The Minister of Education Hekia Parata’s announcement that she will pay five principals an extra $50,000 on top of their normal salaries to turn around the fortunes of five troubled schools has prompted a warning note from the president of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF), Denise Torrey.
“More money in a principal’s pocket will not help kids learn better or make a person a better principal,” Ms Torrey said.
“What these schools need is a highly experienced principal who has enormous passion for kids and their learning, has a raft of creative talent and the capability to apply it and has boundless energy to inspire and lead teachers through expert modelling. The principal would also need to have a full understanding of the school’s context and a strong connection with the community.
“There are no silver bullets in teaching kids. You won’t find any co-relational research that shows paying extra money to a principal leads to better learning outcomes for children,” Ms Torrey said.
She believes the selection panel for each of the principals for the five named schools should include experienced principals, who understand the context of the school and who know the community.
“Principals are best placed to assist the selection panel to choose the best person for the job because they understand the challenges of teaching and learning and know how important it is to connect with and be accepted by the school community.”
The $50,000 salary bonus for the ‘Change’ principal was a component of the Prime Minister’s Investing for Educational Success policy announced in January 2014.