Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) conference in Liverpool. The NAHT is a union of head and deputy head teachers in England. Delegates from English regions met for three days to debate a wide variety of education issues.

In the wake of the Canterbury earthquakes, something I learned from working as the president of the Canterbury Primary Principals’ Association (CPPA) was that local regions often have the best solutions to their own issues.

Welcome to term two. As you all switch up a gear and head back to school, I am thinking about some of the findings from the 2013 OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), particularly those concerning leadership. For me, the findings echo our own concerns about principal hauora. TALIS formed the basis for discussion at the International Summit of the Teaching Profession (ISTP), which I attended in Banff in March. The Education Ministers, teachers’ union leaders and other teacher leaders of the top educationally performing OECD countries attend the summit each year.

If it’s true that time flies when you’re having fun, then life as president of NZPF is one big playtime! It’s not of course, but so much has been happening it’s like time has sped up and here we are at the end of term one already.

This week I was reminded why I have the best job in the world. I was invited to speak to the senior students at St Brigid’s School in Johnsonville, Wellington. They had been fundraising and had in mind to donate their funds to children in need.

Tomorrow, I will welcome presidents from the regions to our annual NZPF Moot in Wellington. The programme for the day has been carefully crafted around the theme ‘Taking the Lead’.  We have chosen this theme to reflect the outstanding innovative practices that are occurring in our schools every day and have invited a number of different principals to share their work in collaborative practice, innovative ways of encouraging Māori to succeed as Māori, practices that lift Pasifika achievement, staff appraisal, PLD, and e-learning.

A big congratulations to all of you who, according to the latest national ERO report, are working hard at making your schools as inclusive as possible. According to the report, the percentage of schools now manifesting inclusive practices has lifted from 50% in 2010 to 78% now. Have a read of the report.

A report released by the Education Review Office today indicates that schools are close to hitting the Government’s target of 80% of schools practising inclusive behaviour towards special needs students by the end of 2014. The report states that 78% of schools are now inclusive compared to 50% in 2010. 

The Minister’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 sounded a warning bell from President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF), Denise Torrey. 

The Minister has now called for nominations from individual teachers and principals that she can consider before she appoints the membership of the EDUCANZ governing board. The NZPF executive at its most recent meeting agreed that NZPF will neither suggest names nor endorse the nomination of any individual through this process. NZPF, as a Federation representing New Zealand school principals, has not been invited to nominate a representative to sit on this governing board and nor has any other representative body been invited to submit nominations.

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