The quality of school leadership matters in education. When it is properly focused it has a positive impact on student achievement. When it is productively distributed, it is a principal factor in school improvement. To apply a proper focus on student achievement and to focus the school improvement process more sustainably, school leadership needs to:

  • collaboratively develop and enact the school's vision, values goals and priorities for equity and excellence
  • establish and ensure an orderly and supportive environment conducive to student learning and wellbeing
  • ensure effective planning, coordination and evaluation of the school's curriculum and teaching
  • promote and participate in a coherent approach to professional learning and practice
  • build capability and collective capacity in evaluation and inquiry for sustained improvement and innovation
  • build relational trust and effective participation and collaboration at every level of the school community.

ERO's school evaluation indicators for leadership provide an appropriate focus for aspiring and beginning leaders to self-evaluate their knowledge and skills against and plan leadership development activities. Recent data indicates that many current school leaders are nearing the end of their careers.29 This means that self-initiated leadership preparation and development will be increasingly important in New Zealand education for system reform in the future.

Teacher in a classroom with her students


[29]  Wylie, C. (2016). 'New Zealand Principals: autonomy at a cost'. In H. Asterling (Ed) A decade if Research on School Principals. Geneva: Springer Publication.