Set professional learning goals

You have identified your top learning priorities and agreed these with your board – see Identify professional learning needs.

Your next step is to establish specific goals for each of those priorities for the coming year. Your goals need to be specific and achievable.

It will be helpful to you and your board if you can link each goal to identifiable professional practice benefits, or support for your personal career progression.

Linking learning priorities to strategy

You will have worked with your school board to identify the vision and strategic goals for your school. Remind yourself of these. Think about how your professional learning will contribute to advancing the objectives you and your school board have for the school.

Look at the statistics that relate to the composition of your school and its performance against key variables. Can you see how the learning needs you identified relate to helping you achieve the strategic outcomes set out in the school’s strategic plan?

Write brief notes against each of your learning priorities setting out how you think they will contribute to the outcomes contained in your school’s strategic plan.

Linking learning priorities to student outcomes

What objectives have been set for student outcomes in your school? Research has shown that there is a direct link between student achievement and the quality of teaching and the quality of school leadership. The stronger you are as a school leader, the more likely it is that you will create a strong leadership team in your school and that your students will do well.

Write brief notes against each of your learning priorities setting out how you think they will contribute to the student achievement outcomes you and your board want to achieve. Take special account of how they will contribute to achieving improvements for Māori, Pasifika, learners from low socio-economic backgrounds and those with special needs.

Linking learning priorities to your career

Your career progression is an important part of professional learning considerations. In identifying your learning priorities, you have considered your professional strengths and weaknesses and what will support you to improve your professional practice.

It is equally important to think about how these learning priorities will contribute to your career progression. Depending on the stage of your career, learning priorities that improve your professional practice may be all that you need at the moment. On the other hand, you may want to undertake learning that will help qualify you for other leadership opportunities in the future. Is there some area of learning you wish to add to the learning priorities you have identified?

Can you link the learning priorities you have identified to specific career goals you hold? If so, note how the learning priorities relate to your personal career progression so that you can discuss this with your board.


You are the principal of a middle-sized, urban school; a role that you have had for the past six years. You now feel comfortable in this position, but you feel that moving on to a role in a school with a completely different profile – perhaps an immersion kura, area school or rural school – would be a significant challenge for the future.

You are currently working towards a Masters of Education degree as you think this will increase your suitability for such a role. The priority learning needs you have identified for the year will develop your professional practice, but you would also like your board to support you in your ongoing commitment to your Masters degree.

Goal setting

Use the learning priorities you have identified and the links you have made above to develop a set of learning goals.


Specific outcome I am seeking from undertaking this learning: Gain a greater knowledge of the cultural background of my Pasifika students.

Link to learning need I am addressing: Greater knowledge of the cultural background of my Pasifika students will enable me to understand the factors that play a role in their learning needs.

Link to professional practice benefit that will be achieved: Greater knowledge of the cultural background of my Pasifika students will enable me to understand the factors that play a role in their learning needs and introduce teaching practice changes that will positively affect their literacy and numeracy achievement.

Link to personal career progression (if applicable)

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