NZ Principal Magazine Term 1 2021

Page 1

March 2021 Volume 36, Number 1

A history of Regeneration – Waimairi School Supporting Leadership for Schools

A New Model to Evaluate Schools

PASL – Sabbatical Rights

Chaos Theory and the Impact on Schools

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

March 2021


Liz Hawes, Editor


Magazine Proof-reader Helen Kinsey-Wightman Editorial Board Perry Rush, NZPF President Geoff Lovegrove, Retired Principal, Feilding Liz Hawes, Editor Advertising


Perry Rush

9 A New Model To Evaluate Schools Nicholas Pole, CEO of ERO

14 A history of Regeneration – Waimairi School Liz Hawes, Editor

For all advertising enquiries contact: Cervin Media Ltd PO Box 68450, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142 Ph: 09 360 8700 or Fax: 09 360 8701 Note The articles in New Zealand Principal do not necessarily reflect the policy of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation. Readers are welcome to use or reprint material if proper acknowledgement is made. Subscription Distributed free to all schools in New Zealand. For individual subscribers, send $40 per year to: New Zealand Principals’ Federation National Office, PO Box 25380, Wellington 6146

22 Chaos Theory and the impact on schools Professor Jane Gilbert


Supporting Leadership for Schools – what works best?

Cherie Taylor-Patel


PASL – Sabbatical Rights

Fi McMillan

33 Kia hiwa rā Martin Thrupp


Opinion – ‘Getting beyond the tick box’

Helen Kinsey-Wightman

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.


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

Concentration work can also occur in the lounge space

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


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Editorial Liz Hawes


Global pandemics are not common. In our history, we Late last year, Mediaworks ran a series of articles on Stuff, have been infected by the Spanish Flu (1918), killing 9,000 New acknowledging and apologising for the part that media plays in Zealanders, the polio epidemic (1920s–1960s), with an estimated contributing to the misrepresentation of Māori. TVNZ’s Māori death rate of 2–10 per cent of those contracting the disease, and Affairs reporter, Yvonne Tahana, described the public apology last year the Novel Coronavirus COVID 19, which continues to as a ‘startling admission that creates a wider conversation on threaten us. race in New Zealand.’ Much has been learned from these events. Whilst the Spanish The series, the culmination of investigations by twenty Stuff flu resulted in the 1920 Health Act, described as a model piece journalists, was titled ‘Our Truth, Tā Mātou Pono: Stuff ’s Day of legislation which continues to influence of Reckoning’, and confronts the ways our country’s health system today, the Novel It is about changing Stuff has contributed to divisiveness, racist Coronavirus COVID 19 has sharpened our stereotypes and marginalisation of Māori by attitudes which in reporting through a monocultural lens and awareness of societal inequities. NZ Principal (June 2020, v. 35, (2)) covered turn the principals at times, a downright racist lens. the coronavirus global pandemic and reported A multitude of issues were investigated the stories of eleven principals leading a take back to their ‘including child abuse, Parihaka, Moutoa variety of schools from different regions Gardens, the police raids in Te Urewera, the of the country. Without exception, as they own schools to Foreshore and Seabed Act, and more.’ described their home-learning plans for create a new The coverage of these issues was found school lockdown, they highlighted inequities. to be ‘blinkered through to racist’ and was Schools central to low socio-economic areas culture which ‘neither fair nor balanced in the way Māori had a disproportionate number of young were represented.’ people with limited or no access to internet values Māori Stuff has vowed to do better and has connectivity and devices. They were also alongside Pākehā established a new code of practice embedding the families whose children participated in the intent of the Treaty of Waitangi. It breakfast and lunch programmes at school. cultures. is about regaining the trust of Māori by Top of mind for principals of these schools was reporting fairly for all New Zealanders – and, the health and wellbeing of their families who would be suffering as acknowledged by the Editor, that requires respect for diversity. most. Delivering care packs was just as important as delivering Underachievement of Māori has concerned school principals learning packs for the children. for decades. Racist practices and attitudes also exist in schools. Māori communities were over-represented in these areas and As long as tamariki Māori feel marginalised and undervalued a year later, we find, despite a remarkable recovery in general, in the school setting, their achievement will suffer. that Māori are suffering disproportionately in the unemployment Principals recognised that another intervention, another statistics, resulting from job losses through COVID. programme to address what was described as ‘Māori deficit’ These inequities for Māori extend beyond education and was pointless and doomed to further failure. What was needed employment and show up in our health and crime statistics too. was a change of hearts and minds – a change to the culture of So stark are the gaps, we can no longer ignore them. schools. The answer lies in recognising and eradicating racism. At the root of these inequities is racism. Our colonial past A way forward in the form of the Māori Achievement traumatised Māori rendering them powerless, second class citizens Collaborations (MACs) was developed in partnership between and over time systematically stripped Māori of their resources, Te Akatea, the Māori Principals’ Association, the Ministry of culture and language. Despite the Treaty of Waitangi, which was Education and NZPF. The MACs have operated with great about protecting Māori mana and resources in partnership with success for the past eight years. They involve principals taking a the Crown, racism has taken hold and become well embedded. cultural journey. In collaboratively supported groups, they look Following many Māori uprisings over time – land marches, inwards, to understand and acknowledge their own world view, occupations, protests and hikoi, the roots of racism have hardly share their world view in a facilitated and supported environment loosened. What these actions have done though is given us a and from there, learn to understand, value and accept a different collective awareness of the way in which Māori have been treated world view – that of Māori. It is about changing attitudes which in the past and continue to be treated. in turn the principals take back to their own schools to create


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a new culture which values Māori alongside Pākehā cultures. In this way, tamariki Māori feel school is their place, that their culture matters and has value and they have equality with their Pākehā peers. Once this happens, tamariki Māori are ready and open to learning. Principals who have undertaken this cultural journey all agree it is transformational and that tamariki Māori in their schools have lifted their attendance rates, their engagement with learning and their achievement levels. They recognise that the key to the MACs success is that it truly changes hearts and minds. It truly breaks down racism. Te Akatea administers the MACs and lead coordinator, Hoana Pearson, is to be congratulated for her passion, enthusiasm and drive to break down racism. Finding and training suitable facilitators for this important work is critical to its success and despite limited funding, Hoana has determined to make the MACs hum. She welcomes as many principals as she can possibly accommodate

and every month the waiting list grows. Kia ora mo o mahi Rangatira. Kia kaha. Many MAC principals and others are enthusiastic to expand their knowledge of Te Reo and tikanga Māori. We thank Helen Kinsey-Wightman (p.35 of this issue), for her compilation of some excellent resources, many of them free, to help you all on the way. We have not welcomed the invasion of the COVID 19 coronavirus and have high hopes that the vaccination, just approved by our medical authorities, will deliver on its promise to eliminate threats to our physical health and jettison the virus from our shores. On the other hand, COVID has highlighted societal inequities and shone a light on the equally destructive virus we call racism. Let’s hope we will now vigorously pursue a racism antidote not just for our public media and schools, but for the health of our entire nation.

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President’s Pen Perry Rush

National President, New Zealand Principals’ Federation

As the new year begins after the turmoil of 2020, we turn our professional focus to curriculum. COVID disrupted many things in 2020 not least the focus needed by Government and the Ministry of Education to address pressing questions about declining rates of achievement and how to support teachers to implement the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The NZC has never recovered from the cruel punches National Standards inflicted. The policy undermined the creativity and professional bravery required to successfully implement the NZC. Our Curriculum is world-leading because it is generic. It deliberately lacks specificity so that teachers and students can build relevance and bring detail to what and how learning occurs. Such an approach, while laudable, needs careful investment and significant resourcing to help teachers learn how to join powerful curriculum knowledge to local contexts. Sadly, it has received neither. In the absence of professional support and associated resources, it has come to mean different things to different people. Some schools support the establishment of clear local teaching goals to detail what is required of teachers, while other schools are more relaxed about these goals preferring they are worked up by teachers in partnership with students. It is a test of any local curriculum as to whether it speaks to the National Curriculum; supports the understanding of clearly understood concepts, knowledge, and capabilities; and provides the basis for deep and challenging learning. Not every school has a local curriculum that successfully does this. While there are many outstanding local curricula our approach in New Zealand has become fragmented and laissez faire. We have noted for many years, growing evidence of declining rates of achievement in Literacy, Mathematics and Science. New Zealand educators give little credence to the narrow measures of international assessments such as the Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), or the Progress in Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). League tables ranking performance are unreliable and do not reflect context. There is little point comparing the performance of countries who focus on ‘drill and skill’ with our approach to teaching and learning in New Zealand. We focus on the whole child and have a broad and varied range of educational goals. However, we do recognise that our own performance on international assessments shows a pattern of decline over the past 20 years across all three domains. Our own National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA) finds a low percentage of students in Year 8 achieving

‘at’ or ‘above’ curriculum expectations. In 2019, in Writing, 63 per cent of Year 4 pupils achieved ‘at’ or ‘above’ curriculum expectations while 35 per cent of Year 8 pupils achieved ‘at’ or ‘above’. In Reading 63 per cent of year 4 pupils achieved ‘at’ or ‘above’ curriculum expectations while 56 per cent of Year 8 pupils achieved ‘at’ or ‘above’. Mathematics and Science achievement is even more concerning. In 2018, in Mathematics, 81 per cent of Year 4 pupils achieved ‘at’ or ‘above’ curriculum expectations while 45 per cent of Year 8 pupils achieved ‘at’ or ‘above’. In 2018, in Science, 94 per cent of Year 4 pupils achieved ‘at’ or ‘above’ curriculum expectations while 20 per cent of Year 8 pupils achieved ‘at’ or above’. Year 8 pupils in New Zealand are achieving between 20 per cent and 63 per cent of curriculum expectations.

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These findings have not provoked any urgency of response, which indicates a lack of system level curriculum and pedagogical leadership. It also indicates flaws in the professional development mechanism for teachers and leaders of learning in our schools. I believe we have little thought leadership available to enable important ideas and approaches to curriculum to be debated, established, and implemented in a coordinated manner across the sector. If there are such thought leaders available, I am unaware of who they are. I ask the question, who are our designated system-wide curriculum leaders? Can you name them? I can’t! In a national education system, that is a serious weakness. Have we become so invested in localisation that we have failed to see the impact on curriculum coherence? I am not arguing that localisation should cease, quite the contrary. Locating curriculum in powerful and important local goals is critical but we must also be clear about what curriculum is important to us all and, as professionals, be clear about what that curriculum requires of us. Our National Curriculum is poorly described, and we must remedy that. In doing so we must avoid seeing issues in a binary manner. It is possible and appropriate to better describe our curriculum, maintain localisation and hold to student-centred approaches in teaching and learning. Better describing the NZC is not a cry for a demanding, tight, regimented, outcome-based approaches but for greater specificity that empowers teachers to design powerful student-centred teaching whilst knowing what they intend for learning. Too many teachers are uncertain about what the curriculum requires

of them. Having clarity about teaching goals is key to being an effective teacher. The Ministry of Education is currently working on the Ministerial recommendations of the Tomorrow’s School Taskforce. A key recommendation was the establishment of a nationally based Curriculum Centre, established and located within the Ministry of Education. Key to any greater involvement of the Ministry of Education in curriculum, is the reengagement of practicing teachers and school leaders who are recognised as having significant curriculum expertise. The loss of our trusted and talented curriculum advisory services dealt a blow to the provision of coherent thought leadership for schooling. We have not recovered from this loss and their absence is keenly felt. We would ask that the Ministry of Education builds strong relationships with curriculum experts in schools so that these professionals can be empowered as national leaders. Further, if we are to make positive progress on achievement challenges and grow effective professional practice in a coordinated manner, we need nationally coordinated and coherent professional development (PLD) to limit the damage of the market-driven professional learning model that is currently in place. Let’s get the balance right. Strong pedagogical and curriculum leadership is urgently required. It must be nationally coordinated and be enabled in partnership with those that lead this work in our schools. We urgently need to refresh the NZC to ensure it is fit-forpurpose.

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A New Model To Evaluate Schools Nicholas Pole

ERO Chief Executive

Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti, seated third from left, with the Hillcrest High School and ERO leadership teams: Principal Kelvin Whiting is seated second from left, and ERO evaluation partner Neil Harray is seated first on the left

2021 brings a big year for the Education Review Office, and for the sector. Under our new Operating Model, ERO is delivering major changes in the way we work with schools through shifting from event-based external reviews to supporting each school in a process of continuous improvement. This is the year that the rubber hits the road – when we move from the concept of the new schools Operating Model to reality. In moving to a new way of working, we will be building longterm relationships with schools. We are responding to what the sector has long asked for, as well as the way ERO itself has been wanting to work with schools. This new approach is responsive to the needs of ALL involved in the sector, and we are keenly aware of our responsibility to make it work – for every learner in Aotearoa. It will have its challenges, but with challenge comes opportunity and I feel privileged to be part of the most exciting opportunity in ERO’s history. What is the new Operating Model? This more differentiated approach will use a developmental evaluation that reflects individual schools’ context, culture and

needs. It aims to strengthen the capability of all schools through embedding a continuous improvement approach, strengthening schools’ own engagement with and accountability to whānau. An ERO evaluation partner will work alongside each school, to build a professional relationship with each school over time. The model allows us to better align the particular strengths of our evaluation partners to each school and principal. The evaluation partner will have a focus on connecting with each school’s strategic planning and reporting cycle as part of an ongoing improvement journey. S/he will support schools to build and sustain high-quality evaluation as part of their planning for improvement focus. Consideration of a school within its wider network and community is woven throughout the new Operating Model, which will also identify an opportunity to undertake evaluations at a community level. ERO will become an evaluation partner, to support every school to be a great school and every child a success. We are listening and learning In a test and learn approach starting in Term 4 last year, we

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have been piloting our new model with 75 schools from across to be a pilot school’. New Zealand. Under this new approach, Hillcrest has been partnered with We are including schools of varying sizes and types, to achieve ERO’s Neil Harray, who has made several visits. ‘It is a much a cross-section of the New Zealand school system. This is more positive way of working and developing the relationship,’ allowing us to learn as we go and gain real-time feedback from Kelvin says. ‘Previously, ERO told us what we needed to improve schools and our evaluators. on – but couldn’t tell us how to do that’. ERO’s approach to the development This is allowing us Developing the relationship and partnership of the model is iterative – if issues arise, under the new Operating Model with ERO is adjustments can be made along the way to learn as we go a lot more beneficial than ERO and a bunch during the implementation phase. Key sector and gain real-time of strangers coming in for two weeks, running stakeholder groups are working with us to a ruler over the school, then writing a report feedback from provide feedback loops. and heading off. ERO staff continue to work hard around the ‘The new Operating Model builds on our country to engage with the sector on our new schools and our annual and strategic plans, the work we’ve model, to listen and to act on the feedback evaluators. already done’. Neil has helped us to focus on received. some different ways to evaluate our annual We have encouraged principals to ask challenging questions, as plan, and prioritise our areas of focus’. For example, we have it is these questions that will help us to refine our implementation always analysed our student achievement data. As a result of the process and continue to improve. 2018 (our previous) review, we are using our data better now – we previously hadn’t used that enough to understand the children Feedback from a pilot school who were failing and why. ERO brings a different lens – it sees We began 2021 with a visit from Associate Education Minister things that the school doesn’t see, and its reporting is a mandate Jan Tinetti, and took the opportunity to take the Minister on a for us to make changes too. visit to one of the schools that is working alongside us in piloting ‘What all schools want is to do their job better. Having an the new model. Hillcrest High School Principal Kelvin Whiting evaluation partner and that longer-term relationship will help was very open in sharing with the Minister that reviews under to build trust and the partnership. It will enable both parties to ERO’s previous way of working ‘could be tough going’, took have an honest and shared conversation. We are moving from a lot of organising and extra work for staff – and that he was what was previously a one-dimensional to a now more holistic sometimes glad to see the back of us. I know that a lot of schools picture. It is the way forward.’ will agree! However, he also told us that he ‘jumped at the chance


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We are in the waka together This is a new way of working that demands significant change of us all, and ERO is committed to showing schools that we’re working in a way that helps them to achieve better outcomes. Along with the Principals’ Federation, we share a commit­ ment to put the learner at the centre, to equity and excellence in outcomes for all learners, and an understanding that quality education is a right for every New Zealand child and young person. We are hopeful that the sector sees the opportunity, value and the potential that the new model will deliver, and we look forward to working with you. Ko te Tamaiti te Pūtake o te Kaupapa: The Child – the Heart of the Matter For more information, visit: New Schools Operating Model | Education Review Of f ice (

Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti takes a tour of Hillcrest High School in Hamilton with Principal Kelvin Whiting


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Regeneration of History – the Waimairi School Liz Hawes


It was especially uplifting to visit Waimairi School in features of the surrounding environment. These factors, along Christchurch and see how a natural disaster was able to generate with curriculum imperatives, have become the driving force reflection on the past to guide a vision for the future. The 2011 behind the rebuild. Christchurch earthquake decimated the school which required Principal Mike Anderson explained how the cultural narrative a complete rebuild. In consultation has translated into the planning of the with their local iwi, Ngāi Tahu, the school’s redevelopment. school community and staff set out to ‘The plant and bird species of our place plan a new learning environment that are now incorporated into the interior reflected the history, especially the design of our new building and the cultural history, of the area and the land children all understand the backstories it occupied. This process resulted in a to the names of their classrooms and the cultural narrative, gifted to the school by different break out areas,’ he said. Ngāi Tahu, giving deep and thoughtful The native fauna and flora and meaning to guide the redevelopment of geographical features are also reflected the school. in the colour palette of soft greens, And this is what can be achieved in the senior The narrative highlights significant greys, lavender and brown in the foyer, school – an example of detail, sequencing and waterways and local plant, bird and fish the wall coverings and the outside of the quality species. It also highlights characteristics buildings. which have influenced a set of values and beliefs, which the ‘Historically, this was a swampy area with streams and school has adopted, and provides a history of the geographical springs, native birds and trees,’ explains Mike, ‘so this history is

Serious teaching time


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Story of

incorporated into the colour palette we have chosen.’ Wall designs and learning spaces celebrate Tī Kōuka, Pātiki, Kānuka, Kōtare, Kererū, Ῑnaka and Wai iti which the cultural narrative identifies as indigenous to the area. ‘It was important to us that our redeveloped school reflected not just a regeneration of the broken landscape resulting from the earthquake, but also how it was historically, before the school was originally built,’ he said. Bulldozers on the school site are a continual reminder of the natural event that destroyed the old school. From the rebuilt school, children can watch the old buildings being torn down and resulting rubble removed yet know that its history and memories are not forgotten. For example, the bulldozers carefully circumvent a very beautiful “Umbrella Tree”, a memorial to Victoria Guest, a former student of the school. ‘Victoria will never be forgotten by our school community,’ says Mike. Planning of the school’s design was not rushed. ‘We took six years to get it right,’ said Mike. ‘We used the torn down, partially wrecked areas of the school in which to recreate prototype spaces, quite literally using, commercial cardboard cut outs,’ he said. ‘We wanted to ensure high functionality and flexibility as well as creating a design to suit the pedagogical imperatives which we had already been working on before the earthquake struck,’ he said. To a large extent, the earthquake exposed the original geography of the school grounds and surrounding community. ‘The damage underground was phenomenal,’ said Mike. ‘A scar appeared right across our rugby field – and continued for some distance beyond the school – then filled with water and liquefaction. The land dropped 20 centimetres and we literally had to pump the sewage uphill to the street level with the help of electric pumps. What we now know is that historically there was

a river under there. When the settlers established farms, they just filled in these creeks and rivers and by the 1930s, urbanisation took hold. The force of the earthquake has exposed those original features,’ he said. One important characteristic of Waimairi School is its pūmanawatanga. It has always functioned as the heart of the community and even at weekends is a busy place. ‘We needed a central gathering place so we designed the main entrance, library and administration area to include a Café,’ said Mike. ‘The Four Rivers Café runs as a business but is not there for financial profitability so much as to generate relationship capital,’

One group undertakes concentrated teaching whilst another works individually

The umbrella tree is carefully safeguarded in memory of former student, Victoria Guest

Principal Mike Anderson with his trusted calming dog, Murphy

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Building structures together brings everyone’s ideas to the task


Learning neighbourhoods have adopted the names of fauna and flora indigenous to the area

he said. ‘The café employs two staff and has become a gathering place for parents and their pre-schoolers as they drop off their school aged children. Staff and local residents also use the café, so it is a community facility as much as anything,’ he said. Another popular space is the school library which many community groups have traditionally hired outside of school hours. ‘We designed the library for easy access and flexibility so it can be turned into many different configurations,’ said Mike. ‘All the book stacks are on wheels for easy manoeuvrability and we have ample spare seating for larger groups, such as Church groups,’ he said. In all design decisions, there are compromises to be made. That is where consensus around broad principles is so important – to guide decisions. For Mike’s school community, it was easy. The children and their learning come first. Space is not infinite and must be tailored so that it generates the best outcomes for learning. ‘You will see that we have limited administration space and our staff room is not expansive,’ he said. ‘That is a deliberate decision, supported by the school community and staff,’ he said, ‘because

we recognise that we want the very best teaching spaces and we want them to be as purposeful as possible.’ ‘We are so fortunate,’ said Mike, ‘that we have been able to design a learning environment consistent with our pedagogy. We wanted flexibility within the learning spaces, we wanted openness – so that the outside and inside converge, and we wanted the ability to work in large and small groups, without any one group impinging on another.’ Apart from the junior area, which remains separate, the rest of the 300+ children are all under one roof. Yet it is a feeling of tranquillity and calmness that sweeps over you as you enter the main block, with its wide walkway and seeming lack of doors or barriers. ‘This is where acoustics come into play,’ explains Mike. ‘It is a deliberate element in the design as is the extensive use of glazing – emphasising the relationship between learning and the environment.’ None of these decisions came about by accident. After the earthquake it was well known that the school would be in line for a rebuild. With work on refreshing the school curriculum already begun, Mike saw an opportunity to plan the rebuild

The children can observe the bulldozers at work as they demolish the old school, but not the old memories

The Junior Area remains separate from the main school

NZ Principal | March 2 0 21

All the library stacks are mobile so the space can be arranged in different configurations

Individual assessment alongside group work in the lounge space

from the curriculum up. ‘The staff raised funds to support fifty staff, including the caretaker, to go to Australia on a study trip. This was about opening everyone’s mind and learning from the expert, Dr Julia Atkin, about how to make meaningful change and link learning with the environment,’ said Mike. The group not only heard from Dr Atkin, who became a critical friend for the curriculum refresh and vision for the school, but also visited a variety of other schools in the State of Victoria that were different from typical New Zealand schools. This helped inform possibilities for Waimairi School’s redevelopment. Whilst Dr Atkin provided the research evidence and guidance to support the pedagogical vision for the school, ‘It was Mary

Featherston, another Australian, who led us to recognise the transformative power of architecture,’ said Mike. ‘We recognised the importance of the physical environment in providing multiple contexts for learning, so getting the interior design right was really important to us,’ he said. ‘The education brief described the settings and then we began work on designing our prototypes,’ said Mike. This is where the cardboard cut-outs came into play. ‘We never succeeded on the first plans,’ chuckles Mike. ‘It took us many iterations to get each “learning neighbourhood”, as they came to be known, designed as we intended,’ he said. Much of the children’s learning follows democratic principles and there is a strong value of fairness and equal opportunity

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Stunning art work

All eyes on the teacher for important lessons

that shines through. Mike insists that their aim is to achieve an equal experience for each child and so the school setting and environment must deliver that. ‘Each of our learning neighbourhoods has a collaborative space which we call “Kotahitanga”,’ says Mike. ‘This is a space for sharing and group discussion and so the teacher must be able to see all of the children’s faces and they must be able to see each other’s faces. That is why we created the double decked forum approach with semi-circular shaped furniture,’ he explained. Each learning neighbourhood also has a “lounge” area and two unisex toilets. ‘You won’t find any toilet blocks in our school,’ smiles Mike. The lounge area is a negotiable shared space between two learning spaces of differently aged children. ‘By sharing

this lounge space children learn to engage in tuakana/teina relationships and be respectful of each other,’ explained Mike. ‘Some may be working on noisier recreational activities and others might be completing tasks that require concentration, so they all learn tolerance and consideration of others,’ he said. Other features of learning neighbourhoods include an art studio, a kitchen, complete with cooking facilities and dining table, and an open porch with outdoor sink and woodwork area. The generous porch area is roofed and access is gained via glass sliding doors. It doubles as a space for the children’s bags and shoes. ‘We allow the children to store their art in the studio so that they can come back to revisit their work, refine and enhance it,’ explains Mike. ‘There are also planter boxes outside the kitchen areas, maintained by the children, so they can grow plants and herbs for their cooking classes. They share their cooking efforts at the dining table,’ he said, ‘and generally, there will also be some fresh fruit on the table to finish off the meal!’ The philosophy behind successful learning at Waimairi School has a distinct story behind it. The mantra for learning is detail, sequence and quality. ‘It all begins with Te Whāriki and the arts,’ says Mike. ‘Learning is developmental and so at years one and two, we focus on the arts to develop, sequence and detail,’ he said. ‘The children learn to sketch, with the guidance of an artist, and once they master detail and sequencing, that will lead to quality in other subjects such as writing, attacking maths problems and mastering reading,’ he explained. Learning content is not ignored at the lower levels, it simply isn’t the main focus.

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The learning neigbourhoods accommodate many different learning activities

Different spaces for allow for different activities

‘By years three and four, the learning content grows and the reading, writing and maths ramp up, but we don’t let go of the all important arts foundation,’ says Mike. ‘The bonus is that the quality of the learning improves.’ Taking a walking tour of the school, it quickly becomes evident that the art-work, even at those early year levels, is stunningly good. At the higher levels, it becomes clear that the early emphasis on detail and sequencing does indeed lead to quality and excellence. Art is not limited to painting and sketching. Children in the early year groups learn hand stitching to make simple textile articles. The older children have access to a sewing machines which introduces them to more sophisticated creative garments.

As with everything, the detail and sequencing of these sewing activities are evident. ‘We have our own version of “wearable art”, Mike laughs, ‘and the kids really love that.’ The day I visit, a group in one of the lounge areas, is making a movie together, including creating their own set, from lego and other random objects they have collected up. ‘We take our time to get it right and make changes if something’s not working,’ says one youngster, reflecting the mantra of detail, sequencing, revision and enhancement. Meanwhile another group is chilling out, silently reading on couches. Mike is very pleased with the progress that has been made, lifting achievement in all aspects of the curriculum. ‘We are beginning to see the pay off for children’s learning by adopting the detail, sequencing and quality approach to learning through art,’ he said proudly. ‘We have always seen our school learning as a six-year project, where learning is an uneven process and different for each child. That is why we never bought in to the national standards idea,’ he said. ‘Children are not standard, they are diverse.’ Diversity is very much in evidence at the high decile Waimairi school. ‘We are designated as high decile, but in reality, we have a mix of all deciles here, including a number of refugee children. This means that the children form friendships with kids who may not live in their immediate neighbourhoods,’ he explained. ‘In our school it doesn’t matter where you are from or what social class your family comes from, no child is disadvantaged here, and all cultures are valued,’ he said. Amongst this diversity, as in many schools across Ᾱotearoa today, there are the seriously challenged youngsters who are

The Four Rivers café is a popular gathering place for the community


NZ Principal | March 2 0 21

highly anxious, traumatised and may have The children will advance if the teachers are suffered a range of abuse in their lives. advancing. High quality PLD and forming ‘We have a novel way to help our kids relationships with curriculum experts is an who might be disruptive or have violent important lever. Release time doesn’t come outbursts at times,’ says Mike, as he cheaply but it is an investment Mike sees as introduces me to his trusty Collie dog, number one. That means being frugal in other Murphy. ways – for instance, my office furniture and ‘Murphy is an important staff member the furniture in the administration area all here,’ he smiles. ‘We call him our calming come from the Warehouse,’ he smiles. dog.’ He recognises that principals too need Murphy follows Mike everywhere but PLD and favours a National Principals’ when he is at work, Murphy is in the Academy to achieve this. ‘We used to have Principal’s Office. ‘All the children know a leadership centre which was so helpful and trust Murphy, which is why he is such for pedagogical leadership and curriculum an asset for calming kids down when they advisors also played an important role,’ he have lost control,’ he says. ‘Murphy doesn’t said. ‘What we need to do is build the capacity judge or make demands. He just stays of principals through a credible academy led calm and warm,’ he says. by the profession not led by systems thinking. I ask Mike what he is most proud of as School is a wicked complex organism, not a principal of Waimairi. He answers without calm ordered one. It is chaotic complexity and Getting the details of the set right is hesitation. what burns us out is the systematisation. The important for a good movie ‘It is the staff and teachers who make the system won’t save you, its complexity theory difference for the children,’ he says. ‘My job is to make sure the that liberates you!’ vision is clear and research based and everyone has equitable access to the PLD and the tools they need for successful teaching As I thanked Mike and Murphy for an enlightening day, for and learning,’ he says. ‘We can achieve anything if we understand the wonderful new ideas, for allowing me to observe Waimairi why we are doing it and have what we need to achieve it.’ children at work and show me pedagogy in action, I couldn’t PLD is a huge investment for his staff and he does not hold help but feel that with the right vision, leadership and attitude, back. ‘We give our teachers the very best PLD we possibly can and adversity really can be transformed into greater prosperity, try to remove all barriers that might inhibit their teaching efforts. happiness and success.

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Leading in complexity for fut Jane Gilbert

Auckland University of Technology

I was asked to write a short article on complexity for this inhibit cognitive development and increase inequities.3 A third journal. I found this quite difficult, partly because the topic is group points out that we don’t actually know how to cultivate challenging, but partly because it didn’t seem helpful to write these kinds of ‘soft’ skills.4 about complexity on its own without including the backstory of why people began to use this language in education. In this ‘21st century learning’ cluster article I briefly review the prevailing approaches to education’s The second idea-cluster is ‘21st century learning’. Several future before going on to describe complexity and how it might influential commentators have made the case that the primary be used in schools. Readers may find it helpful to look first at the purpose of today’s schools should be to build students’ ‘learning scenarios described at the end of the article, but to make sense of power’, to foster the capacity for active, independent, life-long these, you’ll need to return to the preceding theoretical section. learning.5 This, it is argued, requires ‘system-wide innovation in Anyone who has worked in education over the last twenty years learning’.6 Supported by digital technologies and new learning spaces, this ‘learning revolution’ will or so will be familiar with discussions of the need to develop a more ‘future- Anyone who has worked disrupt—and eventually replace—current models of schooling.7 The now-familiar focused’ education system. However, the concepts of personalised learning, term ‘future focus’ has become a gloss in education over the collaborative learning, flexible learning for a very mixed bag of ideas that have environments and so on are part of different origins and purposes. It isn’t at last twenty years or so this idea-cluster. This body of work has all clear how these ideas are related or how will be familiar with also attracted critique from education they are connected to ‘the future’. Nor is academics, mainly for the way it conflates it clear whether we are becoming more discussions of the education with learning.8 Influenced by future-focused. From my reading of work need to develop a more this work it is now common to see learning in this area, it seems to me that discussions talked about as if it were education’s only of future-focused education have been ‘future-focused’ aim, as a ‘thing’ to be ‘achieved’ and informed by three distinct idea-clusters. measured, and as a property or process These are outlined below. I don’t spend education system. of individual minds. For education much time on the first two because they are well-known, but also because they haven’t been effective in academics, ‘21st century skills’ and ‘21st century learning’ both challenging prevailing thinking. My focus here is more on the rest on rather narrow views of education’s purposes and, for this third idea-cluster because I think this cluster could catalyse real reason, they limit—rather than enhance—our capacity to be change in how we think about schooling and school leadership. future-oriented. In contrast, the third idea-cluster I look at here has, I think, the potential to expand our thinking about education ‘21st century skills’ cluster and its possible futures. I’ll call it the ‘Future Studies’ cluster. I’ll call the first set of ideas the ‘21st century skills’ cluster. Influenced by trends in the economics and business literature, ‘Future Studies’ cluster some education commentators have argued that 21st century Futures Studies is a long-established (50+ years) academic schooling should focus less on mastering conventional discipline. Its proponents argue that because the future, by curriculum content and more on fostering the skills needed for definition, cannot be known in advance, we cannot assume successful participation in today’s knowledge-based, digitally that things will continue much as they are now (albeit faster, networked economies. These skills are many and varied. In some with better technologies). They say we should expect major work they are referred to as the ‘4Cs’ (creativity, collaboration, change, change that is exponential and possibly abrupt. We critical thinking and communication) while elsewhere they are should expect to live in a world in which uncertainty, volatility known as ‘soft skills’ (the 4Cs plus innovation, agility, curiosity, and complexity are the ‘new normal’ and in which a great many entrepreneurship, design thinking and/or digital, financial and/ different futures are possible. The ways of thinking and doing or emotional literacy).1 The ‘21st century skills’ concept has things we take for granted today are likely to be disrupted and attracted strong critique from education academics. One body replaced by completely different new approaches. We can’t of work is critical of the work’s impoverished view of education predict, forecast or ‘proof ’ ourselves against these new futures, (as little more than job preparation) and what it sees as global but, the Futures Studies theorists argue, we should not think of capitalism’s appropriation of education to serve its needs.2 A these futures as out of our control, or beyond us. Rather, they second body of work argues that skills are being over-emphasised say, we should think of them as something we can actively create at the expense of knowledge. These authors say that this will through thinking, actions and choices we make now, today.9 The 22

NZ Principal | March 2 0 21

ture-focused education

educational implications of this work, if it is taken seriously, are considerable. Surviving and thriving with/in uncertainty, multiplicity, diversity and complexity requires people with the capacity for, in Jennifer Gidley’s words, higher-order, more ‘evolved’ thinking.10 An education system designed to foster this level of thinking would need to set its sights well above today’s focus on 21st century skills and 21st century learning. It would need to challenge some very deeply-held ideas about schooling’s purposes, and it would need to be led very differently. Future Studies theorists have developed various methodologies for supporting people to ‘decolonise’ their current working assumptions and to reject ‘used futures’. Doing this creates space for new choices and capacities to emerge.11 Some of these methodologies, in particular those that use complexity theory, have been adopted in the leadership field, producing some radically new practices. However, while complexity-related concepts are now often mentioned in education, particularly in policy contexts, their use hasn’t resulted in the shifts in practice

seen in other contexts. In the rest of this article I look at complexity thinking, focusing in particular on the possibilities it offers for (sometimes) thinking differently about school leadership. My point isn’t to provide a blueprint for leading in complexity, but to give a sense of how we might think differently about becoming future-focused. Complexity is not a new field: complex systems have always existed, and complexity has long been recognised as a property of large systems (e.g. natural ecosystems or large cities).12 However, past attempts to understand these systems have often involved simplifying them. It has been common to represent these systems as if they were machines, made up of discernible set of parts that act on each other to ‘cause’ certain effects. Stability, predictability and certainty were valued goals, and systems were managed by controlling the parts (‘pulling levers’). The machine metaphor has been common in a wide range of contexts, including education policy and leadership. However, it has some obvious limitations, particularly when change is

N Z Principal | M a r c h 2 0 2 1


the focus. Machines are in general ‘closed’ systems. They are designed and built to carry out specific known tasks, and if they are well-designed, they will do this well and go on doing it. However, like all closed systems, they don’t have new inputs. As a result, they slowly lose energy, wind down, and eventually they stop working or die. Complex systems, In contrast, are ‘open’. Energy and information flows through them, in and out of their surrounding environment. This continuous input and output means that open systems are never stable, in equilibrium, or predictable. Without continuous movement and change, a system, organisation or culture, like water, becomes stagnant, unhealthy, and unable to adapt to change. The open-ness of complex systems means that they are not—and cannot be understood as if they are— independent of their wider context, or their history. They are also adaptive, capable of re-organising their internal structures without intervention from an external agent. A second major feature of complex systems is that they consist of very large numbers of different elements, each of which is interacting with some or all of the others, exchanging energy or information. The behaviour of the system as a whole is not knowable or predictable via knowledge of its individual elements. Rather its behaviour ‘emerges’ from the sum total of the interactions between all of its elements. Sometimes completely novel and unexpected characteristics emerge, and, depending on the situation, these can be adaptive. Applying this thinking to organisations, if the nature of an organisation is determined by the nature of the interactions between its members, then relationships are absolutely fundamental to the organisation’s business. In complex systems, change isn’t produced by ‘topdown’ directives designed to change the behaviour of individual elements in the system. Rather it ‘emerges’ from within the system, it emerges from the interactions the system’s elements have with each other, and with energy and/or information from the wider environment. In organisations, these elements can be people (from inside and outside the organisation), or they can be resources, processes and/or information. All this has obvious implications for the leaders of complex organisations that need to change. The Cynefin Framework Over the last twenty years or so, ideas from complexity have been used extensively in the management and leadership fields. Several models have been developed to help people address the challenges of managing, leading and acting in complex human systems. One of these, developed by Dave Snowden and colleagues, and known as the Cynefin framework,13 is now widely-used. It is usually represented via the graphic shown below.14 Snowden et al argue that before planning what to do in a given situation, leaders must decide whether the situation is ‘clear’, ‘complicated’, ‘complex’ or ‘chaotic’. In the Cynefin Framework, clear systems are characterised by known knowns. They have patterns that, because they occur repeatedly and predictably in the same form (e.g. night following day), can be responded to with the same tried-and-true formulae, recipes or templates. These formulae are easily followed with minimal expertise and they produce standardisable results. Snowden calls work in this space ‘best practice.’15 Complicated systems are also predictable and repeatable, but they have known unknowns. Figuring out how to make the unknowns known usually requires support from outside experts.

Data needs to be collected, analysed, debated and argued over. Eventually, the outside experts and the system insiders will be able to agree on (and define) what is going on and what should be done. Templates and formulae can eventually be developed and followed, and the solutions emerging from this process can then be replicated, with less expertise than was needed to develop them. Snowden calls this kind of work ‘good practice’. Complex systems occupy the third space in this framework. This is the space of unknown unknowns. There are no ‘right answers’ or pathways to follow. Nothing is predictable or repeatable, causes can’t be separated from effects (although this may later be possible), and all behaviour is ‘emergent’. Because in complex systems the rules keep changing, leaders can’t use past patterns to help them decide how to act. Here it is necessary to have strategies that support leaders to know what to do when they don’t know what to do (and no-one else does either). In this situation, Snowden et al say that leaders first need to ‘understand the present’ by collecting information about the system’s current behaviour. To do this, they recommend developing many small-scale experiments called ‘safe-to-fail probes’. If the system responds ‘positively’ to a probe (by showing more of whatever behaviours are being sought), the probe can be extended or ‘amplified’. Or, if the system responds negatively, the probe should quickly be stopped, to ‘damp down’ the unwanted behaviour. Leadership in complex spaces involves figuring out what ‘system behaviours’ it would be good to see more of (and why), and then designing, implementing and monitoring the effects of some small experiments. The findings from these experiments can then be used to design new experiments to test the system’s new behaviour. And so on. This iterative probe-sense-respond process will eventually produce what Snowden et al call ‘emergent’—or ‘next’—practice. It isn’t possible to ‘control’ complex systems, but, Snowden argues, they can be ‘steered’ in a general direction. Once there is agreement on what this general direction should be, the leader’s role is to ensure that the system’s internal conditions can support movement in that direction. For example, the number and quality of the interactions between the system’s elements will be important, as will collectively-developed safe-to-fail probes. Leading in complex situations involves developing the continued on pg 26


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A refresh of the


Curriculum is underway

The national curriculum will be refreshed over the next five years, so it is clearer, more relevant and easier to use. In 2021, the Ministry of Education is going to work with educators and communities, on the new framing of Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and The New Zealand Curriculum to ensure they’re clear what our tamariki need to learn to be successful now and in the future.

How this came about

An example of what a refreshed curriculum could look like is the recently announced draft curriculum content for Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories and Te Takanga o Te Wā.

In September 2019 the Minister of Education, the Hon Chris Hipkins, announced the intention to update the national curriculum for schooling. Since then, the Ministry has been working with people from the education sector and wider communities to understand how to make the improvements needed for students to succeed.

The most important shift proposed for Te Marautanga o Aotearoa is to address equity, trust and coherence, and reflect a more authentic indigenous curriculum that is holistic and ākonga focused, grounded in te ao Māori.

On February 11, Associate Ministers of Education Jan Tinetti and Kelvin Davis announced the process and timing of the curriculum refresh, which will be developed around a collaborative process for co-design.

The New Zealand Curriculum framework and learning areas will be refreshed beginning with Social Sciences to support the implementation of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories in 2022. The large number of achievement objectives currently in the curriculum will be reviewed, so they provide greater clarity about progress to ensure all learners are reaching the milestones they need to.









on the refresh of the national curriculum, including timelines is available at

on Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories including an online survey is available at


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system’s ‘collective intelligence’ then stepping back and allowing it to function. Expertise is useful to complex situations but it is not sufficient. What is most needed is the ability to notice the emergence—and possible significance—of new patterns. And context is everything: strategies that ‘work’ in one situation won’t necessarily work in situations that have had different starting conditions and different interactions. Thus mandated one-size-fits-all templates are quite inappropriate when working in complex systems. The Cynefin Framework’s fourth space is chaos. Here what is happening is completely new and unknowable. There is no relationship between cause and effect: patterns can’t be established, even afterwards. In this space leaders need to act quickly to stabilise the situation by moving it into one of the other zones. To illustrate what leadership in these different spaces might look like in a school context, consider the following (made-up) scenario. Your school has decided to focus on developing a new, more localised curriculum. The aim is to build a schoolbased curriculum that is future-focused and appropriate for the school’s community and its physical location. If you as the school’s principal were to decide that this task fits in the Cynefin Framework’s ‘clear’ space, then you might approach it by doing some or all of the following. You might talk to the principal of a similar and/or neighbouring school about work you’ve heard they’re doing on their local curriculum. Drawing on this discussion, you might develop some ideas to present to your staff. If they have no major objections to the ideas you present, you might then convene a meeting of your school’s parent community. At this meeting you might explain the planned changes and answer any questions they have. Adopting this approach would mean that you are seeing the local curriculum concept as a known known: something that has a well-established, agreed-on meaning, something that is well-researched and generalizable to many contexts. A successful outcome for approaching this task in this way might be that a new curriculum, based on evidence-based ‘best practice’, has been produced to schedule and is currently being correctly implemented by teachers. If, however, you were to decide that this task falls into the ‘complicated’ space, you might attend some of the professional development seminars on local curriculum that are on offer, perhaps taking some members of your senior leadership team with you. You might arrange to visit a range of other schools working on the local curriculum idea, choosing some that are very different from your school and/or others with ideas that are very different from what you had in mind. You might then discuss the different ideas you’ve encountered with the staff and hold community meetings to discuss some of the different ways the school might approach the local curriculum question. Your purpose here would not be to ask the community for their views on what should be taught: rather it would be to explore their view of what is best for the school. You might seek input from local iwi/mana whenua on these questions. Using what you learn from these discussions, you might then write the school’s new localised curriculum yourself, making a commitment to rolling it out, in fully functional form, within a set time frame. Opting for this approach would mean that you see local curriculum as something that is not already-known, something that needs to be developed. This development work requires external input and support: however, it is important that this

input is discussed, debated and processed by those who will be affected by the new curriculum. A successful outcome for approaching the task in this way would be the timely production of a new curriculum that is based on information gleaned from a wide range of inputs, some outside the school’s immediate context, but made unique to, and ‘owned’ by, your school. The new curriculum is being implemented by teachers who understand it, and the school’s community, in the main, supports its general intent. Once this work has been done the new curriculum can become ‘good practice’ and be templated. If you were to decide that local curriculum development is a task that is best located in the ‘complex’ space, some of the activities you might engage in will look similar to those outlined above. However, their purpose will be different. For example, you might explore what a range of other schools are doing and you might seek professional input from education consultants with expertise in the area. But in addition to this, you might actively seek specific expertise from outside the education sector. For example, you might seek input from local iwi/mana whenua, other community representatives, local businesspeople, farmers, people with local history knowledge, scientists, environmentalists and/or people with expertise in economics or planning. These people might be parents of students at the school but you would be seeking their professional and/or local community knowledge, perhaps alongside their knowledge of their children. You might set up a collaborative process to involve these people in generating ideas that are ‘outside the box’ of conventional educational thinking. The aim of this process would not be to actually build the new curriculum (this is a specialist job), but rather to generate new/different ideas to work with. For example, participants might identify and explore gaps in current curriculum/educational thinking. If this process worked well (it would need expert facilitation), the ideas it generates could form part of the school’s next/emergent practice. The aim of all this would not be to produce a finalised end-product, a finished new curriculum that is agreed-on, signed-off and understood by all. Rather it would be to try something new, to create something to experiment with, seek feedback on, review and try again. A successful outcome for this process might be that the school has piloted a unique curriculum developed from collaborative discussions between experts from a wide range of areas, inside and outside the education sector. This pilot is now available to be reviewed, adapted and redeveloped in the light of ideas generated in ongoing, iterative discussions with stakeholders. A second success indicator would be that the process has allowed all involved to grow their capacity to work in new ways, with people they probably wouldn’t usually work with, to generate material for ‘next practice’. All this is of course very hard work. It is probably only feasible to attempt this kind of work in a very limited number of situations at any one time. There are obvious risks for leaders, particularly in the early stages. Participants expecting ‘top down’, ‘leader-knows-best’ forms of management may perceive this form of leadership as weak or woolly, or as just another talkfest. Leaders attempting to work with these ideas would need to carefully scaffold the process with clear explanations of what they are attempting and why. In my view, for what it’s worth, an important message to be conveyed here is that working in complexity is not just another fad, yet another new way to do what we have always done. Rather it is a process for beginning the very important work of developing the capacities we all need

(leaders, teachers, community members, as well as students) if we are to survive and thrive in a world in which things are no longer simple, stable and knowable. The ‘new normality’ of exponentiality, uncertainty, ambiguity, complexity, and the serious challenges that go with this is not out there somewhere in a far-distant science fiction-type future. We are in it now. The current COVID-19 pandemic, the disruption it has caused, and our responses to this should tell us that we won’t be going ‘back to normal’. Instead we need to start developing our collective ability to know what to do in the many situations we can expect to encounter where nobody knows what to do. References 1 See, for example: Trilling, B. & Fadel, C. (2009). 21st century skills. Jossey-Bass; Wagner, T. (2008). The global achievement gap. Basic Books; Wagner, T. (2012). Creating innovators. Scribner; Lucas, B., Claxton, G. & Spencer, E. (2013). Expansive education. ACER Press. 2 See: Morgan, J. (2019). Culture and the political economy of schooling: what’s left for education? Routledge; Wheelahan, L. (2010). Why knowledge matters in curriculum. London, UK: Routledge. 3

See, for example: Hirsch, E. (2016). Why knowledge matters. Harvard Education Press; McPhail, G. & Rata, E. (2016). Comparing curriculum types: ‘powerful knowledge’ and ‘21st century learning’. New Zealand Journal of Education Studies 51(1), 53-68; Young, M. (2008). Bringing knowledge back in. Routledge.

4 Perkins, D. (2014). Future-wise. Jossey-Bass. 5

Claxton, G. (2008). What’s the point of school? OneWorld.


Leadbeater, C. (2011). Rethinking innovation in education. Centre for Strategic Education Seminar Series Paper No. 207.


See: Christensen, C., Horn, M. & Johnson, C. (2008). Disrupting class. McGraw-Hill.

8 Gert Biesta refers to this as the ‘learnification’ of education. See: Biesta, G. (2013). Giving teaching back to education: responding to the disappearance of the teacher. Phenomenology & Practice, 6(2), 35–49. 9

Facer, K. (2011). Learning futures. Routledge.

10 Gidley, J. (2016). Postformal education. Springer. 11 See: Inayatullah, S. (2008). Six pillars: futures thinking for transforming. Foresight 10(1), 4-21; Milojevic, I. (2005). Educational futures. Routledge. 12 Cilliers, P. (2000). What can we learn from a theory of complexity. Emergence 2(1), 23-33 is a good short introduction to complexity. For an account of complexity with a focus on leadership, see Wheatley, M. (2006). Leadership and the new science. Berrett-Koehler. 13 See: Snowden, D. & Boone, M. (2007). A leader’s framework for decision-making. Harvard Business Review 85(11), p.68. 14 See: The version of the Cynefin graphic shown here comes from 15 In early versions, the ‘clear’ space was known as ‘simple’. The term ‘simple’ was later replaced with ‘obvious’ but ‘clear’ is now the preferred term.

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Education Leadership in Aote will and the way Cherie Taylor-Patel

New Zealand principals operate within one of the most devolved education systems in the world. Because of this, our roles are complex, made more so by a challenging political landscape, the diversity of contexts in which we work and because of the diversity of leadership learning opportunities we access, as we move through our careers. Just as no two schools are the same in New Zealand, no two principals will have had the same career pathway coming through the system. Through our own personal, practice-based, professional knowledge building, we come to the role of principal in different ways. We define our roles in different ways, based on all we have learned, to suit the context in which we lead. As a New Zealand principal, I appreciate many aspects of autonomy our system affords us, but, because of the ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ reorganization of education in 1989, a gap was created in the system. For thirty years, we have had no consistent, centralized, systemic, built in, on-going professional development for school leaders, to support us to build capacity and capabilities at different stages of our careers. When reviewing the New Zealand education system in 2019, the ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ Taskforce found inequities at all levels of the system including “slow and uneven transfers of professional knowledge and skills, and wide variability in learner/ākonga performance across schools/kura, including within the same decile.” (Reform of Tomorrow’s Schools, Pg. 10) In 2020, our current Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, announced that there would be a focus on providing more support for principals and school boards. This would include a new centre of leadership being established, through the Teaching Council. The Minister also announced that a redesigned Education Ministry would be given additional functions to build the status and capability of leaders and principals, through the establishment of local leadership advisor roles. The government’s commitment to developing leadership capacity was further emphasised by the announcement of the National Education Learning Priorities. Objective 3 in the new ‘National Education Learning Priorities’ aims to develop high quality leaders and teachers in our education system. While the recognition of the need for leadership professional development was welcomed by school leaders, the suggested solutions were less so. Indeed, they led to more questions. ■■



Would a Principal Centre meet the needs of principals across New Zealand? Would the development of a leadership strategy rather than a centre better serve our diverse sector? How would principals get to have a voice in the development of a leadership strategy, or centre and NZ Principal | March 2 0 21


If our education system is about personalizing learning and developing learner agency, should a leadership professional development strategy be developed by principals, for principals, with principals?

The development of a national leadership strategy for principals’ professional development is long overdue. We have arrived in 2021 with the Minister of Education, the Ministry of Education, the Teaching Council and the sector aligned and committed to achieving a common goal. The challenge before us is how this is to be achieved. When we look back over the last thirty years, there is a trail of professional development programmes and initiatives that have come and gone, delivered by a range of different providers. They have served some principals well, but not all, so have become another dimension of the equity issues embedded in our education system. If we are to get into the education leadership waka, as a sector, what comes next needs to be informed by what has happened to leadership professional development in New Zealand, over the last three decades. The context for change: In the 90’s, the decentralization of our schooling system saw principals’ roles change dramatically. In every school, principals were charged with the tasks of producing school charters, vision statements, mission statements, core values and goals, along with a flurry of policies and procedures. There was a lot of ‘just in time’ learning in the areas of finance, human resource management, property and health and safety, which saw many principals delegate the implementation of new curriculum documents to deputy principals. Borrowed from the business sector, the concept of ‘Total Quality Management’ influenced principals’ interpretation of their leadership roles, as they focused on becoming quality managers of schools. In 1997, the ‘New Zealand Principalship and Leadership Centre’ was established by the New Zealand Principals Federation (NZPF), corporate partners and Massey University. Reflective principal courses were developed and delivered by Dr David Stewart, principals and educators. This and a series of School Development initiatives, brought principals together to explore puzzles of practice. By the early 2000’s, new leadership research saw a series of ‘Best Evidence Syntheses’ influence our education landscape. Largely based on overseas research, the BES series on Leadership, Professional Development and Quality Teaching and Learning challenged principals to shift their focus away from managing schools, to becoming quality leaders of learning. The national ‘First Time Principals’ programme was established in 2002.

aroa – 2021: The waka, the

In this era, we had a National Leadership Team in the Ministry of Education, led by Darren Gammie, who developed the ‘Kiwi Leadership Model’, as well as a National Curriculum Team led by Mary Chamberlain, that developed and launched the New Zealand Curriculum in 2007. In 2007, an ‘Extending High Standards Across Schools’ initiative invited groups of principals to create innovative projects, some of which focused on developing principal leadership. An attempt to develop a coherent, national strategy for principal professional development delivery saw four different projects trialled in different parts of the country in 2008, with a view to upscaling one or more nationally. In 2009, however, funding for principal professional development was cut, as it did not fit the policies of the newly elected National government. Leadership and curriculum advisory services were disestablished and over the next decade, professional development for leadership was outsourced. In the National Government years, Peter Hughes, the Secretary of Education, described the Ministry of Education as the stewards of the education system and principals as the leaders. But, with no mandate to affect the development of a national leadership vision, strategy, plan or implementation of professional development, principals did what they could, with the resources they had access to, to develop capabilities and capacity, as school leaders. The introduction of ‘Communities of Learning / Kahui Ako’ in 2014 was, in part, seen as an opportunity for lead principals, to lift our system’s performance as cluster leaders. In 2015, the sector-led ‘Māori Achievement Collaborative’ was established, through NZPF, to support networks of school leaders to develop culturally responsive leadership practices needed to create positive change for Māori learners. Initially two Principal advisor positions were re-established in 2015, to support principals in challenging contexts and currently, there are around thirty advisors that serve 2,500 principals across ten regions in New Zealand. The Education Council (now the Teaching Council) led an Education Leadership strategy around 2015, working with academics, peak body leaders, some sector representatives and Māori leaders, that was paused in 2017. By 2017, the type, quality and delivery of professional development leadership was diverse and fragmented, lacking coherence with and connection to, national priorities in education and then, there was a change in government. Being a Coalition Government, it took time to reverse changes to the Education Act, to negotiate a coherent way forward with Coalition partners and to review the education system as a whole. Because the Teaching Council (formerly the Education Council) had undertaken work with the education sector to develop their Leadership Strategy and Educational Leadership

Capability Framework, from the Government’s view, they were best placed to support principal development. At this time, through the imminent restructure of the system into ‘Education Service Agencies’ (ESAs), the Ministry of Education also have planned to have a role in building the status and capabilities of principals. Through the decades, consistent issues have been present. They include ■■



Lack of centrally funded, on-going, professional development opportunities for principals, due to political priorities and the ‘political churn’ of ideologies Lack of infrastructure to deliver quality professional development, at different stages of a principal’s career, relevant for their context, in every region of New Zealand Lack of opportunity for the sector to co-construct a professional development system that will work for all, that is enduring

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As we begin 2021, we have a waka, trying to be paddled by the Government, the Ministry of Education, the Teaching Council and private providers of leadership professional development. In their efforts to define the direction, the delivery and the destination of leadership professional development, the education leadership waka is not going anywhere fast. So where to from here? A way forward Early in 2020, the New Zealand Principals Federation invited leaders of key principal associations to a meeting in Wellington. At the initial meeting, discussion centred around the ‘Tomorrow’s School Review’, the recommendations from the Taskforce around leadership development and what, we, leaders and practitioners in our profession, wanted by way of change in the professional development learning space. This was followed by a second meeting to consider a draft proposal, that would see principals from the sector lead the development of a national leadership professional development strategy, for principals. The broad concept was mooted with the CEO of the Teaching Council and then with the Secretary of Education, Iona Holstead. Principal representatives from Secondary, Intermediate, Primary, Area schools, Independent Schools, along with Te Akatea and the New Zealand Pasifika Principal Association, have united to call for principals across New Zealand, to lead an iterative process, to develop a professional development strategy, designed by principals, for principals and with principals, in

partnership with the Teaching Council. For this government to achieve their goals of developing high quality leadership in our education system, we need an effective, centrally funded leadership strategy, that supports all principals to achieve success as leaders. Through this initiative, it will be possible to a) Begin to systemically develop the capabilities and capacity of principals throughout their careers b) Address equity of access to quality professional development for principals c) Support principals to lead successful schools, where students succeed in learning in all contexts d) Strengthen leadership at all levels of our education system

The challenge and the opportunity is before us. There is the political will to support the development of a national education leadership strategy that we know is needed. We have expertise within our system to lead this work. We also know that whatever is developed needs to be based upon Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles, culturally responsive, bespoke and appropriate for our diverse contexts and effective in supporting principals. So who needs to be in this waka? Principals need to be in this waka, with key stakeholders, so together, we move forward together, in the same direction and achieve success as principals, leading a world class education system. Whakamaua te pae tata kia tina Take hold of your potential so it becomes your reality. References Berryman, M., Elizabeth E., Ford, T., & Egan, M. Leadership: Going beyond personal will and professional skills to give life to Ka Hikitia, Hamilton, NZ: University of Waikato. LEADERSHIP STRATEGY: SYNTHESIS OF VIEWS FROM THE MĀORI LEADERSHIP FORUM. Leadership/Insight-Synthesisof-views-from-Maori-Leadership-Forum.pdf – New Zealand Education Council, Wellington: August, 2017.

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NZ Principal | March 2 0 21

LEADERSHIP STRATEGY: SYNTHESIS OF VIEWS FROM THE SECOND PROFESSIONAL FORUM. Leadership/InsightSynthesis-of-views-from-Maori-Leadership-Forum.pdf – New Zealand Education Council, Wellington: August, 2017. LEADERSHIP STRATEGY: SYNTHESIS OF VIEWS FROM THE SECOND ACADEMIC FORUM. Leadership/Research-papersysnthesis-of-views-from-the-second-Academic-Forum.pdf – New Zealand Education Council, Wellington: August, 2017. Lovegrove, J. 2020. First Principals into the new Millennium: Continuing the History of the New Zealand Principal’s Federation, Fisher Print, Palmerston North: October, 2020. Kōrero Mātauranga. Supporting all Schools to Succeed: Reform of the Tomorrow’s School System, Ministry of Education, Wellington: November, 2019. Tomorrow’s Schools Review (

Principals’ Advice and Support Limited (PASL) and Sabbatical Leave Fi McMillan

Senior Associate, Anderson Lloyd Lawyers

PASL is NZPF’s legal advice and support scheme for principals. PASL was first established with an insurance company and later with law firm, Anderson Lloyd Lawyers, of Dunedin. In more recent years, as resources have allowed, NZPF has acquired 100 per cent of the shares in the limited liability company, which is governed by an independent Board. The scheme is funded by a separate subscription fee and is open to all members of NZPF. It provides subscribers one hundred minutes of free legal advice each year and up to $25,000 of legal representation. Fi McMillan is a senior associate with Anderson Lloyd Lawyers, and has been the main source of legal advice and support for principals for many years. She is well versed in the problems confronting principals, particularly in relation to employment issues. She also understands the vulnerability and complexities of principals being employed by their Board, whilst also being a member of the Board, and simultaneously being the Board’s designated employer of school staff. Over the years she has represented many principals who have come into conflict with their Boards and well understands the importance of principals maintaining strong and healthy relationships with their Board. Fi has presented at many NZPF conferences and Moots over the years and at many regional principals’ associations, to highlight the work of the PASL scheme and to provide principals with advice on how they can prevent small issues from escalating into bigger legal battles. In this brief article she focuses on problems that principals have encountered when taking sabbatical leave and offers some advice on how to minimize or prevent any negative outfall that might occur in the principal’s absence. Sabbatical Leave – How to Avoid Problems Sabbatical leave and other periods of study leave are an integral and valuable aspect of the professional development process for principals. They provide an opportunity to explore ideas, research and reflect on practice. Sabbaticals provide significant benefits to the principal, the school and its community. As a PASL lawyer, I am not privy to the vast majority of sabbaticals that go really well. I hear only about the few (but very upsetting) examples when things have gone badly wrong. One case, I recall, involved what a principal thought were ‘already resolved’ issues being reignited after their leave was approved. The principal had to cancel leave to respond to new allegations about performance issues, which they believed were

well behind them. Other cases include principals transferring their study leave to sick leave, because they had become anxious about unjustified allegations against them or were worn down by complaints. Some decided they could not leave the school and the staff after things became unsettled. In another case a principal’s request for study leave was refused in apparent retaliation for having challenged the Board’s decision on quite unrelated matters. There is always the risk that a Board will warm to an Acting Principal, in the absence of the principal, and that an ambitious Acting Principal may take advantage of that. In other cases, a Board may take advantage of the inexperience of an Acting Principal to push a particular agenda which the principal may




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N Z Principal | M a r c h 2 0 2 1


not have supported. The principal, on returning to school, then finds they have to lead the school in a direction they might otherwise not have chosen. One of the worst cases involved multiple factors. An experienced and high performing principal, on an approved three term study leave, suddenly found herself under investigation for significant performance issues predating her leave by 6-12 months. She was called to a formal meeting with the Board and told the Board had lost trust in her as the school’s professional leader. Significant changes to the school’s strategic direction had been imposed in her absence, without appropriate community consultation and without the principal having an opportunity to comment or to provide relevant information. In this case, the allegations were successfully defended, but they should never have been raised in the first place. It was very stressful for the principal, who required extensive legal advice. It took much hard work for her to recover from the damage to her reputation and standing within the community. This column is not to discourage you from taking sabbatical leave. Rather, I am raising these issues with you so that you can minimise potential risk associated with taking study leave. Although sabbatical and study leave can be costly from a financial perspective and require commitment and focus, they are plainly well worth the effort. I suggest, however, that you take steps to minimise any potential risks during your absence. So, in addition to transferring the usual delegations of authority from the Board into the name of the Acting Principal and making the necessary administrative arrangements, it is important to discuss the precise nature of the role with the Board and with the prospective Acting Principal.

You need to consider what is going to be right for your school. You might think you do not need to state the obvious; that it is a temporary position designed to maintain and sustain the school’s strategic direction rather than an opportunity to restructure the senior team or to disestablish a special programme, implemented after extensive community consultation. Some principals have found that this discussion would have been well worth having, and it would have been helpful to keep a written record of agreed conditions. Sabbatical and study leave is meant to benefit you as principal, the school and community. That means your position needs to be there upon your return. PASL can help with any employment issues arising, but before undertaking your leave you may wish to discuss the practical side with your colleagues or seek assistance from the NZPF Helpline on operational matters. Please note that if your contract with PASL is in your name then it is your contract; if you change schools or go on long term leave the contract stays with you and you remain eligible for the legal benefits under the scheme. If your contract is in the name of your school then it covers whoever is in the role of the principal. If that is the case, then we suggest you enquire into a short-term personal cover while you are on leave, just to make sure you remain protected.

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Kia Hiwa Rā Initial teacher education and the mess our world is in Martin Thrupp

I have been thinking about initial teacher education a lot lately and so I read Perry Rush’s last President’s column in this magazine with great interest. Perry argued that New Zealand’s teacher education providers – many of which are universities – are not serving the teaching profession well, and that the quality of programmes needs to be urgently addressed. He lamented the loss of a rich curriculum of the kind that used to be taught in the stand-alone Teacher’s Colleges of the past and called for more understanding of practices associated with different curricula, and of pedagogy. Like Perry, I went through the old system of ‘teacher training’ (as it was called back then) and I have considerable sympathy with his arguments. But I still think initial teacher education is best placed in universities, in fact increasingly so. I believe the goal should be to make it work in that context. Partly I have this view because I have become increasingly embedded in Finnish education over the last few years. Before the pandemic I flew up there too many times for the good of the planet and I am still working on some Finnish research projects and editing a large book on Finnish education alongside three Finnish professors. (I work in my day, they work in theirs and we swap drafts night and morning). Finnish initial teacher education is also seeing a critique of tensions between practice, theory and research. But it demonstrates that university-based teacher education with more of a focus on a rich curriculum is possible and that the wider conditions around teacher education in universities are what fosters or precludes this. To begin with, the school-age population in Finland is not exploding, as New Zealand’s has done as a result of immigration settings. Finnish policymakers and teacher educators are therefore much less preoccupied with the sheer quantity of teaching graduates required, whereas our Ministry of Education has been super-keen to recruit for many years now. Secondly, and I expect you have all heard this, teaching is a highly sought-after job in Finland. Indeed my Finnish colleagues have told me, and I have seen it in the day-to-day life and special events of the education faculties I am familiar with, that it is a largely upper-middle class occupation, a bit like law or medicine is here. There are some particularly Finnish reasons for this, for instance attitudes to education and the advantages of being able to look after children over the fantastically long Finnish summer holiday. It is also an occupation which requires a Master’s degree (I haven’t worked out the chicken and egg of this yet). In Aotearoa, teaching has not been so sought after for many years now. There are likely numerous reasons for this, including the demonisation of teachers by previous governments and social distress in schools caused by growing inequalities. But teacher

education has also been cheapened by various developments in tertiary education over the years. New Zealand students of teaching typically have to pay fees and take out loans to cover their studies and so they are attracted to shorter programmes. Teacher education providers, being in competition with each other, have obliged by compressing their programmes despite reservations. For instance, the then Auckland College of Education reduced their four-year primary teaching degree to three years in the 1990s, and the other university providers followed suit. It was this that saw the dropping off of many of the curriculum papers that would have provided the richness that Perry seeks. In Finland, students are better supported financially. It is more like the Teacher’s College situation I knew in this country in the 1980s. There are even heavily subsidised cooked lunches. The Finnish graduate students I know are not in such a hurry through their education studies: they are enjoying the journey as well as the destination. Market competition also impacts selection processes. It’s a big deal to get into a Finnish teacher education programme and it was for me too in New Zealand in the 1980s because there weren’t many providers and the overall student numbers had been cut under the Muldoon Government. But in the current climate, a student being accepted doesn’t even mean they will turn up. They may have been accepted by one of many other providers, or have just decided they don’t want to become a teacher after all. So teacher education providers are under pressure to offer many more places for students than they expect will take them up, in the hope of getting enough. The current selection processes in Aotearoa do have advantages. We get a wider range of students in terms of ethnicity, class, gender/sexuality, age and interests and this allows schools to employ teachers to suit their context. But it should not be surprising if some teacher education students are not so capable in an academic sense at the point of being selected into programmes. Yes, there is University Entrance as well as the numeracy and literacy tests required by the Teaching Council, but it’s not a very high bar. A few other problems exist in New Zealand. NCEA has a lot to answer for in terms of student attitudes to their studies – let’s bank those credits/assignments! The academic rating exercise (PBRF) encourages universities to prioritise research over experience of teaching in schools, when making academic appointments in education faculties. It means many former colleagues with great career success would no longer be appointable these days. The staffing of education faculties has also been repeatedly cut back as universities juggle to make ends meet. Teacher educators are generally working more intensively than ever against a

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background of fast-changing university processes. Teacher education programmes also face new requirements from the Teaching Council. I haven’t worked out yet to what extent these are a hinderance or a help, they are most likely a bit of both. I do know the new requirements put some of my university colleagues under huge pressure during 2020 when we all had quite enough to deal with in any case. As an organisation that is reinventing itself from its earlier EDUCANZ version, the Teaching Council is probably struggling for oxygen amongst the education agencies in Wellington and it clearly has insufficient funding for its aspirations – hence its legal battles with the PPTA over the cost of practising certificates. The Teaching Council’s leadership strategy ‘seeks to develop leadership capability and capacity for every teacher, including those in role-based leadership roles but not limited to that’. Perhaps ‘teacher leadership’ will become the Teaching Council’s equivalent of what David Phillips called the ‘Big Idea’ of a unitary qualifications framework as used by the NZQA in its early days. It was a way of promoting its interests in the competition for government influence. Important strengths of our initial teacher education programmes are the practicum arrangements and other opportunities that see students being in schools on a regular basis, and those which see principals and teachers of normal schools and others taking up associate roles within programmes as well. I know my teacher education colleagues across the country would like me to thank you for this crucial involvement, and I thank you as well.

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NZ Principal | March 2 0 21

Let me return to why I have been thinking about Initial Teacher Education and why I think universities should be at the heart of it despite the problems I have mentioned. The usual justification given for university-based teacher education is that it allows teacher education to be informed by educational research and scholarship (note I didn’t say ‘research-based’ – teaching and learning is far too complex for that). But the recent events in the world have also made me think about the wider purposes of the University. As you will know we have a growing problem, highlighted by Trump’s supporters and by events around the pandemic, of people getting terribly caught up in misinformation and conspiracy. There is pressure to take sides on many issues without thinking much about them. Spin and celebrity often win the day. Aotearoa is not immune from these problems. Some of the children we work with in our schools come from families that have less than tolerant attitudes at times. We have recently seen the Advance New Zealand party co-led by Jamie-Lee Ross and Billy Te Kahika and many people have supported John Key or Jacinda Ardern without a clear understanding of their party policies and overlooking the problem that their governments’ actions often do not match up to rhetoric or slogans. In the circumstances, we need a new emphasis on children and young people being able to really think for themselves so that they can respond best to the often frightening developments we are seeing around the globe and not be at the mercy of social media platforms. Political extremism and populism, social inequalities and discriminations of various kinds, consumerism and the climate crisis: all of these need a really considered response. We need teachers capable of creating a safe place for discussion that can challenge misconceptions and help students to protect themselves. Unfortunately, there is also a real risk that some New Zealand teachers will be among those who move into alternative realities. Don’t you think that amongst Trump’s MAGA supporters there would probably be some teachers? And last year it was reported that a New Zealand polytech tutor was allegedly bringing conspiracy theories into class. Universities are well placed to foster critical thinking, for instance teaching about the historical rise and fall of political ideologies, emphasising the importance of assessing the quality of evidence and demonstrating the way statistics can be used to manipulate the truth. I’m not saying there is enough of such matters in current teacher education programmes but I do think universities are a great place for them to get discussed. Perhaps the real challenge is to slow down initial teacher education in Aotearoa’s universities enough to provide time for students to take a wide range of both curriculum and other papers, possibly from beyond education faculties, including those on politics, sociology, social psychology, history and philosophy. In other words, those that will really develop the ability of teacher education students to think critically and to encourage such attributes in the students they teach as well. To do this, we need to resist the urge to always get beginning teachers in our classrooms ASAP. We need to support longer initial teacher education programmes and we need the kind of funding for students that will allow them to be happy about this as well. Under such conditions teaching could again become more of a respected vocation, as well as being a profession better geared to today’s challenges.

Getting beyond the tick box . . . Helen Kinsey-Wightman

Having returned from a year of study leave, I find my job looks different and not just because of Covid. Part of my role was to review teacher portfolios prior to renewal of practising certificates, with a staff of 100 that meant more than 30 a year and given the hours of work many staff put into providing evidence and reflecting upon it, I felt a sense of responsibility to do more than just have a quick flick through. This part of my role has now ended and our responsibility as school leaders has shifted. Our teachers appreciate that the Teaching Council have listened to their concerns about workload and recognised their professionalism. Whilst the renewal process for practising certificates has been simplified, each time we do so we must tick a box to attest that, ‘The teacher has continued to develop and practise te reo me ngā tikanga Māori while practising as a teacher.’ If we are leading with integrity, I believe we must first ask

ourselves: What have I done in the last 12 months to develop and practise Te Reo me ngā tikanga Māori? How have I supported teacher learning in my school so that I am able to tick that box with confidence? A few years ago I created a Google doc of rauemi (resources) for teachers who wanted to advance their learning in Te Reo and tikanga Māori. I have updated it and placed the link at the end so that you can share it with your teachers. Here is a summary that you and your staff may find valuable:

THE COMPLETE SPORTS PACKAGE Services we offer Maintenance and Management • Sportsfield construction and renovation • Linemarking • Goal post removal • Fertilisation and spraying • Building and asset maintenance • Cricket wicket maintenance and renovations • Design and development • Drainage and irrigation – installation and repairs • Mowing of surrounds and school grounds • After school hours maintenance • Full time grounds people • Gardening and landscape services • Furniture design and build • Playground builds and maintenance

visit us at:


CLASS in school maintenance

& management

0800 265 000

N Z Principal | M a r c h 2 0 2 1


Classes nationally ■■





Te Wānanga ō Aotearoa (TWoA) has fees free courses nationally Te Ataarangi is a learning style focussing less on written methods of learning. Classes are available nationally and (kaiako) teachers use cuisenaire rods to make pictures to assist with oral Te Reo acquisition. UCOL classes are fees free for beginner and intermediate levels Te Wananaga o Raukawa (TWoR) has a campus in Ōtaki and offers a range of campus and distance learning courses. Te Ahu o Te Reo Māori is the MoE led roll out of learning for teachers

Online courses ■■


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Education Perfect has Te Reo Māori specifically designed for teachers. TWoA has a first introduction to Māori tikanga and basic language pronunciation. This course has great free book resources. Poupou Huia Te Reo, is a similar course run by TWoR. TWoR has a range of online courses from beginners onwards. Toro Mai offers two free introductory online courses in Te Reo Māori and Tikanga Māori through Massey Uni. Te Whanake has interactive learning modules with great animations for learning online. Te Awa Māori provide online courses – Hā o te Rā – Your daily breath. These courses offer weekly live sessions which are recorded for those who can’t make it. There is a cost for these.






Podcasts ■■


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Kupu o te rā Enter your email address to receive wordlists ie days of the week, months of the year etc. sent to your inbox. There are also tests you can give yourself. Māori dictionary allows you to search for words in English or Te Reo and click on the icon to hear the word pronounced for you. It also puts the word into a sentence for you. Google Translate gives a Māori to English translation but bear in mind it is not that accurate.

Online resources ■■ ■■



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Quizlet helps you to learn new vocabulary in a fun way. Te Ara Encyclopaedia of New Zealand is a guide to Māori people, environment, history, culture and society. The Māori Language Commission has all the booklet and poster resources they have created for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori available for download Te Tiriti o Waitangi – AKO NZ runs a paid online workshop which may be particularly valuable to teachers new to NZ Māori maps shows all marae in NZ allows you to create a digital pepeha Kauwhata Reo is a hub for Māori learning resources – there is a useful section on Māori atua Paekupu has subject specific vocabulary support ie for Pūtaiao (science) and Pangarau (maths)

Apps ■■


Kupu app allows you to point your phone at any object and it will give you the Māori word.

NZ Principal | March 2 0 21

Taringa is a bilingual podcast about Tikanga and Te Reo Māori from TWoA. R & R with Eru & K’Lee is a bilingual talk show on current affairs which can be downloaded as a podcast Everyday Māori with Hemi Kelly RNZ – Te Ahi Kaa is a bilingual podcast which incorporates Māori practices and values in its content, format and presentation.

Books ■■

Scotty Morrison has a great series beginning with Māori Made Easy available from most bookshops.

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Pronunciation and kupu (word/vocabulary) support ■■

Te Puāwai is an app developed by NZQA with some useful phrases, waiata, protocol. Tipu has great lessons from beginner level and helps to build vocab into simple sentences. It has lots of repetition for practice. Drops is a language learning app which has Māori vocab learning – there is an optional paid component too. Kōrerorero is from AUT and has conversation examples for specific situations. Arataki Cultural trails is a proximity activated storytelling platform that allows you to unlock authentic stories at places of cultural significance.




You can watch the news every day via Te Karere on Demand it is in Te Reo with some English interviews. I watch yesterday’s news on Te Karere so that I understand the context! Home learning TV was created for Lockdown and has both Junior and Senior Māori available on Demand Toku reo videos and exercises link up with the series of TV programmes which are available on demand on the site. Ōpaki (meaning informal) is a Māori language series which uses a range of language learning techniques, games, music and activities. It is also available as a podcast.

The full document with links built in for these, and other resources, can be shared with anyone wanting to further their knowledge of Te Reo Māori:

Ma ngā huruhuru ka rere ai te manu With feathers the bird will take flight.


You can now access the current and past issues of NZ Principal magazine online You can search by magazine issue, article name or author





D S!

Investing in Psychological Capital Online Pedagogical Strengthening Tool

Situationally teachers are called on to lead even if they are not ready or have no desire to do so. Successfully shifting from teacher of students to leader of adults, teachers:

SLEUTH SLEUTH™ is a developmental tool. It allows teachers to identify their pedagogical strengths and weaknesses and provides solutions to implement and track progress to improve the identified pedagogical areas.

If you would like to know more about SLEUTH™ please contact either Tony / Andrew or any of the team as they will be more than happy to provide further details.

• Protect themselves from becoming counsellors, coaches, mentors and confidantes to emotionally needy parents; • Do not overcommit, overpromise or take ownership of issues over which they have no authority or ability to influence when under pressure from demanding & pushy parents; • At parent-teacher meetings will seize all opportunities to improve outcomes for their learners by communicating what parents need to hear, as opposed to what they want to hear; and • Oversee teacher aides & learning assistants who consistently have a higher impact. Teachers understanding situational leadership and who are in possession of strategies, skills and tactics to lead when called upon, experience higher levels of engagement, happiness, self-efficacy, resilience, hopefulness and optimism. These lie at the core of workplace well-being. These teachers also have a greater impact on progressing outcomes for learners. Should you be interested in exploring these areas as a staff or leadership team team next year we have enclosed information. Research from the field of organisational and industrial psychology reveals it is possible to predict with accuracy teachers who are more vulnerable to workplace stress, anxiety and burnout. Hyper-sensitivity, catastrophising, personalising, emotionalising, ruminating, perfectionism, cynicism, overextension and workaholism can all be linked to teachers’ personalities. The uncomfortable truth is how a significant number of teachers contribute to their own workplace stress because of their dispositional preferences without knowing. One of many areas within our Strengthening Our Psychological Capital programme, this may also be an area your leadership team or staff may be interested in exploring this year. Whilst these focus areas are some of our newest they are also some of our most in-demand areas of professional learning in schools and across Kāhui Ako. If you seek more information on these, or any of our existing tailored for you opportunities for 2021, please do make contact.

Tony Burkin

Andrew Ormsby

021 729 008

+64 3 420 2800 ext1

Improving tamariki wellbeing

Healthy Active Learning What is Healthy Active Learning?

Healthy Active Learning is a joint government initiative between Sport New Zealand and the Ministries of Health and Education to improve the wellbeing of tamariki and young people through healthy eating and drinking, and quality physical activity. Healthy Active Learning is voluntary, at no cost to schools, kura and early learning services. It contributes to one of the Government’s key priorities – improving the wellbeing of children and young people – and is part of the Government’s Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy.

What are the three components of Healthy Active Learning? Ministry of Health will create toolkits to help all education settings to create a healthy food and drink environment. This will include a focus on healthy food and water-only policies. The toolkits will be developed in Te Reo Māori and English. A health promotion workforce will support healthy food and water-only educational environments.

Sport New Zealand will provide a physical activity workforce to support 800 primary and intermediate schools and kura to create healthy and active learning environments, and better connection to their local communities.

Ministry of Education will create new Health and Physical Education (HPE) and Hauora curriculum resources to support all schools and kura to enhance the understanding, planning and delivery of HPE and physical activity. The resources will be developed in Te Reo Māori and English.

Find out more at

Healthy Active Learning embodies principles of hauora to promote healthy and active learning environments and better connection to communities by supporting: • schools and kura to understand and recognise the value of the HPE and Hauora curriculum • schools and kura to create an environment that supports and promotes quality play, sport and physical activity • teachers and kaiako to be confident and capable in delivering the HPE and Hauora curriculum • schools and kura to create a healthy food and drink environment • schools and kura to make well informed decisions when using external providers • schools and kura to strengthen their connections with their wider community, including whānau and local health and physical activity providers.

“ Not only has our health and physical activity transformed but the ripples can be felt across our school culture, learning and curriculum.” “ Students are realising health and physical activity is about the whole body. Mental and spiritual wellbeing is as important as body and relationships.” Testimonials from teachers engaged in physical activity pilot programme

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