[Stephen Soutar – Principal, Awapuni School, Palmerston North] I’m a principal in a five-teacher school and I can just get isolated in my own world and not even find the time to get out and discuss things with other principals. And you really need to be able to do that in this job.
[Adam Campbell – Principal, Postgate School] I spent three days up in Whanganui working with other principals learning how to be a Review Officer. I came back and then did school reviews back down here in Wellington, with Review Officers.
[Fiona Gibson – ERO, Manager Review and Improvement Services] So to be in another school and to see how another school principal or other leadership team is operating, what systems and processes they’ve got in place, how they look at the data, it’s valuable learning in every school you go into.
[Adam Campbell] For school principals going in and working for ERO, I don’t think there’s any better professional learning that they can do. Going into a school, seeing what’s happening in the school, comparing it to their school. It may be that they’re going to learn a lot from that particular school, which is great. Or they might learn about what’s ineffective practice as well.
[Hamish Ruawai – Principal, Palmerston North Intermediate School] Some of the best time I found were at dinner with other reviewers and you’re critiquing teaching and learning, talking: “What did you see today?”, “Yeah, but did you really think that was effective questioning or was it deep questioning?” Those informal conversations really get you thinking around teaching and learning, so it raises the bar as a principal to think: “I wonder what that’s happening like at my school. And how do I know?”
[Stephen Soutar] I think it’s improved me as a principal. Doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the job. Education system changes all the time so you have to keep developing and I think it’s a really good avenue.
[Marieke Whitwell – ERO Review Officer] We’ve had so much change in education. And we’ve had teachers and leaders taking on board new pedagogies, digital technologies. Seeing those things in action is exciting.
[Hamish Ruawai] ERO teaches you to ask the question that needs to be asked. “Is the pedagogy right for this child? How do you know you’re making a difference?” It’s certainly taught me to be more rigorous and challenging around assessment data, accelerating achievement. Those are conversations that I was probably not so tight…Now, pretty straight in that area.
[Adam Campbell] I learnt about internal evaluation: about how schools use it, or see it, or don’t see it. I learnt that as a country we all have the same curriculum, we all have the same training. We all say that children are the most important thing to us, but we do things oh so differently. We are all so different in what we do at schools.
[Marieke Whitwell] I’ve had the opportunity to work with two principals who have worked alongside me in a team. And that’s great because they bring with them the immediacy of what is reality on the ground.
[Hamish Ruawai] It made me a lot more aware of the uniqueness of our kids in New Zealand. So, a lot more thoughtful in terms of the needs of teachers. I used to really focus a lot, and I still do, on students, but actually teaching and learning’s the core business. And so how can I be more effective in developing great teachers and educators? So now I’m in that space of: what can I do to get the best out of these educators so kids get the best deal
Our Leadership Partners programme provides successful school leaders with the opportunity to work alongside review teams as partners in our external school evaluation process. The programme enables school leaders to develop skills and understanding of evaluation for improvement, and provide the opportunity to learn from others when reflecting on a school’s improvement journey. As such, it is a unique professional development experience that will also enhance our work in the sector.
Leadership Partners are provided with professional learning and development in our methodologies and procedures prior to joining us school review teams for a minimum of two weeks per term. Induction involves up to a week.
If you are interested in becoming a Leadership Partner, please email Shelley Booysen (firstname.lastname@example.org), ERO’s Professional Practice Leader. Please provide information outlining why you are interested in the programme and about the current and previous roles, strengths and experience that would enable you to add value to our work.
We will choose a small group of senior leaders each term, who will join us for the year following their induction start date. You will need to be able to commit to a week of induction at the end of a school term and then up to two weeks evaluation work with an evaluation partner each term.
To maintain trust and credibility in the programme, the criteria below will be used to help support the selection process. These criteria are not exclusive and will be used on a case-by-case basis. The programme will provide a professional learning opportunity for those senior leaders wanting to learn more about evaluation for improvement.
- Leadership Partners will be experienced principals or senior leaders. It is recommended that Leadership Partners have at least five years in a principal/senior leadership role.
- Previous ERO reports for the schools that Leadership Partners are drawn from will have indicated well placed or strong.
- Leadership Partners will have a willingness to commit to a minimum of two weeks a term to the programme.
We will negotiate the timing for evaluation work with you to accommodate your circumstances, and the needs of our evaluation partners and the schools they are working with. The two weeks work each term may not be consecutive, but cumulative.
The National Induction programme will involve three days in our National Office at the end of a school term. The content of the programme will cover:
- ERO as an organisation and our role and mandate in the Education System
- Treaty of Waitangi commitment
- culturally and contextually responsive evaluation
- evaluation in the New Zealand education context
- the roles and responsibilities of a public servant
- ERO’s Code of Conduct
- Evaluation Methodology
- Evaluator Capabilities and Principles of Practice
- practical evaluation activity
- skills and strengths you bring to ERO and the contribution you see yourself making
- establishing records of learning for Leadership Partners' involvement and taking learning back to their communities.
The National Induction programme is followed by regional learning and development. This will involve the Leadership Partner working alongside their Evaluation Partner, and fully participating in evaluations over the course of the year. Opportunities for reflection and ongoing development of evaluation practice will be a planned part of your programme of induction and support.
Review Officers are statutory officers designated under section 465 of the Education and Training Act, and exercise powers of entry, investigation and reporting through the various sections of the parts of the Act. To be designated and to exercise those powers, the Chief Review Officer must be satisfied that Leadership Partners are both suitably qualified and fit to carry out the work required of a Review Officer and to exercise those powers. This includes understanding that each Leadership Partner must abide by our Code of Conduct and expectations for professional integrity, fairness and confidentiality. Discussion about how Leadership Partners apply the Code of Conduct will form part of the induction programme.
Partners will be initially designated for the year of the programme. Re-designation will be possible after this time with agreement from ERO and the Leadership Partner.
While undertaking this professional learning opportunity, Leadership Partners will work with us based on a written agreement with their employer, the school’s governing board of trustees.
Leadership Partners remain in the employment of their school board while on review with an our team, and as such, their salary continues to be paid by their employer.
We will cover costs associated with attending the National Induction programme and travel, accommodation, and actual and reasonable costs incurred during the weeks you review with us.
Practical travel and accommodation arrangements will be made for you by your evaluation partner and our support staff.
While on review, Leadership Partners will meet with and travel with evaluators to the school (where practical). If staying away overnight, accommodation will be organised by us at a motel/hotel on our approved list. Where applicable, Partners will use their own car to travel to the nearest office, airport, or school and be reimbursed accordingly.
You will be expected to work alongside us during onsite phases of the review. Your Evaluation Partner will meet with you after any onsite phase to share note-taking and analysis, reflect on the evaluation process, discuss any goals you wish to set, and offer support you may need for subsequent evaluation.
Should an emergency arise, please notify the Manager Review and Improvement Services responsible for the evaluation. We acknowledge your primary responsibility is to your employing school.
Leadership Partners will have access to our resources necessary to support the Partner role – hard copy resources, stationery and digital note-taking sheets will be supplied during induction. Leadership Partners are not our employees and will not be eligible for ERO credit cards, computers, phones or email addresses while working alongside review teams. Communication will be through secure personal email addresses. This may be a school email address, but one that can only be opened by the Partner.
Evaluators often work away from home and sometimes outside their region. Please let us know if this will be a problem for you.
Leadership Partners will work alongside an Evaluation Partner. They will evaluate within the sector that they are most familiar with. They will be included in reviews where they accompany their ERO Evaluation Partner.
During selection and induction, Partners will be asked about the particular strengths, interests and expertise they could contribute to our evaluations. Placement with Evaluation Partners and on reviews will take this into consideration.
Partners will not be expected to coordinate reviews during the programme, but there will be opportunities to participate in all aspects of the evaluation process.
The Leadership Partners programme may be a first step for leaders who wish to work for us on a longer term or more regular basis. If a Partner does decide to continue working with us, working relationships will be in accordance with secondment arrangements, and may involve secondees coordinating reviews.
In joining us, Review Officers undertake to abide by our Code of Conduct and the State Services Commission’s Standards of Integrity and Conduct. Both these codes discuss integrity and avoidance of conflicts of interest: the guidance paper that accompanies the standards code, Understanding the Code of Conduct – Guidance for State Servants, states that:
“We must avoid circumstances where our personal interests or relationships conflict with interests of our organisation. We must also avoid situations where there could be an appearance of conflict. Our actions need to be fair and unbiased and should always be able to bear close public scrutiny.”
Our Code of Conduct states that Review Officers:
“…have a duty to apply objective consideration and judgement to their work at all times. They will remain free of any conflicting interest or improper influence and should avoid any situation which may be construed as constituting a conflict of interest or which may impair objectivity. They must be impartial when undertaking reviews and will interpret and present evidence fairly. They will resist any pressures that would influence their impartiality.”
Real or perceived conflicts of interest do arise. During the induction process and prior to your placement on any reviews, there will be opportunities to discuss how to recognise and avoid a conflict of interest and how Review Officers deal with a range of situations. ERO will avoid placing you in situations where there is a real or perceived conflict of interest.
Your point of contact in ERO is Shelley Booysen, Professional Practice Leader, Education Review Office.