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Principal Career Structure Area and Secondary Schools

What do we need to know about principal career structure?

The board will receive a letter from the Ministry of Education when its principal is eligible for one of the career structure payments.

In order for principals to receive their career allowance the board must affirm that the principal meets the criteria (pdf).

To maintain eligibility for the career allowance, every three years the principal's board of trustees must re-affirm the principal meets the service and professional criteria.

At that time, the board must also affirm the principal has undertaken a performance agreement and annual review within the previous 12 months (consistent with the Area School and Secondary Principal's collective agreement that requires principals to have both an annual performance review and agreement).

How do we affirm the principal meets the criteria?

Boards can use NZSTA's career structure evaluation and development plan (docx) as a framework to ensure the criteria are met.

This is included as part C of NZSTA's performance agreement template and boards can affirm the principal's learning and development during their normal annual performance review process. Alternatively, it can be used separately if the affirmation is necessary separate from the review cycle.

Boards should require that the principal show how they have fulfilled the criteria. Some evidence a principal could provide is listed below.

Examples of supporting evidence for the criteria

See the Ministry of Education's webpage for more examples of supporting evidence.

Have more questions?

Please consult the FAQs on principal career structure. These are based on questions Regional Advisers Employment (HR) have been receiving. If you can't find the answer there, the Employment Adviser can be contacted on 0800 782 435 (option 2) or via email

In order for principals to receive their annual career allowance the board must affirm that the principal meets the criteria (detailed in the appendix (docx)).

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