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President's Message

Issue 20

8th December 2016

President's Message:

Tēnā koe

We have arrived!! We have reached the end of the year! And even if we are a bit shaken from earthquakes and other bombshells like the Prime Minister resigning, the sky has not fallen in and YAY! Christmas holidays are just around the corner. Many of you are already talking about final assemblies, awards nights and final Board meetings. So, go celebrate with your kids, your teachers and your communities. You deserve it!

Here at national office we are winding down too! It's great to be finishing the year on a high note with a call for applications for our 21 new Principal Leadership Advisor (PLA) positions. We sent out all the information on these yesterday in a Special Flyer. Share the information with any of your recently retired colleagues who may be interested.

Last weekend was our final executive meeting of the year and as I promised you, here are the highlights:

1. At our 2015 AGM,we agreed to a substantial deficit budget for 2016. We planned to employ a new full time staff member. We were carrying over some high expenditure items from 2015 like bringing out Andy Hargreaves from Boston for our Moot. We wanted to redesign our website. We did all of those things and more and I am delighted to report that we are finishing the year in surplus! Congratulations to the whole executive and staff for the prudent and even frugal spending this year which has allowed us to turn this deficit around!

2. Special Education is now called 'Learning Support' and will be regionally based with a single point of contact for parents, whānau, schools and local communities and each local learning support team will have a lead practitioner.

3. Submissions have closed for the Education Act Update although they have briefly re-opened to allow for commentary on the banning of enforced seclusion and regulating the use of physical restraint of a student. You can comment on these two issues up until January 31 2017.

4. A new funding review process will begin in the New Year with an advisory group chaired by the Minister.

5. NZPF special education survey results have already been shared with you and thanks again to all the principals who responded. Briefly there were no surprises and we now know that 95% of you are using funds other than special education grants to support the learning of your special needs children.

6. Our MAC PLD has done really well this year thanks to the awesome work of Hoana Pearson. Ka pai Hoana!

7. The Principal Leadership Advisory (PLA) service will next year be contracted to Evaluation Associates who will be looking to appoint 21 new positions across the country. We are delighted to see our PLA project reach this point and hope now that the high quality principals we know are out there will all apply!

8.The 2017 Moot is taking shape and promises to be a productive day for our regional association presidents.

9. Executive members from Canterbury and Marlborough regions are working with their local associations to support colleagues in Kaikoura, Seddon and Ward affected by the earthquakes. We note that this work will be needed well into next year.

10. You are all encouraged to enrol in a free certificated programme for Māori language and culture being offered by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa called He Papa Tikanga.

We finished our executive meeting with the usual farewell speeches, thanking Denise Torrey for her work over the last five years as executive member, President and Immediate Past President and of course I was farewelled as President. It's important to be reflective at such times and for me I wanted to think about how all the advocacy work we do here from national office actually impacts on kids learning!

We want to develop kids who have ambition and acceptance of diversity and are disruptive thinkers, so we have to advocate for policies that enable those things to happen. If I have learned one thing this year, it is that we really do need to stop the over-emphasis on assessment and data and take control ourselves, in each of our schools, to ensure we give kids full access to a broad and exciting curriculum. We can and should be doing this. We are preparing kids for an uncertain future. Endless data gathering won't enable our teachers to be the dynamic teachers we need to help our kids be the disruptive thinkers and questioners our world requires!

Time for a break. Use it well!

Noho ora mai ra

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