With a peaceful mind and respectful heart, we will always get the best results
Kia ora e hoa mā, ngā tumuaki o te mõtu
The first term of this year has presented you with some testing challenges, so I sincerely hope that you will make time over the holidays to have a break. The Mosque killings in Christchurch, created waves of horror, shock and grief throughout the country. As has been said by many commentators, our country of Aotearoa New Zealand will never be the same again. As the horror story unfolded, it became clear what an important role you were playing in protecting the safety and well-being of the young people in our schools. The repercussions continue not only for the people of Christchurch, but wherever there are connections to Muslim communities. Whilst out of tragedy can come positivity and opportunities for our young people to reflect on the importance of inclusion, tolerance and kindness, I know many of you have also been stretched as you try to accommodate the anxieties and stresses this event also generated. You have done your profession proud and we thank you.
School Leaders Health & Well-being Survey NZPF and NZEI have partnered to engage Associate Professor Philip Riley of the Australian Catholic University, to conduct a survey of NZ Principals health & well-being. You can read the latest report here. Assoc Professor Riley has conducted similar studies in Ireland and in Australia. The latest NZ results are captured in the following quote from the report:
"In 2018, respondents’ levels of burnout, stress, sleeping troubles and cognitive stress symptoms remain at levels far higher than that of the general population. Self-rated health has decreased by almost 8% since 2016, while burnout, depressive symptoms and somatic stress symptoms have all increased."
A further telling finding relates to hours of work:
"Less than 1% of respondents work 40 hours or less per week during term time. This includes school leaders who are not released full-time from their classroom responsibilities to carry out their leadership roles. Seventy-two percent worked between 41 – 60 hours per week on average, with the remaining 27.3 percent working more than 61 hours per week, the highest proportion of respondents reporting that result since the survey began. "
Riley recommends principals need more system support, more professional support, more professional learning and reduced workload. These are all issues which, to some extent, the Tomorrow's Schools Review addresses. Many of you will have made your own submissions to the Task Force on the Tomorrow's Schools Review. NZPF also made a submission which you can read here.
Māori Achievement Collaborations (MACs) This week I had the pleasure of catching up with the National MAC Facilitators at their "engine room" hui in Dunedin. It was also time to say haere rā to Ros McQuillan-Mains. Ros is one of the foundation MAC facilitators who has lead the Kahukura and Hiriroa/Burnside MACs in Christchurch and Otepõti in Dunedin. She has inspired, supported and challenged her MAC participants, who have in turn made huge cultural shifts in their schools. We thank Ros for her considerable contribution to the MAC kaupapa and our very best wishes go with her as she begins her well earned retirement.
As PLD Provider for the MACs, Te Akatea is currently working with the Ministry to find sustainable ways to extend the service. Many more of you have expressed an interest in this PLD and I hope that soon, you will be able to join other participants on this cultural journey.
Connecting with the Regions Thank you to the Papakura Principals' Association for hosting me at your conference last Friday. I always welcome invitations to join you at your events and update you as much as I can on what is happening in the corridors of power in Wellington.
I also thank our NZPF life member Dr Lester Flockton for inviting me to address the University of the Third Age (U3A) series in Dunedin this week. This is a series of lectures for Dunedin retirees. It was an honour to update this group on schooling today and to explain how very different it is to schooling a generation ago. It was also an important experience to remind us that learning is life long and doesn't just stop at the end of compulsory schooling. Once again I remind you that the holiday break is not only the students' break time, it's also yours. Enjoy Easter and spending time with your whānau and those you love and care for.
Your next Principal Matters newsletter will come to you in the first week of term two.