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I am pleased to introduce Leading from the Middle: Educational Leadership for Middle and Senior Leaders. This is the third in a series of documents aimed at providing guidance for leaders in New Zealand schools. It is the result of the work of a range of professionals who are committed to affirming the importance of middle and senior leaders in schools.

Leading from the Middle is to be used in conjunction with Kiwi Leadership for Principals and Tū Rangatira: Māori Medium Educational Leadership (English version, Māori version). These present models for educational leadership unique to Aotearoa New Zealand.

Responsibility for the leadership of a school does not sit solely with the principal. Research shows that leadership must be distributed if we are to realise our vision for students.

Middle and senior leaders are a diverse group, reflecting the communities in which they work. They have widely varying professional and management roles: leading teaching and learning, acting as mentors and coaches to colleagues, and working with students, parents, whānau, boards of trustees and the wider school community. They help shape innovation and lead change in schools, particularly change directed at raising student achievement. We must maximise use of this leadership potential to ensure that all our schools provide quality learning environments.

Leading from the Middle describes the knowledge, skills, and qualities that are at the heart of every level of effective school leadership: manaakitanga (leading with moral purpose), pono (having self-belief), ako (being a learner) and āwhinatanga (guiding and supporting). It sets out the expectations we have of leadership, and it aims to strengthen and support that leadership. It also aims to encourage teachers to consider taking on middle and senior leadership roles.

Leading from the Middle is underpinned by Ka Hikitia, the Pasifika Education Plan, and Success for All – Every School, Every Child, which collectively outline the Ministry of Education’s vision and direction for school leaders. This vision is for improved outcomes for all students, in particular for Māori and Pasifika students and those with special education needs.

I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this project and acknowledge the vital role middle and senior leaders play in delivering a world-leading education system that will equip all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful citizens. I hope that this document will prove to be a valuable resource for leaders.

Nāku noa, nā

Lesley Longstone

Secretary for Education

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