Professional standards for primary school principals

The information on this page comes from the Primary Principals' Collective Agreement.

The professional standards were drawn from the Kiwi Leadership for Principals document and educational leadership best evidence. They:

  • provide a baseline for assessing satisfactory performance within each area of practice
  • form part of a principal’s performance agreement, which will reflect the school or board goals, the principal’s job description, more specific objectives, and the New Zealand Education Council's criteria for registration as a teacher.

Identifying and developing appropriate indicators is part of developing a performance agreement. 

Part 4 of the Primary Principals’ Collective Agreement describes the responsibility of the employing board to develop the principal’s performance agreement.

Read the relevant section of the agreement - Ministry of Education

Note: Principals with teaching responsibilities will also need to meet the requirements of current (of the time) standards and/or criteria for teachers.




Provide professional leadership that focuses the school culture on enhancing learning and teaching.

  • In conjunction with the board, develop and implement a school vision and shared goals focused on enhanced engagement and achievement for all students.
  • Promote a culture whereby staff members take on appropriate leadership roles and work collaboratively to improve teaching and learning.
  • Model respect for others in interactions with adults and students.
  • Promote the bicultural nature of New Zealand by ensuring that it is evident in the school culture.
  • Maintain a safe, learning-focused environment.
  • Promote an inclusive environment in which the diversity and prior experiences of students are acknowledged and respected.
  • Manage conflict and other challenging situations effectively, and actively work to achieve solutions.
  • Demonstrate leadership through participating in professional learning.


Create a learning environment in which there is an expectation that all students will experience success in learning.

  • Promote, participate in, and support ongoing professional learning linked to student progress.
  • Demonstrate leadership through engaging with staff and sharing knowledge about effective teaching and learning in the context of the New Zealand Curriculum documents.
  • Ensure staff members engage in professional learning to establish and sustain effective teacher/learner relationships with all students, with a particular focus on Māori students.
  • Ensure that the review and design of school programmes is informed by school-based and other evidence.
  • Maintain a professional learning community within which staff members are provided with feedback and support on their professional practice.
  • Analyse and act upon school-wide evidence on student learning to maximise learning for all students, with a particular focus on Māori and Pasifika students.


Develop and use management systems to support and enhance student learning.

  • Exhibit leadership that results in the effective day-to-day operation of the school.
  • Operate within board policy and in accordance with legislative requirements.
  • Provide the board with timely and accurate information and advice on student learning and school operation.
  • Effectively manage and administer finance, property, and health and safety systems.
  • Effectively manage personnel, with a focus on maximising the effectiveness of all staff members.
  • Use school/external evidence to inform planning for future action, monitor progress, and manage change.
  • Prioritise resource allocation on the basis of the school’s annual and strategic objectives.


Strengthen communication and relationships to enhance student learning.

  • Work with the board to facilitate strategic decision making.
  • Actively foster relationships with the school’s community and local iwi.
  • Actively foster professional relationships with, and between colleagues, and with government agencies and others with expertise in the wider education community.
  • Interact regularly with parents and the school community on student progress and other school-related matters.
  • Actively foster relationships with other schools and participate in appropriate school networks.

Tags: Systems and Policy

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