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Caution Urged in Appointing Change Principals

Caution Urged in Appointing Change Principals

The Minister’s announcement that she will pay five principals an extra $50,000 on top of their normal salaries to turn around the fortunes of five troubled schools has sounded a warning bell from President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF), Denise Torrey.

‘More money in a principal’s pocket will not help kids learn better or make a person a better principal,’ said Torrey. ‘What these schools need is a highly experienced principal who has enormous passion for kids and their learning, has a raft of creative talent and the capability to apply it and has boundless energy to inspire and lead teachers through expert modelling. The principal would also need to have a full understanding of the school’s context and a strong connection with the community,’ she said.

‘There are no silver bullets in teaching kids,’ said Torrey. ‘You won’t find any correlational research that shows paying extra money to a principal leads to better learning outcomes for children,’ she said.

Torrey is quite sure that the selection panel for each of the principals for these five named schools should include experienced principals who understand the context of the school and who know the community.

‘Principals are best placed to assist the selection panel to choose the best person for the job,’ said Torrey, ‘because they understand the challenges of teaching and learning and know how important it is to connect with and be accepted by the school community.’

The $50,000 salary bonus for the ‘Change’ principal was a component of the Prime Minister’s ‘Investing for Educational Success’ policy announced in January 2014.


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