors Gregory Lee and Howard Lee

Celebrating Diversity – Invercargill Middle School

Liz Hawes

Te Ariki On-line Tool

Susan Lovett & Lyn Bird

School Lines

Lester Flockton

Opinion – ‘The Challenge of Thinking Innovatively & Restoratively’

Helen Kinsey-Wightman

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.

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MAGAZINE

Invercargill Middle School

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Editorial Liz Hawes 

Editor

Since the launch of the Tomorrow’s Schools Task Force of supply. The work force cannot release them, in the current report, the sector’s collective minds have nudged into overdrive. climate, so where will they come from? Their worried response is exacerbated by the urgency with which Fears are growing that hubs may become another layer of the report must be critiqued and submissions assembled. bureaucratic control and it is unclear how their relationship with In response, we have, in this issue of NZ Principal, endeavoured the Ministry will play out. Perhaps if they were just providers of to include articles that might help you think through some of services and resources and schools could choose to access these the major issues. Lester Flockton provides a provocative and resources or not, they might be more acceptable to the profession. thoughtful response in his column School Lines whilst NZPF This would also help to reduce some of the inequalities that occur President, Whetu Cormick, addresses between schools now. issues of equity and local versus Whilst the members of Whilst the members of the Task central control, highlighting points Force are clear that Tomorrow’s made through discussions with his the Task Force are clear Schools has had its day and the system national executive. requires radical change, others are that Tomorrow’s Schools There is much to consider if a not so convinced. Many feel that functional, successful, better and has had its day and the the one school, one Board model of enduring system of schooling is to self-managing schools is still perfectly result. One might ask whether all the system requires radical functional. They say those struggling recommendations being proposed to elect community members with change, others are not so in the report, are in fact addressing the necessary skills to govern could the issues that are most pressing for convinced. be better supported through the schools. option to appoint individuals with Take managing young people with serious behaviour issues, the expertise. They argue that the majority of schools have no for example. Constantly we hear that there is insufficient such problems. support, including funding; the waiting time for assessments are Despite the doubts and questions, there are aspects of the intolerable; there are insufficient psychologists, speech therapists, report that the profession has warmly welcomed. These include behaviour experts, and the list goes on. the support and advisory services planned for principals Whilst it is commendable that there is now a special education and teachers. The idea of introducing a quality improvement strategy in place, and admirable that 600 SENCOs are to be approach to the evaluation of schools has also been thoroughly funded, the question remains. Where will these SENCOs come applauded, as has the suggestion to measure the country’s from? How will 600 teachers be released from our already limited educational success through national sampling. In particular, work force, to train for these positions? Further, even if we could the profession welcomes having Leadership Advisors, themselves magically produce 600 SENCOs, would they provide the answers professionals, to undertake the school evaluations and to appraise to managing these highly challenged young people? principals. It is an honourable aspiration to aim for equity and inclusion Having Te Tiriti o Waitangi as a constant through all aspects and provide the very best education possible to meet every child’s of the report has also been met with generous support. For too needs. But is the best education for every child, all day, every day, long Māori schooling issues have been separated out as problems achieved through a full-time placement in mainstream school? to be solved. It is heartening to find acknowledgement of our A growing number would think not. country’s founding document taken as a given and Māori given The Tomorrow’s Schools report is mostly silent on these issues true and equal partnership status in the report. of supply. It is quite clear that whatever experts we can muster, Overall there remain more questions than answers and the would reside in hubs, and be available to all schools within that next weeks and months will generate some exciting debates. hub, but how that would help to meet the growing demands is Hopefully, the final recommendations that go to Cabinet will be difficult to appreciate. closer to meeting the hard, cold realities of educational life than Hubs are another contentious issue in the report. They would the ones we are seeing at this stage. replace the current Ministry’s regional offices and it is heartening that it is proposed that a goodly proportion of the hub personnel would come from the profession. Again, we face the problem

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President’s Pen

Ko Tainui te waka Ko Ngāti Raukawa ki Wharepūhunga te iwi Whetu Cormick 

National President, New Zealand Principals’ Federation

This year begins as last year ended – with the Tomorrow’s Schools review. The Tomorrow’s Schools Taskforce has completed its work and published its report, signalling the next phase of debate. The report contains thirty-two recommendations, covering eight topics. You have all received the report and I have included links to it in your Principal Matters newsletters. We have until April 7 to make our next submission. I do hope that you will take the time to discuss the report with your staff and school community and make your own submission based on what is best for your school, your children, your community and your country. The report and its recommendations will be the most important focus of NZPF this year. The final recommendations and implementation of them will form the shape of schooling, possibly for the next thirty years. That is why it is so important to get it right. By the time you receive this issue of NZ Principal magazine, your national executive will have met three times. That is some indication of the importance and urgency of this work. We are not alone in thinking this is the most pivotal work being undertaken in our sector at present. Professor Martin Thrupp, Waikato University says in his own blog post ‘ . . . Whatever results from the Tomorrow’s Schools report will likely have very significant implications for policy and practice in Aotearoa New Zealand in years to come.’ He notes that there is little time to comment in depth about the report of the Task Force, due to its late release last year and the long hot summer that has followed, and the lack of educationalists in universities and the media, who would, alongside the profession, normally lead such debate. In addition he notes that the unions are right now focused on industrial matters and don’t have the time to attend to this report as well. All of that means that the regional hui planned to debate the issues, may end up being more about imparting information than contributing reflective comments. In our debates as an executive group we have raised several issues which I will share with you in this column. The first of these is examining the underlying driving forces of the report. Tomorrow’s Schools was based on four main drivers. They are self-management, partnership, accountability and equity. The report addresses all of these to some extent but most importantly, equity. We all agree that we want to see equity in our system at all levels. We want all schools to be fairly and equitably funded, and all children to be receiving an education of the very best quality and of the type that best meets their needs, no matter where they live, whatever their ethnicity or social circumstances

and no matter what level of capability they have. We are also aware how easily schools can become the default for every social failure. It happened under the last regime and it could happen again, if we do not take care to avoid this. It is important that the report reflects the reality that there are factors schools cannot and never will overcome because these factors reside outside of the school gate. Without a firm commitment that Government will apply substantial resources to external issues such as poverty, housing, health and mental health and child welfare issues, the prospect that schools can substantially lift learning success for all is a pipe dream. The goal of equitable outcomes for our young people is completely unrealistic. A second concern raised by the national executive was local versus central or regional control through hubs. One of the aspects of Tomorrow’s Schools that proved more popular than

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most was the ability of schools to self-manage in partnership with their local community. Whilst it has been well acknowledged that there are communities that struggle to find community members to stand for election to their school’s Board of Trustees and some communities simply do not have the parents with the necessary skills for school governance, nevertheless, both parents and schools have enjoyed the close connections they have fostered under Tomorrow’s Schools. Largely parents feel satisfied having higher levels of participation in both school administration and in curriculum matters. Few relish the idea that the responsibilities and influence of the local school’s Board of Trustees may be diminished. We acknowledge that there is much detail missing from the report, so the true intent of hubs is difficult to fully realise. That said, your national executive has its own suggestions. They noted that Communities of Learning (CoL), a similar concept to hubs, were not universally well received by the sector, partly because they could envisage CoL might eventually become a compulsory structure in the system, providing a multitude of services and functions, advisories, even funding and ultimately result in reduced self-management. Hubs may be seen in the shadow of these issues. On the other hand, hubs might become the source of huge improvements, much needed expertise for special education needs, leadership support and governance. The devil will be in the detail, which is why I will continue to urge you to use your voice now and ensure you add your comments during the consultation phase. You have until April 7.

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Authentic partnerships acro to develop consistent quality Pauline Barnes 

General Manager Professional Services, Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

Initial Teacher Education (ITE) is one thing that most people in the sector have an opinion on, and rightly so. How we recruit, select and prepare teachers will shape our future profession, our education system and our communities. Back in July 2015, the then newly-appointed Board of the Education Council (the Council) decided it would begin a strategic conversation with the profession on ITE and developing professional leadership. The Board was tasked with lifting the status of the profession – and it wanted to do this in a coherent way, building the future of ITE alongside professional learning for existing teachers as well as developing leadership. Though there were lots of views about ITE programmes and graduates, there was very little information available about ITE programme performance here in NZ and abroad. The Council began by meeting with the profession and other key stakeholders to get a good understanding of the breadth of perspectives on what we would need to put in place to develop future-orientated initial teacher education. The result of this first phase of discussion was a discussion paper, ‘Strategic options for developing future orientated initial teacher education,’ released in July 2016. The paper made recommendations about: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

■■ ■■ ■■

standards and consistency of graduates design of ITE programmes expectations for entry to an ITE programme managing ITE graduates from graduation through to their first full practicing certificates managing the supply of new graduates funding programmes; and the network of ITE providers.

Since then, the focus of the Council’s work has been on the first phase of the change: setting the standards for ITE qualifications and rethinking how the Council should approve and review future ITE programmes so there is transparency and consistency in the quality of graduates. Practitioners have told us how important it is that beginning teachers are able to teach on their first day, whilst at the same time recognising that they are embarking on a career-long learning journey. So, we want student teachers to be well prepared and supported to meet the Standards for the Teaching Profession (Standards) and live up to the Code of Professional Responsibility (Code), though they will have been doing that in a supported environment, before they graduate. ITE providers need to be able to give confidence that their graduates have the teaching knowledge, skills and professional attitudes to provide quality education for learners and can adapt their practice to different contexts and new situations as their experience grows.

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Each learner has an entitlement to teaching of the quality required by the Standards, regardless of whether they are taught by a new graduate or an experienced teacher. The beginning teacher will need to be supported as they begin their ongoing development journey as a teacher, but expectations of the quality of their work should be no different than expectations for experienced teachers. To adopt a different position would be to suggest that learners should expect to receive an inferior experience with beginning teachers. It follows, therefore, that Council decisions about approving ITE programmes are best made using evidence about the quality of assessments used to determine graduates’ achievement of the Standards. Last year, the Council commissioned Dr Graeme Aitken to lead the development of an assessment framework, along with a small expert working group and the ITE providers. The approach laid out in this framework will provide much more confidence that when students graduate, they have been assessed on the things that matter. It is proposed that in future, approval panels looking at new ITE programmes will focus more discussion on: ■■

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■■

■■

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Contextualisation Identifying the values, ideas and philosophies that underpin and shape the programme, and how they influence the positioning and interpretation of the Standards. Coverage with rigour Demonstrating how the focus of assessment fully covers all aspects of the standard. Variety Describing the variety of assessment opportunities, approaches and modes used across the programme, and how judgements against the Standards will draw on multiple sources of evidence and take account of situations student teachers have not directly experienced. Diversity Explaining how the different contexts of teaching are reflected in the assessment programme, and how student teachers’ capability will be assessed with diverse learners, in different educational settings, and across various curriculum contexts relevant to the sector – acknowledging that direct experience of the full range of diversity is not possible. Partnership Explaining how practitioners are involved in assessment design and processes; explaining the approach to reaching consensus, and how student teachers are encouraged to recognise and act on their own and others’ assessment of progress towards the Standards. Readiness Explaining the assessment of student teachers’ progress on key teaching tasks, and their ability to perform these with independence at graduation; the approach to identifying sector-specific key teaching tasks and their connection to the Standards and the practicum report; the moderation processes to optimise trust in the assessment of key teaching tasks.


ss the profession ity graduates

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Complexity A description of the capstone assessment (see below) that all student teachers need to complete towards the end of their programme, based on an authentic practice situation.

There are a few significant changes that I want to talk about in a bit more detail. One is authentic partnerships with practitioners. The new requirements seek to enable authentic and sustained partnerships between ITE providers and schools and centres. Many of you will already be engaged with an ITE provider in some way, and many relationships are already strong and productive. However, the Council believes that if we are going to have the best possible graduates, practitioners need to be involved in the design, delivery and assessment of programmes as genuine partners. The evidence around what makes a programme successful points to this element as being critical. Of course, a requirement on paper isn’t going to forge

a relationship of trust. But the profession’s voice has been clear throughout this engagement that preparing teachers is a professional responsibility and now is the time to make this work. The requirements suggest areas where the provider is expected to be working with practitioners: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

■■ ■■

overall programme structure designing professional experience placements delivering professional experience placements identifying the key teaching tasks for a programme developing the capstone or final integrative assessment, and ideally the associated assessment of students programme review and ongoing improvements national moderation of provider judgements that their graduates are ready to teach.

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Adding the requirements for a capstone assessment is new. A capstone assessment is a final integrative experience that aims to assess the full integration of the students’ learning during their programme and their ability to access and integrate multiple sources of knowledge and skill to address problems of practice. As part of this process students will also be able to explain the connections of their actions and decisions across the Standards. This assessment will be attached to credits, so that we don’t end up in a situation where students have passed individuals papers in their programme but can’t pull it all together. We would expect practitioners to be part of assessing a capstone. Another new requirement is to design and assess key teaching tasks that graduates would be able to perform independently at graduation. These tasks will be different if you are teaching in ECE to those for a new entrant teacher or a year six teacher. They are likely to be more detailed and context specific than practices assessed as part of meeting the Standards. So, for example, a key teaching task might be that a teacher is able to do a running record. These tasks could be developed with the partner schools for a programme. The Council is also considering the development of a ‘base-set’ of key teaching tasks for ITE programmes. Though the proposed changes described in this article are just a part of a much bigger system change, I’m sure you will see the potential for gaining transparency and consistency across the system. The Council is committed to creating a learning-system approach to implementing and developing ITE approvals. Other key areas for development include introducing national moderation processes for assessment against the Standards;

the cycle of review and monitoring of programmes including information about graduates’ success; and more flexibility in the design of programme structures to help us attract a more diverse future workforce. It is by creating multiple feedback loops and collaborative relationships right across the profession that we will be able to make progress in this complex area of change. The Council expects to publish the new programme requirements in March. If you want to know more, or be more involved, you can see regular updates and resources here – https://educationcouncil.org.nz/content/future-focused-initialteacher-education. Council staff members would be pleased to talk to any regular meeting of principals in your area. Feel free to contact me at pauline.barnes@educationcouncil.org.nz About the Author Pauline Barnes is the General Manager, Professional Services for the Teaching Council. Since taking up the role in March 2016, she has led the development of the Standards, the Code, the Leadership Strategy and established a team to carry out the Council’s broad professional functions. Prior to her work with Council she held the position of Group Manager Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the Ministry of Education from 2011 to 2015, and prior to this, she was Director of PTE and Community Education at the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). Before taking up a role with TEC, Pauline co-led a humanitarian foundation in Romania with her husband for many years, working in educational and community development projects. Pauline has held a number of other roles as a management and financial consultant. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration, is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) and has just completed her thesis ‘Teacher Standards and Professionalism’ towards a Master of Education.

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Understanding leadership dyn school’ roles – and moving forw Phil Ramsey  Senior Lecturer in the School of Management, Massey University Jenny Poskitt  Associate Head of the Institute of Education, Massey University

Involvement in Kāhui Ako, or cluster, initiatives has unearthed some leadership tensions and dilemmas. Leadership can be both formal and informal, but at its heart, it is about inspiring others to act together in a common direction. But who does that, when, how, and with what authority has been a tension that many principals and those assigned to new leadership roles in Kāhui Ako have encountered. Trying to understand the constraints and complexities, and minimizing the misunderstandings that occur as people co-construct new ways of working, has been, and continues to be, a challenge. This article seeks to help explain some of the tensions encountered, and provide some insights into potential ways forward. Dynamics of Leadership Context matters. A rugby team may have played half the game with the wind behind them, effectively employing tactics that lead to success. At half time the team changes ends and faces a new context. They are playing into the wind. As they are about to kick off to start the second half many aspects of the game look the same: the field, the opposition, and the spectators. Yet one contextual factor, the direction of the wind, means that tactics that brought success only a few minutes earlier can now lead to disaster. Management researcher Barry Oshry (2018) explored the impact that social context has on leadership and organisational behaviour. A move from one group to another often involves a change of role. Behaviour that is healthy and engaging in one social context (e.g. your school) may be inappropriate in another (e.g. the wider Kāhui Ako). Why is that? To use Oshry’s terms, principals act as ‘tops’ in their own schools, and as ‘middles’ when working together as part of a Kāhui Ako. These ‘top’ and ‘middle’ roles have different opportunities and constraints, to which we now turn. Tops and Middles Tops are those with executive responsibility in a social system (such as school principals, CEOs of companies). This responsibility involves control of the system’s resources and deciding how to shape the system to meet present and future challenges. Of course there are many challenges: the future is uncertain, there is never enough information, and people in other roles may not appreciate the complex challenges facing the community or why change might be necessary. Middles (like team leaders and HODs) are those who act as agents of the executive, taking managerial roles that put into action the direction set by the tops. They are delegated responsibilities by the executive, though usually without the

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power (or resources). Middles carry out their responsibilities while integrating their efforts with those of other parts of the system (e.g. responsible for the junior school, while working with other team/departmental leaders). The context in which they operate, however, makes integration challenging because ‘middles’ find themselves in between people or groups with different interests. Typically, middles find themselves torn between the competing interests of those at the top (e.g. the principal’s ‘directives’) and those at the ‘bottom’ of the community (e.g. classroom teachers). Implications for Kāhui Ako or cluster leaders Oshry’s (2007, 2018) research uncovered how easy it is for social systems to develop dysfunctional patterns of interaction, based on the tensions and challenges of the various roles. But they can become functional through ‘systems leadership’ – leading across boundaries through positive influence, rather than exertion of power, and where multiple ideas, skills and contributions are required for solutions to complex problems. The focus is on empowering the collective rather than the individual. Go-ahead Kāhui Ako are based on systems leadership, which necessitates people in leadership roles to think and act systemically (‘across schools’, as well as ‘within their school’). Principals within the Kāhui Ako community adjust and act fluidly between their roles as ‘tops’ within their schools, and as ‘middles’ in the Kāhui Ako, working as change agents and integrators of education, on behalf of the governmental ‘tops’ who have responsibility to shape the broader education environment. What choices and adjustments might principals face? Leading from the Middle Principals typically experience a deep sense of responsibility for their school. A natural reaction to responsibility, especially when faced with complex decisions, is to take control. This can involve: fighting to ensure you get your share of the scarce resources available; prioritising what is most important to the school’s direction; giving clear and detailed instructions; and providing assurance to others that they can trust your decisions. Actions like these align with traditional models of leadership (Block, 1993), where leaders’ attention is focused on the health of the system in which they are the ‘top’. The Kāhui Ako context places principals simultaneously in the top (of their school) and in the middle of a system, requiring them to balance the interests of ‘their’ school alongside the interests of the wider Kāhui Ako. To illustrate the difference, Table 1 contains characteristics of principals acting primarily as ‘tops’ (in the first column) and as ‘middles’ (second column) in the Kāhui Ako context.


dynamics ‘within’ and ‘across rward Table 1: Top and Middle Approaches in Kāhui Ako Principals as Tops

Principals as Middles

Group Size

Maximise size to (1) i n c re a s e re s o u rce s available to own school, and (2) take pressure off the need to engage as a ‘team’.

Manage size, keeping the number of schools relatively small in order t o e n a b le e f fe c t i ve collaboration.

Relationships

Group is held together by mutual self-interest. Members do not need to change power-based interactions. Expertise is a key value.

E f fe c t i ve te a m wo r k re q u i re s d e l i b e ra te effort to build trust and respect amongst members, who freely choose to engage. Learning is a key value.

Goals

Adopt goals that reflect funder’s priorities which can be achieved with minimum effort or which coincide with school goals.

Ensure goals are meaningful to the team and the broader community that provides context for the Kāhui Ako.

Direction

Frustrated that funders don’t give clear and unambiguous direction. Want to be told what to do, and want to complain about direction.

Understand the challenge of complexity, that tops don’t understand the local context. The team has a role in educating the system about what is missing and in pulling direction from the top.

Group size Size of Kāhui Ako groups vary. Greater numbers make effective collaboration more challenging. From a ‘top’ perspective, being part of a large group can be attractive. A larger group can attract greater funding. If the group is large then not every principal needs to be fully engaged. So the extra resources, which can be used to benefit the school in which the principal has executive responsibility, come at a relatively low cost in terms of the principal’s investment of time. Principals who take a ‘middle’ approach, may prefer to keep the size small. In a smaller group there is more opportunity for effective collaboration. According to Oshry (2007), a key danger for middles is the tendency to become isolated and feel alienated from one another. As groups get larger, additional members make collaboration more difficult, with more effort to coordinate, resolve conflicts, and communicate, and less effort is available to do the work of the group (Schwarz, 2002).

Relationships Principals who act more like a top, tend to rely on power-based relationships. Others within the school are aware of the power associated with the role, and may acquiesce to the strongly held view of the top. Principals may not recognise the part that power has played in such interactions, and may assume that others are yielding to greater experience and expertise. Over time, this can lead to school leaders feeling that others outside the school should also yield to their expertise. Some principals report having been put ‘in their place’ by fellow principals reminding them who has the greater experience or the larger school. Alternatively, principals who see themselves as a group of middles who share responsibility and power for educational success across the Kāhui Ako schools, are more likely to put effort into deliberately building trust and respect with one another. Indeed, they understand the pivotal role of middles (and system leaders) to foster relational trust and positively influence interpersonal culture (Edwards-Grove, Grootenboer, & Ronnerman, 2016). Establishing an effective team takes deliberate effort, with attention to the establishment of group norms and processes that design effective practice into their work together (Edmondson, 2012). Goals When the mindset of members is to use the group as a vehicle to get resources, the goals of the Kāhui Ako will tend to be set with funders in mind. The group is likely to take an approach of ‘satisficing’: adopting goals that only commit the group to the minimum effort needed to do what is required, and measured, by the Ministry of Education. In contrast, an effective Kāhui Ako group wants to achieve goals that members find meaningful. When goals have meaning that members understand, the group makes decisions that move the system toward goal achievement (Schwarz, 2002). And, as intelligent middles, the principals set goals designed to make a contribution to the larger system in which they operate, responding to the particular needs of the local context which may not be understood by funders. For this reason, these Kāhui Ako give special attention to working with their communities to establish local priorities, common to all the schools represented. Direction A key role of tops is to provide direction. Because complex organisational systems are made up of multiple local contexts, tops frame their direction in broad and somewhat ambiguous terms, with the intention that middles will apply the directions to their local context. Principals in a Kāhui Ako, hoping to satisfice the Ministry while keeping their personal engagement

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to a minimum, can find the lack of clarity frustrating. In contrast, Kāhui Ako with a ‘middles orientation’, recognise that ambiguity creates opportunities. They draw on the collective insights and expertise of the group to devise a clear direction for learning in the local community, based on national priorities. System Leadership – a potential way forward When principals with a system leadership perspective engage with other schools as part of a Kāhui Ako, they give attention to the health of the broader community of which their school is a part. Instead of operating with positional power to get things done, they collaborate as a group of middles. They work to build the health and identity of their school while also striving to collaborate with other schools to address common issues. Key to being effective in this is awareness of the twin goals – optimising opportunities for their individual school (as ‘tops’), and the common good of the Kāhui Ako (as ‘middles’) – and realisation that there are choices to be made (Oshry, 2018). Furthermore, in their dual roles as ‘middles’ and ‘tops’, who relate horizontally (across schools) and vertically (within the school), they can mentor pedagogical leadership skills in departmental and team leaders (Leithwood, 2016). These other leaders, in turn, enhance learning and teaching capacities in the staff to improve student learning: the fundamental purpose of schools and Kāhui Ako. Through awareness and choice the principal, with a system leadership perspective, can fluidly shift attention to what is needed at any given time and, in doing so, learn to optimise the health of the whole system.

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References Block, P. (1993). Stewardship: Choosing service over self-interest. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Edmondson, A. (2012). Teaming: How organisations learn, innovate and compete in the knowledge economy. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons Inc. Edwards-Groves, C., Grootenboer, P., & Ronnerman, K. (2016). Facilitating a culture of relational trust in school-based action research: recognising the role of middle leaders. Educational Action Research, 24(3), 369-386. Leithwood, K. (2016). Department-Head leadership for school improvement. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 15(2), 117-140. Oshry, B. (2007). Seeing Systems: Unlocking the mysteries of organizational life. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Oshry, B. (2018). Context, Context, Context: How our blindness to context cripples even the smartest organizations. Axminster: Triarchy Press. Schwarz, R. (2002). The Skilled Facilitator: A comprehensive resource for consultants, facilitators, managers, trainers and coaches. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. About the Authors Phil Ramsey is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Management at Massey University. His teaching and research has focused on issues of leadership and organisational learning, with particular interest in how these operate across different national and organisational cultures. Along with his university work, Phil is actively involved in consultation and leadership training. He is an associate of InterLEAD Consultants, and a contributor to their Strengthening the Core program. Contact details: p.l.ramsey@massey.ac.nz Jenny Poskitt is Associate Head of the Institute of Education, Massey University. Alongside her leadership responsibilities, Jenny has research and teaching interests in professional learning, assessment and qualitative research. Although she began her career as a primary teacher, Jenny has conducted research in primary and secondary schools throughout New Zealand. Associate Professor Poskitt serves on various Advisory Groups in the Ministry of Education, NZCER, Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, and internationally. She is president of the New Zealand Assessment Institute, and a member of the International Educational Assessment Network. Jenny’s engineer husband, two adult sons and a teenage daughter keep her education perspectives grounded! Contact details: j.m.poskitt@massey.ac.nz


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Designing Your Future Carolyn Stuart 

founder and CEO of Weaving Futures

If you have noticed that the world around you appears to be changing at a faster pace than you can keep up with, then you are right. This generation is experiencing more technologydriven change than the total sum of world change to this point. The experts tell us that we are on the cusp of an acceleration of accelerating change. Sound scary? It is. In the meantime life goes on. Principals, teachers and students come to school each day; on most campuses the bell rings to signal morning break and lunch; and all over the world we are observing the job of educating our young getting more and more difficult. There are lots of reasons for this, including social deprivation, the impact of P and alcohol on babies, technologically-distracted parenting, and schools trying to figure out the best way to use technology in the service of learning and communication. At the heart of what is happening is that schools are not adapting fast enough to keep up with the global change. Schools are making stepwise changes in an effort to keep up, when in fact they need to be taking innovative leaps. For example, the way schools communicate with whānau. In the pre-digital days it was a newsletter sent home in a school bag. Then we started emailing the newsletter, but we kept printing it for the parents who couldn’t or didn’t access email. We built websites, we created blogs, Facebook Pages, Twitter and Instagram accounts, we purchased text messaging services. STOP. All these channels of communication are almost impossible to keep up with and the irony is that even though schools are communicating more than ever before, parents report being frustrated because they can’t find the information they need at the time that they need it. This is an example of ineffectual stepwise change. So how do you take an innovative leap? The answer is with great care. Deciding that you are going to take charge of designing your future is the first step, with the second being to use a proven method of future design. Design thinking or human-centred design is probably the most well-known tool in this space. How does Design Thinking work? Design thinking begins with developing empathy for those who you are entrusted to lead. Take for example the story of the New York Police Officer who observes a man on the street, in the depths of winter, with bare feet, goes into a shoe shop and buys him some boots. The next time the man is seen on the street he

is once again in bare feet. When asked why he is not wearing the boots the man replied that he had chosen not to wear them because he was scared that someone might kill him in order to steal them. Often in our desire to do the right thing, we end up doing the wrong thing through not building empathy with those we are trying to help. This story could equally apply to a teaching intervention applied to a struggling student without first finding out from the child, what they find most helpful as a learner. Once you have built empathy the next stage of design thinking is to take your new insights and uncover innovative ways to connect, learn and grow as a community. You do this through: ■■ ■■ ■■

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Clarifying the opportunity you want to bring to life Prioritising your actions based on impact over complexity Brainstorming potential solutions, then prototyping, testing and refining your best ideas Identifying a minimum viable solution.

The final stage in the Design Thinking journey is to take your solution and give it to the innovators on your team – these are the small group of individuals who love taking ideas that aren’t quite finished and working out how to make them fly in your context. The final step is to engage your early majority – these are the people who are happy to implement new strategies once they know they will work, to put the innovation into practice. To Summarise Design Thinking is a proven method of innovation within organisations because it: 1. Shows you how to focus on what people need rather than what they want. As a busy school leader you cannot possibly be all things to all people. If you focus on delivering what people need you will get maximum impact for your efforts. If you have time and energy left over then look to meet the wants.

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2. Gives you fresh insights into the people you serve, and shows you how to turn these into new innovative ways to connect, learn, and grow as a community. Often in our enthusiasm to make a difference in the lives of others we rush in with how we think a problem should be solved rather than pausing to uncover the need. We need to move away from the model of designing a new strategy and then seeking feedback. Instead we need to get the feedback first and design the new strategy based on the insights we uncover. I think that as we become more experienced the more tempted we are to use solutions that have worked in the past – but these may no longer be the best strategies. 3. Amplify the impacts of Teaching as Inquiry and Universal Design for Learning. Both of these models start with the teacher designing an intervention for their students. These interventions will potentially have more impact if the first step in the process was an empathetic inquiry into learner needs. I also believe that prototyping and testing solutions before scaling across groups would strengthen these models. 4. Greatly increase the rate and effectiveness of change in your school. As a profession we are exhausted but we can’t afford to stop moving forward. We no longer have the time nor the energy to pursue ineffective change processes.

One final thing: When I first came across Design Thinking I instinctively knew that it had an application for education, but it took me another 3 years, lots of conversations, and research into how other education jurisdictions are using this process, to shape a design thinking framework tailored for New Zealand schools. If you want to know more about this framework you can find a simplified version of it at www.weavingfutures.nz or reach out to me on carolyn.stuart@weavingfutures.nz and let’s have a conversation. Bio: Carolyn Stuart has been a teacher, principal, deputy chief executive of a crown-owned company, and is now a weaver of futures. She uses her expertise in education, leadership, and design to help others author their preferred future. Carolyn is the founder and CEO of Weaving Futures, a company which specialises in design thinking for education, runs design thinking workshops, and provides online leadership coaching. Carolyn speaks and writes about the way technology is changing our lives. To find out more go to: www.weavingfutures.nz


ICP Council Meeting

Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland Liz Hawes 

EDITOR

New Zealand has sometimes been described as more like Ireland than Ireland. If that all sounds a bit Irish it probably is because we’re a bit Irish too! As we were reminded by Damian White (‘Breath of Fresh Eire’ p 19 v.33 (4) Nov. 2018), we are countries of similar population, size and landscape – the further south one travels in Ireland, the more ‘pastoral New Zealand’ it becomes. We both have bigger countries as neighbours to shield us from the rest of the world and we are both countries built on immigration – in our case, a sizeable number of Irish people, who like us, revere the sport of rugby. As Damian White reminds us, Ireland is a country of friendly, generous spirited, engaging people, much like us. It is also a country proud of its education history and like us, has endeavoured to resist converting its public education system to a business model. Killarney, in County Kerry, Ireland, was host to the last International Confederation of Principals’ School Inspector Harold Hislop addresses the Council members Council (ICP). This is a gathering of the heads of Principals’ Organisations from across the world. It is an event at learning outcomes; he spoke of the industrial model of schooling which member countries examine the ICP structures, values and which followed, and the radical upheaval of the late 1980s, led by operations to ensure that the organisation maintains relevancy a new economic approach firmly based on the business principles and currency; they build networks, forge partnerships and work of market forces and the merits of competition. He explained that this was the context into which collaboratively for the benefit of school Tomorrow’s Schools was introduced, with leaders across the globe. the stated aims of self-management, At the ICP Council, Finland and partnership, accountability and equity. New Zealand were invited to present This, he said, was followed by the most a ‘Country Update’. It was clear that recent standardisation era and further ‘the world’s eyes were on New Zealand’ entrenchment of public accountability as our new Minister of Education had and competition. The move towards just delivered all vestiges of the Global standardisation, he said, closely followed Education Reforms to the scrap heap. the Global Education Reform Movement, National standards, charter schools and criticised by academics and practitioners any other policies supporting Global from across the globe. Education Reforms were now history. The change in Government in New The world leaders were all ears. Zealand, heralded a new direction NZPF President, Whetu Cormick, for education, he said, and this would first gave his audience a brief potted be firmly centred on quality public history of the development of New education, equity, collaboration and Zealand’s education system. He spoke a well-supported system. With the of the early effects of assimilation on detrimental mechanisms like national our Tangata Whenua learners, who standards, school league tables and were denied their own world view and competition now discarded, New cultural identity and were expected Zealand, he said has a clean slate to begin to learn in a new language and belief Location of the ICP Council meeting, Brehon Hotel, Killarney, County Kerry building an enduring system (preferably system, with the inevitable negative

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Excepting the stone fences, the further south one travels in Ireland the more pastoral New Zealand it becomes

Restful scenes surround the town of Killarney

free from political interference) that will benefit all learners, including Tangata Whenua, our Pacific Island students, our new migrant children, our special needs students and those living in poorer circumstances. He then outlined some of the tasks ahead, including a full review of the Tomorrow’s Schools document. Already, he said, conversations had been held across New Zealand and some emerging ideas included the importance of maintaining equity funding for schools and partnership with local communities. Further ideas on managing, developing and supporting school leadership included the establishment of a separate College of Leadership. Another theme coming through, he said, was supporting the wellbeing of students, teachers and leadership in our system. A highlight of the national conversations so far was the new focus on curriculum, he said, and with national standards now gone, a return to looking at children’s progress. In the words of New Zealand’s Minister of Education, ‘there will be a shift from testing to teaching’, which the profession warmly welcomes, he said. He made it clear that he had come to the international gathering to listen and learn from others about successful models of governance, wellbeing, leadership development and teaching and learning to take back to the Task Force groups already set up to begin the work of rebuilding and strengthening New Zealand’s schooling system for the future. The Council meeting covered many issues relevant to the New Zealand context. Topics included wellbeing, leadership, curriculum and classroom practice, school culture and evaluation. As we look to our own future post Tomorrow’s Schools, where the role of our own Education Review Office is

likely to have a radical shift in focus, it is timely to report on the presentation of the Chief Inspector of Schools for Ireland, Harold Hislop. The title of his address was encouragingly ‘School evaluation and leadership in Irish schools: A co-professional approach to quality and improvement’. His outline of Irish schooling illustrated how it bears a strong resemblance to our New Zealand schooling context:

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Central Ministry of Education (Department of Education and Skills – DES) and locally managed schools Individual schools managed by boards of management – volunteer members including the principal – some support from management associations Many small schools especially at primary level High degree of trust in the education system – strong links to local communities Partnership approach to policy formation enshrined in national legislation Strong school leadership organisations – IPPN (Irish Primary Principals’ Network and NAPD (National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals) – take a professional role.

There were also similarities within the leadership context. ■■

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Increased expectations and responsibilities for all public sector bodies The need to re-build leadership capacity recognised by the DES (Department of Education & Skills) who have worked with management bodies, leadership organisations and the Centre for School Leadership.


Of special interest was how the School Inspectorate approaches its work. Hislop described a co-professional approach, which, he said, should be complemented by self-evaluation. Elements include: ■■

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A balanced approach including both improvement and accountability Development of inspection approaches through consultation, trialling with teachers, school leaders, parents’ groups, students and management bodies Respectful engagement as a core principle in the way we work Core belief: The most powerful factor in ensuring children’s learning is the quality of teachers’ individual and collective practice and how school leadership enables this to happen.

How all this might look in action was equally enlightening. ■■

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Most of inspectors’ time is spent in classrooms with less time on paperwork Feedback to individual teachers and staff teams as well as to principal and board Inspections must identify strengths of the school as well as areas for improvement Commitment to avoid over-reliance on test and examination results as the sole or dominant measure of a school’s effectiveness Inspection reports do not include statistical data on academic performance that could lead to the compilation of league tables Respect for the complexity of schools: Inspection reports record judgements on areas of the school’s work but no single overall judgement about the school Reports are published and follow-up inspections may take place Processes for schools with serious weaknesses but ‘special measures’ label avoided.

The Framework principles under which the Irish inspectorate operates includes: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

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A holistic view of learning Broad, balanced, challenging and responsive to learners’ needs Well-being is intrinsic to learning Quality teaching is a powerful influence on achievement Schools are dynamic learning organisations – individual and collective work of school leaders and teachers is to build capacity towards improvement Leadership and management are inseparable Leadership recognised through formal roles (including deputy principal) and as teacher leadership External & internal evaluation are complementary contributors to improvement.

For a country that is performing significantly above the OECD average in reading, writing and mathematics, (as demonstrated by PISA results) the Irish approach to school evaluation is one worth investigating.

Messages on well-being promoted at the ICP council

MAGAZINE

You can now access the current and past issues of NZ Principal magazine online

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A Commentary on the Ministry of Edu on Religious Instruction in State Primar Gregory Lee  Howard Lee 

retired Professor of Education History and Policy, University of Canterbury Professor of Education History, Policy, and Leadership, Massey University

Introduction Readers of the New Zealand Principal journal may know that in September last year some New Zealand Ministry of Education staff members released a set of draft guidelines relating to the provision of religious instruction in state primary and intermediate schools. Accompanying their release was an invitation for members of the public to provide written feedback on these guidelines by 7 December 2018, after which time a dedicated group of Ministry officials would be considering all submissions received. At the time of writing, however, it is not known what decisions these officials have arrived at, although it seems reasonable to expect that they will be released publicly by mid 2019. These Guidelines have been given the title of the Draft Guidelines on Religious Instruction in State Primary and Intermediate Schools but, elsewhere in the document, they have been referred to as the Draft Guidelines on Religious Instruction and Observance (see p.3). In the latter instance some ambiguity may arise because the authors of the Draft Guidelines have declared elsewhere that ‘these guidelines are focused on religious instruction, not [on] religious observance or [on] religious education’ (p.3. Authors’ emphasis). The anonymous Ministry officials who prepared these guidelines declared, early in the 16 page document, that their aim was ‘to help [to] clarify what boards of trustees’ legal obligations are when allowing religious instruction’ as well as to assist board members ‘[to] develop best practice policies and practices around how to offer religious instruction’ (p.2. Authors’ emphasis). Given the reality that some confusion exists presently about what religious instruction embraces and what it does not encompass, and about when and where it can (and can not) be provided, these Ministry officials deserve to be commended for their efforts to provide much-needed clarification by producing the guidelines. They should be complimented also for the inclusion of a helpful glossary of terms used in the document (see p.16) and for a well-constructed table of contents (see p.1). The question that needs to be addressed now is: have the Ministry staff members succeeded with their project? We believe they have. The authors demonstrate a sound understanding of the key elements of four pieces of legislation that relate broadly, expressly, and even less directly on occasion to state school-based religious instruction – specifically, the 1964 Education Act, the 1989 Education Act, the 1990 New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, and the 1993 Human Rights Act. In the case of the 1964 statute, though, reference is made on several occasions in the Draft Guidelines directly to boards of trustees and their roles when no such authority was in existence at that time. Boards came into being only after the Tomorrow’s Schools’ report was implemented formally from 1988 as part of the then Lange

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Labour Government’s new education policy. School Committees were the statutory bodies whose members had responsibility for primary (from 1878) and for intermediate (from 1933) schooling matters until the introduction of boards of trustees rendered them obsolete post 1988. Notwithstanding this minor technical error, the Ministry personnel are correct in their assertion that under the 1964 Education Act (and, initially, with the 1877 Education Act) the curriculum that was to be delivered in all state primary (but not secondary) schools must be entirely of a secular (nonreligious) nature. To this end no religious denomination was to be represented, discussed, or examined in the work of these state institutions when schools were in session formally – that is, when the state sanctioned curriculum was being delivered to pupils by their teachers. School Committee members could, however, choose to close their school or a place within one for a designated period of time during a school day (to a maximum of one hour weekly, and 20 hours annually) so that religious instruction could be imparted, subject to certain requirements being satisfied (e.g., the manner in which religious instruction or observances was to be conducted had to be approved by committee members, and attendance at such instruction was not to be mandatory). As the authors observe rightly, the 1989 Education Act extended the reach of the 1964 Education Act to embrace intermediate schools and those schools with a designated, approved, special character that count as a primary school under the 1989 legislation, along with kura kaupapa Māori and some kura-a-iwi organisations. The authors are correct also in noting that the 1990 New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and the 1993 Human Rights Act ought to be considered whenever discussions occur about religious instruction in state schools. They maintain that these two statutes ‘[have] a moderating effect on how religious instruction is decided on and [on how it is to be] delivered within a school’ (p.5. Authors’ emphasis). The former upholds the right of all Aotearoa/New Zealand residents to have the freedom to hold and to exercise their religious and non-religious belief, and to be free from discrimination, the writers note. To put the point another way, the 1990 Act is considered to be an important piece of legislation because it gives every New Zealand citizen the right to hold and to express her or his freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. Not surprisingly, then, these Ministry officials want to connect the ethos or spirit of this statute to the all-important matter of state school-based religious instruction. With particular reference to the 1993 Human Rights Act, the writers state that although under this statute members of boards of trustees have the authority to close their school in order to allow religious instruction to be imparted, board members are obliged to do this in a manner that does and must not discriminate against any person who may hold different beliefs. The educational


ucation’s (2018) Draft Guidelines rimary and Intermediate Schools implications of this statute are significant, the Ministry writers believe, especially when it is understood that students’ and parents’ rights in a multicultural and multi-faith society such as Aotearoa/ New Zealand will be protected and promoted in legally sanctioned ways (see p.2). In this context, therefore, the authors are keen to remove any ambiguity or uncertainty about the scope and nature of religious instruction in their Draft Guidelines. Their quest is an entirely reasonable one, we believe. Religious Instruction How, then, is religious instruction to be defined? What are its limits, if any? To what extent does it differ from religious observances and religious education? Here, and elsewhere, we believe that the authors provide helpful, comprehensive, and concise descriptions of each of these terms. In relation to the concept of religious instruction and its deployment the Draft Guidelines provide the following definition: [It] is the teaching or endorsing of a particular faith. It is the non-neutral, partisan[,] teaching of religion which supports or encourages student belief in the religion being taught. Religious instruction is not part of [T]he New Zealand Curriculum or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. (p.3. Authors’ emphasis.) From this definition it is abundantly clear that the authors had in mind strictly non-denominational, non-sectarian, teaching, activities, and experiences. Religious observances, by comparison, are seen as being ‘[those] ceremonial or devotional acts of religion, such as prayers, Christian karakia, the singing of hymns, or religious readings . . . [that] support or encourage adherence to a particular belief or religion’ (p.3). The denominational nature of these activities is readily discernible. In those instances where customary and social practices are to be studied within certain subjects such as the social sciences learning area in The New Zealand Curriculum, the Ministry writers have chosen the label of ‘religious education’ (p.3). As part of their attempts to provide greater clarity about religious instruction the authors excluded state secondary schools, state integrated schools, and private schools from their Guidelines, because their scope, orientation, and/or underlying philosophy is different from that of state primary and intermediate schools presumably. In so doing they recognise, appropriately, the place of religious observances in the three former institutions. The Ministry’s recommendations The authors make eight recommendations for members of state primary and intermediate school boards of trustees to consider

in particular. They invite board members to think carefully about the consequences and implications of their proposed religious instruction policies and practices for their students, parents, caregivers, families and whānau, with special reference to their right to hold and to exercise a variety of religious and non-religious beliefs. Community needs and wishes must not be ignored, they maintain. Rather, attempts ought to be made to balance these needs and wishes with the diversity of viewpoints and stances on non-religious and religious beliefs. There is no suggestion that this work will be easy or undertaken without difficulty, however. To this end the authors have added scenarios for all but two of their recommendations so that board members and other interested parties will have practical guidance about the implementation of these recommendations. 1. Community consultation expected The first recommendation involves the use of community consultation processes to inform decision making about whether or not to permit religious instruction in a particular state primary or intermediate school and, if agreed to, on what terms. The authors argue in favour of ‘a transparent and open decision-making process’ through, for example, advertising community meetings, written surveys, and feedback forms – wherein parents and other affected parties become aware of what ‘the nature and content of any proposed [religious instruction] programmes’ (p.7) could be as well as about the nature and scope of any non-religious education alternative that may be suggested. We believe that the writers’ emphasis on a three-year consultation strategy, to identify any changes in community thinking about the religious instruction on offer at a designated school, is appropriate. The same can be said about the suggestion that board members pay careful attention to how they gather ‘accurate and consistent information from providers [of schoolbased religious instruction]’, although the authors’ insistence on board members being able to demonstrate that ‘a neutral, transparent[,] selection process’ (p.7) operated when choosing one provider over another may prove harder to achieve in practice. Nevertheless, we predict that the scenario provided by the writers – involving well-advertised community meetings, presentations by board members, reporting back to students and parents, and the release of the members’ decision through several media outlets – will be a helpful one for board members if and/or when the draft document is implemented. 2. Provision of comprehensive information The second recommendation made by the authors stems directly from the first. It is proposed that ‘full and accurate information’ be given to students, families and whānau to help them make informed decisions’ (p.8) about matters pertaining to religious

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instruction and to any alternative education offering(s). All information ought to be given in writing, in unambiguous language, and interested parties will be left in no doubt that any religious instruction programme ‘[will endorse] a particular faith and will use or reference religious documents, such as the Bible’ (p.8), the writers propose. Moreover, any concerns about who precisely is to deliver such a programme and about its location and time are likely to disappear with the insistence that all affected students, their parents, caregivers, and whānau be well informed about any religious education offering and any education alternative(s) scheduled for introduction into a school. Of particular note is the authors’ insistence that affected persons be made aware of the difference between religious instruction and religious education, with the result that the former can and must not be considered as a component of The New Zealand Curriculum. 3. Education alternatives to be offered The provision of ‘valid education alternatives to religious instruction’ (p.9) forms the basis of the third recommendation. Such a proposal is scarcely surprising, given the expectation that pupils whose parents or guardians or whānau do not want them to receive religious instruction during regular school hours will need to be involved in some other approved schooling activity during the time when their peers are participating in religious instruction. In these situations the writers want pupils to be able to access ‘a well-planned, valid[,] education alternative’ (p.9). This alternative should not be ‘ad hoc’ or unappealing, and it ‘[must not be used as] a punishment for not participating in religious instruction’ (p.9). The rationale given for providing non-religious alternatives concerns the importance of protecting pupils’ rights

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and avoiding discriminating against them. It is also one that is supported by the 1990 and 1993 statutes referred to previously, we maintain. The writers envisage that delivering religious instruction at times when a school is closed for teaching purposes (i.e., before schooling commences, after school finishes, and during lunch breaks) will eliminate potential and real problems relating to the provision of alternative education programmes. One of two well-conceived scenarios that the writers advance refers to a situation ‘where a school is closed when religious instruction programmes are offered’ p.9). This instance will be a familiar one to any reader who knows how and why the 1877 Education Act was interpreted to suit the purposes of persons who were keen to deliver formal religious instruction within the grounds of state primary schools. These schools were deemed to be ‘formally in session’ when secular teaching was taking place solely after religious instruction had been imparted to willing recipients in the morning, from 8.45 am until 9.30 am for example, or before religious instruction was delivered in an afternoon, after 3 pm for instance, when a school day was deemed to have ended formally. The second scenario given for this recommendation is one that mentions the provision of a Christian-based and an Islam-based religious instruction programme, in order to capture presumably the diversity of religious perspectives that have become evident increasingly in our twenty-first century Aotearoa/New Zealand society as a consequence of the immigration of Muslim and many other peoples. While no mention is made of who may be deemed suitable to deliver an Islam-based programme, the authors demonstrate that community consultation was a nonnegotiable component of the decision-making process. 4. Signed consent required One matter that has occupied the attention of parents and of other interested parties for several decades concerns whether or not signed consent is necessary, or desirable, for participation in and removal from religious instruction occurrences. The 1964 Education Act stipulated that a primary school pupil was not to receive any religious instruction if a parent or a guardian of that child wrote to the school to inform the principal to that effect. The Ministry writers appear to be alert to some of the problems associated with parents having to exercise agency in this matter – that is, to write to a school principal to inform him or her that the child in question is to be removed from any religious instruction. In their fourth recommendation they propose that signed consent be mandatory for participation in, and removal from, this instruction. Their argument is that ‘with signed consent, students who participate in religious instruction are there with the knowledge and explicit consent of their parents, caregivers[,] and whānau’ (p.10). They anticipate, consequently, that it is less likely ‘indirect pressure’ (p.10) will be applied for pupil participation when written consent is required and recorded. We believe this recommendation is wise, because in those situations where no signed consent is forthcoming it is assumed automatically that participation in a religious education programme will not take place. A ‘default position of nonparticipation’ (p.10) is adopted, therefore, as a safeguard against the potential violation of pupils’ rights and the possibility of discrimination occurring. We are satisfied that the scenario provided for this recommendation captures these principles very effectively. In short, the absence of any written consent by a


parent, guardian, or caregiver will result in the placement of the pupil concerned into an alternative, non-religious instruction, programme. It is also proposed that any questions about the orientation and scope of a religious instruction offering be directed to the provider of that programme, whose details are to be made available readily to interested parties along with contact information for and about the instructor(s). 5. Volunteers as religious instruction leaders The matter of who should deliver religious instruction – assuming that it has been agreed to, already – underpins the writers’ fifth recommendation. Here they reaffirm an important principle that was stated in the 1964 Education Act – that volunteers and not classroom teachers impart this instruction. Their thinking is that pupils will be able to distinguish between the provision of religious instruction and the school’s core curriculum subjects. It is suggested, furthermore, that ‘[pupils will not] feel excluded from their teacher and peers’ (p.11) whenever a volunteer is used. The authors stress the point that a volunteer is to be independent from the school entirely – that is, he or she can not be a counsellor or a teacher aide at a given school. We believe that this recommendation is sound. It should help to differentiate regular classroom teachers from those persons who will enter a school to deliver religious instruction to pupils whose parents, caregivers, guardians, and/or whānau endorse it. 6. Secular school and pupil support services advocated Consideration has been given by the authors, also, to the importance of keeping any and all support and pastoral services at a primary or intermediate school strictly secular. Personnel for these services include counsellors, health and youth workers, any mentors, and people who deliver specific behaviour and learning programmes. The authors’ sixth recommendation is that a school’s community be well informed as soon as possible about what services are to be offered specifically, be assured of their completely secular nature, and ‘feel confident [that] they [i.e., students, their families, and whānau] can access the support they need’ (p.12). This proposal is important, it is noted, particularly when support and pastoral services may be offered by organisations that are founded on Christian or on other religious principles. The scenario provided captures these principles clearly and effectively, we believe. It should be of assistance to board of trustees’ members if, or when, the Draft Guidelines become national policy for state primary and intermediate schools. 7. Safety checks for school volunteers necessary Given the extensive reach of The Vulnerable Children Act that was passed in 2014 it is to be expected that the authors would have considered if, how, and why this statute applies to people who perform volunteer work for and in schools. They have satisfied this expectation. The legislation provides the platform for their seventh recommendation. The writers note that the main aim of this statute is ‘to ensure that people working with children do not pose a risk to their safety’ (p.13). While the Act was not intended to apply to volunteers, the Ministry personnel recommend that a school principal initiate a safety check for ‘all volunteers who will have access to, and who will have regular or overnight contact with, children’ (p.13. Authors’ emphasis). Although a full safety check has six ingredients the authors do not propose that every element of it always be invoked for

school volunteers. Their scenario notes, however, that all six elements were required by members of a hypothetical board of trustees. We believe that the inference to be drawn here is that it is desirable to have more extensive checks in place than to opt for a more informal approach. A very minor amendment is needed, however, concerning the wording used when presenting the recommendation initially (see p.6) and the wording employed when discussing it comprehensively (see p.13). The former states to ‘Perform or cite safety checks for volunteers’ (p.6. Authors’ emphasis), whereas the latter states the need to ‘Perform safety checks on volunteers’ (p.13. Authors’ emphasis). There should be consistency in any headings that appear in a document intended for public dissemination and comment. The Ministry writers suggest that a formal police vetting process be undertaken with the volunteer’s consent, but maintain that the resulting documentation should not be older than three years. Such documentation ought to be provided by a religious instruction volunteer prior to commencing his or her work in a school, the authors propose. A volunteer can deliver instruction in a school without a safety check having been undertaken, however, but in those instances the Ministry personnel recommend that a staff member be present in a supervisory capacity at the religious instruction or observance session(s). The Act’s requirement that all school authorities have in place a Child Protection Policy (from 1 July 2016) means that a school’s approach to employing volunteers will need to be outlined comprehensively, the writers observe. 8. Complaints procedure essential Given the possibility that criticisms may arise over how complaints to members of boards of trustees about religious instruction might be dealt with, the Ministry personnel decided to devote their eighth and final recommendation to considering how best to communicate with families and with whānau. It is anticipated that notwithstanding an emphasis on ‘[having] open lines of communication’ (p.15), members of boards of trustees should be well equipped to respond to any complaints or criticisms that may be forthcoming. The writers conclude that having a formal complaints procedure in place, one that is known and accessible readily to interested parties, is a wise insurance strategy. The scenario that accompanies this recommendation demonstrates clearly the several merits of having such a policy in place. Conclusion We believe the authors have done well in trying to anticipate a variety of matters that may arise when people are engaging with the often controversial topic of religious instruction provision in state primary and intermediate schools. They deserve praise also for making sensible recommendations that address key questions and/or concerns. After minor revisions have been undertaken we envisage that these guidelines will become a useful reference document for members of boards of trustees, school personnel, and for interested parties nationally. About the Authors Dr Gregory Lee is a retired Professor of Education History and Policy, and a former Head of the School of Education Studies and Human Development, at The University of Canterbury. Dr Howard Lee is a former Head of the School of Education Studies and is Professor of Education History, Policy, and Leadership at Massey University in Palmerston North presently. They are brothers.

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PRIDE IN DIVERSITY

INVERCARGILL MIDDLE SCHOOL Liz Hawes 

EDITOR

The fabric of Invercargill Middle School is tightly woven with glowing strands of pride, clearly visible throughout its extensive history. The oldest in the district, the school has been cultivating its reputation for 146 years. The first students to make the school’s honours board were James Fox and Jane Jamieson in 1880. The honours have continued and in both 2016 and 2017, Invercargill Middle School was the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award, which comes with a $20,000 cheque as a reward for the school’s outstanding efforts. The certificates hang proudly in the entrance lobby, alongside representations of many other impressive achievements. The school was originally called Invercargill Grammar School and opened its doors to 180 students. Later it became Invercargill District High School. Male and female pupils were segregated with separate playgrounds and classrooms, a practice that was strictly enforced.The school stood witness to the diptheria outbreak, 1874 – 1917; the influenza epidemic of 1918; and the 1957 ’Flu. Wars also intruded and pupils of the day engaged in cadet training, rifle practice and improbably, were taught how to

dig trenches at school – such was the young colony’s enthusiasm to support the war efforts for the British Empire! When the secondary students moved to the High School in 1881, it became Invercargill Central School. In 1885 it was renamed Invercargill Middle School, not because it had become an Intermediate or ‘Middle’ School – they wouldn’t be invented for at least another 35 years – but because it is situated in the middle of the city. Whilst the weight of history sits firmly on the shoulders of the school’s current students, there are enormous advantages to having an alumni stretching back a century and a half. In 1973, for example, when the school celebrated its centenary, ex-pupils, who formed the centennial committee, made a substantial contribution to the school library. At Invercargill Middle School, history keeps on growing and giving. The modern school reflects few practices of the century old establishment, beyond loading up the coal bunker, which still fuels the school’s water heating system. The complexion of the school has also changed. There are not many students called Alfred, Oswald, Ethel and Ida any more. The Pākehā population of the school today, is just 45 per cent. The current 183 students

The juniors are enthusiastic about performing their action song

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Sam Tiatia is proud of his family of staff, students and parents

are just as likely to be Māori (23 per cent), Pacific Island (7 per cent) or one of the many other ethnicities such as Indian, Pakistani, Filipino, Turkish or African (25 per cent). Over time, homogeneity has given way to diversity. Principal, Stan Tiatia, himself of Samoan decent, recognises that cultural diversity can also bring challenges. ‘Our diversity brings such wonderful richness to our school community,’ he says, ‘but some, especially our growing number of migrant families, are unable to find stability of accommodation or income.’ This means Stan’s school also has a population of transient students and those living below the bread line. ‘Having a solid foundation on which to build the children’s learning is critical,’ he says, so that we can give them clear expectations and help them set challenging but realistic learning

goals. We help them grow as life-long learners, make learning relevant, fun and interesting and make them want to learn more,’ he said. That foundation comes in the form of school culture and it is to school cultural experts that Stan turned for inspiration and guidance. Russell Bishop and Ted Glynn’s work Culture Counts: Changing Power Relations in Education was a good starting point along with Bishop & Berryman’s research into the highly successful Te Kotahitanga: Towards effective Education Reform for Indigenous and other Minoritised Students. ‘Our school culture is based on the concepts of whanaungatanga and manaakitanga. ‘As the children will tell you, we help others, but without taking over. That way all children can participate,’ he

The mantra for Restorative Justice is liberally displayed throughout the school

The 2016 Prime Minister’s Award sits alongside the 2017 Award

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Children interacting together

Invercargill Middle School is a school of diversity

says, ‘All children learn and all children make progress,’ he said. ‘We also emphasise whanaungatanga or working together as one, like a family,’ says Stan. ‘We all have high expectations of each other, and that includes the teachers and the children.’ He went on to explain that whanaungatanga was all about looking after each other because if something happens to one, it affects all of us. He said children learn to do the right thing and help their class mates. They are encouraged to operate as a team, even if the ones you help are not your friends. ‘Our school strategic plan is closely aligned to these values, because we all live these values in everything we do at school. The wellbeing of staff and students is critically important to us, because we are at all times considering the whole person and their circumstances,’ he said. Stan reasoned that if his young people were to get the best learning possible, then every experience would be a learning opportunity. They would be learning from school leaders like himself, from the teachers and from each other. At the same time our teachers learn from each other and from the children too. It’s all reciprocal learning under whanaungatanga. The children also bring learning from their own homes to share. For example, fly-fishing is the passion of one student’s mother and her young son often joins her. He knows all the fishing rules and regulations and why you must release any fish that is under-size. He knows the nuances of salmon and trout including how to smoke them. He shares this knowledge with his class mates, thereby enriching them all. The culture of the school supports and facilitates such examples of shared learning.

The day I visit, staff are meeting to share the curriculum and learning progress of the children. It is a very open and collaborative encounter of staff looking at assessment results, interpreting them and applying the results to the learning progress of the children. Conversations are not fixated on labelling the children by their position in relation to others or in relation to documented expectations. It’s not even about looking at their own class of children. These teachers take responsibility for all children. It is about moving the children’s learning in a positive direction from where they are now. Some have arrived at school well behind and many with no English. That’s not an issue for these teachers. It’s all about the progress. It is clear from the conversations that the wellbeing of the children at Invercargill Middle School, is very much at the heart of everything. It was like being privy to a kitchen table discussion about the children from a very large family. The difference was that most of the conversation centred on how the children are learning and what could help improve their learning, as individuals, as groups and as whole classes. Then it was about how they can support each other, learn from each other through observing each other’s practice, share resources and realistically identify what is achievable. Out in the playground the children are eager to talk about their learning ‘My teacher teaches me about numbers,’ says one little girl as she swung from the climbing frame, but guess what?’ I am all ears . . . ‘I teach my teacher how to draw beautiful things!’ It sounded like a win-win to me. In the school’s garden I meet more students who tell me about

The coal still fires the hot water system for Invercargill Middle School

Māori language is encouraged at all levels and as the language of the Treaty precedes all other

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There is pride in the performance of the haka

Looking after each other is expected behaviour

summer planting. ‘You plant strawberries in the summer but not make,’ says Stan, ‘because our parental engagement is not strong in the winter, spring or autumn,’ one little boy informs me. ‘And enough yet, but importantly we are making good progress,’ he why is that?’ I ask. ‘You need to ask a teacher,’ he confidently said. replied, ‘and whoever finds the strawberries when they are ready, In a school of such diversity, there are bound to be some they can keep them,’ he said with a smile. difficult behavioural issues and I am A cursory look through the healthy plants interested in the school’s approach to assured me I was a few weeks early for ripe discipline. strawberries but I had a fair idea who might ‘We have a restorative justice’ approach just get lucky when they did ripen. to managing behaviour,’ says Stan. ‘What The day I visit is also Kapa Haka practice we want in the end is for relationships day. It was heartening to see both senior and to be repaired when someone offends or junior children performing in a passionate hurts another,’ he said. Throughout the display of action songs and haka. ‘We have a school there are plenty of reminders about very strong base now of both Te Reo Māori what happens if children deviate from the and Tikanga Māori coming through, which expected school values. both our community and children hugely ‘When we make a mistake, we own it, fix appreciate,’ said Stan. ‘Performances of it and learn from it’ haka and our own school action song, add Billboards and posters belt out this another layer of pride to our school and our message from every vantage point. I am community,’ he said. fortunate to witness ‘restorative justice’ in Operating from a research evidence base action. It is the case of a conflict between is also important to Stan Tiatia, and he is two boys. They are each invited to reflect grateful for the Prime Minister’s Award on the incident, explain what happened money to keep researching the concept and through careful questioning and of whanaungatanga in his school. He prompting, are led to accept ownership. wants to be sure that the school values Fixing the problem came down to each The school honours board stretches back are contributing to the children’s learning. apologising to the other and each agreed to 1880 Deputy Principal, Kathie Pennicott, has that they had breached the school values. been charged with pursuing a case study of four classes to They acknowledged they had not behaved in the expected way examine the influence of whanaungatanga and make any links and had let themselves down. They accepted the consequences to learning. Beyond this study she will move on to investigating of their behaviour. the concept of Ako, to teach and to learn, and Manaakitanga, It was a pleasure to talk with Stan about the focus for his school supporting through empowerment. and to see his intense enthusiasm for the learning progress being Parental engagement at Invercargill Middle School occurs made both with students and staff. It was an even greater pleasure at many levels. Stan maintains an open-door policy for to see it all in action, in the classroom, in the playground and parents, teachers and children and he also reaches out to his in the staff room. parent community seeking their voice through surveys and As we reflect now on Tomorrow’s Schools and where the report conversations and encouraging them to participate in school might take us, it is helpful to also reflect on those aspects of Stan activities. He and his teachers visit local marae and the Pacific Tiatia’s Invercargill Middle School which make it so successful Island Trust. He has also sent staff members to visit schools of and recognise that his school leadership, teaching staff, children high parental engagement in South Auckland to look at practices and parents all have an equally important part to play in the that might be helpful. Parents are coaching sports teams and success of the school. If Stan Tiatia is going to maintain the pride instructing the children in Kapa Haka. It was through listening of his school for the next fifty years, then maintaining all these to the parent voice that Stan tells me, he established a Māori special relationships is key. language class in the school. ‘We have more improvements to

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A tool to gauge collaborative Susan Lovett  Associate Professor in Educational Leadership, the University of Canterbury Lyn Bird  Principal, Selwyn House School

The word ‘collaboration’ appears frequently and seems almost to be taken for granted in matters related to school leadership. It is nevertheless challenging work, easier in the saying than the doing. The purpose of this article is twofold. Firstly, it highlights a newly developed online survey tool to help ascertain the strength of espoused values for collaborative work within schools, or, if desired, across a cluster or kāhui ako. Secondly, it presents an opportunity to share the experiences of those who have already participated in a trial of the tool so that others can see its potential. The article is structured in three parts. It begins with an explanation of how the four espoused Ariki values underpinning the survey tool originated. This is followed by a brief overview of the online survey tool and then a selective account of the insights gained from the trial showing the extent of teacher agreement on collaborative ways of working and how such information can be used to plan and prioritise next steps to further the collaborative intent of individual schools or those working as kāhui ako across schools. Professional values for school development: The legacy of David Stewart We are indebted to David Stewart (1933-2013) for his foresight in developing and naming four professional values for school development. David was an educationalist with experience as a teacher, primary school principal, academic, author and researcher. He had strong connections with NZEI and NZPF over many years. His work with New Zealand school principals focused on the development of their reflective capacities, a topic pertinent today. David initiated and developed the Te Ariki Project, a professional development programme for school principals. David was an early advocate of professional learning communities called quality learning circles (QLCs) because he believed leadership was intellectual work which was enhanced when practitioners gathered together to make collaborative sense of what worked and why. It was David, who, along with Tom Prebble, adapted the industry-based QLC approach for use in New Zealand schools. This approach provides protocols for principals working with teachers to explore and make meaning of their practice. It is an approach which has been used extensively in New Zealand schools for some years (Lovett, 2002, Lovett & Gilmore, 2003; Lovett & Verstappen, 2004). The ongoing relevance of David’s work with the Ariki Project (drawing in regional directors) has been encapsulated in the Te Ariki Charitable Trust, of which NZPF and NZEI are trustees. The four professional values which underpin the work of the Ariki Trust have gained in currency over time. They may even be more pertinent today given the Ministry of Education’s 30

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encouragement of school rebuilds and new builds which endorse a collaborative intent in teaching, learning, leadership and school designs. We believe the Ariki online survey tool, the focus of this article, has potential to highlight what it takes to create, maintain and develop unique and vibrant learning school communities through a closer interrogation of four key professional values. The four professional values are ‘Professional Discretion,’ ‘Collegial Obligation,’ ‘Reflective Inquiry and Discourse,’ and ‘Evidence-Based Professional Practice.’ A commissioned literature review (Lovett, 2016) and Lovett (2018a) provide further information about each of these values drawing upon recent research studies which confirm the importance of such values for collaborative practice. An online survey tool was developed from that literature review and piloted in 2017 (Lovett, 2018b). An extended trial (later in 2018) was coupled with an analytical conversational strategy to explore how participating schools could work with the survey data to prioritise and plan action related to the survey values. ‘Disciplined Dialogue’ was the conversational technique introduced in the trial by Dr Lyn Bird (a Regional Director of the Te Ariki Trust) drawing upon the work of Swaffield and Dempster (2009). Dialogue was structured around three key questions, namely: ‘What do we see in these data? Why are we seeing what we are? What, if anything, should we be doing about it?’ (Dempster et al, 2017, p.44). The outcomes of the trial using the disciplined dialogue technique are featured in the third part of this article following a description of the survey tool. The Ariki online survey tool The survey tool contains items which help to unpack the meaning of the four Te Ariki professional values. The twenty-six items drawn from the commissioned literature review (Lovett, 2016) establish processes underpinning collective commitment to learning and development. These items provide a language for talking about what works and why under each of the four values. They also serve as a measure for schools to gauge the strength of how teachers and school leaders can work together to enhance student learning and achievement. Each of the items is answered by participants responding to a generic stem, ‘To what extent does the staff of this school . . . ’ (eg realise that collegial sharing provides new insights into practice). The strength of agreement is recorded using one of four points on a Likert scale (ranging from to a great extent, to a moderate extent, to a slight extent and not at all). Schools then work with anonymized aggregated data in order to understand the levels and strength of agreement, identify and explain where and why results differ in their percentage spreads and decide on what, if any, actions are required. Details of the survey tool appear below:


learning cultures

Te Ariki Online survey tool: Professional values for school improvement To what extent does the staff of this school . . . ?

1. Stick to the moral obligation to improve students’ learning no matter the pressures 2. Adopt a continuous improvement mindset for teaching practice 3. Take opportunities to deepen professional practice through partnerships or networks within & beyond the school 4. Create opportunities for teachers to lead 5. Accept that those new to leadership work need to be supported 6. Realise that collegial sharing provides new insights to practice 7. Collect and act on data to inform next steps 8. Establish trusting and constructive relationships 9. Show willingness for mutual vulnerability in discussions about practice 10. Value opportunities to question, interrogate and reshape practice with colleagues 11. Blend considerations for colleagues alongside concern for task completion 12. Fulfil assigned responsibilities so others see them as credible and trustworthy 13. Trust one another’s caring intentions and show commitment to others 14. Take risks knowing support will be there 15. Respect the integrity, honesty and commitment of colleagues 16. Invite others to observe in one’s classroom as learners 17. Share best lessons with colleagues 18. Know the types of questions which help to make sense of practice 19. Make time for reading research & discussing insights with colleagues 20. Co-construct meanings of practice with external facilitators 21. Interpret & use data for improvement 22. Discern what is important & what is irrelevant 23. Show sensitivity to teachers’ feelings & competence when interrogating student data in public 24. Work with a data coach/team to build data literacy 25. Develop mutual relationships where both parties increase knowledge, skills & thinking 26. Construct new knowledge through collaborative work and social interactions

1 To a great extent

The first value, ‘Professional Discretion’ features items related to how a school keeps its focus on students and their learning despite other pressures. 4 3 2 The second value, ‘Collegial Obligation’ Not at To a To a emphasizes the importance of collective all moderate slight meanings of practice so that professional extent extent strength is gained from being part of a larger whole rather than leaving individuals to act alone. The third value, ‘Reflective Inquiry and Discourse’ recognizes the need for trusting relationships and opportunities to make sense of practice together. The fourth and remaining value, ‘Evidence-based Professional Practice’ is about having robust data sources to inform teaching and learning. This is more than merely collecting data but being able to use it to plan for improvement strategies. Outcomes from the trial Nine schools participated in the trial in 2018. For the purpose of this article, examples from one of those nine schools (pseudonym Tui School) are used to illustrate the kind of insights that may be gained by working with the survey data across the four Ariki values using the disciplined dialogue technique. While each school was given a template to record answers to the three questions, what they recorded and the detail provided was their choice. The first disciplined dialogue question, ‘What do we see in these data?’ was an opportunity to interrogate and exhaust the data for as much descriptive detail as possible without jumping to explanations or conclusions. The second disciplined dialogue question, ‘Why are we seeing what we are?’ enabled those with an understanding of the context to contribute their professional judgements for explaining the results. This brought multiple perspectives to the discussion. The remaining disciplined dialogue question, ‘What if anything, should we

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be doing about this?’ linked discussions to the moral purpose of schooling motivating decisions about what to do or not to do as priorities were raised and discussed. Tui School’s discussion of the survey results was undertaken by the principal and two deputy principals. Their strategy for the first disciplined dialogue question was to take each item and place it in one of three categories on a chart to compose a visual representation. Category 1 included items which were clear strengths showing 70 per cent or higher responses ‘to a great extent’. An example which contained all of the staff responses in those two categories was ‘stick to the moral obligation to improve students’ learning no matter the pressures’. It revealed 82 per cent and 18 per cent respectively in the highest ratings. A second category recognized items for which the result was considered satisfactory or in need of strengthening. One example was ‘know the type of questions which help to make sense of practice’ which showed 50 per cent of staff responding ‘to a great extent’, 45 per cent ‘to a moderate extent’ and 5 per cent ‘to a slight extent’. ‘The remaining category showed a spread across three or more ratings with higher percentages of ‘to a moderate extent’ or ‘to a slight extent’ or ‘not at all’. An example was ‘make time for reading research and discussing insights with colleagues’ for which 18 per cent rated it ‘to a great extent’, 59 per cent ‘to a moderate extent’, 18 per cent ‘to a slight extent’ and 5 per cent ‘not at all’. When answering the second disciplined dialogue question, Tui School took the five items from Category three. These were ‘coconstruct meanings of practice with external facilitators’, ‘make time for reading research and discussing insights with colleagues’, ‘share best lessons with colleagues’, ‘invite others to observe in one’s classroom as learners’ and ‘value opportunities to question, interrogate and reshape practice with colleagues’. They also noted ‘weaving through these items was improving our understanding and use of evidence through ‘work with a data coach/team to build data literacy’. In looking for reasons to explain these results, wider data literacy work was named and acknowledged as being in the early stages of change and development. Other questions were posed such as ‘Are the current systems we have, actually meeting the needs of our teachers? Where does the variance lie? Are they [the systems] being used in the way they have been designed? If not, why not? Do we need greater outcomes from teacher talk about students’ learning?’ The third disciplined dialogue question then took those same five items and placed the Te Ariki values alongside the ERO Evaluation Indicators to examine alignment. This enabled the ‘why’ to be considered with the next step of ‘how’ and the setting of priorities for action. They decided their strategy was for the principal and deputies to meet with the junior, middle and senior hub leaders to build understandings of why these five items had puzzled them. They decided to work with the team leaders to: ■■ ■■

■■

■■

exhaust the data; examine current practices that are effective and affirm beliefs about what useful systems actually are; identify those systems that are being fulfilled as compliance requirements, rather than making a difference for learning outcomes; and clarify next steps.

In this way they were able to match the ERO domains of leadership for equity and excellence, professional capability and collective capacity, and evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building for improvement and innovation alongside the four Ariki values

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of ‘Professional Discretion,’ ‘Collegial Obligation,’ ‘Reflective Inquiry & Discourse’ and ‘Evidence-based Professional Practice.’ One specific example of how the discussion progressed is evident in the senior leadership team’s mention of the school’s use of teaching as inquiry (TAI). The team asked three basic questions: ■■ ■■ ■■

Is the current format for TAI growing our teachers? Are teachers linking research to best practice? Are teachers confident to work with data within the team to build data literacy?

Quality Learning Circles were then recognized as having the potential to improve four key aspects of professional learning and development. These were the need to: ■■

■■ ■■

■■

continue building relational trust and connections amongst staff; build confidence in a culture of critique and inquiry; continue developing a growth mindset and acknowledge one another’s personal responsibilities; and change the ‘default’ position to ‘what does our evidence suggest’ when thinking and practice reverts to the ‘status quo’.

Conclusion Comments from principals using the Ariki Survey tool in disciplined dialogue conversations indicate clear support for its use. One said: The findings ignited much discussion and acted as an anchor for the inclusion of other information sources. These connections assisted us to hone in and identify not only our areas for development but also those elements of within school culture that were to be celebrated. The strategy emerging from this work will inform future steps. Another principal commented: The Ariki Survey provided the opportunity for me to learn from the feedback from teachers through an anonymous survey. The disciplined dialogue process was useful in that it focused my thinking on the feedback as ‘data’ with the purpose of what the overall data was saying. I have always tended to hone in on feedback that sticks out the most, positive or negative. The disciplined dialogue process was useful to remind me to take caution before making assumptions, especially when considering what future actions to take. The wording of the values and their corresponding items are useful for several reasons. Firstly, they provide a way of talking. It is useful to name aspects of each value so that they may become embedded in practice. Secondly, as each item is about an action, it is possible to explain the results in terms of current strengths and identify areas for ongoing development through the setting of priorities for future action. Thirdly, as a set, the items highlight the need for continual learning, reflection and responsiveness to context about the cooperative work needed to raise student learning and achievement. Fourthly, collegial relationships matter and are deepened through processes of questioning, interrogating, sharing, trusting and respecting the contributions of one another when each contributor is valued as a leader and learner simultaneously. As school development is collective rather than individual work, this online survey tool is timely because it draws attention to processes which are


important for collaborative learning cultures where a moral purpose of improvement in student learning is what drives professional work.

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References Dempster, N., Townsend, T., Johnson, G., Bayetto, A., Lovett, S., & Stevens, E. (2017). Leadership and Literacy. Principals, Pathways. Cham: Springer. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-74430-8 Lovett, S. (2002). Teacher’s talk helps learning: the quality learning circle approach. SET: Research Information for Teachers 1, 25-27. Lovett, S., & Gilmore, A. (2003). Teachers’ learning journeys: The Quality Learning Circle as a model of professional development. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 14(2), 189-212. http://dx.doi.org/10.1076/sesi.14.2.189.14222 Lovett, S., & Verstappen, P. (2004). Improving teachers’ professional learning: the Quality Learning Circle approach. New Zealand Journal of Educational Leadership, 19(2), 31-43. Lovett, S. (2016). Values for New Zealand School Leadership: Literature Review for the Te Ariki Trust. University of Canterbury. Commissioned by Te Ariki Trust. http://hdl.handle. net/10092/14982 Lovett, S. (2018a). Core professional values for school leaders and teachers: Piloting an online tool. Journal of Educational Leadership Policy and Practice, 33(2), 72-89. Lovett, S. (2018b). Te Ariki professional values for school development. Final report from the online survey trial for the Te Ariki Trust. Te Ariki Trust. Commissioned by New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) & New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZDF). http://hdl.handle.net/10092/15647 Swaffield, S., & Dempster, N. (2009). Shared leadership (principle 4). In J.E.C. MacBeath., & N. Dempster. (Eds). Connecting leadership and learning: principles for practice. (pp. 106-120) Routledge. Authors Susan Lovett is an Associate Professor in Educational Leadership at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch and the Postgraduate Programme Coordinator for educational leadership qualifications. Her teaching and research interests include early career teachers’ professional learning and development, teacher leadership, and leadership learning. She has recently published a sole-authored book ‘Advocacy for teacher leadership: Opportunity, preparation, support and pathways’. Susan has undertaken three projects for the Te Ariki Trust related to the Ariki professional values for school development.

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School Lines Rub-da-dub-dub. A hub or a snub? Lester Flockton 

lester.flockton@gmail.com

We now have a report from a committee of nice people who have been able to independently give expression to their ideas, perspectives and biases around how our schooling system should be re-jigged amidst the now fashionable and often ill-informed knocking of Tomorrow’s Schools – which, remember, was initially never about addressing issues of student achievement but was mainly about a devolved system of administration and accountability. The committee has listened to and captured concerns about the state of things impacting on the schooling sector and has come up with its ideas on how they might be addressed. So it is now time to thoughtfully analyse, unwrap and critique what they have in mind, putting our feet very firmly on the ground while at the same time peering positively and realistically into the future. They have been told about major issues and problems in our system – the role and functioning of education agencies (MoE and ERO), variable performance among school boards, inequalities, ineffective and inadequate support for schools and teachers working with children with special needs and behavioural issues, and principal/teacher workload. They say the education ‘system’ is not working well enough for our most disadvantaged children – a claim that is worryingly unfair and simplistic. Overall, they have come up with some potentially promising recommendations worthy of wide yet conditional support, and some that most definitely shouldn’t go unchallenged. We need to seriously ask, for example, whether re-arranging and re-styling the administrative deck chairs and putting out some new ones would really bring about stronger community engagement, success for all, fairness, and fix-its for the challenges our system and society has created. This is not to deny the best intentions of the committee’s proposals, but let’s not kid ourselves. We should have learned by now that in education there are no silver bullets, and no one-size-fits-all solutions (e.g. every school marshalled into a hub?). The power of factors that lie outside of schools’ and teachers’ control, and that significantly impact on their students’ progress and learning, are such that we need to be honest and realistic about how much we can progress system ideals (e.g. ‘educational success for every student’). The constitutional arrangements and powers of the committee’s proposed hubs are matters that need a lot of careful thought, questioning and a considered response. It seems, for example, that the idea of all schools being compulsorily assigned to a hub with a certain jurisdiction over them is something of an issue. Having optional access to a hub would be a different matter. We need to ask whether they would amount to a new set of bureaucracies with new controls and oversight of school boards

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and principals, and competition among schools for access to their invariably limited resources? (On a formula of one hub to 120 schools, all of Otago would have one such hub – just like it had one Education Board pre-Tomorrow’s Schools.) And would they introduce yet another layer of ‘politics’ in the way they are governed and managed? Broadly, the idea appears good, but the role, powers, and functions seem to need a lot of re-thinking. In time, perhaps a trialling of a few hubs rather than going holusbolus would be a sensible precautionary step, and give the needed evidence of the extent of their efficacy. Competition among schools for resources and students is a long-time topical issue (it was definitely around before Tomorrow’s Schools). But it’s something the committee would like turned around so that all schools work together in a spirit of harmonious co-operation so that all can prosper and advance their practice by happily sharing ideas – that work for them in their particular circumstances (but with no guarantees of effective transfer to others’ circumstances). So it sounds good in theory, yet it cannot be denied that competition is an almost instinctive characteristic of the human psyche that is here to stay, like it or not. You see it everywhere, and in countless situations it has proven to be of real benefit. So, competition in one form or another, in one situation or another, to one degree or another, will continue regardless of system re-engineering. And so will co-operation and collaboration. In truth, we should accept that the two co-exist – and for good reason. More sensibly, the goal should be to get some sort of balance between them. Take a really good look at the committee’s six recommendations for supporting schools and teachers to work with children with special learning and behavioural needs. If yours is one of those schools that regularly experiences challenge and frustration in this domain, are you confident that the suggested measures will go a long way towards alleviating the situation? Are the suggested measures getting right to the nub of the matter? Or should it purely and simply be a matter of far easier and more timely access to additional, adequate and suitably qualified support staff placed in (not visiting) the school? The recommendations around supporting teaching are certainly on track – even though initial teacher training is not tackled in the report despite being well and truly off the rails. The re-instatement of local advisory services sounds wonderful, but only wonderful if they represent the full scope of The New Zealand Curriculum, are nationally networked and not doctrinaire. Concerning the recommendation for proven national PLD programmes, the key word is ‘proven’. Over recent years, a number of such programmes instituted by the Ministry (mainly in literacy and numeracy) clearly have not proven to be


universally effective (look at National Standards results over the years of the regime – virtually no improvement). The establishment of a national leadership centre is an exciting prospect, but the committee’s recommendation that it be within the Teaching Council tears away the gloss. Many have claimed that the Council is overly ambitious towards expansion of its role. We should ask whether placing the leadership centre here is a good thing, or would it amount to more control, more authority, a bigger empire? Could a national leadership centre not be established as a stand-alone entity governed by educational leaders? Our responses to the committee’s suggestions should not be labelled or dismissed as negative, sceptical, or worse still cynical. They need to be forward thinking, constructive, honest and insightful – and respected as such. Moreover, they need to be sensible and discerning about claims that changes will/might/

perhaps/one day fix our system’s multiple blemishes so that every citizen will be delivered a fair, life enriching educational experience within a systemically unfair economic and societal infrastructure. We all share a professional responsibility for taking the time to consider the implications of what the committee has proposed, and more importantly, to attempt to assess whether their ideas will really make the differences they claim, or the differences we would want. Is there sufficient evidence to give us confidence that the proposed changes, with all of their complexities, will in fact result in significantly reduced workloads, effective support for working with challenging students, all children enjoying educational success, etc. Floating up into aspirational clouds is one thing – having clear, visible landings on sought-after outcomes is quite another.

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The challenge of thinking innovatively & restoratively . . . Helen Kinsey-Wightman Our CoL achievement challenges are approved and we have appointed our within school teachers – we have named them ‘manutaki’ after the lead birds in a formation. Their task is to mentor and support teachers in our school to refine their teaching practice and achieve our school goals. When we met as school leaders to develop our CoL achievement challenges we identified wellbeing, effective teaching & learning and innovation as key areas for us all. At the time, I have to be honest, I didn’t really see how innovation could be a goal in itself. More recently, as I look at all the really challenging goals we are setting ourselves as a school I am coming to see that we cannot achieve any of them without innovation. The challenge of innovating in education is that, as teachers, we are the successful products of an education system that we are seeking to change. Over the last 2 years we have begun implementing restorative practice in our school. We began by training our Deans and Senior Leaders in running restorative conferences and then began to incorporate this into our existing behaviour management system which also featured a red card to remove students from class followed by a restorative conversation with the teacher who issued the red card as well as an automatic detention for the student receiving the red card. At the beginning of this year our whole staff spent 2 days with Marg Thorsborne who is an internationally recognised expert in this field. As an intro to Marg her TED Talk entitled ‘The healing power of dialogue’ is a great starting point – although do bear in mind that in person she possesses a killer sense of humour. It was interesting to watch Marg at work with our staff – she spent 8 hours with them over 2 days and the first 4 of those were entirely about building relationships. Her justification for this emphasis on relationship building was that if you don’t have a relationship with someone you cannot be restorative because you have to restore to something. She spent a lot of time getting staff into groups of 3 to talk together and listen to each other. During those 2 days I am aware of at least two staff members who were prompted to restore relationships with colleagues that had broken down and many others who talk in glowing terms about the value of this professional development in starting their year positively. In tandem with Restorative practice our overarching goal for professional learning is Culturally Responsive & Relational Pedagogy. Working with Hine Waitere, the Director (Te Āwheonui) of The Centre for Professional Learning and Development at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatane, has caused me to rethink my view of effective 36

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professional development in schools. Hine and I have talked about the importance of new initiatives being woven through every aspect of school life and as someone we are working with in an ongoing way, we invited her to take part in the restorative workshops so that she could think through and talk with Marg about how the two ideas fit together and ensure that both pieces of work complement each other. When we bring together 90 staff for 8 hours each that commitment of time demands a considerable return on investment for them and for our students. The benefit must be ongoing and staff must be supported in order to be innovative. In our Deans’ meeting today the team were asked what they had thought about since the Restorative Practice PLD and all of them said it has caused them to think that our use of detentions is out of step with the restorative and culturally responsive work we are doing as well as failing to make a difference for the small number of students who are frequent visitors to the detention room. I am aware this is a decision other schools have made much earlier. Here Gerard Tully, ex-Rector of St Patrick’s Silverstream, talks about his own change in thinking: ‘It makes more sense to prepare young people to be adults by tackling their problems. I used to be a real detention man: “If a student does things wrong there must be consequences.” But it’s a waste of time. What do you achieve by making kids, if they’ve done something wrong on a Monday, come back on Friday afternoon and write out something out of a dictionary? It doesn’t actually address the behaviour. This way, the student can think about what they’ve done wrong and who they’ve affected, and how we can resolve it in the future.’ Restorative justice goes to school, Feb 18 2012 Dominion Post The challenge for us is to move away from the systems that existed when we were at high school to think about how we can be innovative and replace detentions with a process which ensures that students think about the harm they have done, restore the relationships they have affected and behave differently next time . . . References Thorsborne, M. The healing power of dialogue. https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=9z6mUNk1N9E


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NZ Principal Magazine Term 1 2019  

NZ Principal Magazine Term 1 2019