Verity Harlick and Megan Odgers – EPDP project overview

Verity Harlick Principal of Arthur Street School, Dunedin, and Megan Odgers Principal of Ravensbourne School describe how their EPDP project was designed to reduce the isolation of teachers in small schools. It also provided opportunities for them to work cooperatively across schools to develop shared understandings about effective writing, and the moderation of student writing.

Verity and Megan had previously been part of a principals’ cluster and chose to work together on the same EPDP leadership project. The project involved five small schools working together to build shared understandings of effective writing, and the moderation of writing.

Verity and Megan chose to be interviewed together since they shared responsibility for the project.



The experienced principals development project (EPDP) asked us to put in place an action plan around a certain aspect of our leadership. We felt personally, as a principal of a small school, the opportunities for support and professional development in and around leadership was lacking in terms of developing staff networks and providing support and growing the teachers and their capability within the school. Often if you’re in a two teacher school and you’re one of the two, that mentoring and that support can become quite fraught because you’ve got one hat of being the principal, one of being the teacher and the colleague of the person.

We felt, and when I say we, our cluster of principals felt that if we could provide an opportunity where these teachers had others in a similar situation to share their practice with, to talk about some of the difficulties and challenges they have, in relation to their jobs and the demands of the curriculum on them and the small school aspect of that, then we would be taking some of that away from the conflict that we have of being the principal, the leader, the manager, the teacher you know and their one colleague.

So the idea behind our literacy project was about collegiality, developing a professional learning community across a cluster of five schools working within the literacy moderation, in response to National Standards.

The goal for our project was to have clearly articulated understanding of values and beliefs for our own schools, so that each person in the school could know what our aims and goals were to assist teaching and learning in the schools. 
There were five schools, five small schools. As principals we had worked together as a professional learning community, previously. We got together and decided that in response to our ’staffs’ growing needs in and around moderation and their concerns around consistency of practice that we would put together a year- long project looking at literacy.

This working together was of great benefit especially for small schools because you don’t get it in the small schools working at a number of levels. We met regularly with the different schools, did assessment and moderated together. One of the great benefits was the teachers getting to know other teachers and became more relaxed working with other teachers. Not (being) scared to actually comment on their own children’s work, the other children’s work and cross moderate was very successful.

We devised a range of literacy tasks that could be undertaken within each school, and then brought (them) back to the collective group for sharing and moderating.


This PowerPoint presentation gives a succinct summary of Verity and Megan's project.

Download PowerPoint presentation (PowerPoint 124 kB)


This is the literacy development plan worked on by the five schools.

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