Appendix 3: Appointment of principals, 2011-2012 (Board of trustees' survey)

(148 responses: 111 primary, 31 secondary, 4 composite, 1 special, 1 Year 7-10)

Purpose of the survey:

  • to find out about how boards recruit and appoint principals
  • to obtain information that can be used to support boards in their role as employer
  • for schools to use as an audit tool.

Policies and procedures documentation includes information about:

 

% primary schools

% secondary schools

% all schools

The role and composition of appointment committee

57

61

57

Developing the job description and person specification to support the school’s strategic direction

54

55

53

Obtaining independent professional advice

55

48

53

Obtaining authorisation from the applicant to seek information from a wide range of people

44

45

43

Asking for disclosure of criminal convictions

56

55

55

Asking whether they have been the subject of any complaint concerning the safety of a student

26

23

24

Validating and verifying qualifications (sighting originals of all documents supplied)

38

45

39

Checking background and performance of applicants

53

58

54

Who is responsible for undertaking reference checks

47

35

45

The stage of process when reference checks will be carried out

45

43

44

How reference checks will be carried out / importance of carrying out thorough checks of references and previous employment

38

42

39

Privacy and confidentiality guidelines

54

45

52

Deciding the interview questions and/or presentation required

49

42

47

Deciding the questions to ask referees

42

39

41

Dealing with information about an applicant’s or employee’s criminal conviction

28

23

26

Preparing an employment agreement

43

29

39

Usefulness of sources of information and advice when appointing the principal

 

Very useful or useful (%)

Not used or not aware of (%)

NZSTA personnel, industrial relations advisor, helpdesk

70

30

Principal of another school

66

33

Member of board of trustees of another school

42

55

Recruitment /employment agency

42

57

Ministry of Education staff

33

64

NZSTA course, seminar, webinar

24

75

NZEI staff

8

90

PPTA staff

8

92

NZ Principals’ Federation staff

7

92

University /PLD providers

6

94

Teachers’ Council staff

5

95

Iwi Education Authorities

3

95

Employers association

3

97

SPANZ staff

2

97

NZ Secondary Principals Council staff

1

97

Note: a small number of ‘not useful’ responses (1-2 percent) are not shown in the table.

 

% primary schools

% secondary schools

% all schools

Another principal

30

27

29

Ministry of Education

5

7

5

Parents, whānau

10

20

12

Kaumātua

3

10

4

Pasifika communities representative/s

0

3

1

External professional

46

47

46

Other (n=65)

Primary

Secondary

All schools

Education consultant/advisor

25

3

28

Retired principal

7

5

12

Catholic education office/diocese/proprietor

5

5

10

Limited Statutory Manager

3

1

4

Students

 

3

3

Senior staff/staff

2

3

5

Board members

2

1

3

NZSTA

2

 

2

Why other people were involved, e.g. the expertise they brought

(n=120)

Primary

Secondary

All schools

Professional knowledge/experience

19

6

25

Knowledge of appointment process/employment

27

7

34

Expertise

11

 

11

Expertise/retired principal

16

5

21

Independent

8

4

12

Knowledge of school

9

3

12

Special character

5

4

9

Knowledge of candidates

2

2

4

Surveys of staff, students and community

2

3

5

How others were involved and their role

(n=118)

Primary

Secondary

All schools

Advice/guidance

24

7

31

Whole process

24

0

24

Developing candidate profile/job description

13

1

14

Advertisement

12

2

14

Information packs/admin

15

0

15

Short listing

22

11

33

Background/referee checks

17

5

22

Setting/designing the questions

16

7

23

Interviewing

16

16

32

Attended interviews

8

2

10

Feedback on education strengths and weaknesses, fit of applicants to school

13

5

18

Community feedback

5

1

6

Referee checks made

 

% primary schools

% secondary schools

% all schools

Referees nominated by applicant

87

81

85

Current school

71

71

71

Previous school/s

55

45

53

How referee checks were made

 

% primary schools

% secondary schools

% all schools

Phone

87

81

85

Email

24

13

21

Letter

8

7

8

Records kept

(n=117)

Primary schools

Secondary schools

All schools

All destroyed

23

4

27

Successful applicant only

19

6

25

Notes

15

3

18

Process

12

4

16

All kept

6

3

9

Minutes of meetings

2

4

6

Short listed only

4

0

4

With consultant

3

0

3

Letters

1

1

2

Some information

2

0

2

Board member experience and training in employing staff

 

% primary schools

% secondary schools

% all schools

As an employer in their own business

62

71

64

As a manager in a workplace

69

71

68

Working in human resources

30

36

30

Qualifications in human resources/personnel

management

18

16

18

Courses related to being an employer or manager

43

42

42

Training received by board members

 

% primary schools

% secondary schools

% all schools

Their role as employer in schools

50

61

52

Appointing a principal

29

29

29

Developing the principal’s performance agreement

34

45

37

Challenges for the board in appointing a principal

(n=102)

Primary schools

Secondary schools

All schools

Lack of professional knowledge

15

0

15

Deciding what is needed

2

2

4

Lack of suitable applicants

15

4

19

Selecting the right person/fit

16

6

22

Time involved

12

5

17

Meeting the timeline

6

0

6

Sensitivity with internal applicant

3

1

4

Cost

3

0

3

Ensuring confidentiality in small community

3

0

3

Long standing principal leaving, board not experienced

in process

3

0

3

Involvement of staff representative

2

0

2

Rural location

2

0

2

Confidence of the board in appointing a principal

 

Very confident

(%)

Confident

(%)

Had reservations

(%)

Not confident

(%)

Deciding priorities for the position and the balance between competencies, leadership style and management ability

47

46

6

1

Developing job description and criteria for appointment

42

50

5

3

Recruitment

34

51

13

2

Short-listing applications

45

59

5

0

Deciding the interview questions

33

57

9

2

Conducting the interviews/Interview process

50

46

5

0

Validating and verifying qualifications

32

59

6

3

Checking registration or checking background and performance of applicants

35

54

9

2

Checking references or questioning referees about applicant capability

43

50

6

1

Assessing the risks that applicants may be dishonest, emotionally unstable, or unsuited to work with children and young people

32

57

9

2

Deciding which applicant to appoint

54

40

6

0

Verifying the person was who they claimed to be

51

43

6

0

Negotiating performance agreement

33

52

12

3

Identifying and developing appropriate indicators

27

56

13

5

For boards that do not feel confident about any aspect, what would help them to feel more confident

(n=6)

Primary schools

Secondary schools

All schools

Knowledge/experience

3

1

4

Training

4

2

6

Advice, support

6

0

6

Resources readily available

3

0

3

Help from Ministry

3

0

3

Reference checking

3

1

4

Wider pool of applicants

2

1

3

Having a consultant meant felt confident

5

0

5

Aspects of the process that could be improved

 

Primary schools

Secondary schools

All schools

None, happy with process and outcome

37

10

47

Short-listing

5

0

5

Referee checks

4

0

4

Performance agreement

3

0

3

Developing job description, requirements of position

3

0

3

Being fair to internal applicants

2

0

2

Other comments about appointing a principal

 

Primary schools

Secondary schools

All schools

Good to have professional advice and support

16

2

18

Result good, pleased with principal

10

3

13

Involves lots of time and hard work

6

6

12

Key role for board

6

1

7

Be clear what you’re looking for, fit with strategic plan

4

2

5

Process used worked well

5

0

5

Ministry should provide more help and support

4

0

4

Positive, rewarding experience

2

2

4

STA was great

3

0

3

Although follow a robust procedure can still get it wrong

3

0

3