New Zealand’s system of self-managing schools enables schools to create the pedagogical, administrative, and cultural conditions in which their students will thrive, while also responding to national educational priorities. The resulting opportunities and challenges have led to the development of new middle and senior leadership roles with a focus on pedagogy and on the systems needed to support teachers and students.

Leading from the Middle: Educational Leadership for Middle and Senior Leaders describes these roles and the special contribution that middle and senior leaders make towards improving educational and social outcomes for all students. It describes the contexts in which these leaders operate and highlights the relevance of the educational leadership model (ELM) to their roles. This resource is enriched by a series of case studies.


The ELM was introduced in Kiwi Leadership for Principals (KLP) (Ministry of Education, 2008). It is the basis for the Ministry’s professional leadership support for middle and senior managers as well as for principals.

Leading from the Middle uses the same leadership model as KLP and incorporates up-to-date research evidence on effective leadership (Robinson, Hohepa, and Lloyd, 2009). It is one of a series of three documents in which the Ministry of Education explores leadership in schools.

The others are:

These documents are connected by the ELM, in which the focus of leadership is on improving student outcomes. The particular focus of Tū Rangatira is on Māori-medium leadership and lifting the achievement of Māori students.

Educational leaders should also be familiar with these Ministry documents:

Together, The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa provide the framework and the mandate for curriculum development in all state and integrated schools.

Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success and the Pasifika Education Plan spell out the urgent imperatives of raising outcomes for Māori and Pasifika students, and outline a strategy designed to achieve this.

Success for All – Every School, Every Child is a four-year plan launched in 2010 to achieve an inclusive education system in which all students with special education needs are well supported to learn and succeed alongside their peers.

Tell a colleague | Back to top