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Secondary School Principals' Professional Standards (background)

Purpose:  To advise that new professional standards for secondary school principals (pdf) have been promulgated by the Secretary for Education.

Why?: The previous standards were published in 1998 in the Ministry of Education document Principal Performance Management: A resource for boards of trustees and principals.  The standards have been revised to reflect the changes in education since that time. The student population is more diverse, and the principal's role has become more complex.  There are greater demands on schools to deliver across a range of outcomes for all students, with a particular focus on success for Maori, Pasifika, special-needs students, and youth at risk of disengaging from education. 

What?: The professional standards for secondary principals contribute to a framework which assists principals and boards of trustees in assessing and reviewing principals' current practice and in identifying future professional development.

The standards form part of the principal's performance agreement alongside other components such as the school's strategic and annual plans, the principal's job description, and the New Zealand Teachers' Council criteria for registration as a teacher.  Part four of the Secondary Principals' Collective Agreement describes the responsibility of the employing board in developing the principal's performance agreement.

The Professional Standards have been derived from the Kiwi Leadership for Principals document and educational leadership best evidence.  The standards are divided into four areas of practice: culture, pedagogy, systems, partnerships and networks.  The research from the last decade is clear about effective leadership practices.  Secondary principals often lead large, complex organisations and play a critical role in leading change to improve student outcomes.  The leadership practices are explained in Kiwi Leadership for Principals (KLP).

The revision of the standards was initiated by representatives from secondary principal sector groups who considered it timely to revise their professional standards.  The standards were then revised by a working group to reflect the feedback from their executives and wider membership and from boards of trustees. 

Who?: The working group comprised representatives from the following organisations:

When?: The professional standards were promulgated on 26 October 2009 Gazette (Volume 88 Number 19). School boards of trustees are expected to incorporate the revised standards into principals' performance agreements for 2010. It is anticipated that there will be some transitional period as the use of the new professional standards bed in.

Resources: The current NZSTA guidelines for the Principals Performance Review are being modified to reflect a secondary focus (the primary have been revised already) and we will be consulting on this and any other resources that will assist boards. 

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