Posted in NAPP2016, Professional learning, random ramblings

My thoughts on leadership

For the last year or so I have been trying to build a picture in my head of what leadership looks like for me. I’ve done some readings, listened to some amazing speakers, bounced ideas of amazing leaders and educators and watched some youtube clips and TED talks. They all were great, but still didn’t quite fit.

The idea of self was hard for me. All through out NAPP we have been asked ‘who are you, and what do you value?’. I kind of brushed over it with an awkward feeling – what exactly is my ‘moral purpose’? Who am I to ask/demand these things?

But part of my roll is around leading change. And I think I’ve finally got an idea of what I want my leadership to look like


Ko Rakaia te awa

My river is the Rakaia

My river is the Rakaia because my family has a crib at the south side of the river mouth. I grew up on holidays there, fishing for whitebait and salmon, swimming in some of the creeks, being terrified of the waves from the sea (the drop of along that stretch of coast is crazy) and hearing of stories of flood and destruction. It fills me with sadness that my son might not get to see pods of Hectors Dolphins skimming the waves after Kawhai like I did as a child. My Grandfather spent countless hours constructing flood protection along the banks to stop the Rakaia huts getting flooded. Every time I drive home from Dunedin to Christchurch, I cross over the bridge and look at the water – is it high or low? rough or like glass? Multiple braids, or a solid stream. I am linked to this river more than I realised as a young person – we moved house, I moved cities, but the crib has always stayed the same and the awe inspiring power of the water still fascinates me.

I want my leadership to look like the Rakaia river.

Multiple sources feed into the river, contributing diverse ideas. The river might separate out into individual streams, develop eddy’s (thanks again to Karen Hopai for this idea) that can either suck ideas under or propel ideas forwards. At times, the river is sluggish and slow, other times rapid and raging. The river comes together only once in the journey from the mountains, at the Gorge, before it all streams out again finding a unique path to the sea.

Care is needed to ensure the river does not become a flood or a tidal wave that people become afraid of and can also wash away a lot of good things that are happening. Or that people will put up barriers to protect what they deem as essential or what are genuinely to good to throw away. A lack of ideas and input would dry up the rivers flow. Taking to much from the river will also dry the rivers flow so we need to carefully nurture and respect each individual drop on water.

The water also shapes the landscape around it, carrying rocks and earth and nutrients, hosting multiple lives along the length. It provides enjoyment, sustenance and occasional danger along its banks. Occasionally new paths and streams are forged, either by a flood of water in a hurry, or water gently carving away at a bank, or water building up due to some obstacle. And it might so happen that that direction is not as fruitful as first thought, and the water needs to change course again, either in a flood or bit by bit.

But all of the water, no matter the path it takes, eventually reaches the ocean. The rivers goal is clear – doesn’t matter how you get there and what uncertain paths you take, the water gets to the ocean. Which is where another fabulous idea that I learned this year comes in (thanks to Judith Forbes for sharing this at the Dunedin NAPP day)


The challenge for me is to not be the ‘Tsunami’ and allow people to find their own path. Respect that people will take a different route and maybe a different speed. If I can encourage people to ‘long’ for a more meaningful education for our young people that empowers them to become better citizens of this world, it doesn’t matter if they take a slightly different path.

‘ I took the one less travelled by, and it has made all the difference’ (Frost). So long as the end goal is the same, it doesn’t matter what path you take.

Posted in NAPP2016, random ramblings

Money money everywhere and not a drop to spend

This post is part of my NAPP reflection on school funding and the role of the Principal and Board of Trustee’s in allocating those funds. The starting question was

How do principals with their BOT lead the management, monitoring and reviewing of school resourcing to ensure the schools priorities are met?


School funding is far more complicated than I imagined – and more open to abuse and errors than I imagined too.

Principals and school leaders do need to ensure they are spending money wisely and get the maximum impact. To often I hear of department heads spending up large at the end of a year to make sure they go through there own budget so they don’t get cut the following year, which indicates that inadequate review and planning are occurring for funding allocation. But if funds are limited, this does create a competitive culture within schools as individual departments or areas are fighting for a share of the same pie.

I wonder how Principals or boards can be more transparent with the way that funds are allocated. As a ‘teacher’, I have never seen a document describing how funds are spent within a school. I don’t even know the budget of my own department, as all the money matters are handled by my HoD. Perhaps this is my own fault for never asking or not knowing where to look. Would greater transparency lead to staff and department heads having a better understanding of how the money is allocated, and therefore a greater acceptance of how the money is spent. Could strategies for saving money or using ‘end of year’ money in more constructive ways stop the mad end of year spend – or is this mandated by ministry rather than individual schools? I also wonder if by having a more open system better decision making and justifications would have to occur. Conversely, would this detract teachers from their core business of teaching and learning….?

It saddens and frustrates me that Principals need to be weary of a big power bill, or holiday pay, or balancing leave such as bereavement and parental. I see this as just another distraction for school leaders away from the business of providing quality learning opportunities for students. Managing building (which can often be substandard or not fit for purpose) is also a huge drain on time and resources.

I also question how all the fund can be divided equitably for students and staff. My personal interest is around digital resources for teachers – but the PD budget is often contentious around the same few often getting funding for conferences while others miss out. This has to be balanced out with who would actually get the most out of the opportunities presented. Who would make the most out of a new classroom or an innovative learning environment? No easy task, but again if there was a strategic shared document it might make this pill easier to swallow for some staff, or perhaps allow staff to see what PD the school is focussing on and perhaps find opportunities that fit the priorities of the board.

I also think that universally there is not enough money provided to schools. How can principals, boards, teacher and communities work together to ensure money is not a limiting factor in the education and future of young New Zealanders? Principals and schools the country over do amazing things with a tight belt – imagine what could happen with more resources and funding.

Posted in NAPP2016, Professional learning, random ramblings

Reflections from NAPP PLG 2

Being very honest, I have not done nearly enough for NAPP since the Hui in the holidays. There have been so many other things to do (Oh my goodness ALL the things) that it just kept getting put into the next week pile. EVERY WEEK. When the PLG day rolled around, my first thought was ARGHHHHHH – I am already out 2 days that week. We have ERO the week after. I’m off to Wellington. And then sadly I am heading home for a funeral this week now too. Life just keeps getting bigger right now…

So despite all of the other things, it was really good to have the day set aside to focus on it, regroup and get re-energised. To have TIME to think about what I am doing, where I am trying to go and TIME to talk to other people about projects and ideas and ponderings. To have TIME to listen to others and their experiences, and TIME to learning new things.

The most valuable session (to my mind) was listening to a newish principal about their experience. I can’t share the full story, but there were certainly some challenges and it was a very warts and all story that was told. The points that stuck out for me where

  1. When you apply for a job, the BoT/School want you to
    1. have all of the strengths of the previous person
    2. none of their weaknesses
    3. Solve problems instantly….
    4. without creating new problems
    5. AND be great on stage at prize giving.

So just be yourself – no point in every trying to be what they want, cause then you need to be that person. Which is impossible when you are under constant pressures.

2. Every school is full of people, and people are messy. But they are your greatest asset. Treat them like you want to be treated and build relationships with them – this will make hard conversations easier.

3. If you want your school to be a safe place to make mistakes, model it. Make a mistake on purpose if you have to – and acknowledge, apologies, wear the egg and fix it

4. Look after yourself. NO-ONE else can do this.

They also shared an amazing quote which is mixing in with my nautical themed NAPP experience so far


Which is awesome. Don’t get bogged down in the small stuff, and don’t tell people what to do, let people find their way to change.

With all the challenges and down times, this person still thought that leading a school and a community was ‘magic’.

We also had a really good session on finance. I am mindblown about how much of this (what I consider CRAP) Principals have to deal with. Staffing, op budgets, donations, PTA, buildings, taxes, expensese…. it went on and on and on…..

What I took out of this (other than a confirmed belief I NEVER actually want to be a principal under the current model…..) is that there is not enough money EVER. So I do need to think more about the price of things compared to their value. What is value for money? What is value for students? teachers? The community?

Linked to this is that you can’t actually MAKE parents pay for anything. Eg workbooks – you can’t make students and parents pay. Because you could still teach using refill paper and a white board. You can’t make students bring a device, because you could do it with refill paper and a white board. This ‘default’ learning setting of bare bones needs to change. Bare bones should not be teacher delivery, student writing in silence. Student deserve better. But really, this is a whole other blog post…..

So it was a very worthwhile day away from school. And once I get back from the funeral, and once ERO is out of the way, and once I am back from Wellington next week (I am talking to TELA….) I must make time to go back and really invest in the readings and re connect with my coaching buddy. I need to get on and document my inquiry so I don’t get to the end of the year and find I haven’t got anywhere.

So another big thing I got out of this day is that there are sooooo many things. To hear, to read, to listen to, to watch, to discuss and to do. I often lament my students lack of prioritising. Perhaps because I am so woefully inept myself 🙂 I need to be more purposeful around my NAPP inquiry to ensure it remains meaningful, useful and FUN.

Posted in NAPP2016, random ramblings

learning about…..myself

When people ask what you do, and you say, oh ‘I work in a school’ (cause I hate saying I am a teacher because I hate the connections with standing up the front lecturing), which then leads to are you a teacher (yeah…) the next question is (nearly) always ‘oh what do you teach?’ I say ‘I teach kids’ or if I can be bothered, I say something like ‘I’m learning about chem with some awesome kids’. Or at the moment we are learning about soldering, or static electricity, or energy or whatever it happens to be. this occasionally gets me into trouble with other teachers or parents or Jo Bogs who think that teachers should know what they are ‘teaching’. Again, depending on the mood, I either eye roll internally and talking about the idea of reciprocal learning/ako with as much patience as I can while trying to check my frustration that they actually think I don’t know a thing….. or I laugh it up as a completely incompetent person who knows nothing who is being left alone with a class full of kids. And gets paid for it. Sucks to do your job, right? And did I tell you about the holidays

But I am also starting to wonder about why I get so defensive about this?

I read a great post recently about having growth mindset only sometimes. When do you decide enough is enough? When do you cut your loses and realised perhaps something isn’t for you? There are so many awesome ideas and strategies and ALL THE THINGS you can do, so how do you decide what to do.

And also, how do you decide when other people are just being arseholes? How much do I need to justify myself to them? Do I just let them be horrid and stop trying to think around all the ways I could change to help them more, or make them understand more, or make them feel better. And what point do I need to stand up and go – HEY, that is not ok.

It is a bit crass, but this kind of sums it up – not safe for work language. Definitely not safe for work language.


I genuinely try to be positive. I do have a temper (ask the hubby and/or the odd person I’ve snapped at) and occasionally say flippant things that have more of an impact than I intended. But if people keep building walls/finding excuses/not being even willing to entertain a conversation then why waste time on them?

I’ve always loved the line ‘you catch more flies with honey than vinegar’ (even if it is, or maybe because it is, scientifically inaccurate. But maybe sometimes I need to be a bit stronger about why I do things the way I do.

And then yesterday this beautiful image popped up (on failblog of all places)



So I guess this in linking into my last post about not having the ‘words’ to describe what I am trying to do. How I can’t put it into a unit plan. How I am struggling to tell people what I am trying to achieve, either in general conversation or in a more professional context. A big question during NAPP is ‘what is your moral purpose?’. Could I show the picture above and leave it at that?

Or do I just quietly say, yip, I’m a teacher, I teach Science and Chem and leave it at that?


Posted in NAPP2016, random ramblings

Reflections from NAPP HUI

A week ago I attended the NAPP hui as part of the national aspiring principals program. It was an amazing few days that have really challenged my thinking and what I am trying to achieve as an educator. Finding the WHY was the theme that reoccurred for me over the 2 days.

For me, the single best idea I got out of this 2 days was the idea of an educational ‘eddy’. Karen Hopai used this analogy and it really struck a chord with me (Her whole talk was amazing really, I really liked what she had to say). I have spent a bit much time of late focussing on disruption without thinking about what do to after the disruption. (Thanks Paula and Philippa for talking me through some of this) So when I heard this idea, I LOVED it. Eddie’s can create whirlpools that can suck you down, or they can be used to propel you forward in your journey downstream. Strong rocks can withstand them over time, let the water wash around them, while less strong rocks will get shaped over time, and the small stuff will just get swept away. When I was chewing this over out loud, I (hopefully teasingly) got called a Tsunami, which was a good reminder to not be too rushed with ideas and become destructive. Some-one else also said that your end point might be across a rocky sea – there were several references to water through out the 2 days.


The other piece of advice I got from this speaker was to stick at what you are doing. Even if it is just you, or one or two others, the idea will get there and as it gains traction great things can come from it.

 The theme of NAPP was to figure out ‘who we are’ as part of exploring what is giving passion and purpose to out leadership. I found this really challenging – I am not really sure where I want to go. Perhaps this is because I haven’t found it yet, or maybe I won’t find it, all I know if that I am not satisfied with the way things are now. So I am still thinking over these concepts. I know I am not ‘happy’ with the status quo, I am doing something about it, but I still haven’t quite always got a handle on understanding the way I am trying to do things. Even focusing on the language I am using will help this.


Another highlight was meeting Rachel Bolstad. Meeting people I’ve meet ‘online’ in real life is always awesome – even if I was a bit ‘star struck’


Her talk was all about possibilities, and how can we make those possibilities a reality. Do we take a what will be will be approach or do we reach out and grab the future and wrest it to our will

Leading without harm was another idea that came up a few times. Again, I’m still not sure about this idea…. Obviously you don’t want to make things worse, but you also need to take risks – if it doesn’t work you can iterate and change. So the balance between action, reaction and inaction seems to be finely poised…



The last speaker (Graeme Stoop) was different again. School leaders are in positions of authority (after 2 days of partnerships and leadership this was a different take…) but what is authority? A title? Power? He had power over us as we all listened to him, but also the audience had power as we could have all got up and walked out (as if….). So it was a reminder that we have a responsibility and for me the big take home there was I can have all the passion in the world (I am quite passionate) but if I don’t have the responsibility to go with it, the passion will go no where.



And finally somewhere over the course of the 2 days (I’ll admit they did start to blur, it was a very full program) we were asked this. What are we going to start doing? Stop doing and keep doing. I have been thinking on and off on this for a week and I’m still not sure exactly how to answer other than my initial scrawlings.


All in all, a LOT to think about and it is going to take more than a week to digest some of the ideas. Thanks to everyone I spoke to and learned from 🙂

Mostly for my own reference, Storifies from the tweets from the events are HERE, HERE and HERE.


Posted in NAPP2016, random ramblings, Teaching and Learning

Fly away…. as long as you come back some day

I have this super awesome song from fly my pretties on repeat in my head.

It has got wedged in my head with the news that not one, not two but three (THREE) people I have a lot of time for are leaving New Zealand classrooms for ‘brighter shores’. All have told me in the space of a week. This is on top of another who left for a ministry job at the end of last year and another couple who left last year. Most are still in education, just not in front of our students.

Wise people (Thanks Matt especially) remind me that sometimes if you want to extend your reach, you need to move away from the classroom which is how we can justify moving into more senior leadership positions within a school. This means those leaders can have more impact on class rooms by helping more teachers and having more say in curriculum design. Likewise, if people chose to work for the ministry of education or PD type places, they can help teachers help more students.

For the people who are leaving for positions overseas, I can totally understand how the pressure is driving them. Not just pressure for money (although I just don’t understand how anyone could survive in Auckland on a teachers salary) but pressure to ‘conform’ to school policies, or in the jostle to find a job they might not be in a school that is the best fit for them. Stress around getting permanent positions have resulted in less than half of my class (I was at Tcol in 2009) are still in teaching and some of those have bounced from position to position…..

The time away from home is tough on young families too, last week with parent teacher interviews and meetings, I picked my son up once from daycare. I felt like I just didn’t see him. And then on the weekend I just had to spend an afternoon catching up on stuff – the parent guilt was really winding up and I did momentarily consider what jobs I could have that didn’t mean I was working on a weekend to catch up.

Despite all this, I do LOVE my job. The challenges, the success, the sheer joy and utter lows it can bring. I can still just forgive the hours spent ticking boxes and doing jobs I think are meaningless for all the fun stuff I get to do and the people (students and staff) I get to work with.

And so I can’t help my internal worry and rage that such people are leaving the profession. People who have challenged me, challenged the system, tried things, shared things, tried to break the mould and who strive for the very best for their students and staff and schools are leaving.

Fly away…. so long as you come back some day.



Posted in NAPP2016, random ramblings

Equity, Equality, Results and Comparisons…

At the NAPP secondary day, we were shown this picture

Equity vs Equality Apples

image sourced from HERE (Office of Health Equity, Maine)

The image was in context of build collaboration and sharing between schools and being very aware of the language we are using. For example, you are not building collaboration if you ‘offer to help’ primary schools with their Science programs, as you language implies if you are helping you are better.

We discussed the diagram and what it meant, and a sudden thought leapt into my head

‘What if you don’t want an Apple?’

I asked this aloud and had very patient answers that explained to me that everyone has a goal and the apple is representative of a goal. You can also look at this from the ‘fence’ picture on Equity vs equality.


Image source HERE

So the goal doesn’t need to be specific as such, so long as everyone has access to the same opportunities.

But what I am struggling to get my head around is we still have ‘markers’ that we measure our learners against. That learning opportunities are all assessment based. Whether these be national standards, Astle testing, NCEA, family income or athletic achievements, we are measuring our students. How can we compare out students if they are being measured on something that is not relevant to them? Because I am starting to think that an awful lot of the assessments given to students are not really relevant to them. (Maybe this is just me, or my school, or my inability to grasp the relevance….. or come up with relevant contexts….)

But also, if it is not relevant to our ‘vision’ for learners, why are we using these measures. For example, most schools/educators/student/ANYONE would argue that when they leave school they want to be decent human beings who are able to participate fully in society, live nice lives and not be a dick. You can fancy this up anyway you like, but essential this is what most school visions say in Rachel speak. To quote Jan Robinson from the NAPP day, NCEA is not a vision.

So why do we keep using it to measure our learners? Especially our ‘most at risk’ learners – why is it that those with no formal qualifications are the most at risk? What are they at risk of? Is it the qualifications they lack? Or is it the other seemingly immeasurable skills that they gain while at school even if they are not gaining NCEA.

For example, working in a ‘rural school’ I get a lot of students say things like ‘I am going to go work on a shearing gang, so why do I need to learn XYZ or get NCEA’ or ‘I’ve already got a job working for ABC lined up when I leave school and I don’t need this standard’. How can I compare those students who leave school with no formal qualifications with other students who drop out due to behavioural issues, family issues or just a general lack of motivation. Both ‘types’ of students are disengaged from school…. neither want the ‘apple’ and so in different ways would scorn the offer of the box. Even if I was to offer them the right sort of goal or the right sort of box, they would still show up as a statistic against a goal totally inappropriate for them.

I can relate this to myself right now. I am learning lots of new things about how schools work while I develop/explore my ideas of moral purpose around education. When I come home and hang out with MR 3, it doesn’t matter at all whether I know about moral purpose or how to pay a relieving teacher the right holiday pay or how to implement the new health and safety laws. It might shape the culture he grows up in within our family environment, where learning and reading are encouraged, but other than my work it doesn’t shape a lot of things in my day to day life. I am confident that there are many excellent parents out there who value education and learning who have no idea about which reagents are important in the reduction of ketones or the meaning of various education related acronyms. So is the learning I am doing relevant to anything outside of school? Should it be?

Or maybe I am reaching for the ‘wrong apple’?

Posted in NAPP2016, random ramblings

How can we get schools and teachers to share?

I have been reading ‘Vital Connections’ – why we need more than self managing schools as part of my professional reading for NAPP. As a relative NOOB to teaching (my first year teaching was in 2010, and my last year of secondary school was 1999) it has given me a much better understanding of why somethings I just didn’t understand have happened. It would seem to me the ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ have a lot to answer for.

The most inflammatory section to read so far was ‘Science Stagnates’. Yip, call me out for subject speciality bias, as English and Maths got a raw deal too, but this really broke my heart. And you know what really grates me….. the issues were first identified in the early 1990s…..

2016-03-20 15.12.16.jpg

2016-03-20 15.12.30.jpg

And then there was the report from Sir Peter Gluckman in 2011….2016-03-20 15.13.09.jpg



I don’t understand why?

As a Science specialist, I was finding it really difficult as there was a lack of Science PD. I asked the principal at my last school if I could go to SciCon and she didn’t feel it was valuable enough to fund me to go (I did get other PD opportunities, including ChemED after I also received some money from my local subject association, after this, but Science specific opportunities other than NCEA/NZQA days are few and far between).

So I joined and contributed to my local subject association (shout out to anyone from OSTA reading this, love your ways) and then when I had started at my new school and was really feeling I needed some help with a new department and curriculum, started #scichatNZ along with Matt and Chhaya to try and make some new connections. I should also mention how useful I know find the facebook groups that have sprung up as a way for teachers of Science to communicate with each other and ask for help.

So I really value connections, connectedness and collaboration. I understand why others might value it less (although I might do an internal sigh) or some others are just happy with the status quo. But our current status quo is failing so many students and teachers, so how can we help them? I am sure that there is more recent info than this, but if more than a 3rd of students coming to high school already dislike Science, then something isn’t right?

I am also becoming aware that maybe Secondary teachers reaching out are seen as intimidating, or critical of primary school teachers. In my case, nothing could be further from the truth, especially after reading this book. If you are under resources, lack training, lack funding and didn’t value Science yourself, it is criminal of anyone to expect you to be able to present it well.

Increasingly teachers are taking this into their own hands. Facebook and twitter groups are strongly used. The Pond is a good place to look if your school allows you to share resources, as are shared document libraries and blogs from amazing teachers. Sites like No Brain too small are a life saver for me at times when I am looking for a resource to help a student who isn’t quite getting it. But these spaces aren’t reaching everyone….

So how can we help each other out and get our students to be liking Science? Or maths?Or whatever!! How can we break down barriers of competition between schools, lack of resources (or time), demands of national standards? How can we empower all teachers to seek support and upskill themselves and there students and communities? How can we encourage new teachers with Science degrees into teaching? I have seen alarming articles about the lack of applications for ‘HoD’ and middle management jobs or Science and maths jobs – how can we lead departments into the future when these positions are so unattractive. There are a lot of ‘old timers’ in Science classrooms and when they retire they will take a tremendous amount of knowledge & wisdom with them.

Because we have made it so hard to share.

I am pretty sure that the community of schools and IES was designed with this idea in mind. Sadly for me, my school isn’t one. I couldn’t find out how to find out without trawling through the individual pdfs, but I am pretty sure there are no communities of learning in Dunedin.

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 3.56.17 .png

So we now have about 1/3 of schools forming communities according to the web page

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 4.00.36 .png

Is this enough? Will they share with schools outside their communities? Or have we now created even more of an us vs them mentality where sets of schools have specific relationships and the extra funding that goes with them? Will this cost schools who have not entered into this program? And then who will be to blame?

My nest read (might be a holiday task) is Bill Haques book. His comments on how his schools success was at the detriment of another school  (you need to scroll down the first patrt of the articles slightly unfairly ripping into teachers to find it) in his area are a sad reflection on what is still occurring

So I don’t have any answers, just a mounting frustration that there are so many barriers to being able to share more of what I do and for me to also learn from what others are doing.

How can we make it easier to share for those that want too and for those that need support?

Posted in NAPP2016

Who are all these ‘councils’?

As part of my NAPP readings, I have been given a copy of the ‘School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why’ document. You can access it HERE if you like.

While I am sure the information contained within is superb, I have yet to get passed the forwards. Because there are forwards from groups I never knew existed. So I thought I would take a step sideways and figure out who they all were

All information was taken from either the BES document or the website of the Organisation concerned which is linked onto the page.

So, the forwards are by

Te Akatea: Te Akatea is the New Zealand Maori Principals association. Established in 1989-90 to support Kupapa Maori Education.

International: This was a forward by Ben Levin and Michael Fulling from the University of Toronto

New Zealand Schools Trustees Association (NZSTA) : NZSTA is a membership based organisation that represents around 91% of school boards and is a non profit. Their roll is to support boards get the best out of schools

NZ Principals’ Federation: NZPF have the vision to be the most respected and influential advocate for New Zealand’s school principals. Established in 1992 they provide a range of support for NZ principals.

New Zealand Pasifika Principals’ Association: Did have a website I could find. From the BES document this group is looking to assist with ‘growing, developing and nurturing Pasifika leadership in New Zealand Education’. There was a contact on THIS list from the NZPF webpage

New Zealand Association for Intermediate and Middle Schooling (NZ AIMS): Have a super bright and bubbly website and look like they host/facilitate lots of PD opportunities. I couldn’t quite find out exactly their aims/vision though – sadly the strategic plan link was a dud.

Secondary Principals’ Association of New Zealand (SPANZ): Also formed in the late 1980’s, SPANZ support Principals and their schools. It looks like membership is for individual school leaders rather than for a school.

New Zealand Secondary Principals’ Council (NZSPC): NZSPC represents Principals who are members of the PPTA. They also negotiate the Principals collective agreement… which I guess is important 🙂 I think I had heard of this council previously, probably due to the collective bargaining processes

Normal School Principals’ Association: Didn’t have a webpage I could find – but there are contact details via the NZPF page

New Zealand Area Schools Association (NZASA): The NZASA is an organisation formed among Area Schools from throughout New Zealand to advance the cause of Area Schools in particular and rural education in general.

Deputy and Assistant Principals and Syndicate Leaders, Primary and Intermediate: Another one I could find any direct information on. I did learn that a syndicate leader is a teacher in charge of a particular cohort of students eg from yr 1-3 or y7-8.

National Association of Secondary Deputy and Assistant Principals (NASDAP): NASDAP provides representation for Deputy and Assistant Principals to ensure their voice is heard. The run a conference every other year with regional meetings in between.

NZEI:includes over 50,000 educators from primary and early childhood. They encourage high quality education and are the industrial voice of this group of educators. I have off course heard of this group before

PPTA: The objects of the Association shall be: (a) To advance the cause of education generally and of all phases of secondary and technical education in particular. (b) To uphold and maintain the just claims of its members individually and collectively. (c) To affirm and advance Te Tiriti O Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi) as embodied in the First Schedule of these rules. The PPTA also negotiate the collective agreement for secondary teachers. I had also heard of the PPTA before (and am a member)

New Zealand Catholic Education Office (NZCEO):The New Zealand Catholic Education Office (NZCEO) is a catalyst engaging Catholic schools to become leaders in New Zealand education, delivering outcomes in the spirit of the Gospel. I had heard of this group before from a teacher college lecture we had on catholic education in NZ.

Independent Schools of New Zealand (ISNZ): ‘represents the nations leading private schools’. The webpage appears to cater more for members of the public looking to choose a school, but there is a closed members only section that may provide more info

New Zealand Educational Administration and Leadership Society (NZEALS): ‘NZEALS supports leadership and innovation in education.  It has strong networks within and across sectors, sharing research and quality practice.  It enables leadership partnerships and supports new and aspiring leaders.’ As there is a special ‘deal’ for first time principals I think this group is primarily for Principals.

National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP): The purpose of NEMP was to get a broad picture of the achievements of representative samples of New Zealand school students at successive points in time so that; trends in educational performance can be identified and reported; good information is available to assist policy makers, curriculum specialists and educators with their planning; the public can know about trends in educational achievement. This program was lead by Otago University academics. I think I had heard of this, and in digging found I had read some stuff written as a result of this project.

ERO: Everyone loves to hate ERO 🙂 A teacher saying that ERO is coming is enough to instil sympathy and knowing looks from even the most enthusiastic teacher. Yet the website states that ‘ERO reviews schools and early childhood education services, and publishes national reports on current education practice’. ERO is coming to my school later this year so I will learn more about them first hand 🙂 So I had heard of ERO.

New Zealand Council for Educational research (NZCER): NZCER is ‘an independent educational research organisation generating the ideas, questions, tools, products and services to meet educational needs now and for the future. NZCER has a proud history and a deep commitment to Māori education.’ I had heard about NZCER before because I have read some of their publications and will do a wee plug for the awesomeness of Rachel Bolstad. Her work is awesomesauce. And one time, she broke twitter 🙂

Leadership and Management Advisors: I couldn’t find a website for these guys, but the document lists a long list of committee members from various tertiary education providers.

Universities and Tertiary Institutes: Again I couldn’t find a website, but the group involves a large number of persons working at tertiary education providers

Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL): As Australia’s peak professional organisation ACEL is a forward thinking, relevant and responsive agent of change and innovation.  ACEL is a not-for-profit company and a 21st Century learning organisation that is continuously improving its practices to harness national and global opportunities. I had heard of these guys as they are running a super looking conference in Melbourne in September that I am still working up the courage to ask if I could attend.

And then finally the forward from the Chief Education Advisor, BES.


In total, there were 24 forwards for this document. I had heard of 9 of the organisations – and really only know 4 well. It concerns me that in such a ‘inclusive’ list of councils, there are probably only 2 (the ppta and the NZEI) who represent everyday normal teachers. And even then (and feel free to shout me down) these organisations do tend to be known for more bargaining and money than teaching and learning.

Which brings me to the point of this whole exercise. Not every teachers needs to read the BES. But I think it should be a lot more accessible than it currently is. How do we make such documents more available. How do we include normal everyday teachers in these discussions. I am not suggesting more associations or committees, but somehow the committees in place need to be more accessible and sharing for everyday staff.


Posted in NAPP2016, Professional learning

How will I set about expanding my capacity to learn?

This question was put forward as part of the NAPP 2016 program….

I am doing NAPP not because I want to be a Principal (I think it would suck to spend so much time out of the class room) but because I want to have a better understanding of how schools work. And with that, more understanding of the processes that are in place in schools in NZ (and globally) so I can help to facilitate positive change in my school and hopefully others.

In thinking about it, it fascinates me that as a general class room teacher I know so little of how schools run. I know I need to do a roll as an MoE requirement. I know have professional standards via teacher registration/educanz. I know that ultimately schools are run by the BoT but the Principal has overall responsibility. The concept of how schools run might have come up at teacher college, I possibly even did an assignment on it, but in the day to day reality of a class room teacher you do not always need to know what or how your school is running. So long as you do your roll, get your NCEA assessments moderated and do your appraisal, from experience you can glide along pretty well.

So it has come as a bit of a shock just how removed from teaching and learning so much of a principals job appears to be.

But I like this question about expanding learning capacity. How am I going to ensure as I continue my path in education I continue to learning, and get better at it. Especially if some of the things I need to learn are pretty darn dull

But the cliche of ‘big picture’ proves true. So I need to bear that in mind as a crash my way through some fairly intense readings and documents. I will be learning lots, but as yet I am not so sure if I will be increasing my capacity to learn? 

So with the aim to build my capacity to learn, I am looking to focus on skills rather than content in my teaching and learning programs and also in my roll assisting staff with IT/e-learning. Learning skills is harder than content (I will quote Terry’s being a people person is a gift) but I believe everyone can get better at it.

Remembering the why is important too – why is important to be an effective communicator? Is it to avoid confusion? Avoid conflict? Get things done? Empower staff. Get staff/students/BoT/MoE to go along with a plan because they have a clear idea?

So as I learn more about how schools work through this program, I also hope to learn more about why they work that way. And the different ways that different schools and management systems run so I can better understand which skills are required to get the desired outcomes.