School principals from across the country gathered in Wellington last Friday to discuss the latest government policy, ‘Investing for Educational Success’. They recommended that continued participation by principals in this initiative is contingent upon some key conditions.
“Our principal representatives from the regions had a vigorous and informed discussion on the policy,” president of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF) Philip Harding said. “By pooling their collective wisdom, knowledge and experience of key conditions for collaborative practice to work successfully, they made a list of provisions that would need to be embedded in the policy for it to work.
These provisions include:
• That this policy development process must be evidence based and supported and informed by the advice and input of recognised academic experts as it is developed and then implemented
• That the policy is explicit in its detail that a wide range of success indicators may be used by Communities of School to set and evaluate achievement statements, and not be reliant upon National Standards and NCEA results as the only indicators of teacher and school performance
• That the full detail of this policy is consulted with clarity and transparency to principals, teachers, parents and boards
•That this policy development must be allocated the time and process it needs to be wisely crafted, jointly owned, and successfully implemented
• That this policy is sufficiently flexible to allow true collaboration within a wide variety of different contexts and settings “The resounding message from the meeting was to ensure that this investment will make a significant and positive difference for all children’s learning,” Mr Harding said.
“Extra money for individual principals is not a driver. It’s the opportunity to help lift children’s achievement. True collaboration is a complex notion that cannot be readily imposed from above. This policy will require the full and motivated support of all the participants to succeed.”