Hei tā Tūhoe, ki te tāwhitiwhiti ngā whetū o Matariki tētahi i tētahi, kua makuru te kai.
For Tūhoe, if the stars of Pleiades seemed to stand wide apart, a warm bountiful season would follow.
Kia ora e te whānau
Matariki This week I have been attending the Catholic Education Convention in Wellington. This is a huge gathering of Catholic school leaders, teachers, Bishops, Priests and officials from various Catholic Dioceses. I am grateful to Paul Ferris, CEO of the NZ Catholic Education Office, and the many Catholic Principals and delegates for their manaakitanga and making me feel so welcome. Ngā mihi au ki ngã tumuaki whakapono.
I was particularly impressed at the heavy emphasis many of the speakers placed on values. Values impact on the well-being (hauora) of our young people and if the hauora of our tamariki is not strong, they will not be ready to learn. Hauora is also an important factor in how well our teachers and principals function. As you know, NZPF has a strategic focus on hauora and last year the International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP) also highlighted the importance of hauora in setting education goals for our country.
The opening ceremony of the Convention included an inspiring acknowledgment of Matariki (the Pleiades star cluster) the presence of which marks the Māori New Year. We were reminded about how important it is to celebrate the qualities, values and successes of our many stars who are the young people we work with everyday in our schools. As Matariki rises, I too want to acknowledge and celebrate the fabulous work you all do in your schools to nurture and inspire your little stars to grow and shine. You do this despite the many challenges and sometimes inadequate support available to you. Ka rawe e te whãnau. E mihi ana au ki a koutou katoa.
Over the coming month communities will be acknowledging Matariki in a number of ways. Traditionally, Matariki was a time when our tupuna reflected on the past and celebrated new life. Today many of us acknowledge Matariki by participating in a range of activities and events that reflect our bi-cultural nation. Whatever activities you choose to celebrate Matariki, have fun, eat kai, plant some new seeds and watch them flourish and grow. Above all enjoy the celebrations with your staff and your tamariki.
Secretary for Education Secretary for Education, Iona Holsted, also attended the Catholic Education Convention and addressed the 800 hundred strong audience. She talked about the changes ahead and the many Task Force groups that have been established to reshape our system of education. She talked about the Summits in Christchurch and Auckland and surveying the attendees about what values they felt were most important. At both Summits, well-being was top of the list, followed by creativity. Ms Holsted told the delegates that since so many consider well being to be of high importance, it will be included in all work streams for the Ministry this year.
She noted that the Tomorrow's Schools review was the one causing the greatest anxiety for people and encouraged all participants in the Convention to submit their views to the Task Force chaired by Bali Haq. Below, in the notices section, you will find a link to a range of survey options to have your say. In answer to a question on recruitment and retention, she agreed that a managed strategy was required to address the staff shortages. She congratulated the Catholic schools saying that with their strong practices of living values, and caring for others and their well being, meant they were well placed to deal with future challenges.
Separately I have also met with the Secretary for Education this week. We noted the large number of working parties that are now underway and the positivity with which Ministry officials are engaging with the profession. The commitment to collaboration, made at this year's ISTP, is now being enacted.
I reiterated NZPF's desire to work in partnership with NZSTA and the Ministry to enable all of our schools to be high performing and successful. That way, all of our young people can receive a quality education. We know that most of our schools are doing incredibly well. We also know that some face challenges. We know how important the relationship is between principals and Boards and the third party that can strengthen support for our schools is the Ministry. I am hopeful that we will further strengthen these relationships over time so that all young people can have the quality education they deserve.
International Confederation of Principals (ICP) In August, I will be presenting at the ICP Council meeting in Ireland and will be sharing the changes that we in New Zealand are shaping right now. Our situation is quite unique and thus of great interest to our international colleagues.
I am including a link to the latest publication from ICP called 'Linking Leaders'. You will note the high prominence of well being on the ICP agenda for the August Council meeting and I am looking forward to seeing the well being survey that was conducted on principals in Ireland, as a comparative study to the survey done in Australia and New Zealand. You will also see an article on the ICP Global Challenge, which a number of you have participated in before. It is a fun activity to get involved in and great to feel part of a global community.
Rural Matters A small team of three national executive members, all with rural school experience, take responsibility for compiling our Rural Matters publication. The first issue of Rural Matters for 2018 can be found here. Whilst the publication is intended as a support for rural principals, there may well be information in the publication that is of interest to all principals. For example, this issue includes a youtube link to a presentation on curriculum by a principal colleague, Perry Rush.
Take care and shelter from the winter chills - until next week's update. Ngā manaakitanga