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June 2019 Volume 34, Number 2

Te Tai Tokerau Hui Also

featuring

• NZPF Moot 2019 • Discretionary Leave – Uses and Misuses

• Tomorrow’s Schools • PLA Service • Using the Code of Conduct


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CONTENTS 

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

June 2019

2 EDITORIAL Liz Hawes

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Magazine Proof-reader Helen Kinsey-Wightman Editorial Board Whetu Cormick, NZPF President Geoff Lovegrove, Retired Principal, Feilding Liz Hawes, Editor Advertising For all advertising enquiries contact: Cervin Media Ltd PO Box 68450, Wellesley St, Auckland 1141 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

PRESIDENT’S PEN

Whetu Cormick

5 NZPF Moot 2019

Robbie Taylor & Liz Hawes

17 21 24 29 32 35

Discretionary Leave – Uses and Misuses

Fiona McMillan

Tomorrow’s Schools

Martin Thrupp

Te Tai Tokerau Hui

Liz Hawes

PLA Service

Diane Manners, Evaluation Associates, d.manners@evaluate.co.nz

School Lines

Lester Flockton

Opinion – ‘Using the code of conduct to proactively support teachers . . . ’

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)

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Moot 2019

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Editorial Liz Hawes 

Editor

Canadian writer, Laurence J Peter, once said, ‘Some characterising our current school system and its strengths and problems are so complex you have to be highly intelligent and weaknesses.’ well informed just to be undecided about them.’ It certainly has achieved that. Recent debates and discussions The quote reminded me of the Tomorrow’s Schools Review. The amongst the profession have painted the inadequacies of problems it tackles, such as trying to resolve inequities of learning the current system in flashing neon. As the realization outcomes through governance changes and hubs have unearthed dawned that implementing the Review, as it is written, would a plethora of new questions. Whilst the profession is clear in cost considerably more than the savings from closing the its support for establishing a unit Ministry’s regional offices, those who for curriculum advice, assessment It’s an ambitious intention desperately need solutions to the and the like and would welcome a severely challenged students trashing business unit to call on for help with to state that a new education classrooms and physically attacking property issues, financial advice and staff on a daily basis have galvanized system model will fix compliance issues, it is quite unsure their resolve to fight harder. Those who about having these units and other inequities in learning have been crying in the wilderness for helpful services sit in hubs. This specialist teachers, more teacher aides, creates paralysis and indecision outcomes educational psychologists, therapists because, as the name implies, hubs of every kind and counselling for are central to the review’s thirty odd major recommendations. traumatized kids, were now howling for a chunk of the Budget Perhaps the Review was trying to achieve too much and just before the Tomorrow’s Schools zealots could get their collaborative overwhelmed the already overwhelmed profession. The timing, hands around it. after all, wasn’t great. Making its debut right on Christmas meant It is to be expected that when schools have been denied the it was ignored for the first month and didn’t surface in the support they so desperately need for so long, that they would consciousness of principals until their new tranche of youngsters react in this way. Their realities face them every day, whilst the had settled into school for the new year. Then it was panic time hypothetical argument that says hubs are the best way to address as the hovering submission date crept ever closer. the inequities of student learning outcomes, somehow sounds Even more problematic was that the Review arrived amidst hollow in comparison. teacher shortages; industrial issues; growing disquiet at the It’s an ambitious intention to state that a new education system lack of action to fix the special education system; concerns model will fix inequities in learning outcomes. Afterall our with research showing teachers are overworked and burning nation is also riddled with social inequities in health, mental out while a growing number of principals are being physically health, housing, income and crime. Unsurprisingly those who attacked by mentally unwell students; continuing struggles with experience poor outcomes on all the social measures are the same underfunding; Then there were the Mosque attacks that tragically groups presenting inequities in educational outcomes. affected so many school families. The report barely pays lip service to the social inequities that What the profession most wanted was some happy positive exist outside of the school parameters, yet we all know that news. Something to pluck them from the misery of overload schools reflect social inequities, they don’t create them. Many and make them feel good. Instead they got a dense and lengthy would argue that unless the social inequities are simultaneously report filled with uncertainties. This was not going to release resolved no education system changes will successfully address them from the daily agonising battles with the current system. the educational inequities. Whatever the outcome of the next phase, there is no doubt The Report has certainly ruffled feathers and that is not a bad that the profession has done some soul searching. Professor thing. It also presents some excellent ideas which the profession Martin Thrupp in his article The Tomorrow’s Schools Taskforce wholeheartedly supports. What the profession is struggling consultation: What was that all about? (p. 21) sums it up well with is the structure within which these valued services and saying: advisories would sit. ‘ . . . we have had to reflect on our own personal hopes and Perhaps it is the right structure, and perhaps it isn’t. dreams for the school system and how best to match those up Unfortunately, we may never know because the report has with today’s realities.’ And arrived at a bad time and there is no research evidence to guide ‘  .  .  .  the Taskforce leaves us with a great resource for our thinking.

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President’s Pen

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

National President, New Zealand Principals’ Federation

With the first phase of the Tomorrow’s Schools Review now completed (see pp 5–16 in this issue for the NZPF Moot report), we turn our attention to another important topic. This is Curriculum, Progress and Achievement (CPA). A Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) began working on CPA early last year. With the removal of national standards, we have the task of finding a different way to measure how our young people are progressing in their learning, so that teachers can identify next learning steps and can update parents on their children’s progress. At a national level, the public wants to know how the education system is doing across the board because it takes a significant investment of public money to operate the education system. We have no argument with these two requirements. The challenge is to identify how to do it. We come to this challenge leaving behind a competitive, economic model of education, where achievement targets, accountabilities compliance and data ruled everything we did. National standards were the lynch pin to make this model work. They were the ultimate measure of student performance, of teacher performance and of school performance. In the end, they measured how well the system was doing and how well an individual student was doing relative to the standards. The standards were the same for everybody so in this way students and schools could be directly compared. I am not going to launch an analysis of why national standards were utterly rejected by the profession because you are all quite familiar with the arguments. It is enough to say that after nine years they didn’t raise achievement levels. Nor did they make a jot of difference to Māori, Pasifika, young people with learning difficulties or those from disadvantaged backgrounds – the groups targeted for improvement. Unshackled from the restraints of national standards, there are principals and teachers who are struggling to identify an alternative way to measure learning progress. Couple that with the need to find a new way of reporting system progress and there is work to be done. For the past year our sector has been debating what sort of learning assessment we want and what would be needed to show parliament and the public how the system is performing at a national level. Some of the ideas include designing studentowned records of learning that capture rich learning, support transitions across schools and evaluate and communicate learning progress across the breadth of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and Te Matauranga o Aotearoa. We want to talk about learning as a process not as outputs. Many of you are already doing this using e-portfolios and learning stories but there is no consistency across schools in these practices.

Consistency of practice is of course important, but neither do we want anything too prescriptive and certainly not standardised. We want learning progress to be student-owned and to include student voice. We want to focus on students’ strengths and build on these. We want whānau involved in developing and maintaining these learning records and contributing to them. It has been suggested that a single digital platform is needed to help with consistency and ease of communication, particularly when students transition. That of course raises more questions about the availability of technology to all. We would expect learning records would have qualitative and observational information but questions remain about how to measure the progress. We need our teachers and principals to be capable of gathering, analysing and using assessment information to support progress in learning; to undertake inquiry and be literate in those processes and the evaluation of them. To do this we need a selection of assessment tools, and readily available PLD. We also need the processes of inquiry and assessment to have greater emphasis in our Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes. What we don’t want is to be burdening our teachers with additional workload. Collaboration would help in leveraging expertise for developing the skills of inquiry and assessment for teachers in an area. Whether this is through Principals’ Associations’ networks, clusters, Communities of Learning or hubs, it would be helpful to work collaboratively to solve specific problems of practice. A further help would be the establishment of a curriculum, learning, assessment and pedagogy unit to support the work of our teachers. This has already been recommended in the Tomorrow’s Schools Review. At the recent NZPF executive committee meeting, CPA was discussed and members were quite clear that when we are considering the elements that influence young peoples’ learning we are talking about the effectiveness of our teachers in tandem with the culture of our schools. Members felt that issues such as cultural sustainability, collaborative practice, and overarching mechanisms for creativity all needed to be considered when assessing a school’s effectiveness for learning. CPA is a big task, and for some it is entering new territory. It is also hugely exciting to have the opportunity to shape a mechanism for developing our curriculum and assessing learning, which may endure for the next thirty years.

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MOOT 2019 Liz Hawes  EDITOR Robbie Taylor

An atmosphere of expectancy always surrounds the NZPF Moot. It is the once a year opportunity for all regional presidents to bring their views, debate them with their colleagues and learn from each other. Hearing views from the regions also helps position the work of the NZPF National Executive. This year the theme of the Moot was the Tomorrow’s Schools Review. As is traditional, the Moot was opened by NZPF Kaumatua, Haterei Temo and chaired by award winning journalist and television presenter, Jehan Casinader. Casinader is no stranger to NZPF events and was also chair of the 2018 Moot. In his opening statement, he observed: ‘Just as the last Moot was opened, the Minister was announcing the Tomorrow’s Schools Review. I asked what should this look like? How fast should it progress? Who will it serve?’ These were pertinent questions and helped shape the conversations that followed. According to the Task Force, the Tomorrow’s Schools Review was prompted by the following key points: ■■

■■

■■

■■ ■■ ■■

The system is working for some but not the most disadvantaged. There is no evidence to say that self-governing schools have helped [the disadvantaged]. The gap between the highest and lowest achievers has widened. There is a lack of connectedness between schools. There are isolated successes but these are not systemic. Structural and cultural changes are needed and tinkering won’t be enough.

Minister Hon Chris Hipkins addresses the Moot delegates

Whetu Cormick, President of NZPF was the first official speaker to address the gathering saying that the day would be devoted to debating issues associated with Tomorrow’s Schools. He confirmed many of the key points prompting the Review saying: ‘The position we are in now is plagued with inequities, driven by competition, gravely underfunded and overwhelmed by the effects of an inclusion policy which was implemented without appropriate supports. As a profession we are now facing high stress and burnout and our work as professionals has become greatly under-valued. Our job has become steadily more complex and for some, an impossible job to do well.’ He went on to explain that the decile system of equity funding also had negative effects creating a drift of students from low to high decile schools. Low decile schools had lower rolls, with fewer resources and higher proportions of students requiring higher levels of learning support, whilst high decile schools were flourishing. This, he said, resulted in the perverse belief that the decile number was a measure of quality. We also find, he said, that our Māori and Pasifika students have not flourished in this system and we continue to find examples of racism and bias. Schools have not become more culturally responsive or culturally sustaining. He then looked to the Review Report and its recommendations for Governance changes through the introduction of hubs and asked his audience whether they envisaged that hubs would successfully provide for learning support needs, curriculum & assessment and business advisory services, leadership advice, evaluation of schools, employment and appraisal of principals and if they did, whether this would make a difference to equity of learning outcomes? These, he said, were some of the questions he hoped would result in answers by the end of the day.

Time to get down to debating the issues

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NZPF President, Whetu Cormick (left ) and Te Akatea President, Miles Ferris (second left) enjoy a moment together with Moot delegates

Minister Chris Hipkins Minister Hipkins opened his address cautiously. ‘There is still deep cynicism about collaboration and consultation,’ he proffered, ‘because you think that Governments decide and just give you the chance to complain.’ To prove that his Government does not behave like that, he continued, ‘We won’t always get it right the first time. We are asking you to design and then redesign. As Minister, I will continue to change when needed. We will only realise our potential when everyone is pointing in the same direction, with a common sense of purpose. Only then can we make meaningful change that will last.’ To demonstrate his sincerity, he pointed out that before he was Minister the profession had sent him some clear expectations. They wanted rid of national standards and charter schools. Once he became Minister, his first job was abolishing both. ‘We do genuinely listen and want to collaborate with you,’ he said. He briefly summarised the process of the past eighteen months in reviewing Tomorrow’s Schools emphasising the collaborative and inclusive nature of the conversations and the breadth of the topics discussed. Trying to re-engage the sector in constructive debate he said, ‘My single plea is I generally find it easy to hear what you don’t support, but I am not hearing what you do support . . . I accept everyone is dissatisfied with the status quo, but there’s no point in a response that just knocks any suggestions for change. We need to work in a collaborative way and work out what good change might look like.’ He pointed out that he has heard the sector’s comments about workload and wellbeing. ‘We have put half a billion dollars, so far, into learning support. We have also put $217 million aside for the roll out of SENCOs,’ he said. The Minister did not shy away from one of the most challenging issues ahead –the desire for parents to know how their kids are 6

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doing. A curriculum, progress and achievement task force has been meeting for several months but the Minister was very clear that their task is not easy. ‘[we want] YOU to tell us what progress tracking is. We need some objective information as well as formative assessment, but we DON’T want the compliancebased assessment we have had in the past.’ He also had a message for principals on employing teachers. ‘The number of beginning teachers on fixed term contracts is unacceptable,’ he said. ‘We must take collective responsibility to support beginning teachers or we won’t have experienced ones.’ He acknowledged that the entry levels for training may need to be reviewed and said he was working with the Teaching Council to address that issue. ‘In all of these processes, I want to hear from you,’ he said. ‘My intention is to engage collaboratively with you in our decision making.’ The Minister took questions from the regional presidents as follows: Question The training needs of overseas teachers is significant. Primary schools get 0.1 for ten weeks whilst secondary schools get 0.1 for twenty weeks. Why the discrepancy? Answer Recruiting from overseas is not my first preference. It’s training NZ teachers but we have to start somewhere and that takes time. I will look at the inequity that you raise and the difference between primary and secondary. Question Policy development occurring through the Tomorrow’s Schools Review shows a focus on two learning pathways – Māori medium and mainstream. To future proof the education system we need to ensure that we look at the diversity of cultures [we have in Aotearoa New Zealand]. Samoan, Tongan, French and more, but


these have no voice in recent documents. There are inequities where Māori teachers are remunerated for their skills, but this doesn’t flow across to Samoan and others. I believe we must not miss these opportunities and make sure we are not just focused on Māori and mainstream. Answer Minister Jenny Salesa is working on Pacific Island languages and that needs more work. That is part of the Budget process now. I’ve been doing work on national languages with the National party spokesperson on Education, Nikki Kaye. The resources for Māori medium are small relative to English medium. English medium resources can be produced by the private sector and Māori resources are not financially viable so we need to look at that. We have a particular responsibility for Māori as our indigenous language. Question [On the subject of] supporting teachers as they come into our schools, a mentor teacher gets time and money to invest in coaching and mentoring as well as release time to spend with them. Modules are useful but we also need time so that the mentors can build the role. That’s what grows the teachers. Answer We put money into the Auckland teachers project and retention from that is high so we are looking at expanding that. It’s a good model but there are huge gaps and we need to learn what works Question What is the future of Communities of Learning (CoL)? There are competing tensions between time, energy and funding.

Answer My view is unchanged. Collaboration is great and we want to see more at every level. I’m not convinced CoL is the best model – that salaries are the best way to drive collaboration. We’ve made no decisions or delved into them yet. Tomorrow’s Schools is first and they will follow. It’s premature to do anything right now. Question On restraint, surely the intention was not to censure a teacher for guiding a child to their seat, or to pick up crayons. There are 1,000 who need mental health services in Northland and we have nothing. What is being done about that? Answer I absolutely hear that the [Restraint] committee got it wrong. I am convinced it is not operating as it needs to. There is fear about what you can and can’t do. We have to fix that. I had a letter this morning from a school teacher concerned that they can only restrain when [a child] is harming themselves or others. So in the case of trashing a classroom, you remove the rest of kids and let them [trash the classroom]. I don’t agree. We have to get the Crimes Act and the Education Act aligned. I acknowledge that is not working. Question My prob is there is no funding review. We can’t consider [changes] without knowing the full core costs of running schools. We buy Teacher Aides with parent donations. We’ve had three reviews in the last twelve years and no change to the policy. Secondly, I have two teachers going through arduous retraining and it’s a joke. They could teach better than most so why are they retraining? They were registered and now want to be relievers.

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Answer The job of Tomorrow’s Schools is also funding, and deciding whether it is enough. The biggest debate in politics at present is tax. If you want more funding, encourage tax revenue! Question Thinking about Māori students. Russel Bishop says that this review of Tomorrow’s Schools won’t help Māori students. What is your view on this? Answer There are Māori strategies and good approaches that work well. Te Kotahitanga is one, for example, although Mere Berriman says the answer is not one single programme and this area will need more money. This is high priority for me and you will see that when the Budget comes out. Question My question is about support for overseas teachers. We were informed there is a contract with Otago Uni. Aside from not knowing the NZ curriculum these teachers don’t know our culture. They struggle with our Māori and Pasifika students. I thought one person assigned to cultural training is insufficient. We need much more of this. Answer Yes, there is a bunch of Kiwi teachers who need this too and we need to get on with it. We need more Māori and Pacific Island teachers as well. Scholarships and other incentives have been undersubscribed, although that is shifting now. I want to do more in that space. The lack of cultural competency can’t just be sheeted home to overseas teachers. It is all teachers. Question No one puts their hand up to lead a CoL. We are on a lot of things. When people criticise the money going to leaders they need to realise it’s an impossible task. I do both jobs 24/7. Answer I understand that. I’m not criticising people who are doing the work or what they are paid but others want more flexibility about how the money is spent. It isn’t sustainable that people do two jobs. As is traditional at Moots, the President of the Te Akatea Māori Principals’ Association speaks to the regional presidents. This year, Miles Ferris had some hard-hitting messages for his audience. Here is what he had to say: Miles Ferris – President of Te Akatea The purpose of the reviews has not worked for Māori and still doesn’t. Reviews result in policies that continue to enforce assimilation. You all have Māori kids in your schools. You may well think your Māori kids are doing fine but are they fluent in te reo? Do you know? Back in the day our tamariki were hit for speaking te reo and so didn’t value te reo. So the next generation lost it. If a Māori child cant recite their pipiha they are not succeeding. Do your Māori students see themselves as culturally valued in your school? Culture is an engrained part of your school, so how is the Treaty valued in your school? Are you upholding the values and truths of the Treaty? Do your children know Māori history? Do they know that our fathers would take care of the babies, raise and teach them and carried them on their backs when they went to work. Are you promoting male Māori as loving and kind? Think of your view of a Māori man. Society does not have a positive view of Māori

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men. Māori success as Māori is hard to understand but it will not be fostered in mainstream. We need true bicultural schools so we can become multi-cultural. Educational conversations are about what is not successful for Māori. Our current society is racist and it’s reflected in our schools. There are many statistics to prove it. We will, as Te Akatea, challenge a racist system. We all support improvements for Māori. We will not back down and so we call for our own Māori education system. We expect that call will be honoured. The Moot organisers recognised that it would be helpful for the regional presidents to hear directly from the authors of the Tomorrow’s Schools Review report and invited Chair of the Task Force, Bali Haque and a member of the Task Force, Cathy Wylie to outline the review and answer questions about their report. Bali Haque and Cathy Wylie We are committed to reviewing the recommendations in the report, which is due to the Minister at the end of April [subsequently changed to June]. We are committed to making changes if you recommend them. Our job was to review the current system. We wanted to scale up the good stuff. We believe there is a gap in the system and that is currently filled with regional Ministry offices. That doesn’t work. We know that. They are part of a centralising operation. The Ministry in Wellington is making policy and ten regional offices are implementing it. Schools then do it. Everyone knows the complexities because regional offices don’t know schools. There is a tension for schools. They get frustrated with bureaucracy. The system is top down. We are trying to shift that. Our suggestion is to decentralise the system. If we do things like remove the regional offices and have hubs, which have some degree of decision making because they are crown agencies, we would be scaling down the Ministry in Wellington and devolving more to schools. We know we made some errors. We talked of 125 schools to a hub. We debated whether we should put a number in and so now people think 125 schools? How can that hub work in partnership with schools because we are talking about the hub being nothing like regional offices, DHBs or anything else. We appreciate that there is a fear of bureaucracy because of your previous relationship with the Ministry and that’s not helpful to us. At the beginning of the report we set out the purpose and design of the report. We can’t remain trapped with what is. The system is compliance driven from Ministry offices. I invite you to step up and ask what might be. Whatever the hub is, it’s a trusting model rather than not. You know what we want in the hubs. If we can do that and get hubs close to you and if you trust the people in those hubs to support you then we could spread the changes. We could get schools working together to share ideas. So, when we think about the hub, we express the hub in terms of what we do. Once we describe that, then we can think about how many and how they are configured to fulfil these functions. So how might we get through the next phase? We don’t see a hub as a shining building but as a network of support and the hub would develop organically. Our thinking is that it would take three to five years to develop hubs. Boards would be retained but would share the governance role. On five-year principals’ contracts, we recognise that nobody likes that idea. That is another issue we would look at changing.


Moot participants listen carefully as Bali Haque outlines the major features of the Tomorrow’s Schools Report

The intention was to give principals the chance to move, not have to move. They could re-apply after five years and be re-appointed. Question Why do we need a middle layer? This is assuming that we need another layer. With CoL, another version of forced collaboration, the impact has flowed onto Principals’ Associations. I now know fewer of my colleagues than ever because there is less and less time and less contact opportunity. Now you are suggesting another. Leadership is phenomenal. If you let us come together that’s where the relations will be fostered and develop. A whole other layer is not necessary. Answer All successful education systems are configured similarly. The fundamental idea of having 2,400 schools on their own, with no process to connect across a range of schools, what tends to happen is that some can and some can’t. The middle layer provides systems to enable people to move forward. It would provide business advice, leadership advice, curriculum advice and gives principals more time. In this way the whole network gains. Hubs are not another layer. We are suggesting we get rid of top-down compliance and collaborate and this is the mechanism to do that. Cathy Wylie What will make it work is weaving the interests and talents and drawing on expertise to support leaders. This will mean more time devoted to leadership, lower stress levels and less workload. So, the hub enables far more ways to cope and feed into policy, rather than just having a silo in Wellington. It’s not a layer or a ‘squash down’ thing it’s a fertile ground providing nutrients. We recommend that CoL continue with changes. CoL could

be broadened and we could get a pathway going with more flexibility, so that where you have a common issue to solve, you can work together on it. There would be clusters and CoL would not be as demanding as they were set up to be. Question My question is about parental choice and issues of equity. There is a drift to the higher decile schools. Parents will go to great lengths and we have kids bused all over the place. Private schools have a low share of kids in NZ but would hubs mean parents would then want to support private schools? Answer The section on competition and choice is written carefully. We say choice is important but if it is done in the wrong way you get tensions and might drive perverse outcomes. There is nothing simple in education. It’s always complex we want a situation where some organisation has oversight over what’s happening in communities. At the moment we say one task of the hubs is to take responsibility to ensure the network of schools is well served. The Ministry tries now but there is a lot of interference and it is not effective. We have caps on the number of ‘out of zone’ students you can take. Under the hub system, the hub would examine how zoning impacts on other schools and what percentage of out of zone students is appropriate. That is a process, not a prescription. At the moment public schools compete well with private schools Question [Under the current system] we have ownership and capacity to lead. There is a degree of freedom. Under hubs principals will be employed by hubs. You see hubs working alongside schools but reconcile that idea with the experience of Ministry [regional offices] and with a change of Government. What is the

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continual learning system. For the first time there would be a review of the Ministry and a report to parliament so there could be a national discussion and reports to parliament. Question There is a difference between urban and rural s cho ols c omp are d to Auckland. How would that be managed? Secondly, about resourcing, how do we hope to achieve equity? Answer We are conscious that every area is different. We agree that we should never have put a number on the hub. In Southland that[125 Chair of the Tomorrow’s Schools Task Force, Bali Haque, brings the realities of his report to the regional schools] just wouldn’t work. presidents We would have to think mechanism that protects the idea you have about generous and about the configuration for the different areas, what the needs benevolent hubs working with sector? are and what support would be needed. We are thinking there’s Answer got to be co-construction with local people. We are unique and there is no fear of losing autonomy. We To develop capability in rural areas in three to five years we don’t want to go there. The Scottish are talking about giving must get underway with a real workforce strategy. We need to see their principals autonomy. We’ve already got that. If we did this more collaboration in schools and grow potential and leadership. what key things would you lose? We’ve worked hard to make A national achievement analysis to improve learning would also sure principals and Boards have the opportunity to get on and help and we need to give more time to schools to do this work. do their stuff. You ask is there potential for the hub to reach in Changes are needed to equity resourcing. The hard question and tell you what to do. is how to get the analytics right? We realise that we have been One function of the hub is to ensure bad things don’t happen. putting half the resource into equity funding that other OECD There is a huge variety in the quality of boards, but they also countries are putting in. The system is under-resourced. We agree provide support. Protections? The Education Act will have to be trying to do more with the same is difficult. rewritten. If you look at the State Services structure, the current Question Boards are written in especially for schools. We would specify the We desperately need changes to the Learning Support model. role of the hub in the legislation. The role of principals would be You’ve embraced a new model and it is well conceived but there in there and principals would continue to speak out. We say we is an issue in that when we start digging to get the detail it’s not want to be involved in that process so the idea of bureaucracy there. When we find complexity and deeply entrenched needs, running away [with its own agenda] can’t happen. But there is it will cost a huge amount of money. What we need is to design always a danger because Governments can change the law. how to support these needs and the infrastructure to do it. We We have spoken with the National party spokesperson on need the universities on board, the special schools and we need education, Nikki Kaye and we stand a better chance if there is release time. My question is where is the money coming from cross-party support. to do this? Answer Cathy Wylie I agree with everything you’ve said. Resourcing is so hard. The We have recommended that ERO finishes. There is no value in problem is I can’t answer the resourcing question. But I will say ERO doing periodic reviews of schools. I think there is one message screaming at us. People are angry The Education Evaluation Office (EEO) would evaluate and desperate and at their wits end about Learning Support and the hubs. One of the intentions is about relationships and disabilities. co-constructing with you in a helpful way. This will make the There is such a broken system. There will be resourcing but education system richer. That’s a safe guard. So, EEO would that takes determination from both Nikki Kaye and Minister come to schools to see if the hub is connecting and forging those Chris Hipkins to do this. We don’t think we can assume it will relationships. be done. There are so many demands on the money. Another less obvious outcome is that we are reorienting the We think it will be best to implement the Learning Support Ministry of Education to make sure NZC is at the centre. We plan through a phased approach. We don’t want to see cherry are thinking about weaving and how people relate on important picking, but if it’s carefully phased in, the cost pressures are things. There needs to be a regular forum where hubs’ disability alleviated. groups come together. There would be continual review in a

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Question I think the report is based on assumptions and not on evidence that says this is the best way. Wh at w i l l hu b s d o to schools? Who will govern the hubs? Will the governance be appointed? Will they be appointed by the Minister? Unless there is massive amounts of funding, we could be worse off. Answer You put us in a difficult position because you want guarantees and we can’t give you that. Where we are now is not sustainable. There is evidence about inequity and schools. What you are saying is, the current Task Force member, Cathy Wylie, listens thoughtfully to the regional presidents’ questions frameworks can fix that. If we keep doing the same thing we will get the same results. This is the point. expertise in this country who want to be good critical friends. We The situation we have at moment, has been generated and said Leadership Advisors would draw on expertise but use hub conditioned over thirty years. Take ERO and compliance, for money to contract in expertise too from universities and other example. The hub view, for us, is about school improvement. experts. There is an opportunity to offer principals pathways into It promotes the hub having a school evaluation role not a systems leadership through revolving roles compliance role as we’ve had with ERO. If we can’t imagine Question possibilities for change its sad. Was building trust part of the new future? Question Answer I think this is a hopeful document. What did wellbeing, success That’s an easy question. The current situation is that we are and engagement mean for the Task Force? in a big hole. The Ministry people have a frame in their head Answer which is not working in schools and we need to make it work I think one prob we have is we don’t have consensus about what in schools. There will be accountabilities to make the Ministry success is. We used to have national standards data and NCEA compliant. We are saying we must get closer to schools. It’s not data but no commonly agreed definition of success. The purpose rocket science it’s about relationships. It’s about knowing and of the EEO is to have that conversation to take to communities understanding your teachers. We propose to create hubs and put and ask what is a successful child? Then they would document people in who understand your school. That can’t be done by a that. That is the first thing that agency would do. We would want centralised system. We don’t currently have a devolved system we schools to provide data on those things which the hubs would have a top down one. That’s why hubs would be crown entities. collect and that would go to the national level. Then we can say Question whether its meeting expectations or not. We need common If schools or CoL are innovating and we have compliance agreement to report to parliament. and accountabilities and funding issues, there are constraints Question and levers. How would we create safeguards for hubs, schools Recommendation 15 says the hubs will ensure there will be and CoL and then how do we measure the system for everyone? special schools. What will their role be? Answer Answer We would ask, how do we know it’s working? Was it a success? The thinking has moved on and special schools have been We would want better information about systemic outcomes, changing. Special schools also work with mainstream schools relationships and processes and the well-being of people working and they are a resource for them. So they are already part of in the system. the system. There will be ways and tools to use. Hubs would have Question discretionary funding. We have retirement happening and need quality leadership There will be continual freedom for schools to do things out of after us. How will the hubs help with that? their own funds, like PLD. With innovation, schools may have Answer to go out on a limb and that sometimes draws criticism which There is a proposed Leadership Centre which would be located makes schools risk averse. within the Teaching Council. The Centre would be working with Question Leadership Advisers in the hubs and supporting them. We have Is it all a pipe dream without the resource?

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Answer I think it will need more resourcing. We are releasing resourcing with some of these reforms. We would be disestablishing the regional offices. But it will cost more than that. The main criticism is we don’t have costings but that can’t be worked out till after the consultation phase. You could apply that argument to any reform. Our answer is we will need to be clever and have phased implementation. If there is cross-party agreement, then we can plan for the next three or more election cycles. The Minister gave no constraints. In conclusion, Bali Haque said that one thing about consultation is we will tweak and change some things. We will be saying that this is a network of initiatives that go together. I don’t think you could have a leadership strategy, for example, without the hub. Most of the changes are dependent on having organic hubs. The second half of the day involved the Moot participants debating different aspects of the review and sharing their conclusions with each other. All of this information was analysed and collated into one document which appears below. This feedback, together with the feedback from our NZPF survey, formed the basis of the NZPF submission which you can access from our website: http://www.nzpf.ac.nz/submissions.html Review of Moot Feedback Q1: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the school governance model (Boards of Trustees) introduced through the Tomorrow’s Schools policy of the 1980’s? Weaknesses Many of the weaknesses mentioned are also mentioned in the report: ■■

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Board members don’t necessarily have the capability or skills to perform the complex duties required. There can be confusion between the role of governance and the role of management. Māori and Pacific representation on boards is limited. Too many schools are not performing at expected levels.

There were other weaknesses mentioned that were not specifically mentioned in the report: ■■ ■■ ■■

Higher socio-economic parents can dominate the board. Boards are being strongly influenced by principals. The idea that if you ‘pay peanuts, you get monkeys.’

Strengths Like the weaknesses, many of the strengths mentioned in the report were also mentioned: ■■ ■■ ■■

Boards represent their communities. Boards provide a sense of autonomy. Boards have the freedom to innovate and enact a shared vision.

From the NZPF survey, a total of 37.1 per cent of survey respondents thought the Tomorrow’s Schools model of one school, one Board of Trustees, was not the best governance model and/or the model should be changed. On the other hand, 42.4 per cent thought the Tomorrow’s school model was the best governance model and/or it should not be changed. Q2: If Boards of Trustees remained, but with diminished responsibilities, what responsibilities would they retain? In agreement with the report, principals mentioned these responsibilities: ■■ ■■ ■■

In contrast to the report, or not mentioned in the report, principals mentioned these responsibilities: ■■

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A cheap governance model (although this was mentioned in the report as a weakness). Board members are motivated to perform their duties well because it affects their child or children.

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Budget allocation and management (the report assigns this duty to hubs). Employment of staff (the report assigns this duty between hubs, boards, and principals). To support principal hauora.

Two out of five post-it notes and the group answering Q2 during the moot, stated, in agreement with the report, that Boards should provide advice to the principal on matters related to curriculum and assessment. This is in contrast to responses to Q4 on the NZPF’s survey, which found 67.2 per cent of respondents disagreed that ‘Boards of Trustees with diminished responsibilities would provide advice to the principal on matters related to curriculum and assessment.’ This mixed finding is further clarified in Q3 below. The principals answering this question also stated that the boards should not retain: ■■ ■■

Health and safety compliance. Contracts: cleaning; IT; maintenance; and principal appraisal.

These points are in agreement with the report. Q3: What are the pros and cons of Boards of Trustees advising the principal on curriculum and assessment? Pros ■■

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Boards provide a different perspective and knowledge (both cultural and localised). Boards can think about how curriculum decisions impact the students.

Cons Many of the cons mentioned were also mentioned in the report: ■■

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Other strengths mentioned that were not specifically mentioned in the report: ■■

Be responsible for local fundraising Provide input and approve the school’s strategic plan Appointing the principal

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Boards don’t always represent the make-up of the community (or students). Boards don’t necessarily have the knowledge, skills, or educational expertise to advise the principal on curriculum and assessment (all four post-it notes, and the group discussing this question during the moot, mentioned this con). Lack of equity across schools.

There were also cons mentioned that were not mentioned in the report:


It’s a full turn-out of regional presidents for the 2019 Moot ■■

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Boards might want assessments that are easier to understand (like quantitative measures), which would be a step backwards for students The term ‘advising’ here is unclear. How would that be different to partnership and collaboration under the current model?

Q4: Should all schools either retain Boards of Trustees or relinquish them, shifting all current Boards of Trustees responsibilities to the Hubs; or should schools have a choice? The group who answered this question during the moot thought that schools should retain Boards of Trustees, and identified the responsibilities that boards should have (these answers are consistent with what the group who answered Q3 wrote). One post-it note said schools need choice. Another post-it note said ‘all in for everyone,’ presumably meaning that all boards are relinquished. Q7: What are the disadvantages of principals being employed by Hubs, on five-year contracts? This group provided both advantages and disadvantages. Advantages ■■ ■■

Potential for mutually agreed upon changes for principals Potential to share good practices (as mentioned in the report).

Q5: How could hubs provide better services and support to schools than regional offices? ■■

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These findings fit with the responses to Q5 in the NZPF survey, which showed 64.1 per cent of respondents thought schools should choose whether the hub assisted with property management, accounting, human resources, and health and safety. The report states that principals/tumuaki really want to see the Ministry engage more with schools, if it is done in a way that supports their work. This group gave clarity to the type of support principals wanted. Q6: Why should hubs be based on the number of students rather than the number of schools? ■■

Disadvantages ■■ ■■ ■■

5 years is not long enough to create sustainable change. Instability and big life changes for principals. Not enough detail in the report. For example, will principals retain their salaries?

Also, from the NZPF survey (Q10), the introduction of these 5-year contracts was deeply unpopular, with a total of 71.1 per cent against the idea.

Hubs could assist with property, administration, health and safety, police vetting, school buses, financial assistance, and legal advice. Support with providing relief teachers. Leadership support for principals. Create a pool of resources to cut costs. Hubs should ensure equity of services and delivery across the country. Hubs should be localised and understand the needs of the community.

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Equity. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to have the same number of schools in a large urban population and a rural population. The hubs need to be responsive to local needs and understand the community. Hubs should be based on a number of different factors. For example, number of students, demographics, geographical location, and needs.

Also in the NZPF survey, 48.2 per cent thought hubs should be based on the number of students and 23.6 per cent disagreed that hubs should be based on the number of students. In addition, 28.2 per cent of respondents neither agreed or disagreed. N Z Principal | J u n e 2 0 19

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Q8: What are the responsibilities that you would want a new independent Education Evaluation Office to perform, and what would you NOT want them to perform? Many of the responsibilities mentioned by the group were identified as solutions to current problems with ERO in the report: ■■ ■■ ■■

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To review hubs based on national priorities. Focused on improvement and empowering hubs. Work with and support schools by providing schools with resources (not judging schools). Three out of the four post-it notes also made this comment. Review student progress, wellbeing, and culture of school. Hubs should not be exposed to reviews based on narrow data, with a ‘compliance mindset.’

Many of these agree with the report, which states that the Ministry of Education needs a greater depth of educational expertise and should be far more focussed on outcomes, processes and relationships than on audit and risk (p.117). There were some apparent disagreement/contradiction within this group: One point stated that EEO should have agreed upon processes across all hubs, another said each hub would need to create their own picture of what a successful student look like. Q9: What are the advantages and disadvantages of hubs monitoring and publicly reporting student success, wellbeing, and achievement?

school (years 7 – 10) be a better option? Intermediate strengths ■■ ■■

Intermediate weaknesses ■■

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Public accountability and public can have faith that principals and teachers are doing a good job. When a hub measures a successful practice, that practice could be shared with other schools. Families and communities are interested in how students are doing at school. An independent voice that would be consistent across schools.

Disadvantages ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

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Monitoring could cause ranking of schools. Students may move on to schools with higher ratings. The data used to measure success might not be reliable. Data collected across large hubs may be meaningless to a single school community. Data could be used to name and shame.

In addition to these advantages and disadvantages, this group also wanted to know how wellbeing and success would be defined. Also, how would this reporting impact on Principals’ wellbeing?

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A revitalised Ministry of Education with competent people, and people who value the profession. No other entity could—it would just be ERO.

This group then focussed on other issues with hub, which are captured by the answers to some of the other questions. Q10: What are the strengths and weaknesses of a two-year intermediate school (years 7 – 8) option? How would a middle 14

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Would be better because Year 9 and 10 does not fit in with NCEA. Can focus on the young emerging adult. Middle school is better than intermediate because ‘mob mentality’ is reduced.

Middle school weaknesses ■■

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How do we retain quality teachers in primary and middle schools when pay conditions are so different? Two people (post-it notes) said they preferred a full primary instead of an intermediate because a full primary can add leadership opportunities and improve emotional wellbeing and self-esteem.

In the NZPF survey, Q18 suggested that the majority of respondents supported eliminating intermediate schools. But, 4.5 per cent of respondents explicitly stated in the comments that they did not support eliminating intermediate schools. Q12: What functions/services/PLD would you like to see provided by a Leadership Centre? ■■ ■■ ■■

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Q11: If the hub does not manage and review the school network, what entity can do it better?

Not enough time for students to make and gain relationships with teachers and peers Trying to keep a sustainable roll when there is a 50 per cent change in students each year is difficult—and leads to competition between schools. Year 7/8 intermediates can be a volatile time for students who are already going through significant changes.

Middle school strengths

Advantages ■■

The schools are set up for adolescents. The schools are very focused.

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Release for PLD support. Support for TAs and specialist teachers. Leadership mentoring/supervision (including mentoring from experienced principals). Research based practices. Coordinating educational speakers and seminars. Finance training. Principals overseas exchanges. Support after FTP completed. Culturally appropriate pedagogy and awareness training (including Te Reo). Training on Health and Safety Work Act. HR training. Study leave. School plan and goals. Wellbeing for leader. Leadership pathways for experienced principals.

Q13: What are the advantages and disadvantages of applying an equity index of 6 per cent to schools with the greatest disadvantage?


Advantages ■■

Resources would go to schools in need.

Disadvantages ■■

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Should focus on children, not schools—there are ‘at risk’ children at most schools. 6 per cent may not be enough. 6 per cent of what? It’s likely to be a low amount. Funding for all schools needs to increase.

This group also had the following questions: ■■

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How will disadvantaged schools, or students, be identified? Is this extra funding, or will this be taken from other schools?

Analysis Recommendation 1: The report did mention that community input and vision are important, but this was not reflected in Recommendation 1. A total of 7.7 per cent of respondents in the NZPF survey were concerned that schools would lose community input and identity, and the moot responses showed that Boards of Trustees are important for giving community input. Therefore, under Recommendation 1 (subheading 3) ‘local community and local cultural needs and goals’ should be added. From the NZPF moot and survey, principals support the removal of 3.2, which states Boards of Trustees are responsible for ‘localised curriculum and assessment practices.’ This point conflates localised community input with curriculum and assessment advice. There is support from principals for localised community input but not for curriculum and assessment advice (as evidenced by the responses to Q4 in the NZPF’s survey). In short, the report should replace 3.2 ‘localised curriculum and assessment practices’ with ‘local community and local cultural needs and goals.’ Based on the feedback from the moot, Recommendation 1 should also state that Boards of Trustees are responsible for the budget and principal hauora. 3.3 does not capture the voluntary nature of offloading health and safety compliance, property, and financial support to the hub if required. As it is currently written, the report puts these responsibilities on the Board of Trustees and principal. Recommendation 2: The Role of Hubs and Boards of Trustees There needs to be more clarity on the relative roles of Boards and Hubs. More specifically, how is autonomy and freedom of the board balanced with the responsibility of hubs to lift the quality of teaching and learning across the system? This seems to be a key issue because many respondents mentioned losing autonomy (4.1 per cent) and losing community input (7.7 per cent) on the NZPF survey. Part of the solution to achieve this balance is by defining the roles of the boards and hubs more carefully, so that the model addresses many of the issues mentioned in the report and during the moot. For example, the report mentions (p. 41) ‘there is no requirement for boards to seek outside support for these important decisions. Many boards do involve advisors in their appointments, but we heard that not all advisors are of

NZPF Kaumatua Haterei Temo opens the day with a karakia

sufficient calibre and that boards don’t always utilise the advice they are given.’ Moreover, the report states that much of the support for boards is on a voluntary basis, and many schools choose to forgo support because of the public stigma of being a school with problems. Yet, Recommendation 2 does not address these problems. The recommendation does not state that at any point support from the hub is mandatory. Many of the clauses describe support from the hub as voluntary and that hubs and boards should collaborate on many decisions. Also note that the recommendation states that ‘Education Hubs have the power to dismiss school boards.’ Although, the way Recommendation 2 is currently stated will allow flexibility for schools, this may not be a desirable attribute if the school wants to avoid support because of the associated stigma of being a school with problems—a decision that is ultimately about reputation than student learning outcomes. Therefore, Recommendation 2 should clearly define when boards have the ability to choose support and when board must receive support from hubs. Another concern is this flexibility of the boards to take up support might be unduly influenced by the hubs ability to dismiss school boards where necessary. There needs to be more clarity on which situations hubs can and cannot dismiss boards. From a psychological perspective, the report should consider work on the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is the inability for people to comprehend the skills and knowledge they don’t have because understanding these knowledge deficits involves knowledge itself (For a review see Dunning, 2011). This research questions the ability of boards to objectively evaluate whether they have the necessary skills to perform their duties or seek outside help. The Implementation of Education Hubs There were mixed results for Q1 on the NZPF’s survey, which asked if ‘the Tomorrow’s Schools model of one school, one board of trustees, is the best governance model for NZ schools and should not be changed.’ The results showed 42.4 per cent agreed, 37.0 per cent disagreed, and 20.5 per cent neither agreed or disagreed. In addition, 4.1 per cent mentioned in their comments that boards are working, and 3.6 per cent mentioned they did

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Monitoring the performance of schools and public reporting It’s clear from the disadvantages listed in response to Q9 that more clarity needs to be given when the report states that ‘Education Hubs would publish an annual report with aggregated data . . . ’ In particular, principals are concerned that data could be used to rank, name and shame, and cause students to leave certain schools. Of course, if only publically released data are aggregated in such a manner that would make identifying a single school impossible, then those concerns are addressed. But, this point needs to be clearer. Recommendation 3 and Recommendation 30: There needs to be more clarity about how the EEO will measure success. This recommendation should capture some of NZPF President, Whetu Cormick is delighted to meet up with Auckland Primary the issues with ERO outlined in the report. Principals’ Association president, Helen Varney For example, in the report and during the not like the idea of hubs. In addition, 2.7 per cent of respondents moot, the problem of ERO using narrow measurements to thought there should be no changes to successful schools. review schools was mentioned. Principals wanted things like Based on these findings, the report needs to give concrete meeting teachers and listening to students to be part of the EEO’s details on how Education Hubs would be implemented. If, like measurements. But it is not clear in Recommendation 30 what the report mentions, this is a gradual implementation process, these measurements will include. which schools will be converted to the hubs model first? If hubs are implemented and measures of success decrease, could the Schooling Provision school revert back to a one board, one school model? More Recommendation 7: broadly, how can the report’s recommendations be adjusted, so The NZPF survey results (Q18) suggest that there might be the views of the 42.4 per cent of NZPF respondents are taken majority support for eliminating intermediate schools. But, into consideration? Perhaps those principals sceptical of hubs strong agreement on this question might also represent support could be asked what evidence or conditions they would require for the other models mentioned (for example, full primary). in order to change their minds. For example, perhaps there is a From the moot, it is clear there are mixed views. Therefore, to trial period with a smaller number of schools, and the results of represent these mixed views, only convert those intermediate that trial is reported to principals to disseminate. schools to middle schools if they support the decision. How will hub size be determined? More clarity is needed around how hub size is determined. The report states that ‘the exact number and configuration of these Education Hubs would need to ensure that each Education Hub was able to work in close partnership with all of its schools.’ The report also states that hubs would oversee 125 schools on average, but the exact number would depend on location and need. Based on the feedback during the moot, the exact size of the hub should also be determined by number of students, demographics, and geographical locations. Also, based on the feedback, each Education Hub should also ensure that they are responsive to local needs, that they understand the community, and that smaller schools are not forgotten in large hubs. 5-Year Principal Contracts More detail is needed about the 5 year contracts to take in to account some of the potential disadvantages mentioned in response to Q7 during the moot. Specifically, how is principal hauora managed during transitions between schools? And how much of a say do principals have in when and where they are relocated? Finally, why does the report propose 5 years? What is the justification for this timeframe? Many principals thought 5 years wasn’t long enough to create change. 16

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School Leadership Recommendation 22: This recommendation outlines, in general terms, the role of the Leadership Centre. The response from the moot provided specific things Principals want from a Leadership Centre, which are mentioned in response to Q22. Resourcing Recommendation 24: The report states the 6 per cent would be of the total resourcing provided to schools in New Zealand, which helps answer some the questions raised during the moot. But more clarity is needed about how the disadvantage index is calculated. What are that factors used to classify students as ‘disadvantaged’? Many principals at the moot, and 10.9 per cent of principals in response to the NZPF’s survey indicated that more funding across all schools would be required to achieve the report’s recommendations and goals. Recommendation 25: Clarity is needed whether this allocation alignment is for primary, middle, and senior schools—if those transitions were adopted.


Discretionary Leave – Uses and Misuses Fiona McMillan 

Associate | Anderson Lloyd | d +64 3 471 5433 | m +64 27 556 2378

The NZPF Principals’ Advice and Support Scheme has been providing legal support to principals since 2005, when it superseded a different scheme supported by an Insurance Company, QBE. Between 2005 and the present the scheme has paid out $1,237,699. That is a considerable benefit to members. Given the uncertainties of the future, you may well be advised to cover yourself by joining the scheme. [Editor]. The NZPF Principals’ Advice and Support Scheme provides a ‘Hotline’ service where its members can access prompt legal advice on matters affecting their employment. We are frequently asked questions starting with, ‘Can my Board . . . ,’ and these are things that principals need to know. Can my Board make me take discretionary leave? Discretionary leave is a means by which a fair and reasonable Board can support a principal who needs some time off work. It is not a convenient way of suspending the principal without having to follow due process. The Primary Principals’ Collective employment agreement provides as follows; 7.8 Discretionary Leave 7.8.1 The employer may, where there are special circumstances, grant discretionary leave with or without pay to any principal during periods when the school is officially open for instruction, provided that such leave does not unreasonably impinge upon the operational requirements of the school. Before approving any discretionary leave, the employer shall ensure that the granting of such leave complies with any funding arrangements applying to the school in respect of such leave. (Note: Where leave is granted for family reasons, family shall include: partner, child, sister, brother, parent, grandparent, grandchild, kaumatua, mokopuna, tamaiti whangai, matua whangai, near relative, near relative-in-law, a member of the household or a person dependent on the principal.) 7.8.2 The employer shall give favourable consideration to granting discretionary leave to a principal who is absent from work to attend to a dependent of the principal. One principal who was feeling stressed and under pressure was delighted to be offered a couple of days discretionary leave by what he thought was a supportive Chair. He accepted, but was then dismayed to discover the Chair had no intention of allowing him back at school when the Chair accidentally copied him into an email to all Board members in which he said that he had suspended the principal. A Board (or Statutory Manager) may ‘grant’ discretionary

leave, but cannot impose it on an unwilling principal who would prefer to be at school. Nor can a Board require a Principal to stay away from school on ‘special leave.’ There is no such provision in the collective. In a recent Employment Relations Authority Determination a Principal successfully challenged her enforced special leave, and the Board was ordered to allow her to return to school. The Authority Determined that when the Board told the principal she must take special leave it was a suspension, for which the collective employment agreement says; Suspension 8.5.1 (a) If the alleged conduct is deemed sufficiently serious a principal may be either suspended with or without pay or transferred temporarily to other duties.

(b) The Board shall not, unless there are exceptional circumstances, suspend the principal without first allowing the principal a reasonable opportunity to make submissions to the Board about the alleged misconduct and the appropriateness of suspension in all of the circumstances. The Board shall take into account any submissions made by the principal before determining the matter of suspension.

(c) The Board shall use its best endeavours to ensure that the period of suspension is kept to the minimum possible consistent with ensuring that the allegations of misconduct are properly investigated and that the principal is treated fairly at all times.

(d) If the allegation that led to suspension is without substance the principal shall, unless he/she has resigned in the interim, be entitled to resume duties immediately and, if suspended without pay, to have that pay re-instated from the date of suspension.

None of those procedural requirements had been met. The Board was entitled to investigate its concerns about the principal’s performance, but it was required to do so in accordance with the statutory and contractual processes. In imposing special leave the Board failed to act in the manner of a fair and reasonable employer and the Authority Determined that the principal should be allowed to return to school. An offer of discretionary or special leave will usually be genuine and well-meant. But if you have any concerns about the situation, or if you are not actually given a choice, we suggest you take time to consider the offer and take advice before agreeing to take leave. You are entitled to have a reasonable opportunity to do so.

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MAGAZINE

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The Tomorrow’s Schools Taskforce consultation: What was that all about? Martin Thrupp 

Professor of Education at the University of Waikato

The public meetings and submissions are over, the What could have caused these problems in the report and interviews and blogs and opinion pieces have all but ceased, consultation? Perhaps the reforming zeal of some Taskforce and we await the updated version from the Tomorrow’s Schools members came to dominate their more critical, astute side. Taskforce and the Government’s response. The Taskforce has now Perhaps they got too caught up in the detail they were creating. been given until the end of June to report back. But as someone Perhaps wider Government expectations around the review outside the process, some aspects of the report and consultation and its timeframe led almost inevitably to the approach we still leave me baffled. saw. Perhaps senior policymakers were not very realistic either. First, I can’t understand why the Taskforce brought a report Perhaps some of those policymakers were quietly unconvinced to educators and the public that almost offered a blueprint for about what the Taskforce could achieve anyway. I expect insider the new arrangements, instead of accounts will come out eventually. just seeking agreement around the In the circumstances – asking key concerns and some possible for feedback on a big report that In an opinion piece on ways forward, and then going was too detailed/not detailed Education Central, Peter Lyons off to do more work. There was enough, as well as strongly far too much to grapple with in redistributive – holding public has written: ‘The inference the report, and digging into the meetings across the country was detail often just begged further of dubious value. But that was of the proposed reforms questions. It’s a bit like employing what the process required, and is that there needs to be a an architect to design a new house led by Bali Haque the Taskforce and having them come back to did it with admirable enthusiasm rebalancing. There certainly you at the first meeting not just and dignity when there was with concept plans but having does. But if this rebalancing so much to cover and so little done much of the detailed work time. In a wonderful account is a zero sum game at cost to as well. To make matters worse, of one consultation meeting in this case the house plans were in Kerikeri, the Herald’s David current winner schools, this will not to be questioned! Bali Haque Fisher described the Taskforce as remained adamant that the hub a ‘rocketship-on-rails’: ‘Having only invite conflict, dissent and idea would only work if all schools listed his Five Great Truths, stonewalling’. were included. Haque is off and painting a picture Second, I am puzzled as to why with words of a new system of the Taskforce sought feedback on recommendations that were schooling’. naïve in a ‘Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas’ sort of way. The It was predictable that the Taskforce would strike some central thrust of the report was redistributive, so why would it resistance and actually it was lucky not to have struck more. But get much support from schools and communities in better-off there were so many distractions: the death of Grace Millane, areas? As I told one journalist, New Zealanders might well be Christmas holidays and a long, hot summer, Nelson’s fires, concerned about poverty and inequality, but most of us seem to the mosque massacres in Christchurch, the Capital Gains Tax be able to live with it if we are personally doing OK. Given the debate, getting the new school year underway, and of course the tenor of my previous work it might seem two-faced of me not continuing campaign for teacher pay and conditions. Within to be more enthusiastic about the possibilities for levelling the the education sector we saw almost full agreement with the playing field. But there’s a big difference between highlighting recommendations by some, strong disagreement from others, the inequalities in our education system and suddenly expecting but both primary and secondary sector organisations kept their everyone to play by fairer rules. I’ve always recognised that many critique fairly restrained. Why open up strong criticisms when parents are not looking for an equal education for all children, you agree with much of the Taskforce’s underlying analysis and they want an advantaged education for their own child. In have been somewhat ‘within the tent’ through the cross-sector various ways, principals and teachers often get caught up in this advisory panel anyway? Besides, that group of mainly Auckland aspiration as well. principals was providing more than enough ‘feedback’ on the

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recommendations they didn’t like. What will happen now? I think the Taskforce will be unswayed by the arguments of its most vocal critics but may be forced to capitulate significantly. Or it might present final recommendations that are not so different. How the Government will respond I don’t believe anyone can say for sure. The shelving of Capital Gains Tax, another redistributive policy, seems to show that this Government is unwilling to endanger its electionnight chances by bringing in controversial reforms. But it is also possible that having thrown out CGT the Government may be keen to proceed with initiatives like this one in order to demonstrate that it still does have a reform agenda. Whether or not the Tomorrow’s Schools Taskforce proposals will be regarded as ‘too controversial’ is also hard to say. Reform along the lines of the Taskforce proposal will undoubtedly be strongly contested within the sector but parents (apart from Board members) and the wider public didn’t get very involved in the consultation debates if the meetings were anything to go by. A judgement about whether, and to what extent, parents would become antagonised by changes if the proposals go ahead will probably be a big part of deciding how to proceed. In an opinion piece on Education Central, Peter Lyons has written: ‘The inference of the proposed reforms is that there needs to be a rebalancing. There certainly does. But if this rebalancing is a zero sum game at cost to current winner schools, this will only invite conflict, dissent and stonewalling’. I agree with him and that’s why I support a voluntary approach to hubs

as the path of less resistance. Although the Taskforce believe this approach would fail to address many concerns that need to be addressed system-wide, for me the more important question is whether voluntary hubs could still improve the support available to many schools and therefore reduce inequalities between schools in that way. In the end it begs the question: are grand symbolic reform programmes in education really worth it or would the Government have been better off putting its energies into numerous small but significant changes to the existing school system? As the previous Government demonstrated, a smallsteps approach has the advantage of not winding people up so much, and of not giving your opponents a platform either. Regardless of whether or not you supported the recommendations, two good things have come out of the Tomorrow’s Schools Taskforce consultation. In trying to think about the report and the debates around it, we have had to reflect on our own personal hopes and dreams for the school system and how best to match those up with today’s realities. Another legacy the Taskforce leaves us with is a great resource for characterising our current school system and its strengths and weaknesses. These contributions alone will have been very helpful.

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Te Tai Tokerau in Action Liz Hawes 

EDITOR

I travel north, at the invitation of the Tai Tokerau Principals’ Association Council. My papers tell me the Council is to meet in Tutukaka. ‘How far is Tutukaka from Whangarei?’ I ask a local. ‘Just up the road – out on the coast’, I am reliably informed. It turns out ‘just up the road’ is a thirty-minute journey. Locals accept it’s a long trip to anywhere on the slow, tightly coiled, Northland roads. We head north out of town, veering right towards the coast. The Ngunguru road snakes through spectacular bush and pastoral scenes, culminating in the sheltered waters of the Tutukaka harbour. The harbour is bordered by a shore of boutique shops, bars and classy cafes and is home to a marina of impressive yachts, basking in the sun. It is easy to overlook the vast distances between Northland townships. Mesmerised by the unmitigated beauty of the landscape, you overlook the isolation of the settlements and how very challenging it is to establish meaningful communication with the different groups.

Pat Newman, President of the Tai Tokerau Principals’ Association (TTPA) knows this well. He says there are many Principals’ Associations scattered throughout the north, yet in the 1980s the Ministry of Education – not the associations – decided which principal would represent the province. ‘There was no mechanism to pull the principals together to elect their own representative,’ he said. An overarching TTPA had long before been established to facilitate the coordination of sports competitions for the scattered youngsters, but a stronger representational structure was required if principals of the north wanted a voice in regional and political education issues. Thus, the Tai Tokerau Principals’ Association Council was established. The Council comprises the Presidents of all Principals’ Associations of the north. The Catholic Schools, The New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF) and the New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) also have representatives alongside the local Leadership Advisory Service. The Regional

NZPF President, Whetu Cormick (centre) shares a cup of tea with Tai Tokerau Council members

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The Tai Tokerau Council members take a break from deliberations

Director of the Ministry of Education is invited and from time to time the lead Resource Teachers of Learning Behaviour (RTLB), Learning Support representatives or other experts join the meetings. The Council meets once a term. It is almost a full complement of members the day I visit. The untrammelled opulence of the marina, exposed via the glass wall of our meeting room, is difficult to reconcile with the agenda items in front of us. The opening discussion seeks ways for the TTPA to raise funds so that all Northland schools can be financed to install CABU software. CABU is a digital information portal. It is an online communication ‘hub’ between students, teachers and parents of a school. Such digital platforms are quite common and are generally funded by schools themselves. What quickly becomes apparent is that most Northland school communities do not reflect the wealth floating outside our meeting room window. Inside, the Council members are deciding which local Trusts will be approached, to raise the necessary funds for schools to install this communication software. School fundraising is challenging in the north and the schools’ operations grants do not stretch to ‘luxuries’ like communication platforms. Each representative has prepared a feedback report, highlighting points of interest or calls for action. Repeated themes infuse the reports. Prominent is the appointment of suitable principals to Tai Tokerau schools. It is not easy to attract experienced principals to the north given many schools are quite small. For Deputy and Assistant Principals in larger city schools, there is neither financial incentive nor career prospects to taking over leadership of isolated Northland schools with minimal rolls, particularly in

the western side of the region. Consequently, there is a growing number of less experienced principals moving into the area. Identifying suitable, available relievers is another common problem for schools in the north. Many reported that if they can identify relievers at all, they are likely to be older retired teachers who are not so familiar with today’s pedagogies. Recruiting teachers is another issue. Despite the Ministry’s drive to support schools through their campaign to recruit overseas teachers, members of the Tai Tokerau Council reported frustrations that ‘ . . . overseas teachers do not have the connections to support our Māori and Pasifika tail.’ On a positive note it was reported that some fine graduates are now emerging from Whangarei-based teacher training programmes, allowing locals to begin their teaching careers in their home areas. Excessive workloads and burn out are commonplace amongst both teachers and principals throughout the Tai Tokerau region, although this is a phenomenon found in many regions of the country, according to recent wellbeing research. But if there is one absolute stand out issue for Tai Tokerau it is learning support. Specialist teachers are impossible to replace because there are no training programmes for specialist positions. The difficulties in recruiting new teachers also means many specialist teachers are returning to classrooms. It is an impossible conundrum. Every school has a story of learning support failure, but none can match the spectacular melt down of learning support services in Tai Tokerau. The inability of schools to access diagnostic and specialist learning support creates desperation, frustration and in the end low morale. No principals I meet choose to expel or suspend students, but for the sake of students, teachers and para-professionals’ safety and N Z Principal | J u n e 2 0 19

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Tai Tokerau Council members share some networking time overlooking the Tutukaka Marina

wellbeing, some are forced to take this extreme decision. A survey has been constructed to distribute to all Tai Tokerau schools. It is seeking hard evidence on the extent of behavioural issues schools are experiencing, which they hope will strengthen the lobby to get more specialist support and more teacher aides. The rates of unemployment in far north communities is well known. Equally well known is the high incidence of drug use. According to a ‘Stuff ’ media report, March 16, 2018, ‘Northland communities have experienced an increasing presence of P, now the drug is second to alcohol as the primary reason for admission to the DHB’s detox unit.’ The children of methamphetamine (‘P’) users, affected by the drug before birth, are now in Northland schools and numbers are expected to climb. These youngsters can present severe behavioural issues and without specialist support, teachers and principals are experiencing insurmountable challenges. Couple this problem with the struggles that Tai Tokerau schools already face with the high levels of societal poverty in the north, it is no wonder that frustrations are running high. Most can take no more and are desperately seeking immediate solutions. The Council, we learn, also plays a role in providing PLD opportunities for Tai Tokerau principals and teachers and had recently been successful in obtaining a NZPF association grant to help subsidise PLD in curriculum development. PLD is critically important to the ongoing development of teachers and few Northland schools can afford to provide enough opportunities to keep their teachers updated with the latest in learning and teaching. They rely on the Council to apply for grants to subsidise them. Politically, the Council aimed its collective guns on the newly

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released report on Tomorrow’s Schools. The report’s intent to achieve equity of learning outcomes was roundly shot down by the group. It’s not that the group doesn’t aspire to equity. It’s that the major drivers of inequity sit outside the school gate, and the Tomorrow’s Schools Task Force report is light on acknowledging this. Children’s education is not disconnected from their everyday lives. Yet the report makes no mention of the fact that hungry kids, kids in over-crowded homes, kids with chronic health and mental health problems, kids subjected to physical and sexual abuse struggle with learning. Schools reflect society, not the other way around. That said, there were positives expressed, particularly that the report acknowledges education is currently poorly funded. There was also strong support for the equity index whereby funds would be directed to the school’s operations grant allowing it to cover the learning and social needs of the children. Flexible guidelines for teacher appraisal, acknowledging the status of paraprofessionals in schools and a system wide structure for curriculum advisers and leadership advisers and recommendations on teacher training were all roundly welcomed. Perhaps the most contentious aspect of the report for the Tai Tokerau Council was the section on ‘hubs’. Whilst it was acknowledged that support, curriculum and leadership advisory services, business advice and support for Boards were all appreciated, it was the fear that hubs would become a dangerous new layer of bureaucracy that occupied the attention of members. This fear was exacerbated by the proposal that principals would be employed on five-year contracts by the hubs,


Pat Newman, Chair of the Tai Tokerau Council

appraised by the hubs, and thus controlled by them. The powers that principals and Boards currently exercise would be snuffed out and at worst, Boards’ responsibilities reduced to no more than those of a conscientious PTA. The fact that hubs would be Crown Entities as Boards are now, did not wash with the most concerned members of the Council. One Board employing one principal was one thing. One hub employing 125 principals was quite another matter. Overall, I would venture that most Council members view the proposed changes as a new attempt to lift the achievement of those students lagging behind their peers. These students include Māori, Pasifika, students with learning challenges and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Tai Tokerau schools have an abundance of students covering all these categories, and insufficient resources to address the growing needs. If the choice was theirs, they would eschew the Tomorrow’s Schools reforms and elect to spend the money on a big funding boost to school operations grants, to teacher salaries and for learning support specialists. None saw the connection between administration and governance reforms and improvements to children’s learning outcomes. The only hope of making a positive difference to the learning outcomes of young people in Tai Tokerau, was to first address the shameful social inequities. I take a final glance at the high rise of steel masts stabbing aimlessly at the passing, puffed-up clouds, and wonder just how many Tai Tokerau families could be spared another generation of poverty by the redistribution of wealth floating in this one marina . . . 

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New package of support available for established principals Diane Manners 

National Manager – Leadership Services with Evaluation Associates

You’ll be interested to know about new support available for established principals, to supplement the provision for beginning principals through the leadership advisor team at Evaluation Associates. The leadership advisor support for beginning principals was described in an article in the 2018 Term Three September issue of New Zealand Principal, where two case studies provided real-life examples of the type and nature of support offered, and highlighted the timely, targeted responsive approach of the Leadership advisors. The article described how, while leadership advisors bring a deep understanding of the features of effective educational leadership, no two schools are the same, and neither are the experiences or expertise of principals. So the support offered does not take the form of a predetermined programme, rather it is context based. The feedback from beginning principals has been overwhelmingly positive and has provided information to enable Leadership Advisors to continue to meet identified, and at times changing, needs. In response to the success of this programme, and in response to need, extra funding has this year been provided through the Ministry of Education for more experienced principals seeking specific, independent, confidential support. As with all resources, this is limited, and will need to be targeted to ensure the best outcome for those who have identified a need. To this end it is important that there is clarity around what support is appropriate for leadership advisors to provide, and what is not. At this stage it is envisaged that support will be available for a principal in areas such as: ■■ ■■

■■ ■■ ■■

■■

strategic relationships with staff, BoT and/or community strategic planning and internal evaluation processes including curriculum review leadership capability within the school planning in relation to ERO review recommendations planning to positively impact on low levels of student engagement and achievement principals’ understanding of their governance role

The support is expected to complement existing principal support services from NZPF, SPANZ, NZEI, PPTA, NZSTA and MoE advisors. So, while the following is not an exhaustive list, we do not envisage the support encompassing areas such as: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

financial/ audit risks property issues industrial/employment disputes Board governance legislative changes legal matters

How is the support accessed? The principal will be self-nominating. It is not our role to tell school leaders that they need support. We are focused on working with and alongside principals, to help clarify issues, identify potential solutions and strategies, and support the enactment and implementation of these. Self-nomination is most likely to be through relevant help lines: NZPF, NZEI, SPANZ, PPTA, or direct contact with the regional team leader of the local leadership advisors (see contacts below). Once a principal has requested support, a leadership advisor will co-construct the nature of the specific support required. Support is envisaged as typically lasting one to two terms. We have learned over the last couple of years that individual support is an effective way of building understanding, trust and commitment to action. It is expected that principals seeking support will value its focused and confidential nature. To this end, our reporting to the MoE will use aggregated data rather than individual cases to identify common themes, to help inform support across the wider system. The vignettes attached to this article provide an insight into the range of individualised support that can be provided. Contact If you are looking for support such as that described above and illustrated in the vignettes you can contact one of the Evaluation Associates regional team leaders below and they will facilitate contact with a leadership advisor: N Z Principal | J u n e 2 0 19

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Paul Manson – Tai Tokerau, Waikato, Bay of Plenty/Waiariki p.manson@evaluate.co.nz Steve Bovaird – Auckland and all secondary schools s.bovaird@evaluate.co.nz Geoff Childs – Central South g.childs@evaluate.co.nz Grant Stedman – South Island g.stedman@evaluate.co.nz To find out more about our range of services for principals, you can visit our website at: http://www.evaluate.co.nz/services/. School stories of support for current principals

We have learned over the last couple of years that individual support is an effective way of building understanding, trust and commitment to action. It is expected that principals seeking support will value its focused and confidential nature.

Vignette 1 The experienced and capable Principal of this medium sized primary school asked for initial support with delicate staffing issues and then subsequent high-end demands including health and safety concerns, official information inquiries, and even an event requiring the traumatic incident team. The resultant stress, along with the day-to-day complexity of contemporary principalship, might have seen her leave the profession, if it were not for the support of the leadership advisor. Her connection with the LA for her area has been, in her words, a game changer for her and the school. His skills of deep listening, mentoring and giving advice where appropriate have given her the means to lead the school confidently again. As the events unfolded, the LA convinced the Principal that what was happening in her school was not normal, and that it was natural to feel stressed by it. With encouragement and humour, he worked with her to find ways of responding nonemotively to conflict situations. She now understands that, while acknowledging problems, she doesn’t have to respond or find solutions immediately. She has learnt that letting the heat go out of a situation leads to better outcomes and less stress. The LA’s balance of honest challenge and support has helped the Principal not only to deal with demanding situations, but to address pedagogical challenges, build effective relationships with other teachers and get a better sense of what the school is all about. She now feels optimistic and agentic, well able to negotiate the prevailing complexity of the principal’s role. On a lighter note, the Principal’s ongoing and hugely valued relationship with the LA now includes the exchange of book and podcast titles, adding a brief but fun touch to their meetings. Vignette 2 The very experienced area school principal in this story was feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of the job. He was hugely concerned about the number of seemingly intractable issues arriving on his desk daily, compounded by the lack of peer support in his remote and isolated situation. The Principal cares deeply for his students and his staff and had got to the stage that he felt he wasn’t doing justice to any of them and doubted his

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capacity to continue in the position. In emails to the Ministry he expressed his despair. The Ministry provided funding for mentor support for the Principal and this has metamorphosed into leadership advisor support under the new Ministry contract. The relationship between the two educators is long-standing and trusting. Regular meetings, backed up by extensive notes, give the Principal the opportunity for deep reflection. He can ‘unload’ about the issues he’s having to an independent person who challenges his thinking, asking questions like: ‘Are you right in thinking that?’ ‘Are you sure about that? Have you talked to them? Are you making assumptions?’

The Principal considers the LA support as invaluable, able to ground him and support him to come up with strategies to deal with issues, so that he can focus on the important, rather than the immediately urgent. Through this he has been able to institute systems and intervention strategies to support staff to deal with issues at the appropriate stage so that they are not always escalated to crisis point. These strategies have included interventions at the top level, including cognitive assessments, school-funded speech language therapy and even stand downs and suspensions, but more often early stage intervention beginning with collaborative discussions with staff asking: What could we, should we, might we, can we, do for this child? The Principal says that the LA’s support has been instrumental in enabling him to more effectively care for his staff and students and, importantly, himself. “Every principal should have someone like this.” Vignette 3 The Principal of a low-decile medium-sized primary school was facing burn out. A complex and on-going employment situation had escalated to the point where there were constant problems in finding staff for the classrooms, whether short or long-term relieving. This situation was made worse by behaviour problems in some of the classrooms, where relievers would often refuse to work. The Board of Trustees, while supportive, were unable to advise the Principal on the best way forward, having left many of the BoT responsibilities up to her. She knew that the students’ learning was suffering but could not see a clear path forward from this very difficult situation. Her ex-MoE advisor suggested that she should contact Evaluation Associates for support. The Principal was delighted to learn that she could work with the same person who had advised her in her second year of principalship through the beginning principal programme. In her own words, ‘I would have chosen her. She has credibility. She’s dealt with similar problems in her own school and has done the hard yards.’ The Principal found the LA to be the ideal, non-biased sounding board. The LA listened carefully, then worked with the


Principal to analyse the situation, pick out the important things to focus on and co-construct a path forward, step by step. In the short time the two have been working together, the Principal has taken decisive action to begin to resolve the complexity of the employment situation and to clarify the roles of other senior staff members. The Principal very much appreciated the LA’s outside perspective on the situation and her ability to listen and synthesise. The Principal’s work with the LA has allowed her to find a clear course of action and given her support to carry it out. Vignette 4 The teaching principal of this small, rural school had returned to principalship after some time away from the role and found that the responsibilities of a principal had changed considerably over those years. He needed and asked for support in understanding the new demands of leadership, and the requirement for ongoing self-review, and was put in contact with a leadership advisor from Evaluation Associates. The Principal is finding his association with the experienced and knowledgeable LA to be both challenging and rewarding. The LA asks searching questions, provides professional advice where appropriate and offers new perspectives. If the LA believes that the Principal is being over ambitious, he’ll counter with questions such as: ‘Have you thought about that?’ and ‘Why are you a principal?’, giving the opportunity for reflection on the why and the how of the role.

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Through his advice and guidance, the opportunities for reflection, the provision of relevant readings on current topics and the highlighting of important documents and statements from the Bulletin, the LA provides professional development for the Principal so that he is not second guessing his role and responsibilities. The LA will support the Principal to rewrite the local curriculum so that it better suits the needs of the students and the community, taking into account that these have changed, and expectations now revolve around individualised learning programmes. The Principal is in no doubt that his work with the LA will help him to be more effective in his role. He appreciates that the relationship is non-threatening, professional, mutual and based on his own and his school’s needs rather than supporting a covert agenda. In his own words, ‘Every principal needs a leadership advisor!’ About the Author Diane is National Manager – Leadership Services with Evaluation Associates, co-ordinating nationwide support for beginning and now current principals. She is a highly experienced former principal and past president of the Auckland Primary Principals’ Association (APPA).

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School Lines Download and Offload the Workload Lester Flockton 

lester.flockton@gmail.com

Teacher workload and its concomitant stressful effects problem. Primary educators are in a similar boat that has become on people’s lives, wellbeing, and work performance sits high in increasingly difficult to row. the line-up of issues that currently beset the profession. But stop! I do enjoy teaching, however the paper work is huge and This is not new – it’s been a viral blight that has eaten away at not the best pay while you are just starting out. I have teachers’ occupational health and job satisfaction for almost as friends my age with zero qualifications earning more on many years as a I can recall. The thing is, it’s not new – but it’s a stress free jobs where they do not need to take any worries very different strain, and a strain that is constantly mutating as home at night. a result of being fed new micro-organisms, bacteria and archaea I love the kids but the amount of paper work and long found in many ideas and policies. Moreover, it is pandemic. It hours are ridiculous, and the salary doesn’t allow much besets systems around the Western world and particularly those money for myself.(3) systems whose ideas New Zealand has been wont to imitate. What was being revealed almost twenty years ago internationally It was recently reported from a follow up to a 2017 health and well-being survey that teachers shows that two decades later, and education leaders are under despite lots of empty placatory more pressure than ever before. talk from Government agencies, Repeated studies have their responses have amounted to Un s a f e w o r k i n g h o u r s , consistently shown the little or nothing. students with high levels of incredibly high NCEA related learning needs and increasing The spiralling demands workloads are being blamed for of government initiatives, workload for secondary high levels of ‘burnout’ among incessant record keeping, teachers and management staff educational plans, targeting educators – and there has been in schools.(4) and inspections, have left no sign of this abating teachers reeling. A working It seems that despite all of the week of 50 hours is average. issue-evasive, side-walk talk of despite pressures to address Many are doing 70. This is creating a ‘learning system’(5) the not only bad for teachers, it’s the problem. system engineers and wand wavers harmful to children. 2001(1) are themselves incapable of it. Mass burnout has hit the They keep adding more and more to the lot of teachers. They profession with a national shortage of skilled teachers just don’t seem competent in keeping their feet on the ground looming and a growing reticence among young people to and their retinas attached. Their flashes and floatings of vision (2) enter a field so plagued with problems. 2001 and love of excitable talk, talk, talk are their hallmarks. (Where New Zealand has been battling a critical teacher shortage in a does this sort of simplistic, light-headed fizziness come from and, number of parts of the country, and when teachers departing worryingly, might it infect the minds of the vulnerable and party the profession are asked why, typically we hear them say that players, or worse still, the Minister of Education?) workload is a major reason. Then when you take a look at Take the latest example: reporting to parents, and more current government/Ministry of Education demands, you find precisely ‘real time’ reporting to parents. This has an interesting a startling number of mandatory compliances: 107! While these background – it’s a sort of ‘purple’ policy idea resulting from compliances are deemed the Board’s responsibility, we all know pre-election blue (National) policy metamorphosing into red that means the Principal’s responsibilities, and we also know that (Labour) policy. Remember National promising ‘National many flow onto the work of teachers. Only about 20 per cent of Standards Plus’ – a real time reporting appetiser for their voters. those compliances are around finances and asset management. No longer would parents have to wait until half-year or end-ofCurriculum (including assessment), Health & Safety, and year to get data on their children’s achievements. It would be Personnel (including appraisal) have the lion’s share. instantly available on their cell phones at work, at dinner time, Repeated studies have consistently shown the incredibly high bath time, story time. Data would be streamed ‘real time’ for NCEA related workload for secondary educators – and there every individual child by teachers and schools (think workload). has been no sign of this abating despite pressures to address the But National lost the election and the app never came to light,

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even though it was virtually ready to be put in place and for schools to comply (think workload). Then! Mr Hipkins countered Mr English’s fixation on reporting student achievement by declaring his government would instead focus on student progress (pure Hattieism). A nonsense, of course, because you cannot have one without the other. Regardless, he set up a Curriculum, Progress and Achievement Ministerial Advisory Group headed by a consultation company director and former Ministry of Education manager responsible for the NZ Curriculum and then for the design and implementation of National Standards. Among the group’s ‘ideas’ – wait for it – is the introduction of ‘real time’ reporting via devices such as cell phones. They have already gone so far as to bring, powhiri and banquet a techno agency from Canada to demonstrate their wares and their fitness for New Zealand. But it seems that the stable door is already open, and the horse is bolting without the need for Hipkin’s advisory committee – at least in some places: More than 100 schools have signed up for a new online system, LINC-ED, which allows teachers, parents and children themselves to update the children’s learning goals and progress at any time during the year. LINC-ED is designed with teacher workflow in mind. Teacher’s time is valuable and we believe that their focus should be on creating great learning experiences for their students. LINC-ED allows teachers to share this great learning in authentic ways that values teachers time. Powerful tracking tools allow teachers to manage their workflow.(6) So it seems that real time technology reporting might already have some appeal for some, although we might wonder how the word ‘workflow’ relates to the word ‘workload’. In trying to uncover the breeding grounds for those viral demons that feed teacher workload, I discovered that not every teacher or every school becomes infected. There seem to be varying levels of immunity, and we need to ask why. A reasonably recent NZCER survey (7), for example, reported that 65 per cent of teachers said their workload is so high that they were unable to do justice to the students they teach. So this raises the question, what about the other 35 per cent? I would suggest that this statistic reflects serious differences in schools’ cultures. Some cultures are under the heavy persuasion of overheated ‘mis’leaders and teachers who are hellbent on entertaining, consuming and embellishing whatever is the latest on the education catwalk or box of sparklers. In healthy work places there is a strong, insistent culture headed by the

principal and fully supported by second tier leaders where no new externally promoted ‘innovation’ is taken on or tried unless the principal and staff have been absolutely convinced that (a) it will benefit teaching and learning in the school, and (b) it will not add to existing workload, and preferably reduce it. A few examples (many more are available): Charter targets Workmore School: has a charter with 6 goal areas containing 16 targets. These are further expanded into 61 ‘actions’ and 55 ‘outcomes’. It’s crazy. The Ministry liked it. (True case) Workless School: has a charter with only two targets in its strategic plan. The Ministry said they should have more. Workless school said the law doesn’t require it, and we won’t be adding unnecessary work to please you. (True case) Teacher Inquiries Workmore School: All teachers have to write, do, write, and regularly report ‘inquiries’ – an imposition created by a couple of Ministry patronised academics whose main work is to do inquiries – not to teach children full-time. (True case) Workless School: teacher inquiry is regarded as happening moment-by-moment and part of everyday pedagogy as teachers reflect on what learning is happening now in their classroom, then deciding how they will respond to emerging needs and strengths of students. In this school – there is no paperwork associated with inquiry – unless the teacher chooses to (but gets no brownie points for doing this). (True case) Staff meetings Workmore School: teachers are required to attend up to 4 meetings every week. This is a pure example of overheated leadership and is tantamount to incompetent school management. Teachers are made to feel guilty and behind the school’s eight ball if they attempt to challenge this regime. (True case) Workless School: one 20 minute admin meeting each week (before school), and one one-hour staff/team meeting per week that is dedicated to teaching and learning (no admin). Works brilliantly! (True case)

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Work incrementalism is alive and well in far too many schools that are constantly trying to catch new stars – or create stars that will be seen to twinkle more brightly than other schools. So much of this incrementalism is far from transformational. Somehow the overheated and ‘mis’leaders need to be reined in and cooled down. But the system reformers keep fuelling them up! Workload is a two-pronged problem. A blow torch needs to be pointed at both of them. Scrub all of those high sounding, Ministry-ticked goals and replace them with one simple goal: “All teachers love teaching in our school, and all of our children love learning in our school.” That could be quite transformational and lead to a much-needed paradigm shift. References ‘It’s time to limit the load,’ Times Educational Supplement, UK, editorial, April 13, 2001

(1)

Sean Fine, The Globe and Mail, February 5, 2001

(2)

https://educationcentral.co.nz/teachers-drowning-in-paperwork/

(3)

https://educationcentral.co.nz/workload-demands-at-dangerouslevels-for-primary-school-leaders/

(4)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOmSNDtsfTQ (viewing not recommended)

(5)

https://educationcentral.co.nz/school-reports-make-way-foronline-real-time-technology/

(6)

https://www.nzcer.org.nz/system/files/National%20Survey_ Teacher%20Work_Nov17.pdf

(7)

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Using the Code of Conduct to proactively support teachers . . . Helen Kinsey-Wightman This year I have begun working for the Teaching Council as part of one of their Teacher Complaints Assessment Committees. There are several committees throughout the country who meet once a month to review cases of alleged teacher misconduct. This work has been both challenging and thought provoking. It has led me to think about how we can create more support for teachers so that they better understand professional conduct and can avoid accusations of misconduct. Teachers whose conduct is reported to the Teaching Council, due to a mandatory report by an employer or a Police vet which reveals a previous offence, experience a great deal of stress. Many choose – or are required to – give up teaching at least temporarily and this can have significant financial impacts on them and their dependants. In addition their reputation, confidence and mana are seriously impacted. How can we support teachers to understand what professional responsibility looks like in New Zealand and to step in when we see teachers heading down a path which may ultimately lead to an allegation of misconduct. These are my initial thoughts: 1. Ensure all teachers are familiar with Our Code Our Standards: This document sets out expectations for the teaching profession with considerable clarity. The accompanying document The Code of Professional Responsibility: Examples in Practice is a useful tool to talk about professional expectations and should be part of every new teacher’s mentoring programme. At a time when we can expect to be supporting more teachers from overseas who may have a variety of different understandings of appropriate teacher conduct, we have a duty to ensure all of our staff are familiar with this document at induction. 2. Have clear policies and guidelines to keep teachers safe and talk about them often: Ensure staff understand their obligations under the Vulnerable Children’s Act, the guidelines on Physical Restraint and so on; talk about how to use social media responsibly and professionally as a teacher; what should they do if a family member accesses pornographic content on their school laptop; how should they report disclosures made by a student; what does safe teacher behaviour before look like on a school camp. 3. Talk to teachers when we see problems emerging: I believe that in many cases a teacher’s conduct is often the subject of gossip and discussion within the school community

well before a complaint is made. Leaders may sweep low-level incidents and concerns under the carpet because we are afraid of having a difficult conversation. This can result in a teacher continuing with behaviour that could ultimately result in the loss of their practising certificate. The code is a valuable document in creating the context for such a difficult conversation. Ask the question, ‘How do you think your one on one conversations with Student X after school fit with the Code of Practice requirement to engage in ethical and professional relationships with learners that respect professional boundaries?’ The teacher then has the opportunity to reflect on his/her behaviour and if necessary make changes. School leaders can ensure that they are protecting students from harm and supporting staff to look after their own professional reputation. 4. Look out for signs that teachers are struggling: It is my observation that when teachers get into situations where they use physical force or inappropriate language with students there have often been tell-tale signs that they are out of their depth in their classroom management and an offer of support at an earlier stage could have made a difference. This can be particularly challenging when the teacher has had a long career as a successful teacher and due to a change in personal circumstances or ill-health their practice is suffering. Again, a conversation that starts from a place of concern for a teacher’s wellbeing and reputation, ‘I’ve noticed that you have some students with challenging behaviour in your class and I wonder if you need some support . . . ’ may begin a conversation that allows a teacher to share their struggle and get the support they need. 5. Ensure staff know about their obligation to self report: If a teacher is convicted of a criminal offence punishable by a jail term of three months or more, they must tell the Teaching Council within a week of that decision. Teachers convicted of drink driving offences are frequent referrals to the Teaching Council. Again, it is likely some of these situations are preventable. Having everyday conversations about teacher wellbeing create an environment where we can keep staff safe. It may be worth thinking through how would we act if we saw a colleague experiencing a relationship breakup and we became aware that they were drinking excessively and were potentially driving under the influence? Is this our business?

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6. Ensure staff know where to get support: Make talk about teacher wellbeing part of school culture, think about investing in a scheme such as EAP which enables staff to get some free sessions of counselling to talk through personal and professional challenges. Look out for groups of teachers who may be especially vulnerable – teachers of Te Reo Māori often report feeling especially alone and under pressure as school’s lean on them to meet their expectations under Te Tiriti – paying for them to attend the PPTA Māori Teachers Conference is an investment in wellbeing; the PPTA provide extra support to teachers who identify as part of the Rainbow community; teachers approaching the end of their careers may need extra support to adjust to all of the changes we regularly challenge our staff to take on.

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7. Invest in leadership: Ensure staff on the frontline of dealing with challenging people and situations ie yourself, your Senior Leaders and Guidance Counsellors have supervision/counselling support. Invest in professional development for syndicate leaders, HoDs/HoFs in coaching skills ie the GROWTH model, training in Hard to Have Conversations and the tools to support these ie Viviane Robinson’s Open to Learning Conversations and Jennifer Abram’s Having Hard Conversations resources.

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NZ Principal Magazine Term 2 2019  

NZ Principal Magazine Term 2 2019