Exploring Collaboration in Action: Kahukura Community of Practice


ERO was approached by principals from Kahukura to document and evaluate their community of practice (CoP), with a view to identifying areas where they might consider further enhancements and to document and capture lessons and insights into practices, which could be shared with others. In addition to these objectives, ERO was also interested in exploring alternative models to embedding change and delivering school improvement.

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Exploring Collaboration in Action: Kahukura Community of Practice

Background: Kahukura Community of Practice

Seven schools collaborated to form the Kahukura Community of Practice (Kahukura)

The schools in Kahukura are either full or contributing primary schools, with one intermediate school. They serve a range of socio-economic areas and were affected to varying extents by the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

The schools which make up Kahukura are:

  • Addington Te Kura Taumata
  • Cashmere Primary Te Pae Kererū
  • Christchurch South Intermediate
  • Somerfield Te Kura Wairepo
  • Sacred Heart School (Addington)
  • Te Kura o Huriawa Thorrington
  • Te Ara Koropiko

Within this mix there are four relatively large schools (20-24 staff), two of moderate size (between 10 and 20 staff) and one small school with just over 100 pupils. There are no secondary schools or early learning services within Kahukura.

ERO has, over successive reviews, judged those schools within Kahukura to be well-placed or very well-placed to achieve valued outcomes for students.

A key feature of Kahukura is shared and cooperative leadership across all seven school principals. This compares with the original Kāhui Ako model where a single principal is appointed, and additionally funded by the Ministry, to lead their network.[1],[2] Kāhui Ako were established under the Government’s ‘Investing in Educational Success’ initiative announced in 2014. Kahukura has also taken a deliberate choice not to set specific ‘Achievement Objectives’ as was required with the formation of Kāhui Ako. These measures originally had a strong focus on National Standards measurement. Kahukura principals believed these measures would overshadow priorities for teaching and learning across their communities and did not align with their commitment to a broad and rounded education, as desired by their communities.

Given that Kahukura is not recognised as a Kāhui Ako, they have not received additional funding or support such as that of ‘Expert Partners’, access to Kāhui Ako tools or guidance from the Ministry. They have, however, pooled their own resources to access expertise locally and internationally.

ERO’s approach

Te Ihuwaka, ERO’s Education Evaluation Centre, undertook this evaluation during 2019 using a variety of information sources. These included: document analysis; interviews; and focus groups with the leadership across this network of schools, with Lead teachers delivering on the model, and with staff, students and parents. ERO also surveyed all staff, using a Social Network Analysis (SNA) approach, to understand and establish a baseline around the strength and quality of teacher development and collective actions. Our SNA survey tool, which collected data in Term 3, asked staff across Kahukura schools to identify the colleagues that they most frequently engaged with professionally, the frequency of that engagement and the focus of that engagement. SNA allows for monitoring over time and, potentially, benchmarking with other networks. It can help in understanding the strength and quality of collaborative networks.[3]

A detailed description of how ERO undertook this evaluation is in Appendix 3.

ERO has previously studied how schools collaborate

There are four areas in the literature which underpin the Kahukura approach. Firstly, ‘collaborative leadership’ where organisations leverage economies of scale and their collective expertise by working together to improve their performance and their outcomes.[4] This happens through strategic partnerships, aligned goals, resources and accountabilities. Secondly, the notion of ‘collective impacts’ focuses on multiple agencies coming together to address specific issues, such as wellbeing or learner outcomes, in a structured way. This goes beyond merely collaborating but aims to embed change within each partnering organisation in order to address a set of specific issues or problems[5]. These approaches are also influenced by concepts that are derived from the literature around ‘Network Theory’[6], where these schools operate as a joined-up network. This allows individual entities to gain from the diversity in their network and tap into the relationships and resources that other schools may have in order to strengthen their performance or address a specific need. The approach also draws heavily on the work of Dufour[7], Fullan[8] and Marzano[9] in respect of the role of ‘professional learning communities’ (PLCs) in driving school performance. In Kahukura’s case, their model goes beyond that of a singular school approach to PLCs, typically described by these authors, to a collective approach working across multiple entities.

For the purposes of this study, we have called the convergence of these elements a “community of practice” which is how Kahukura have labelled themselves. For the purpose of this work we define a CoP as a group of entities who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn to do it better through regular interactions.[10]

This occurs through three components:

  • Domain: a shared commitment of interest.
  • Community: people that engage in shared activities to help each other.
  • Practice: developed over time, a shared repertoire of resources, such as experiences and stories.

Communities of practice are not a one size fits all model that develop and evolve in the same way. They each have unique characteristics, are organic, and will evolve in different directions over time. Some may change in purpose, emphasis, and focus. Some may build on and continue to strengthen their role, bringing in new members and extending their networks. Others may discontinue. For some CoPs, the originating entity boundaries may dissipate where the collective becomes the dominant actor in decision-making and accountability.

ERO’s own model, Collaboration in Action,[11] emphasises learner outcomes at the centre of a framework which is driven through the building of professional practice (see Figure 1). Underpinning this collaboration are several factors including strong leadership, infrastructure and resourcing. This model also emphasises the importance of effective communication and relational trust.

ERO’s Collaboration in Action series featured strategies and approaches used to create, build, and strengthen collaboration between schools and early learning services to improve outcomes for learners. ERO developed a framework which identifies what the evidence suggests is important in the development of collective capacity for improvement. The report Collaboration to Improve Learner Outcomes unpacks what effective practice looks like under each element within the framework.

FIGURE 1: Learner outcomes are at the centre of building collective capacity for improvement

Diagram of learner outcomes

This image is of increasing circles with Learner Outcomes at the centre. The next circle outwards is called Professional Practice with an arrow tracing its way around the circle.  The next circle is called Communication and Relational trust.  This also has the arrow tracing its way around the circle but it has four circles placed at intervals on the arrow.  They are from right top, Purpose and focus, Collective theory of change and plan of action, Collaborative joint inquiry work that challenges thinking and practice and Monitoring and evaluation for improvement.  The last circle which encompass all other circles is titled Leadership for Equity and Excellence.

ERO used the framework when drawing together the findings of our work with Kahukura. This report investigates how Kahukura has worked towards improving learner outcomes in ways that exceed what schools might achieve working on their own.


A strong vision and purpose

The vision for Kahukura is:

“supporting responsive, collaborative learning; connecting students and teachers across the south west of Christchurch.”[12]

Kahukura has a clear statement which describes their collective well:

“We are a group of people [leaders, teachers and students], who interact regularly to engage in collective cluster learning which widens and deepens insights, understandings and knowledge for all participants. As a CoP we have already developed a shared repertoire of resources, experiences, stories, and tools which have become our shared practice beyond the walls of each school.”

Principals established Kahukura through their connections and as a consequence of proximity. They and their boards of trustees had a strong preference for finding local solutions to local educational problems affecting their learners. Before the Christchurch earthquakes, principals across the seven schools had collaborated at various points in time. Kahukura initially formed in response to the Christchurch earthquakes.

The principals wanted to collaborate through a CoP to allow for:

  • flexibility with the definition and remuneration of positions, including not requiring CoP leaders to be taken out of their school role
  • tracking of the CoP’s desired student outcomes.

Principals began the collaboration by sharing ideals and understanding the value of developing professional relationships within their schools and across the community.

Although the schools worked together, Kahukura set no overall achievement challenge or benchmark. This decision recognised the individual autonomy of each school to set their own targets.

Leadership and decision-making was a shared process founded on relational trust

In ERO’s meetings with the principals as a group, we recognised their absolute commitment to the vision for Kahukura and to working as a partnership. The principals operated a collective approach to decision-making but also had strong structures to support the devolution of leadership through their schools and across the network. A real advantage for Kahukura has been the stability of this group of leaders, with six out of the seven principals having been in their schools for over five years, and the other principal for between three and five years.

Their approach aligned with their belief in the power of the collective rather than ‘top down management’ and their commitment to open, cooperative decision-making.

“[Kahukura] has developed a view of not having specific but distributed leadership, and maintaining individuality.”

- Team leader

The principals of the schools met regularly as a group to share and discuss what was happening in their individual schools. No individual led this group. They believed a collegial, consultative approach built professional trust across the schools. They valued discussion and reaching agreement on strategic decisions for Kahukura, however long it took. Principals reported to us that the non-hierarchical structure of this group had led to well-argued and well-founded decisions. One principal described these meetings as:

“Lots of talk and vigorous disagreement that arrive at accord.”

- Principal

Principals valued the support they gave and received from each other, and felt comfortable sharing concerns with supportive colleagues.

Across the leadership group, principals were assigned a focus area and had responsibility to support Lead teachers. Lead teachers worked jointly and across schools to deliver on specific projects and focus areas. 

Principals were the most connected people across Kahukura, with monthly contact where solutions and problems were jointly shared. Figure 2 shows the principals’ connections to each other, indicated by a line. In Figure 2, the frequency of an interaction between principals is indicated by the line pattern. ERO also confirmed the strong engagement between principals and their focus area leaders. The consultative approach employed by the principals was also effective in building professional trust and collegiality among the focus area leaders. Principals were also connected to some senior leaders and teachers across Kahukura.

FIGURE 2: Discussions on ways to fix a problem regularly occurred among principals


Diagram of discussions

This image shows a sociogram, which is a graphic representation of the social links people have.
This sociogram shows the connections between the seven principals of Kahukura. The principals are displayed as blue rectangles, and the connections between them are demonstrated by lines drawn between them. The connection is defined by how often principals have 'discussions on ways to fix a problem regularly. Two sets of principals have a 'solid' line between them, which indicates this connection takes place on a weekly or daily basis. The majority of connections between principals are on a monthly basis, and few are on a less than a monthly basis.


Within school perceptions of decision-making

The singular focus by leaders on lifting teaching practice and supporting students to thrive was equally replicated across staff. Eighty-four percent of staff who responded to our survey indicated that this was the central theme of dialogue between staff. Eighty-one percent reported that this was central to decision-making in their schools (Appendix 1).

There was less agreement across teachers regarding the adoption of agreed processes to decision-making, with a third of all respondents not aware of specific processes within their schools in respect to how decisions are taken.

There was also a level of variability in staff confidence regarding the extent to which actions agreed would improve teaching practices. A proportion of staff were concerned that some staff might not necessarily change their practice because of decisions taken by their team. There was a greater level of variability between schools in relation to staff responses here.

Leaders prioritised student wellbeing

Principals and boards of trustees across Kahukura planned for education solutions they felt were appropriate to this area of Christchurch. Leaders shared an urgency about the need to address the wellbeing of their learners and their families and whānau in the wake of the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes. They planned to raise students’ sense of wellbeing through focussing on improving student agency and their understanding of themselves as capable and deep learners.

In addressing learner wellbeing concerns, Kahukura worked closely with the development of Mana Ake[13], an initiative led out of the Canterbury Clinical Network. Mana Ake aims to work with schools to support teachers, families and whānau when children (aged five through 12 years) are experiencing ongoing issues that impact their wellbeing.

Through Mana Ake, Kaimahi (psychologists, social workers, counsellors, teachers and youth workers) work with children or groups of children and their families at school, in the community or at home. A key initiative by Kahukura was establishing an agreed wellbeing measure for all learners and a shared approach through their Special Education Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) for engaging with, and bringing in, these services.

Five focus areas

In addition to a central focus around wellbeing, the Kahukura principals agreed on the priority to establish student–centred teaching practices. To challenge and extend students, focus was placed on creating authentic learning opportunities designed to challenge and extend students. The intention of Kahukura was to improve learner wellbeing by enhancing teachers’ practice.

Since Kahukura was established, this has developed across five focus areas:

  • deep learning
  • cultural responsiveness
  • creativity (music)
  • leadership[14]
  • inclusiveness.

In September 2013, the New Zealand Principals Federation (NZPF) launched its Māori Achievement Collaborative (MAC) initiative. Kahukura, then called the Cashmere cluster, became one of the first six MACs in New Zealand and for a number of years the only MAC in the South Island. This initiative gave focus to the work of Kahukura.

This focus allowed all schools within Kahukura to build on what was already taking place in a small number of schools. The work from MAC began with the principals and made each of them thoughtfully examine what they were doing in their own schools to promote Māori achieving success as Māori. Principals felt their vulnerabilities were exposed, which helped grow a deep trust in the integrity of the project and in each other. Principals felt this trust allowed for the beginning of lasting changes across their own schools. This approach enabled all schools to come to understand what might be involved in each prospective initiative and, importantly, how it might be ‘landing’ with teaching staff in those schools.

In 2014 the CoP joined New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL) as the only cluster in NZ. Initially these two initiatives were the two focus areas for Kahukura.

Over the past eight years, Kahukura’s emphasis and focus has evolved and adapted, building out from the processes, partnerships, infrastructure and leadership structures originally established. Table 1 shows the journey that the schools have followed over this period.

A strong feature of Kahukura’s approach has been the decision to focus on teacher development in a staged way, as opposed to taking on all the initiatives at once.[15] From our exploration, Kahukura’s approach can be seen to have built off the successes of their initial deep learning work, implementing many of the deep learning strategies into subsequent focus areas. While they have added additional focus areas over time, SNA indicated they have sustained their focus on those initial professional learning priorities. Responses from teachers in the SNA survey showed this, as they had coaching and peer conversations in the initial and newer focus areas (see Table 3). This clearly points to the strength with which learning and improvement among teaching staff continues to be reinforced through the attention of leaders, practice leads, and between peers through their PLCs.

TABLE 1: Kahukura has incorporated five focus areas since establishment

Deep learning An initial focus area

  • Increasing professional development
  • Emphasising learning environments where students can develop critical thinking
  • Enhancing the educational value of learning partnerships
  • Increasing attention to developing student agency

Cultural responsiveness An initial focus area

  • Improving educational outcomes for Māori students with all schools involved in the Māori Achievement Collaboration
  • Building principals’ and Lead teachers’ confidence and competence in using te reo Māori
  • Supporting teachers and students to learn te reo and tikanga Māori
  • Working with iwi to develop a te reo programme

Creativity (music) Added in 2015

  • Forming a south-west Christchurch music and cultural festival
  • Using creativity and personal expression as a way for students to develop key competencies and self-esteem
  • Providing opportunities for students to demonstrate their natural talents, abilities and interests

Leadership Added in 2016

  • Building leadership in the CoP
  • Annual middle leader professional development
  • Increasing principals’ mentoring of and professional guidance for Lead teachers to support them in their role

Inclusiveness Added in 2016

  • Increasing use of designated Lead teachers – meeting to allocate studets to Mana Ake
  • Supporting teachers through professional learning and development programmes
  • Indentifying what teachers could do to help individual students socially, emotionally and in their learning
  • Developed a database with MoE – using data to measure impact
  • Informed Mana Ake Collaborative model to other clusters

Infrastructure and resourcing were well considered

The boards of trustees shared the vision of Kahukura from the start. They actively supported the priority placed on student learning and wellbeing. Each board released funds from their operational funding to support:

  • release time for Lead teachers
  • professional learning and development opportunities, including international conferences, for principals and Lead teachers
  • teacher-only days across Kahukura.

Principals supported Kahukura by ensuring that structures, processes, relationships and resources to implement the CoP’s actions were in place. The SNA confirmed that most of the principals shared resources with each other on a monthly basis (see Figure 3).

FIGURE 3: Many interactions between principals to share resources took place at least monthly[16]

Diagram of interactions

This image shows a sociogram, which is a graphic representation of the social links people have.
This sociogram shows the connections between the seven principals of Kahukura. The principals are displayed as blue rectangles, and the connections between them are demonstrated by lines drawn between them. The connection is defined by how often principals share resources with each other. Only one connection between two principals has this take place on a weekly or daily basis, indicated by a solid line. The remaining connections between principals are mixed between monthly, or less than monthly, connections.

Boards of trustees met once a year to share training opportunities, discuss ideas and concerns, consider the progress and successes of Kahukura, and explore ways to reduce the reliance on their schools’ operational funding.

Schools with similar learning needs shared resources and external support which enhanced responses to students’ needs. Examples included:

  • shared practice and professional development providers
  • examining trends from databases and feedback to schools
  • the sharing of learning support allocation from the Ministry of Education across schools to those learners with higher identified needs
  • musical instruments being shared across Kahukura to provide more opportunities for all to experience playing an instrument
  • making joint applications for support from external agencies to help the smaller schools to access support.

A strategic plan guided CoP expectations

School leaders did not want a ‘formulaic’ approach to implementation, and were prepared to let Kahukura’s direction and procedures evolve over time. Principals acknowledged that Kahukura started with a shared vision, but without a collective plan about how that vision would be realised. Links from the vision statement to intended outcomes for each focus area, and how these affected learner wellbeing, were not clearly stated. Kahukura’s strategic plan identified activities related to lifting teaching practice in the focus areas, rather than overall objectives or valued outcomes for student progress.

One principal offered the opinion that, although there were no learning outcomes specifically identified for Kahukura, the plan nevertheless guides practice with the clear intention to improve student learning.

“Achievement is not in the [CoP] strategic plan, but it is what we do.”

- Principal

Bringing the vison to life was left to each individual school, and there were a variety of approaches to the implementation of the Kahukura strategic plan. Schools continued to address their own initiatives alongside collaboration around the focus areas. Each school’s strategic plan varied in how closely they reflected the Kahukura vision.

One school’s charter and strategic plan made very clear links to Kahukura’s plan, vision and purpose. The school’s individual aims, and those it shared with Kahukura, were clearly expressed. This school documented the connection between Kahukura and its aims and referenced the importance of establishing a collective learning culture.

Lead teachers facilitated collaborative inquiry

Kahukura’s approach, strongly influenced by the work of Michael Fullan, focussed on embedding new pedagogies and models of learning partnerships between teachers and with their learners.[17] Fullan has argued this approach is about attacking inequity with excellence.[18] Kahukura’s aims have been to develop teachers’ practice through shared professional development and improved collegiality, both within and across schools, to ultimately create lifelong learners.[19] As one of their first areas of focus, NPDL has underpinned teaching practice within each school, and the focus and practices applied to subsequent professional learning and whole school development focus areas.

Across Kahukura, principals established a Lead teacher role in each school for each focus area, looking for passion, commitment, and ability when making these appointments.

The intention was for Lead teachers to remain close to their colleagues and learners in their school. They designed and trialled changes in teaching practice with their own classes and used feedback from students to make improvements. Lead teachers then worked with their school’s teachers to share and further develop good practice. They not only provided guidance in their own schools, but also shared examples of good practice with other focus area leaders across Kahukura. As shown in Figure 4, Lead teachers connected regularly with each other across Kahukura.

FIGURE 4: Lead teachers across Kahukura worked together regularly to present new practice

Diagram of schools

This image shows a sociogram, which is a graphic representation of the social links people have.
This sociogram shows the connections between lead teachers of Kahukura. The lead teachers are displayed as blue squares, and the connections between them are demonstrated by lines drawn between them. The connection is defined by how often lead teachers worked together to share practice. Most of the connections, indicated by a dotted line, are less than monthly between lead teachers. The remaining, if lead teachers were connected, were on a monthly basis.


Within each focus area, principals and Lead teachers gathered feedback from their schools on ideas, suggestions, and reflections. This information about what had worked well and what needed to be refined supported them to develop a more responsive curriculum for students in each of their schools (see Table 2).

Teachers reported they have become more reflective in their practice, which they attribute to guidance from Lead teachers.

TABLE 2: Lead teachers worked to build teachers’ capability in the focus areas

Focus area: Deep learning

Lead teachers:

  • supported teachers by making explicit connections between deep learning and the Key Competencies
  • updated how their school was progressing with inquiry and what was expected of their teachers in this focus area
  • took relevant information back to teachers in their school on what was expected of them, as agreed in the focus area meetings. For example, one school designed a science unit with a deliberate focus on deep learning strategies. Teachers shared with their colleagues how they moved students from surface to deep understanding and knowledge of the science.

Focus area: Cultural responsiveness

Lead teachers:

  • supported a sequential programme across Kahukura to build teacher confidence in te reo and tikanga Māori
  • created resources appropriate to their school’s context. For example, one school’s local history was covered progressively at each year level. This supported teachers and students to increase their knowledge, understanding and experience of their local history and context.

Focus area: Creativity (music)

Lead teachers:

  • shared their knowledge about music with teachers, and how they could integrate it into other curriculum areas to encourage children to be confident and creative learners in this area. For example, music often plays a part in peace movements or songs developed to record historical events or memorise facts.

Focus area: Leadership

Lead teachers:

  • were supported to build their capability through professional development in their focus area
  • supported teachers to monitor their practice and suggested professional development opportunities for them. For example, Lead teachers played a pivotal role in helping teachers strengthen inquiries into their practice.

Focus area: Inclusiveness

Lead teachers:

  • shared their increased knowledge about appropriate interventions and relevant strategies to promote inclusiveness
  • provided annual professional development for middle leaders
  • analysed and shared information about students across Kahukura, including about students’ wellbeing and/or behavioural issues, how these affect their ability to be included and contribute to learning needs. For example, SENCOs worked with teachers to help them with learning strategies for individual learners.

One senior school leader noted the pedagogy of deep learning took time to establish, but teachers now had a greater understanding of how this could be used across the other focus areas:

“deep learning is a way [of] learning … it is about practice and we want to make this so for Māori, music and other subjects.”

- Senior leader

At the time of ERO’s visit, Lead teachers were extending their collaboration by linking strategies from across the focus areas. An example of this is described in relation to a unit undertaken across Kahukura on Parihaka (below).

Integrating three focus areas in one unit

Lead teachers of cultural responsiveness designed a unit following a presentation about Parihaka at a Kahukura teacher-only day. Teachers across Kahukura then delivered the same unit. Following that, Lead teachers conducted an inquiry into the outcomes of the unit. The inquiry recognised the learning successes, but also how learning needs could be better addressed through the deep learning focus area. Making links to the deep learning focus area enhanced student thinking and understanding about a historical incident and the impact it had on subsequent generations of both Māori and non-Māori.

This unit also led students to investigate how music has influenced change throughout history by introducing music about ‘freedom’ and ‘fighting for your rights’. Students then shared their learning, or made their own statement, through the performing arts.

Inquiry work challenged thinking

Many schools made teachers’ inquiry targeted around the focus areas. The practice made it clear to teachers that these focus areas were an integral part of their work, not additional to it.

Leaders made sure new teachers were supported to understand and use strategies related to the focus areas. In one school, a new teacher was paired with an established teacher who acted as a mentor to guide practice.

As part of the NPDL, teachers regularly reflected on their practice. As part of the deep learning focus area, teachers gathered and used student feedback for inquiry into their practice. Teachers reflected on how their teaching contributed to students increased understanding of the learning process and contributed to their agency.

Teachers in one school filmed their discussion about the impact of shifts they had made in their teaching when delivering a particular unit of learning. They used the film to share their practice and learning with colleagues. Leaders considered using similar review processes to explore the effectiveness of practice in other focus areas. The film also provided excellent evidence for leaders to plan priorities for professional learning.

Teachers became more confident in their practice

Teachers in each school worked together to plan relevant learning activities for learners and to develop strategies to improve students’ abilities and confidence as learners. School and focus area leaders observed that the quality of teachers’ professional conversation and reflection improved as they became more confident in this collaborative approach.

With guidance provided by Lead teachers, teachers opened their practice first to the scrutiny of leaders and colleagues inside their school and, increasingly, across Kahukura.

Conversations with leaders indicated teachers were open to adopting or adapting strategies in the focus areas of Kahukura. Some schools had teachers set appraisal goals which reflected their own professional learning aims and those of Kahukura. This not only increased teachers’ confidence as practitioners but also their professional satisfaction.

“The work we do, and professional relationships, are so strong. I weigh up if I would have the same level of support if I ever considered a position outside the CoP.”

- Teacher

Connections among teachers for the purpose of reflective practice were confirmed through the SNA where most respondents indicated:

  • dialogue in their school team was consistently for the purpose of addressing questions on practice and student progress
  • most, or all, team members participated equally in group discussions
  • each team member acted to improve individual teaching practice.

The SNA showed Lead teachers were connected to each other across the seven schools. Teachers were most likely to be connected to Kahukura through their school’s Lead teachers and principals. For example, see Figure 5 for such connections across two schools. Teachers were usually connected to more than one Lead teacher, so there would be some continuity of relationships to Kahukura if one of those Lead teachers left.

SNA data also indicates that engagement, support, and professional dialogue was continuing to occur across each of the five Kahukura focus areas, and at approximately similar levels for each area (Table 3).

FIGURE 5: Lead teachers and principals connected teachers into Kahukura

Diagram of teacher connections

This image shows a sociogram, which is a graphic representation of the social links people have.
This sociogram shows the connections between a sub-set of the Kahukura network, which includes:
-Teachers in blue rectangles
-Principals in turquoise rectangles
-Lead teachers in teal rectangles

The sociogram has two schools, which are separated into two groups - school 1 on the left hand side, and school 2 on the right-hand side. There are regular interactions between members of the schools, indicated by a solid line. Most of the connections between the two schools are between the each schools lead teachers and principal. These connections are shown by the lines crossing between the two separated groups/schools.


TABLE 3: The focus of teacher’s professional engagement and interaction

Focus areas

“They support me” or

“We support each other”

“I supported them”

Deep learning



Cultural responsiveness












Note: Respondents were given the opportunity to identify up to 10 colleagues that they engaged with professionally and were asked to describe the direction of support received and the focus of that support. The survey received 116 valid responses, where the respondents could be coded with an identity and job title. There was a total of 856 engagements.

The SNA also explored the nature and frequency with which staff engaged in professional activity with their colleagues. These results are shown in Table 4. Engagement largely revolved around problem solving, the sharing of resources and the evaluation of practice. These results also indicate a strong level of engagement around learning innovation and the sharing of new practice which, although occurring less frequently, provide a strong indication of learning organisation and network.

TABLE 4: The nature and frequency of professional engagement and interaction








Learning innovation








new practice







Worked to evaluate









Problem solved







Shared resources
















Note: The analysis here is based on distinct engagements reported by staff. Each cell records the number of engagements as a percentage of the total number of engagements reported.

Students benefited from improved practice

Students told us about their increased understanding of the learning process and increased agency. Students’ increased understanding of the learning process, which contributed to student agency, was measured using the NPDL evaluation tool and a student agency survey from New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER).

Leaders described the authentic learning experiences and opportunities provided for student agency, which learners confirmed. Learners across Kahukura experienced authentic learning experiences and had opportunities to extend their student agency (see Table 5). Learners also described the opportunities they had to collaborate with peers and teachers in the other Kahukura schools, reinforcing the sense of the community.

TABLE 5: The learning experienced through three focus areas

Focus area: Deep learning


  • had more learning experiences they could identify with and explicit understanding of the relevance of their work
  • had many opportunities to develop and show their competence across the curriculum
  • worked and learnt in a variety of social groups, building their collaborative and cooperative skills
  • set learning goals and considered how well they achieved these, while also identifying areas where they could improve
  • had choice about activities, including working with experts from the wider community, guided by the teacher as they worked.

Focus area: Cultural responsiveness


  • enjoyed learning te reo and tikanga Māori
  • Māori students experienced success as Māori in part because their experience as Māori and cultural understandings were acknowledged and valued.

Focus area: Creativity (music)


  • showed their learning in meaningful ways, such as performance at Kahukura-wide music festivals
  • met, rehearsed, and performed with students and teachers from other schools in Kahukura
  • explored their creativity and cooperated with others
  • developed dispositions, such as independence and persistence, to support their learning in other areas
  • increased their confidence and sense of wellbeing by performing in front of appreciative audiences.

The sense of belonging to a community was reinforced for students as they transitioned between schools. They were reassured to find that the new school used approaches to learning they were familiar with, which eased their transition.

Monitoring and evaluation of outcomes were developing across Kahukura

Evaluation and the use of evidence to inform practice is a critical element of assessing schoolwide achievement and the efficacy of shifts in practice derived through professional development.[20] The use of formative and summative data at a classroom level is also important to inform individual teachers about differentiated needs of their learners and of the impact of practice on learner achievement and progression.

Formative and summative student assessment is merely one element in a range of approaches to understand the impacts of a professional development initiative. Others include asking teachers to rate and self-assess in relation to changes in their practice, engaging with students about their experiences of teaching and learning[21] or undertaking classroom observations.[22],[23] It is important to use a range of sources of evidence, establish baselines prior to implementation of a change programme, maintain the ongoing collection of this data and have regular staff discussions about what this evidence is showing. Such strategies need to be built on the back of teachers having the capability and confidence in both collecting and analysing data.

As we have described above, Kahukura schools were adopting a range of approaches to assessing their improvement journey, although this was more singularly associated with the deep learning focus area than the subsequent areas. These measures included the use of the NZCER Student Agency Survey and the use of the NPDL Evaluation Tool. These formal instruments were complemented by regular student feedback and ongoing self-reflection as part of teaching practice, along with observations and reflection from peers and Lead teachers. The SNA confirmed that collective teacher efficacy and joint reflective practice was strong, with most teachers working together at least weekly to reflect on their teaching practices and how they might continue to improve (Figure 6).

Monitoring had strengthened, especially in relation to inclusivity and wellbeing areas. SENCOs and the Lead teachers in the inclusiveness focus area had analysed and shared information about learners across Kahukura. This information included learners’ wellbeing and/or behavioural issues and how these affect learning needs. Initially, the SENCOs gathered data about the social, pastoral and learning needs of Māori children. Having established an agreed measure of student wellbeing, a cross-CoP database was developed with Mana Ake[24] over two years and now covers wider groups of learners.

SENCOs have information about children in aspects such as anxiety levels, Ongoing Reviewable Resourcing Scheme funded learners, home factors that affected learning and students’ contact with Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour. The establishment of this database could allow Kahukura schools to monitor the changing nature of wellbeing across their student population, target resources and supports to those students who need it, and assess the effect of the measures that they deploy in terms of addressing wellbeing and behavioural concerns. The data has also been used to inform applications for additional support where it was needed and helped teachers tailor their classroom programme to better include these students. In addition, some schools are in the early stages of linking wellbeing and student-centred pedagogy to improve learning and progress. This data, together with teacher inquiry findings, could be taken further to inform Kahukura about the impact of the shifts in teacher practice on learner outcomes. For example, one school had identified what success looked like for their students; across all aspects of their learning and wellbeing. They had identified how best to monitor and report on student progress. They were tracking the ‘whole learner’. Evaluation of specific work had also taken place. For example, Kahukura undertook an inquiry into the Parihaka unit and found high teacher and student engagement. To further support the development of students’ agency and citizenship Kahukura applied for, and received, funding through the Teacher-led Innovation Fund (TLIF).

FIGURE 6: Teachers’ reflective practice with others in their school was often on a weekly basis

Diagram of reflective practice

This image shows a sociogram, which is a graphic representation of the social links people have.
This sociogram shows the connections between a sub-set of the Kahukura network, which includes:
-Teachers in blue squares
-Principals in turquoise squares
-Lead teachers in teal squares

The sociogram has three schools, which are separated into three groups. School 1 on the bottom left hand side; school 2 on the bottom right-hand side; school 3 on the top - centered above school 2 and 3. 

The connections between people in the network are on the basis of how often they worked with the other person to evaluate practice. 

There are some connections on a daily basis, but the most common connection is on a weekly basis. The remainder of connections between people, if they did connect, was on a monthly or less than monthly basis.

Kahukura should give further consideration to more deliberate monitoring and evaluation of their efforts, and more strongly linking this with impacts in relation to learner outcomes. At present, Kahukura schools monitor their own academic achievement and the progress of their own students. Access to data about the quality of teaching practices and their impacts on student progress was found to be variable between and within some schools. This was the area of greatest between-school variability in ERO’s findings.[25]

Around a quarter of teachers surveyed indicated that their team did not access data about the quality of their teaching practices or evaluate progress of students as a consequence of shifts in teaching practices. In stating this, three[26] out of the seven schools were identified by their teaching staff as having particularly strong impact monitoring of learner progress,[27] which suggests that there are strategies and practices which could be further shared across Kahukura.

A more deliberate approach across all schools and sharing these findings would:

  • help leaders in their assessment of the various professional development initiatives
  • support Lead teachers in the targeting of their support and coaching efforts
  • identify where strategies might require mid-course adjustment
  • assist in determining the point at which practice is embedded and schools are ready to move on to subsequent focus areas.

Promoting and sharing these findings would also ensure stronger accountability for the change, reinforce collective ownership, and further strengthen reflective practice across the workforce. It would also strengthen Board commitment to an ongoing improvement agenda.

Summary of findings

Does Kahukura support collective improvement?

Kahukura has made strong progress in achieving its vision and desired learner outcomes. It is clear that leadership, purpose and deliberate unified focus, infrastructure and resourcing, elements of joint inquiry, and communication and relational trust are all in place and strengthening as Kahukura matures. Building on these positive connections, they are moving towards adopting a more sophisticated approach to implementation and to the leadership of change. Particularly impressive is the ongoing focus on school improvement, driven through Lead teachers, teacher inquiry and collective teacher efficacy.

Does Kahukura add value?

A crucial part of a CoP is the value it provides to members, which would not otherwise have existed if the schools did not collaborate. Communities thrive if, and because, they provide value to the members of the community.[28] Value is generated in five typical value cycles,[29] which build upon each other. These value cycles are: immediate, potential, applied, realised and re-framed.

Our assessment is that Kahukura clearly adds value. Kahukura is an active network, with clearly defined focus areas of learning pivoting around student wellbeing. Their work on the “New Pedagogies for Deep Learning” has provided a strong foundation for practice and collective teacher efficacy. While their NPDL work is significant on its own, the approaches adopted here have paved the way for further strengthening practice in other domains of teaching practice.

Based on the framework outlined below (Table 6), we suggest that Kahukura is on the cusp of moving towards “realised value”. This could clearly be strengthened through the initiation of collective and systematic monitoring and evaluation efforts to understand its impacts on teacher practice and student learning.

TABLE 6: Kahukura is working towards greater realised value

Type of



What this value provides

Kahukura’s uptake of this value



Networking interactions and

activities taking place.


The schools network with each

other, across the five focus areas

where activities take place.



The presence of the CoP creates

knowledge, which has the

potential to be applied.


Value is created with learning,

relationships and collegiality

helping to create knowledge

and participation.



Immediate and potential value

being put into practice to create

shifts in ways of working.


This is the crux of Kahukura. This

includes innovations in teaching

practice, such as using new

concepts and language in learning

that Lead teachers and teachers

apply in their practice.



The direct effects of CoP

activities are demonstrated and

not assumed.


Monitoring and evaluation were

developing. Realised value could

be enhanced through systematic

tracking of what effect shifts in

teaching practice are having on




Strategic decisions and

considerations of what success

looks like are reconsidered.


With greater creation of realised

value, Kahukura will be able to

decide where value could, or

should, be re-framed.


Is Kahukura sustainable?

To be sustainable, a CoP depends on the extent to which the three components mentioned on page 3 (domain, community and practice) are developed and their trajectory. The evidence shows that Kahukura is likely to be sustainable into the future, but will continue to require intentional efforts to support its sustainability.

  • Domain: Kahukura has an identity defined by their shared domain of interest (their vision for their students), which is particularly strong at the leadership level. The schools value the collective competence created from Kahukura to learn from each other.
  • Community: The distributed decision-making and implementation at a leadership level is well established. Resource allocation to support Kahukura is a shared priority. Celebrations of achievement shared with parents what their children were learning and helped strengthen connections across the community. Some schools identified a noticeable increase in involvement of Māori whānau in school activities and were delighted with overall improvement in attendance at cultural celebrations and performances. The schools engage with parents who are not involved, to bring awareness to Kahukura.
  • Practice: Kahukura has established a model of collaborative inquiry around the focus areas to help support improved teaching practice. Sharing of resources is strong within schools and developing increasingly across Kahukura.

Areas for consideration

Decisions as to the direction of Kahukura, and any changes which may be considered, are clearly decisions for this community alone. Based on this study we provide the following suggestions as areas for consideration to further strengthen Kahukura.

Having a shared theory of change and plan of action

A theory of change[30] is a way to map out all the actions an organisation might take, the expected results of those actions and how, together, those results could contribute to achieving the desired outcomes.

The process of developing a theory of change, and the thinking involved, is often a valuable step. It can clarify thinking about exactly what actions to take and what to expect as a result of those actions.

A theory of change also provides a framework against which to monitor progress. Kahukura’s strategic plan could be supported by a good theory of change by:

  • unpacking and clearly defining the desired outcomes and priorities for Kahukura
  • informing each school’s strategic planning. This would align them more closely to the common purpose but still allow individual autonomy. Open sharing of school documentation could also support this.

More structured approaches to determining priorities and processes for decision-making would also provide additional strength to the leadership model adopted and greater clarity for staff around how decisions are taken and what influence staff might have on these.

Developing a joint inquiry approach

Collaborative inquiry is a systematic process for learning with a view to understanding what works and where to focus attention for improvement. It involves a group working together in a cycle of reflection and action to examine and learn about the effectiveness of a practice. There are examples of good practice around inquiry in the schools. These could usefully be extended across Kahukura to develop consistent approaches to practice in the focus areas.

Findings from the inquiries could:

  • provide another way to share learnings about effective teaching practice
  • inform the tailoring of professional learning opportunities
  • provide the boards of trustees with valuable information about the effectiveness of Kahukura.

Monitoring and evaluation for improvement

Trustees were keen to have more information about the effectiveness of the CoP. To achieve this Kahukura could:

  • further analyse the NPDL and NZCER data to determine if any school’s students had made more progress than others and, if so, explore what they did that may be different and have it shared widely
  • use the wellbeing database to regularly monitor changes in the wellbeing status of students across Kahukura as a consequence of interventions with individual students
  • analyse data or groups of students to determine whether progress had been made on equity
  • share assessment practices between schools leveraging off those that are doing this particularly well, for example, those that integrated aspects of learning and wellbeing into their systems
  • choose one focus area to explore in depth and:
    • require each school to have their teacher inquiry into practice in that focus area
    • assess levels of workforce understanding in relation to the required practice change, along with their engagement commitment and ongoing buy-in. A regular staff engagement survey across Kahukura schools might prove useful here.
    • systematically adopt processes for classroom observation and feedback by peers within and across schools
    • collate information from the inquiries across schools, and surface what shared practice had worked, for whom and in what context
    • use data to identify what value had been added and what is still to be gained.
  • use the insights gained to inform next steps for resourcing, development, support and consolidation of practice and to celebrate successes.

Reflection from Kahukura CoP principals in 2020

“Our CoP was formed through the crisis of the earthquakes, followed by another community crisis with the Christchurch shootings. As such, we were aware how a legacy of trauma affects communities. As a result, we recognised the importance of growing connection and resilience in and across our school communities. At our annual strategic planning day in Hanmer in 2019 one of the principals in our group shared her findings from a small-scale research project around the ways schools encourage parents to be involved in their children’s schooling. The data showed a very strong link between a feeling of belonging and wellbeing in school communities. 

Wellbeing has been referred to as flourishing (Seligman, 2011), positive emotions (Fredrickson, 2013), feeling whole, empowered, happy and satisfied with life (Howell, Coffey, Fosco, Kracke, Nelson, Rotham & Grych, 2016), and the pursuit of one’s full potential (Ryan & Deci, 2001). We agreed that these indicators were what we wanted for our children and discussed ways that these notions could be linked into our Kahukura strategic goals. As we had previously made a commitment to promote Māori achieving success as Māori, we wanted to acknowledge a Māori view of wellbeing in our school charters. The verb “Whakapuawai – to cause to blossom, develop, flourish, prosper and thrive” encapsulated our future strategic direction.

An existing focus on student agency through the TLIF project seemed to align with cultural identity and wellbeing. In this context voice and agency gave students the opportunity to make agentic decisions and act in ways that recognised, celebrated, and engaged with their cultural identity. There is a strong connection between supporting children to have the power to act with confidence in their learning and whakapuawai. Both student agency and wellbeing dovetailed seamlessly into our cluster-wide deep learning focus which shapes learning contexts to enable all learners to contribute to the common good in order to address global challenges and flourish in a complex world. We agreed that it was important to continue to embed our understanding of deep learning, cultural responsiveness, student agency and whakapuawai as a way forward in 2020.”

September 2020

Appendix 1: Survey response to decision-making[31]







1. Dialogue in our

team does not

address questions

of teaching practice

and student



Dialogue our team

occasionally addresses

questions of teaching



Dialogue in our team

consistently addresses

questions of teaching

practice and student





2. Team members


unequally to

group dialogue;

there are regular

‘hibernators’ or



Most team members

participate in group

dialogue; there are

some ‘hibernators ‘or



Team members

participate equally in

group dialogue; there

are no ‘hibernators’ or











3. The team does

not use a specific

process for making



The team occasionally

uses a specific process

for making decisions

(e.g. by consensus,

majority or some

other decision-making



The team uses a

specific process for

every decision it makes

(e.g. by consensus,

majority or some

other decision-making





4. Team decisions are

not related to the

improvement of

teaching practice

and student



Decisions made

by the team are

occasionally related to

the improvement of

teaching practice and

student progress


Decisions made by

the team are clearly

and directly related to

the improvement of

teaching practice and

student progress










5. Team members do

not know how or

if their actions will

improve teaching



Team members

believe their actions

could directly improve

teaching practice


Team members

believe their actions

will directly improve

teaching practice




6. Some team

members take

steps to improve

individual teaching

practice as a

result of team



Most team members

regularly take steps

to improve individual

teaching practice

as a result of team



Every team member

acts to improve

individual teaching

practice as a result of

team decision-making










7. The team does not

have access to data

about the quality

of their teaching



Team members collect

some/have access to

data about the quality

of their teaching



Team members collect/

have access to data

about the quality of

their teaching practices




8. The team does

not evaluate

the progress

of students in

response to shifts

in their teaching



The team occasionally

evaluates the progress

of students in response

to shifts in their

teaching practices


The team regularly

evaluates the progress

of students in response

to shifts in their

teaching practices




*Note: Standard deviation – based on distribution of ‘Strong’ staff responses for each school.

Appendix 2: How ERO undertook this evaluation

Kahukura’s principals were involved in developing this evaluation

ERO met with the principals of the seven schools belonging to the Kahukura CoP in mid-May 2019 to discuss the evaluation approach. Conversations with this leadership group gave consensus on the evaluation questions, how ERO would undertake the data collection and how the evidence would be synthesised.

A case study approach was taken

Two evaluators visited the seven schools from May to June 2019 and spent two days at each of the schools. The evaluators collected evidence about Kahukura through interviews with leaders, trustees, teachers, students and parents. Evaluators were also invited to events that Kahukura was undertaking, such as their music festival. This fieldwork was supplemented by analysis of school documents that included strategic plans and curriculum documents.

While evidence was collected from the individual schools, the CoP itself is the unit of interest for this evaluation. The analysis process developed themes across the seven schools and across participant groups, such as leadership and teachers, to build the evidence base of the CoP itself.

A survey was undertaken for SNA

Network effects can be explored using SNA. Social Network Analysis is the study of relationships within the context of social situations and focuses on the social context and behaviours in a network.[32] It can show the strength of connections in a network and help the community or cluster map the key individuals and groups in the network.[33]

Kahukura’s connections for collaboration were explored using a SNA survey. The survey received 116 responses across the seven different schools. This included senior leadership and teachers. It represents many, but not all, members of Kahukura. As such, it is not a census of the CoP. A breakdown of respondent characteristics is in Appendix 3.

The survey questions were intended to help ERO understand the nature of the connections in Kahukura. Each respondent indicated up to ten people they collaborated with across Kahukura.

For each of these people, respondents were asked about how they communicated with each other and for what purpose.

Respondents were also asked how they worked in a team to shift teaching practice. The purpose of these questions was to understand how teams worked together for dialogue, decision-making, taking action and evaluation.

Responses to SNA survey[34]


Number completed

Of whom had formal CoP role[35]




Deputy/Assistant principal








Team leader








Total number of respondents: 116[36]

Appendix 3: Social Network Analysis Survey information and consent

Background and consent

Please ensure that you read the below information before beginning this survey:

Introduction and background

ERO is undertaking an evaluation of the Community of Practice and its contribution to responsive and collaborative learning for its students and teachers.

As part of this evaluation, ERO is undertaking this survey with staff who belong to one of the seven schools that belong to the Community of Practice. This survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes of your time.

What is the purpose of this survey?

This survey will be used to inform a social network analysis (SNA) of the Community of Practice. SNA is used to understand a community by mapping the relationships that connect people and help draw out how information and resource flow across a community.

The results from the SNA survey will be used to inform ERO’s final evaluation on the Community of Practice.

What will this survey ask me?

This survey will ask you about the people you commonly work with in your school, and from outside of your school. To ensure ERO can effectively map the communication network that you have in your CoP, we will ask you for the names of people you work with professionally, and for what purposes.

The value of SNA will come about when the responses from across the CoP are combined.

The more people that respond to this survey, the more accurate the analysis will be.

How will ERO treat my information?

ERO recognises the need to treat the information you provide us with the utmost confidentiality. As soon as ERO receives the responses, we will re-code each name into alphanumeric codes before we begin analysis. For example, John Dory would be recoded to XF1.

Any analysis that is reported publicly will not identify any information that is traceable to you, such as your name, the name of your contacts, or the names of schools in the CoP.

Please note that as a public sector agency, ERO is subject to the Official Information Act 1982.

If you have any questions before beginning, you can close this survey and come back to it later.


I have read the information and understand how my information will be used upon my completion of this survey. I understand that I am not required to answer any questions and can choose to stop taking part in the survey at any point.

Upon my completion of this survey, I understand that ERO will:

  • not report on any details I have personally provided to this survey.
  • replace any names I enter with alpha-numeric codes
  • use my responses to only inform the social network analysis for the CoP.

1. Upon reading the above information, do you give your consent to participate in this study? (Options: ‘Yes’ or ‘No’)

About yourself

The following questions will ask for information about yourself.

2. What is your first name? (Textbox)

3. What is your last name? (Textbox)

4. What is the name of the school you belong to? (chosen from the dropdown menu)

5. What is your job title/role in your school?

– Principal

– Deputy/Assistant Principal


– Team Leader

– Teacher

– Teacher Aide

– Administrator

– Board member

– Other (please specify) (Textbox)

6. What is your formal role in the CoP?

– Principal Lead

– Lead Teacher

– I do not have a formal role in the CoP

7. How long have you been at your current school for?

– Less than 6 months

– 6 months – 1 year

– 1 – 3 years

– 3 – 5 years

– More than 5 years

Working in teams

For the below questions think of a team you work with to shift teaching practice. Please indicate where your team fits in the below areas using the slider:

8. Are people in this team from inside of your school, or from across the community of practice?

– Inside of my school

– Across the Community of Practice

– Both of the above

9. Dialogue (Scale with 3 levels)

– Dialogue in our team does not address questions of teaching practice and student progress

– Dialogue in our team occasionally addresses questions of teaching practice and student progress

– Dialogue in our team consistently addresses questions of teaching practice and student Progress

10. Dialogue (cont.) (Scale with 3 levels)

– Team members contribute unequally to group dialogue; there are regular ‘hibernators’ or ‘dominators’

– Most team members participate in group dialogue; there are some ‘hibernators ‘or ‘dominators’

– Team members participate equally in group dialogue; there are no ‘hibernators’ or ‘dominators’

11. Decision-making (Scale with 3 levels)

– The team does not use a specific process for making decisions

– The team occasionally uses a specific process for making decisions (e.g. by consensus, majority or some other decision-making structure)

– The team uses a specific process for every decision it makes (e.g. by consensus, majority or some other decision-making structure)

12. Decision-making (cont.) (Scale with 3 levels)

– Team decisions are not related to the improvement of teaching practice and student progress

– Decisions made by the team are occasionally related to the improvement of teaching practice and student progress

– Decisions made by the team are clearly and directly related to the improvement of teaching practice and student progress

13. Actions (taken as a result of decision-making) (Scale with 3 levels)

– Team members do not know how or if their actions will improve teaching practice

– Team members believe their actions could directly improve teaching practice

– Team members believe their actions will directly improve teaching practice

14. Actions (cont.) (Scale with 3 levels)

– Some team members take steps to improve individual teaching practice as a result of team decision-making

– Most team members regularly take steps to improve individual teaching practice as a result of team decision-making

– Every team member acts to improve individual teaching practice as a result of team decision-making

15. Evaluation (Scale with 3 levels)

– The team does not have access to data about the quality of their teaching practices

– Team members collect some/have access to data about the quality of their teaching practices

– Team members collect/have access to data about the quality of their teaching practices

16. Evaluation (cont.) (Scale with 3 levels)

– The team does not evaluate the progress of students, in response to shifts in their teaching practices

– The team occasionally evaluates the progress of students, in response to shifts in their teaching practices

– The team regularly evaluates the progress of students, in response to shifts in their teaching practices

Connections in your network

The following questions will relate to people you interact with the most in your network.

Ideally, these would be connections inside of the CoP (such as people in your school, people in other schools belonging to the CoP, or a PLD provider that your CoP accesses).

Take the time before beginning these questions to think of up to 10 people you frequently interact with in a professional context, and for what purpose.

The questions will ask about a maximum of 10 different people in your network. The questions and people asked about do not need to be in any particular order.

Person in your network (no.1)

17. What is the first name of this person? (Textbox)

18. What is the last name of this person? (Textbox)

19. What is the name of the school or organisation this person works for? (Dropdown menu and optional textbox)

20. For which of the following area would you interact with this person? (Selecting for each area from: ‘We support each other in with this’, ‘They support me with this’, ‘I support them with this’ and, ‘Neither of us support each other with this’)

– Deep learning

– Creativity

– Cultural responsiveness

– Inclusiveness

– Leadership

We want to know the nature of your interaction, and how frequent these interactions are. You may interact with this person for a number of things such as communicating about teaching practice, coordinating with a group, creating a new resource, innovating with teaching practice or collaborating to solve a problem.

21. Please indicate how you interact with this person and how often. (Selecting for each interaction from: ‘Less than monthly’, ‘Monthly’, ‘Weekly’, ‘Daily’, ‘We have not done this’ and, ‘Not sure’)

We have:

– Attended meetings as part of a wider group

– Shared emails as part of a wider group

– Face-to-face conversations, related to work, as part of a wider group

– 1:1 e-mail(s)

– 1:1 phone call(s)

– 1:1 face-to-face conversation(s) related to work

– Divided up responsibilities

– Shared formal and/or informal resources

– Discussed solutions to fix a problem

– Worked together to evaluate practice

– Presented a new practice to others (e.g at PD, at a conference)

– Created a learning innovation (such as a new resource or teaching practice)

Person in your network (no.#)

Questionnaire repeated (from Question 17) identically a further 9 times. Participants could choose how many other people to identify.


[1] education.govt.nz/further-education/communities-of-learning-kahui-ako-information-for-postsecondary-education-and-training-providers/

[2] ERO (2017) Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako, What we know so far

[3] We are indebted to the staff of Kahukura for their support of our own development of this tool and approach.

[4] Rubin, H (2009). Collaborative Leadership: Developing Effective Partnerships for Communities and Schools. Corwin Press.

[5] Kania, J. & Kramer M. (2011) Collective Impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review.

[6] Wellman, B (2012) Networked: The New Social Operating System; MIT Press.

[7] DuFour R. (2004) “What is a professional Learning Community” Education Leadership 61 (8) 6-11 and DuFour et. al. (2005) On Common Ground:

The Power of Professional Learning Communities; Solution Tree.

[8] Fullan, M. (2006) “Leading Professional Learning Communities” School Administrator (November) V63 n10 p.10.

[9] Marzano et. al. (2020) Professional Learning Communities at Work and High Reliability Schools; Solution Tree.

[10] wenger-trayner.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/07-Brief-introduction-to-communities-of-practice.pdf

[11] www.ero.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Collaboration-to-Improve-Learner-Outcomes.pdf

[12] Source: Kahukura Strategic Plan

[13] Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow – manaake.health.nz

[14] The CoP’s 2020 strategic plan identified leadership would be developed in each school; including providing opportunities for teachers, middle leaders and principals.

[15] See Robinson (2017) Reduce Change to Increase Improvement; Corwin Impact Leadership Series.

[16] The survey asked respondents whether they shared formal and/or informal resources with the other person, and how often.

[17] F ullan M. & Langworthy M (2014) ; A Rich Seam How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning michaelfullan.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/3897.Rich_Seam_web.pdf

[18] F ullan M. and Gallagher J.M. (2017) “Transforming Systems, Deep Learning and the Equity Hypothesis”

Paper prepared for the Learning Policy Institute, Stanford University

[19] Ibid.

[20] ERO (2019) Professional Learning and Development in Schools; www.ero.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/ERO-19177-PLD-Summary-online-only-v2.pdf

[21] For example, Marzano’s notion of whole Class Informal Assessment strategies in Marzano (2017) The New Art and Science of Teaching; Solution Tree.

[22] Hamilton & Hattie (2021) Getting to G.O.L.D. The Visible learning Approach to Unleashing Education Improvement; Corwin & Cognition for a description of

some of the strengths and limitations in each of these evaluation approaches.

[23] ERO (2015) Effective Internal Evaluation for Improvement.

[24] Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow is the Canterbury Clinical Network ccn.health.nz/FocusAreas/ManaAke-StrongerforTomorrow.aspx

[25] See SD estimates in Appendix 1.

[26] Over 80 percent of staff agree that this was the case in their school.

[27] In addition in 4th school, two thirds of staff agreed that this was the case in their school.

[28] www.clearwatervic.com.au/user-data/resource-files/7Principles_Community-of-Practice.pdf

[29] Wenger, E., Trayner, B., and de Laat, M. (2011) Promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks: a conceptual framework. Rapport

18, Ruud de Moor Centrum, Open University of the Netherlands.

[30] www.betterevaluation.org/sites/default/files/Theory_of_Change_ENG.pdf

[31] Modified and adapted from Woodland, R. H. (2016). Evaluating PK–12 Professional Learning Communities: An Improvement Science Perspective. American

Journal of Evaluation, 37(4), 505–521. doi.org/10.1177/1098214016634203

[32] Durland, M. M., & Fredericks, K. A. (2006). Social network analysis in program evaluation (No. 107). Jossey-Bass Inc Pub.

[33] 33 assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/491572/socnet_howto.pdf

[34] The survey asked if respondents were a teacher aide, administrator or board of trustee’s member. None of the respondents were in these roles.

[35] Formal roles in the CoP include lead teacher or lead principal, for a focus area.

[36] The sum of number completed exceeds the total number of respondents because some respondents held multiple roles.



Exploring Collaboration in Action: Kahukura Community of Practice

Published 2021

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