Professional standards for secondary school principals

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

Secondary Principals' Collective Agreement – Ministry of Education

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

  • form a part of the principal’s performance agreement along with components such as the school’s strategic and annual plans, the principal’s job description, and the New Zealand Education Council's criteria for registration as a teacher
  • contribute to a framework which helps to assess and review current practice and identify future professional development.

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




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

  • With the board, develop and then implement a school vision with shared goals and values focused on enhanced engagement and achievement (academically, socially and culturally) for all students.
  • Promote a culture whereby staff members assume appropriate leadership roles and work collaboratively to improve teaching and learning.
  • Model respect for others in interactions with adults and students.
  •  Promote the bicultural heritage 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, multi-cultural nature and prior experiences of students are acknowledged and respected.
  • Manage conflict and other challenging situations effectively and actively work to achieve solutions.
  • Demonstrate leadership in professional practice, through applying critical inquiry and problem solving.


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.
  • Promote and support the gaining of worthwhile qualifications and successful transitions to tertiary education or employment for all students.
  • Ensure that the review and design of school programmes is informed by school-based and external evidence.
  • Foster a professional learning community within which staff members are encouraged to be reflective practitioners engaging with research, and feedback on their professional practice.
  • Ensure the use of best practices for assessment, and analyse and act upon evidence on student learning to maximise learning for all students.
  • Focus in particular on success in learning for Māori and Pasifika students, students with special education needs, and students at risk of not succeeding at school.


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 effective systems 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 finance, property, 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.
  • Align resource allocation with 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 positive 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.
  • Ensure regular interaction with parents and the school community on student progress and other school-related matters.
  • Actively foster positive relationships with other schools and participate in appropriate school networks.

Tags: Systems and Policy

Tell a colleague | Back to top