As more detail emerges about the Government's plan for a $359
million enhancement of the school leadership system, concerns
have grown among New Zealand principals.
The Government proposes to pay some principals and teachers
more so that other principals and teachers can share their
Primary and secondary principals from around Otago met this
week to discuss the proposed roles, and while they welcomed
the significant investment in the education sector, they were
not convinced it would be rolled out effectively.
''We are concerned, as I am sure are the public, that this
money is spent wisely,'' Otago Primary Principals'
Association president Stephanie Madden said.
''We are asking that the Government takes the time to engage
with the profession and the community before deciding the
future shape of our public education system.
''This policy signals significant changes in how schools will
operate. These changes are too important to be rushed through
by an end of April deadline.''
Mrs Madden said Otago principals were not vaguely interested
in any large salary bonus as a mechanism for improvement.
''We would far rather that the money be targeted towards
initiatives that will have a direct impact on children's
New Zealand Principals' Federation acting president Denise
Torrey also expressed deep concern.
She believed the Government's plan was not based on reliable
evidence and the money could end up being ''wasted in a
Many in the profession were already collaborating with
colleagues to improve outcomes for children, and the extra
funds proposed would go a long way to getting even better
outcomes if used in the right way, she said.
''Our objections are that a model is being rushed through
without recourse to best evidence and shaping by the
profession to ensure that this money is being spent in the
best way possible.
''One aspect of the model proposes that executive principals
will be selected for their expertise and will be paid extra
to take two days a week out of their own schools to work with
a cluster of 10 other schools in their region.
''No parents would be happy for their school's very good
principal to be absent nearly half the time,'' she said.
''What we need to do is scrap the proposed unworkable model
and build another which is based on solid research evidence
and which will genuinely give us a chance to improve outcomes
especially for our priority learners.''