Professional learning and development planning: a resource for principals and boards of trustees

This resource is designed to assist principals and boards of trustees to identify the professional learning that will enable the principal to be most effective as a school leader at each stage of his or her career structure.

The material provides a planning process for principals and boards to follow to develop a mutually agreeable professional learning and development plan.

If used collaboratively it enables principals and boards, or their representatives, to enter into professional learning conversations well-informed and well-prepared to set a learning and development programme for the principal.

The resource complements other available resources to support principals and boards as they plan the professional learning and development component of the performance agreement.

It is provided as one of the options available for assisting with the professional learning and development planning process. Principals and boards can use any parts of the resource they find useful, or replace them with other processes they find more suitable.

You can access, and work through, the sections of the resource through the links below. You can also download the complete document, as an interactive PDF.

Contents overview

1. Professional learning and development conversations

2. The professional learning and development planning process

3. Preparing for the next professional learning and development cycle

About the planning process

The planning process is interactive and includes iterative discussion between the principal and the board. This ensures there are ‘no surprises’ and helps to build a constructive working relationship.

The context of principal’s learning is the school’s long-term strategic directions and student achievement goals. The board also has a role to support the principal to achieve their individual career aspirations.


In 2011, the Ministry of Education signed Collective Agreements for Secondary and Area School Principals with their representative unions: Secondary Principals Association of New Zealand, New Zealand Educational Institute and the Post-Primary Teachers’ Association. The Agreements provide for a new career structure for principals intended to support growth of professional leadership and build capacity across the school sector. The new career structure explicitly encourages and recognises the professional growth, leadership and contribution of principals.

It was recognised that some guidance material would be useful to principals and boards in meeting the requirements under s4.1.2 (b) of the Collective Agreements to have a professional learning and development plan in place as part of the performance management process. 

The resource was developed by the Ministry of Education in discussion with the PPTA (NZSPC), SPANZ, NZSTA, Ngā Kura Iwi o Aotearoa and a number of principals.

Tags: Professional Learning and Development

Tell a colleague | Back to top