New Zealand School Trustees Association
From: Rob Gold - General Manager, Operations
Date: 9 February 2018
Welcome to another school year and welcome to the new trustees elected during the December mid-term elections.
I hope that you all had a safe and restful break over the Christmas period and had the opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends. I was fortunate enough to spend time in the Coromandel. It was my first time there in over 20 years and the weather, beaches and scenery were absolutely stunning.
This year is shaping up as a very busy one, with the new government making some changes in education with the potential of more to come. As and when changes are signaled, we will keep you up to date.
Finally, thank you for the feedback I receive when sending out these communications. It’s great to know the information is useful (and that people read it!)
Nāku noa nā
General Manager, Operations
In this update:
We start the New Year with some changes at NZSTA.
We have recently relocated our Central South Hub from the National Office to Porirua. Jill and her team now have a stand-alone office which has given them their own space and has freed up valuable room here at National Office. All contact details for the Hub remain the same.
We are currently in the final stages of recruiting two staff for a new Nelson office that will be a sub-hub of our Southern Hub. We have seen significant demand for our services in Nelson, so this is a direct response to the success of our preventative model of engagement.
Our other significant change is the retirement of Brian Ahern. Brian has provided 17 years of outstanding service to NZSTA, boards and schools and has been the face of NZSTA in Palmerston North. Brian retired on 31 January 2018 and will be sorely missed by all those that interacted with him over the years.
We are currently in the process of revamping our website to make it fresher and more intuitive. This has been a considerable piece of work but it’s on the home straight, with internal testing happening throughout March. The roll out of the new website is planned to take place in mid-April, but we will communicate more formally with you about this closer to the time.
By the time you read this Update, the first of the three Student Trustee Spirit of Adventure sailings will have commenced. Due to the availability of the Spirit of Adventure, we are running these sailings slightly later this year and we thank schools for accommodating the change. The sailings are an excellent experience for student trustees, that we receive consistently positive feedback about. Along with the NZSTA professional development that occurs as part of the sailing, we believe that it equips the student trustees to be and active an important member of the board.
Planning for our 2018 Chair Residential Programme is well underway and a formal communication asking for expressions of interest will be sent within the next month. The programme is limited to 200 board chairs and has proven to be very popular. This year’s programme will be held in Wellington on 11-12 May so new chairs are urged to pencil this into their diaries.
There are three agreements expiring this year, the first of which is the Primary Principals’ Collective Agreement which expires on 16 May 2018 and we expect bargaining to get underway, probably sometime in April. We’re currently starting early discussions with the Ministry of Education to identify key issues and will be engaging with you directly in the near future around your thoughts and suggestions for bargaining.
The other agreements expiring this year are the Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement on 8 June and the Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement on 27 October but we will communicate in relation to them closer to the time. In the meantime, if you have feedback in relation to collective bargaining, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the things that we spend a lot of time working through with boards is the relationship between boards and their principal. At this time of year with so many principals new to schools it’s a good time to consider how your board can make sure this relationship is on track. Our regional advisors can help you to make sure that everyone is clear on their roles and responsibilities; ensure you have a clear agreement for the relationship between board chair and principal as well as helping you establish a robust principal performance agreement process.
All of these things make life so much easier when they are done well. When they are not fully understood or agreed processes are not followed, then situations can arise which can impact on the whole school. If you have a new principal at your school, consider making contact with us to see how we can best support you – even experienced principals and boards can benefit from having a third party looking things over. Consider it a good health check!
Now is the time for the board to ensure an effective principal performance review/appraisal process is in place for 2018.
Advice and updated templates are available on the NZSTA website with an online learning module available through our Learning Management System (LMS). If you have further questions about the process, our resources, or are looking for information about how to engage an endorsed consultant to assist your board, please contact the Advisory and Support Centre.
Following a successful hui in Ruatoria in November, NZSTA will be available to deliver its services in the East Coast areas including Gisborne/Wairoa for three days each month. We’ve listened to the feedback and, as a result, will have a visible and regular presence in the area to engage with schools and their communities. This will include support in governance, employment and professional development.
From 26–28 February, a team of advisers will be based in the East Coast and would appreciate the opportunity to meet with trustees and the wider school community who are interested in the work boards of trustees do and to hear any suggestions on how NZSTA can best deliver our services locally.
As boards are aware, school uniforms are a significant expense for families. With a growth in the adoption of uniforms by primary schools over recent years, parents are more acutely aware of the costs and scope of uniforms – particularly as students transition from primary to intermediate to secondary school.
Boards have the statutory authority to set school uniform requirements (schedule 6, clause 18, Education Act 1989). Because there is a statutory authority, and because the exercise of that authority has cost implications for families, it is important that boards have comprehensive and transparent consultation practices in place for either establishing a school uniform in the first place, or making changes to an existing uniform.
One suggestion for boards to follow, is to formally approve a school uniform consultation process by resolution, and by recording the resolution in its meeting minutes. This will help boards to demonstrate that robust processes are in place.
Achievement challenges are shared goals identified and agreed to by the members of a Community of Learning/Kāhui Ako based on the needs of its students to meet curriculum expectations.
Using analysed student achievement data member schools should be able to identify common challenges across the Kāhui Ako, possible reasons for them and what support and resources would be needed to address them. Each Kāhui Ako should set itself 3-5 achievement challenges which must be endorsed by the Minister of Education and draw up an action plan to set the direction of the Kāhui Ako towards achieving them.
NZSTA envisages that the stewardship group will act as the kaitiaki (custodian) of the vision of the Kāhui Ako and its role could include:
- involvement in the setting of these achievement challenges, drawing up plans and monitoring of progress towards them
- representation of and liaison with the wider community of the Kāhui Ako
- acting as a sounding board and support for the lead principal and leadership group.
NZSTA is working alongside the Ministry in developing best practice examples of stewardship groups for Kāhui Ako. This will allow boards to explore options in how their stewardship group may be formed, who it might comprise, how often it would meet, what it would discuss and the roles and responsibilities of its members.
Our initial findings are that, at the time of submitting their achievement challenges for approval:
Several Kāhui Ako were yet to finalise their structure and the purpose of their stewardship group
Some stewardship Groups were charged to receive progress reports. There may not, however, have been any clear definition as to what the group was to do with this information other than to act as a conduit, passing it on to individual members boards
There were few examples of stewardship groups comprising anyone from the wider community e.g. Iwi or local employment/tertiary representation
Few Kāhui Ako had documented protocols around the sharing of information
No mention was given to the supportive role a stewardship group would provide.
NZSTA anticipates that the make-up and purpose of stewardship groups has developed since the submission of achievement challenges and would like to hear from Kāhui Ako that have good examples. Please send your thoughts/examples to: