Professional standards for primary school principals

The information on this page comes from the Primary Principals' Collective Agreement. 

Primary Principals' Collective Agreement – Ministry of Education

The professional standards were drawn from the Kiwi Leadership for Principals document and educational leadership best evidence. They:

  • provide a baseline for assessing satisfactory performance within each area of practice
  • form part of a principal’s performance agreement, which will reflect the school or board goals, the principal’s job description, more specific objectives, and the New Zealand Education Council's criteria for registration as a teacher.

Identifying and developing appropriate indicators is part of developing a performance agreement. 

Part 4 of the Primary Principals’ Collective Agreement describes the responsibility of the employing board to develop the principal’s performance agreement.

Note: Principals with teaching responsibilities will also need to meet the requirements of current (of the time) standards and/or criteria for teachers.




Provide professional leadership that focuses the school culture on enhancing learning and teaching.

  • In conjunction with the board, develop and implement a school vision and shared goals focused on enhanced engagement and achievement for all students.
  • Promote a culture whereby staff members take on appropriate leadership roles and work collaboratively to improve teaching and learning.
  • Model respect for others in interactions with adults and students.
  • Promote the bicultural nature of New Zealand by ensuring that it is evident in the school culture.
  • Maintain a safe, learning-focused environment.
  • Promote an inclusive environment in which the diversity and prior experiences of students are acknowledged and respected.
  • Manage conflict and other challenging situations effectively, and actively work to achieve solutions.
  • Demonstrate leadership through participating in professional learning.


Create a learning environment in which there is an expectation that all students will experience success in learning.

  • Promote, participate in, and support ongoing professional learning linked to student progress.
  • Demonstrate leadership through engaging with staff and sharing knowledge about effective teaching and learning in the context of the New Zealand Curriculum documents.
  • Ensure staff members engage in professional learning to establish and sustain effective teacher/learner relationships with all students, with a particular focus on Māori students.
  • Ensure that the review and design of school programmes is informed by school-based and other evidence.
  • Maintain a professional learning community within which staff members are provided with feedback and support on their professional practice.
  • Analyse and act upon school-wide evidence on student learning to maximise learning for all students, with a particular focus on Māori and Pasifika students.


Develop and use management systems to support and enhance student learning.

  • Exhibit leadership that results in the effective day-to-day operation of the school.
  • Operate within board policy and in accordance with legislative requirements.
  • Provide the board with timely and accurate information and advice on student learning and school operation.
  • Effectively manage and administer finance, property, and health and safety systems.
  • Effectively manage personnel, with a focus on maximising the effectiveness of all staff members.
  • Use school/external evidence to inform planning for future action, monitor progress, and manage change.
  • Prioritise resource allocation on the basis of the school’s annual and strategic objectives.


Strengthen communication and relationships to enhance student learning.

  • Work with the board to facilitate strategic decision making.
  • Actively foster relationships with the school’s community and local iwi.
  • Actively foster professional relationships with, and between colleagues, and with government agencies and others with expertise in the wider education community.
  • Interact regularly with parents and the school community on student progress and other school-related matters.
  • Actively foster relationships with other schools and participate in appropriate school networks.

Tags: Systems and Policy

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