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It is my pleasure to introduce the Kiwi Leadership for Principals document. It represents the collaboration of a range of professionals committed to school leadership and ensuring the very best learning outcomes for our young people.

Research on school leadership has identified that principals can have a significant effect on student achievement and well-being. Principals have a critical role in leading an education system that equips all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful citizens in the 21st century.

The OECD report Improving School Leadership (2008) recommended clarifying the key elements and responsibilities of school leaders’ roles that have the greatest impact on student learning as a crucial step for strengthening professional leadership. In response, Kiwi Leadership for Principals reflects the qualities, knowledge and skills required for this critical task of leading learning in our schools. At the heart of the Kiwi Leadership for Principals document is the principal as an educational leader, leading both the learning and the organisation to enhance educational outcomes for all young people.

We face a number of challenges that require committed and responsive leadership at all levels. A critical leadership challenge is reflected in the disproportionately large number of Māori and Pasifika students who are not achieving their potential within the current education system. We must acknowledge that we have too many students who are leaving school without the level of qualification they need to succeed in life. These challenges require leaders who are committed to ongoing professional learning, who are receptive to new evidence as to what works, and who are skilled at relating to students and their school communities.

Kiwi Leadership for Principals has been released after extensive and open consultation. Over the last two years, representatives of primary and secondary principals’ groups have met with the Ministry, researchers, leadership advisers, and representatives from unions and professional associations to develop this document. As a result, Kiwi Leadership for Principals is based on principals’ experiences of what works, the learning in the principal initiatives since 2001, such as the First Time Principals Programme, and the evidence from New Zealand and overseas about leadership and student achievement.

My thanks go to all who have contributed to the development of this document. Kiwi Leadership for Principals provides a starting point for aligning and strengthening our support for principals as educational leaders. Our challenge is now to build from this document to better support principals in their work with others in leading schools for the enhancement of student achievement and well-being. 

Nāku noa

Karen Sewell
Secretary for Education

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