Distribution of leadership responsibilities is crucial for twenty-first century New Zealand schools: when teachers are also involved in leadership, there are positive outcomes for students.

Enhancing student outcomes – academic outcomes, personal well-being, and personal development – is the key responsibility of all middle and senior leaders. To do this, they lead pedagogical change, manage and appraise teachers, and participate in professional development.

Factors that influence the success of middle and senior leaders include the school’s planning and resourcing, the extent to which the leadership culture is collaborative, innovative, and supportive, and opportunities for professional development.

The educational leadership model (ELM) sets out the qualities, knowledge, and skills of effective middle and senior educational leaders and identifies the different contexts in which they work.

Middle and senior leaders need to respond to the priorities set by the Ministry of Education, the type of school they work in, and their specific negotiated responsibilities.

The ELM diagram shows that:

  • professional relationships based on trust are at the core of educational leadership;
  • leadership always operates within the constraints of a specific school context;
  • middle and senior leaders are actively involved in change management and problem solving.

The ELM identifies four areas of practice: culture (what is valued), pedagogy (teaching and learning knowledge), systems (how things work), and partnerships and networks (creating links to support learning).

The ELM also identifies four qualities that leaders need if they are to be effective in improving teaching and learning outcomes: manaakitanga (leading with moral purpose), pono (having self-belief), ako (being a learner), and āwhinatanga (guiding and supporting).

This leadership model challenges leaders, but it also offers them direction. It is vital that schools develop the middle and senior leaders who will support teachers and students to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.

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