New principals’ success is everyone’s responsibility

Making sure that new principals can succeed and thrive in their role is the responsibility of the entire school community, says Kate Gainsford, Chair of the Secondary Principals’ Council.

Responding to an Education Review Office report about principals who had been in the role five years or less, Kate Gainsford says the report is very welcome and timely.

“It’s heartening to see in the report that new principals are more likely to be Māori, younger, female and representative of diverse cultures and ethnicities.  Schools definitely need principals who reflect the changing face of Aotearoa New Zealand.

“It’s imperative, for our ākonga, that new principals are given the development and support they need to ensure they can lead schools as effectively as possible.

“We all – the Ministry, school boards, communities, teacher unions and fellow principals – need to share the responsibility for ensuring new principals can meet the significant challenges ahead and we each have a different part to play.   Boards can develop good, thorough and consistent induction processes. Principal colleagues can ensure professional networks meet regularly with all the opportunities to collaborate that they provide. Education agencies can work together to ensure aspiring principals have pathways that include good preparation for the role. 

"From the centre - from government, there needs to be clear leadership and direction to achieve the best combination of professional support and development for aspiring leaders. There are very good and very able people out there. The education system needs  to make sure they are well prepared for school leadership roles. 

"No school is an island, we are all here to do the very best we can for our ākonga and the more we can help each other, the better for everyone.”

Last modified on Thursday, 13 July 2023 10:10