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Prime Minister’s Awards seek excellent educators

Media release

12 March 2014

Prime Minister’s Awards seek excellent educators

Groups involved in education are being urged to enter the inaugural Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards which celebrate great work being done in communities around the country.

The four award categories focus on qualities that are internationally recognised as critical to education success – engaging with communities, excellence in leading, teaching and learning, and governing.

The awards are open to groups in early childhood education, primary and secondary schooling, as well as partnerships between secondary schools, tertiary providers and employers.

Convenor, Dr Graham Stoop, Deputy Secretary Graduate Achievement, Vocations and Careers at the Ministry of Education, says the awards are a great opportunity.

“It is wonderful to be involved with an initiative that celebrates exceptional educators who are working together to achieve sustainable improvement, equity and innovation.

“We want encourage as many groups as possible to get their entries in before they close on March the 31st.”

An awards evening to announce winners of the four categories, as well as the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award, will be held in June. The entry selected for the Supreme Award will receive $30,000, as well as an opportunity to represent New Zealand education at an international education conference. Winners in each category will be presented with professional development opportunities and $20,000 to put towards their education programmes. An additional prize for an education focus will also be announced on the night.

The remaining finalists will be profiled nationally, to acknowledge their contribution to education. They will also receive a monetary contribution towards their efforts in education (fourth place receives $1,000, third place receives $3,000 and second place receives $6,000).

The judging panel is made up of a group of nine distinguished New Zealanders who are leaders in their respective fields, including Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.

For more information on how to enter, as well as categories and criteria, visit the Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards website at

Notes for editors:

A panel of education experts will review each entry to select up to four finalists in each of the categories. A judging panel will then visit the finalists to see their entries in action and select winners.


The convenor for both the panels will be former Chief Executive and Chief Review Officer, Education Review Office, Dr Graham Stoop, who is now Deputy Secretary – Graduate Achievement, Vocations and Careers at the Ministry of Education.

Award categories, criteria and framework:

Prime Minister’s Supreme Award

Takiri ko te ata

This award is selected from the winners in the four Award categories and determined by the extent of improvement and impact on education outcomes.

Excellence in Engaging

Atahāpara Award

This award celebrates working together as a community to transform relationships and achievement, leading to improved and sustainable outcomes for all children and young people.

Excellence in Leading

Atakura Award

This award celebrates leadership and influence that has strengthened professional capability and created a change in conditions, leading to improved and sustainable outcomes for all children and young people.

Excellence in Teaching & Learning

Atatū Award

This award celebrates teaching that transforms the learning of all children and young people, and has improved and sustainable outcomes for them all.

Excellence in Governing

Awatea Award

This award celebrates governance and management that creates the conditions for leading and teaching to improve and sustain outcomes for all children and young people.

2014 Education Focus Prize

Takatū Prize

This prize celebrates a focus on learner led pathways through collaboration amongst secondary schools, tertiary providers and employers.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for the Awards an entry must:

Focus on improving outcomes for children and young people - in early childhood education, primary school, secondary school, or collaborations amongst secondary schools, tertiary providers and employers, in English, Māori, or Pasifika-medium

• Be from a group, team or partnership (entries about an individual are not eligible)

• Be based in New Zealand

• Be based around curriculum documents and education strategies developed in New Zealand

• Include at least one qualified teacher with provisional or full New Zealand registration

• Not pose a risk to the credibility or integrity of the Awards.

Groups, teams or partnerships that include a staff member or contractor from an Education Sector Agency are not eligible to enter (including Ministry of Education, New Zealand Teachers’ Council, Education Review Office, Education New Zealand, Tertiary Education Commission, and New Zealand Qualifications Authority).

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