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BoT and implementing the NZC

What is expected of boards of trustees?

Aligning the charter to The New Zealand Curriculum

Links to existing board requirements

The existing planning and reporting framework

Working in partnership: what is expected of principals

Governance for boards

What is expected of boards of trustees?

The board of trustees is ultimately responsible to the community and the state for the performance of a school. It has a stewardship role; it must be confident that it is meeting its legislative obligations and serving the best interests of student learning and achievement.

Boards’ specific responsibilities in relation to the revised curriculum are set out on page 44 of The New Zealand Curriculum. In line with the National Administration Guidelines (NAGs), the governance/management partnership which is at the heart of school self-management in New Zealand meets these responsibilities:

  • teaching and assessment occurs through the principal and staff (NAG1)
  • planning, reporting and review occurs with the principal and staff (NAG2).

In a letter to the Chief Review Officer published in the Education Gazette of 4 February 2008, the Minister (in his capacity as the minister Responsible for the Education Review Office) wrote:

During 2008 and 2009, I would expect Boards of Trustees and school principals to be aware of the changes, to review their practice to consider what actions to take to meet the new requirements, and to progress towards fully basing their teaching and learning programmes on The New Zealand Curriculum by February 2010.

By that time, I will be able to advise you about related changes to the National Administration Guidelines, particularly those which refer to The New Zealand Curriculum.

I think it is a huge responsibility - and hard - but if we really want schools to be a partnership then we have to do the work and be part of what we want the curriculum for our children to look like.

Board chair.

Aligning the charter to The New Zealand Curriculum

Boards can look to chief executives, for example, the principal, for considerable guidance as they review and revise the school charter to align with The New Zealand Curriculum, but they should not expect principals to do everything.

We started by looking at what our school was already doing. Our principal started us discussing this in 2007 and we realise that it is going to take time to work through all the implications.

Board chair.

Aligning the two documents does not mean The New Zealand Curriculum values and vision must replace those in the charter. It means engaging school stakeholders in discussions that help to identify shared values and a strategic vision.

Shared values:

  • What do the values in The New Zealand Curriculum mean for this community?
  • Which values in The New Zealand Curriculum have particular resonance for our school stakeholders and which do not?
  • Which values and beliefs that do have particular significance for stakeholders are not expressed in the values, or principles, in The New Zealand Curriculum?
  • How can we encourage, model and develop The New Zealand Curriculum values and those in our charter in our school?

Strategic vision:

  • Does the vision in our charter describe what we want our students to know, to be and to be able to do by the time they leave our school?
  • How does our vision align with The New Zealand Curriculum vision of confident, connected, actively engaged lifelong learners?

I see it as 'revisioning'. The school does not exist in isolation from its community, nor is it owned by the Ministry so it is important any changes build on from our current vision.

Principal

Which stakeholders need to be engaged in consultation and dialogue? These may vary from school to school, but in addition to the board and staff, key stakeholders include:

  • parents, caregivers and whānau
  • students
  • pre-schools, contributing schools and next-step schools our students may attend
  • proprietors (important stakeholders for integrated schools).

It's about having everybody walking in the same direction, which is one of the basic principles of Tomorrow's Schools.

Board member

We held a community meeting, but very few parents came. We did a survey but again we didn't get a great response. Then board members decided to make phone contact with all of our families to make sure they knew about the curriculum changes. Everyone got a real buzz out of this - it has started lots of discussion.

Board chair

Links to existing board requirements

The introduction of The New Zealand Curriculum is an exciting development in our education history and it is important for boards to remember that:

  • It is a revised, not a new curriculum. Preparing our children for a future we cannot begin to fully understand requires rethinking the teaching and learning happening in our schools but it does not mean losing current good practice. Principals and teachers throughout New Zealand are using The New Zealand Curriculum as an opportunity to review and challenge their thinking and also to identify what is currently happening in their school that fits well with The New Zealand Curriculum and can be integrated into new programmes and practices.
  • Full implementation of The New Zealand Curriculum will take time. It is a strategic process and one that fits well with existing processes boards have developed for planning and reviewing the strategic direction for their school.

We've also been looking at how we can make our vision connect with Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (the Māori medium curriculum). I would recommend that boards focus on both documents with a view to seeing whether they can be meshed together. We are getting an increasing number of students who are very capable in te reo. A focus on the child first, their identity and then curriculum would be wonderful.

Board member

The existing planning and reporting framework

NAG2 states that:

Each Board of Trustees with the principal and teaching staff is required to:

  • develop a strategic plan which documents how they are giving effect to the National Education Guidelines through their policies, plans and programmes, including those for curriculum, assessment and staff professional development
  • maintain an on-going programme of self-review in relation to the above policies, plans and programmes, including evaluation of information on student achievement
  • report to students and their parents on the achievement of individual students, and to the school's community on the achievement of students as a whole and of groups (identified through NAG1iii) including the achievement of Māori students against the plans and targets referred to in NAG1iv.

The NAGs are part of the National Education Guidelines, as are the National Education Goals (NEGs), the ten goals that establish a common direction for education in New Zealand.

The third component of the National Education Guidelines is the National Curriculum Statements. With The New Zealand Curriculum replacing the current curriculum statements from 2010, it is important that the strategic plan reflects the steps being taken towards its implementation. NAG2 also highlights the need for a programme of self-review to include an evaluation of all aspects of the school's operation. The outcome of curriculum review will feed into the strategic planning process together with other information, including student achievement data and community input.

The passing of the Education Standards Act clarified that strategic plans are part of the school's charter, as shown in Figure 1 below.

The Education Standards Act (2001): Requirements for charters

INTRODUCTION

Who we are

mission, values and vision

Governance: with the principal and staff
STRATEGIC PLAN

Where we want to be

aims, directions goals and priorities

Governance: with the principal and staff
ANNUAL PLAN

How we will get there

targets, objectives, strategies and actions that promote student achievement

Governance: through the principal and staff

Our board considers the introduction of the NZC a great opportunity to reflect on practices at our college. We are currently reviewing our charter and have incorporated the NZC values and vision. Strategic planning includes the key competencies and we have supported the introduction of weekly whole staff PD. We are making changes to align with NZC at a careful pace, allowing time for all staff to adapt, consider and reflect.

Board member

Working in partnership: What is expected of principals

The principal plays a critical role in a school's governance/management partnership. As well as being a full member of the board, the principal is the chief executive with responsibility for achieving the outcomes that the board specifies and regulation requires.

This is a very high priority for me as a principal. My responsibility is to help teachers get their head around these ideas, to make sure they understand what The New Zealand Curriculum means and its impact on classroom teaching. My role is to be a professional leader, for the staff and community - otherwise I'm doing them a total disservice.

Principal

Professional Standards for principals clarify the principals' role in strategic planning. Relevant sections of the recently updated standards for primary principals appear alongside current secondary standards in Figure 2 below. The two sets of standards can be found in their entirety on the New Zealand School Trustees Association website.

The Professional Standards for Principals

SECONDARY PRIMARY
Dimension: Strategic Management Dimension: Culture
  • Understands the implications of the changing cultural, social and economic context of the school's community and ensures that these changes are reflected in the school's strategic planning.
  • Actively works with the board of trustees towards the development of a shared vision for the future of the school, which identifies priorities and targets for: addressing barriers to learning; fostering high achievement of students; employing teachers of the highest quality available; focusing the school on continued improvement.
  • Makes progress towards achieving the vision through the effective management of available resources.
  • In conjunction with the board, develop and implement a school vision and shared goals focused on enhanced engagement and achievement for all students.
Dimension: Systems
  • Prioritise resource allocation on the basis of the school's annual and strategic objectives.
Dimension: Partnership & Networks
  • Work with the board to facilitate strategic decision making.
  • Actively foster relationships with the school's community and local iwi.

Valuing of parents and community is important. Listening as opposed to telling them 'this is the way it is'. The principal is not afraid to admit she doesn't have all the answers. She asks whether there are other ways of approaching issues. Relationships are important. I can see that the Māori community is responding well to this.

Board member

Governance questions for boards

In 2009, The Education Review Office will be assessing schools' readiness for implementing The New Zealand Curriculum. From 2010, it will expect to see evidence that schools are using The New Zealand Curriculum as the basis for their learning programmes.

I think it represents an opportunity and a challenge for trustees to find out more about what is happening in the school.

Board member

Reporting to the board should enable trustees to answer the following questions:

1. Curriculum design

Is the curriculum in our school:

  • underpinned by The New Zealand Curriculum principles?
  • encouraging, modelling and exploring values in The New Zealand Curriculum? Which values?
  • supporting students to develop the key competencies in the New Zealand Curriculum?
  • contributing to achieving The New Zealand Curriculum vision of what we want for our young people?

2. Teaching programmes

Are the programmes at our school:

  • being taught effectively, and what evidence do we have of that?
  • based upon the learning area statements, and in particular, on the structures described in The New Zealand Curriculum as being essential in each learning area?
  • based upon a selection of the achievement objectives for each area, in response to the needs and interests of students?

Reporting to the board should also allow trustees to be confident that:

  • the legal obligations of The New Zealand Curriculum are being met
  • progress is being made towards any undertakings made in the charter in response to parent and/or community aspirations.

We are caretakers of 'now' but we also need to prepare for the future. If you are focused on the future, decisions made at BOT level need to be aligned with the future. If we don't do this we sell the children short.

Board member

Published on: 21 Sep 2008


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