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All schools should be great places to learn and teach. We’re resetting the system that governs, manages, administers, and supports schools so that all learners have the same chance to succeed.

Thirty years ago, the Tomorrow’s Schools reforms changed New Zealand’s schooling system, creating a system intended to better engage parents, whānau and communities with their local schools.

While the current system has strengths, it is inadequately serving some of our learners, in particular Māori, Pacific, people with disabilities and/or learning needs, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Now, New Zealand has the opportunity to reset the education system. Changes will require ongoing investment of time and resource, and will need to be managed in a coherent and connected way over the next ten years.

Key changes for Principals and Leaders

Principals and other leaders are critical to the success of their schools. Effective leaders can bring out the best in their teachers and other staff for the benefit of their learners/ākonga.

To better support our education leaders, the Government has invited the Teaching Council to establish a Leadership Centre to enhance the considerable work they have already undertaken on their Leadership Strategy and Educational Leadership Capability Framework.

The new Education Service Agency (ESA), as part of a redesigned Ministry of Education, will also be given additional functions to build support for principals and leaders.

Leadership Advisors

A Leadership Advisor role will be created within the new ESA. The Ministry will ensure that its’ support for education leaders aligns with and supports the Teaching Council’s leadership strategy.

Leadership Advisors will have the knowledge, expertise, and experience needed to provide local support and advice, helping address issues as they arise. They will play a key role in sharing effective practice across the system to raise the overall quality of the education system.

Establishing minimum eligibility criteria for principals

The Government will work with the profession to establish eligibility criteria for new appointments to school principal roles so schools are served by leaders with the right skills and expertise. The criteria will take the form of minimum national standards that will apply to all Boards of Trustees. Boards will be able to set additional school-specific criteria.

Getting the right principals where they are most needed

The Independent Taskforce proposed to broaden incentives to attract highly capable principals/tumuaki to work in schools/kura with more complex challenges. The Government believes this proposal should go further. Some incentives are already in place, such as the Principal Recruitment Allowance, but much more deliberate work around the scope, scale and complexity of our principal roles needs to be progressed.

What’s next?

The Government acknowledges that this is a significant change to further strengthen the education system. Changes related to governance and management of schools need to work in a complex system that also includes early learning and tertiary education. They will require ongoing investment of time and resource, and will need to be managed in a coherent and connected way over the next ten years.

A detailed timeline can be found in Appendix 1 of the Government’s position document, Supporting all schools to succeed: Reform of the Tomorrow’s Schools system.

Full report: Supporting all schools to succeed: Reform of Tomorrow’s Schools system [PDF 2MB]

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Information for Principals and Leaders PDF 540KB

All schools should be great places to learn and teach. We’re resetting the system that governs, manages, administers, and supports schools so that all learners have the same chance to succeed.

Thirty years ago, the Tomorrow’s Schools reforms changed New Zealand’s schooling system, creating a system intended to better engage parents, whānau and communities with their local schools.  

While the current system has strengths, it is inadequately serving some of our learners, in particular Māori, Pacific, people with disabilities and/or learning needs, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Now, New Zealand has the opportunity to reset the education system. Changes will require ongoing investment of time and resource, and will need to be managed in a coherent and connected way over the next ten years.