A new organisation marks a new era for teachers

Issue: Volume 94, Number 11

Posted: 29 June 2015
Reference #: 1H9crP

Many of you will have experienced a moment in your career when you’ve realised how important your job is. That moment could be a look of wonder on the face of a four year old in a sandpit, or a discovery in the science lab as a 17 year old suddenly understands why chemicals react in a particular way, or maybe it’s the thrill of seeing the 10-year-old girl you convinced could sing, singing in the end of year school play.

Probably because you do this every day, you forget you are in fact playing a hugely important role in shaping young New Zealanders’ lives.

It’s that everyday influence that goes unnoticed. And maybe that’s why there’s research which shows teaching isn’t held in the same esteem as professions such as lawyers or doctors, and is often passed over as a career option by our highest performing graduates.

Getting the recognition the teaching profession deserves is central to the role of the new Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand. The Education Council will be the new professional and regulatory body for teachers and replaces the Teachers Council on 1 July. It assumes responsibility for the registration and regulation of the teaching profession.

The Education Council will work with teachers to elevate the status of the profession, championing new ideas and excellent teaching practice. It will commission research and lead discussion on issues affecting teaching and provide more robust regulatory and disciplinary processes. This is good for teachers and students. Parents will have even more confidence in the processes which ensure the quality and suitability of teachers.

The Council will be independent, setting its own agenda, commissioning research and leading public discussion on education issues. At least five of the Council’s members must be registered teachers with a current practising certificate, so the profession will be well represented.

Championing best practice: Chairperson Barbara Ala'alatoa

Barbara Ala’alatoa has been in the profession for over 30 years as a teacher and principal, and in advisory and governance roles. As the Chair of the Education Council it’s her responsibility to keep it on track. Barbara is focused on meeting Council goals to elevate the status of teaching, develop leadership and champion best practice.

Education Gazette talked to her about the challenges she’s faced and how she’s using what she’s learned to advance the Council’s objectives.

What attracted you to teaching?

I wish I could say I had a grand purpose for entering teaching but I didn’t, it just seemed right all those years ago. However, once I started teaching I was absolutely hooked! I loved the dynamic environment of school and have never stopped being excited about working with people who are continually looking to improve on what they do to get better outcomes for students.

What do you find most rewarding about your profession?

Working with children is incredibly rewarding. Every day, our students arrive at school excited and optimistic about what the day has in store for them. They bring joy, optimism and resilience in bucket loads and I always learn something powerful from them.

There’s also a real privilege in working with incredible teachers who are always looking at better ways to teach so our students get the outcomes they deserve and are entitled to. This inspires and motivates me constantly.

What challenges have you had to overcome in your career?

The challenges never stop. My philosophy has always been to see them as opportunities. In saying that the challenge of leading a school from being one that much of our community avoided, to being a school that many people make a conscious choice to attend, has been one needing focus and persistence.

Having a clear sense of purpose and driving off the strongest evidence-base we could muster helped build a team that consistently strives to keep investigating ways to give our students the best possible education.

You’ve been teaching for over 30 years – what changes have you seen in your time?

There have been many, but I think the biggest I’ve seen is the use of data to inform our teaching practice. This has helped us be more precise about what we teach, and how to get the best outcomes we possibly can for students.

The development of The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa have also been fantastic developments allowing scope to create a local curriculum, and beyond, as well as one that is future focused. They are curricula designed for our children right now!

In your view, what are the major issues teachers face now?

One of the biggest issues is getting equal outcomes for all students in the education system. Too many are Māori and Pasifika students. Luckily, we’re not starting at ground zero. There are many teachers and schools getting accelerated outcomes for these priority students. This really highlights the other big issue – collaboration. We need to think about ways to share fantastic practice, and make this common practice. Luckily a lot of work has already been done in this area. There is a growing number of examples where schools are working together systematically to create consistency of practice leading to great outcomes for our students.

You’ve had a number of leadership roles in the profession – what do you hope to bring to the Council as a result?

Having worked on curriculum development, in initial teacher education as well as in schools, I’ve an understanding of the need for coherence in our system so teachers are well prepared and supported to be highly effective. I’ve always had a relentless optimism about what is possible and in the power of education to deliver for all students. This is no different now!

How do you think the Council might help raise student achievement – particularly for Māori and Pasifika students?

Raising achievement for Māori and Pasifika students requires excellent leadership and teachers. The Council will prioritise leadership and outstanding teaching, putting it front and centre of its business. We will work hard to identify exceptional practice and work on ways to help the profession leverage off these examples. What’s good for raising achievement for Māori and Pasifika students is good for everybody!

What attracted you to taking the position as Chair of the Education Council?

I was attracted to the opportunity to be an independent voice for the profession. This is a real privilege. I feel very humbled to have been offered the position and pleased I will lead the Council from a practice-base. It will keep me honest at all times ensuring that whatever we do on the Council has a real and meaningful contribution for schools, and staff, working hard to get great outcomes for students.

What do you think the priorities will be for the Council?

We need to discuss that and develop a work plan but they will provide leadership and direction for the profession. The Council will focus on identifying and disseminating the very best of practice in teaching and learning so we can all learn from the best of each other across the profession. The Council will foster the profession’s continued development in response to research, a changing society and technological change.

If you could look ahead, say five years from now, where would you like to see the Education Council positioned?

I would like to see it as a trusted voice for the profession. I would like to see the Council showing leadership within and beyond the profession.

What advice would you give to a person considering entering the profession now?

Teaching is a complex task! Make sure you are willing to work hard and keep learning. Keep your sense of humour at all times and embrace change.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Yes, I’d like to thank the Teachers Council which over the years has done a fantastic job in laying a solid foundation for the new Council to build upon.

The main differences between the teachers council and the education council

Teachers Council Education Council
Crown entity which is required to take account of government policy. Sets standards. Independent of government, able to comment on government policy. Sets standards and will develop leadership.
Registration and practising certificates are linked. Registration can expire. Separation of registration (to recognise membership of the profession) and practising certificates (focused on assessing ongoing competence).  Registration will not expire (but can be cancelled in certain circumstances such as serious misconduct).  Practising certificates renewed every three years.
Limited Authority to Teach (LAT) can be granted to someone for a specific role in a specific setting. LAT can be granted to someone with the skills and experience to suit the needs of students, or with skills in short supply.
Code of Ethics Code of Conduct – clarifies expected behaviour of teachers.
All misconduct cases are investigated by the Complaints Assessment Committee.  If CAC is satisfied on reasonable grounds the misconduct is serious, it may refer the case to the Disciplinary Tribunal. All misconduct cases investigated by the CAC. If it considers the case may possibly be serious misconduct, it must refer the case to the Disciplinary Tribunal.
$5,000 fine for not complying with mandatory reporting of misconduct. $25,000 fine for not complying with mandatory reporting of misconduct.
Can only act on concerns about teacher conduct if there’s been a complaint. Can act on concerns about teacher conduct without receiving a complaint.
11 council members – four directly appointed by the Minister, three appointed by the Minister from nominees from sector (NZEI, PPTA, NZSTA), four elected. Nine council members appointed by the Minister. At least five must come from nominations and at least five must be registered teachers with a current practising certificate.


Meet the council

Barbara Ala’alatoa

Barbara Ala’alatoa

Ms Ala’alatoa has been the principal of Sylvia Park School in South Auckland since 2006. Last year she was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education and was shortlisted for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Award.She has worked as a lecturer and senior lecturer at Auckland College of Education and as a primary school teacher. Ms Ala’alatoa has chaired the National Ministerial Leadership and Teaching Quality Workstream, and been a member of the National Workforce Policy Advisory Group and National Curriculum Advisory Group. She has presented at international conferences on education, and is a member of the NZCER Pasifika Reference Group.

Anthony Mackay

Anthony Mackay

Mr Mackay is chief executive of the Centre for Strategic Education (CSE) Melbourne. He is the moderator of the annual International Summit on the Teaching Profession. He was the inaugural Chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) and Deputy Chair of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, and has held similar roles in the United States and United Kingdom. He had provided policy advice, consultancy and facilitation for government bodies and agencies, think tanks and leadership teams in Australia, Asia, Europe and North America. Mr Mackay is also Chair of the Global Education Leaders Partnership and adviser to OECD/CERI and is Chair of the National Institute for School Leadership, Washington DC. Mr Mackay is an Honorary Fellow in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne and Deputy Chair of the Australian Council for Educational Research. He is a board director of the Asia Education Foundation, the Foundation for Young Australians and Teach for Australia. Mr Mackay is Deputy Chancellor of Swinburne University, Melbourne.

Claire Amos

Claire Amos

Ms Amos is the deputy principal at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. She brings strong expertise in information communication technology (ICT) and has been a member of the PPTA’s ICT advisory committee. She has been director e-learning at Epsom Girls Grammar School and ICT in English Forum Facilitator for Cognition Consulting. She is on the NZQA Brainstorming Group – technology and education, an AUT Edge Work – Educational Futures Network Team Member, on the Network for Learning Reference Board and on the National Aspiring Principal Programme. She also sits on the board of NetSafe and was the New Zealand Teachers Council Secondary Teacher Representative. She has also been involved in the NZQA Digital Assessment/Future State Programme and the 21st Century Learning Reference Group.

Simon Heath

Simon Heath

Of Ngāi Tahu descent, Mr Heath has been principal of Renwick School since 2008. He has worked as a teacher, deputy principal and principal. Mr Heath is a member of the Ministerial Regional Cross-Sector forum and member of Investing in Educational Success – Blenheim Community of Schools Working Group. Mr Heath has also been Chair of Mistletoe Bay Trust, lead principal for Marlborough e-Learning Project and Eco Schools, the president of the Marlborough Principals Association and an establishment member of the Ministry of Education’s Principals Reference Group. In 2012, Mr Heath was one of four school principals awarded a Woolf Fisher Principals Fellowship to complete a course of study at Harvard University School of Educational Leadership.

Ripeka Lessels

Ripeka Lessels

Ms Lessels has 30 years’ experience in the education sector. Of Tūhoe, Ngati Awa, Te Arawa, Ngati Tūwharetoa descent she has taught at primary and secondary levels and in Māori and English. She is currently on the Principals Council of NZEI representing Te Rohe o Te Waiariki. She is active in Ngā Kura ā Iwi o Aotearoa, holding roles in governance and strategic planning. She was a member of the board that transitioned Kawerau North school to a Māori medium kura, Te Whata Tau o Putauaki, and she became the founding principal in 2012. Ms Lessels is a mentor principal and a member of several professional principal’s associations.

Iva Ropati

Iva Ropati

Mr Ropati has been principal of Howick College in Auckland since 2010. Previous roles include serving as principal of One Tree Hill College. He was a member of the Minister of Education’s Cross-Sector Forum (2012-2014) and is Deputy Chair of the Minister of Education’s Cross-Sector Forum Boys’ Achievement focus group. He is a current member of the Auckland Regional Cross-Sector Forum. He has been a member of the New Zealand Pasifika Principals Association, been on the Manukau Institute of Technology Pasifika Advisory Board, chaired Cornwall Park District School Board of Trustees, and been on the One Tree Hill College and Howick College boards of trustees. A former professional rugby league player who played three test matches for the Kiwis, he also has governance roles with the New Zealand Rugby League Association and College Sport Auckland. Mr Ropati received the Sir Peter Blake National Leaders Award in June 2009.

Lynda Stuart

Lynda Stuart

Ms Stuart has been a teacher for more than 30 years and is a member of the current New Zealand Teachers Council. She has been the principal of May Road School in Mt Roskill for nine years and has led a group of schools in the area focused on digital learning initiatives. She has previously been a deputy principal at two other primary schools, and held a number of other senior leadership positions. Lynda is a member of the Advisory Group for Learning Auckland, and has served as NZEI’s Auckland Area Council Chairperson. She currently serves on the National Executive of NZEI and has a responsibility within the Principals Council. Lynda has been involved in the governance group of the NZEI/MOE Joint Initiative, and has also been involved in the Inclusive Education Capability Advisory Group.

Helen Timperley

Helen Timperley

Professor Timperley began her career teaching at West End Primary School in Palmerston North before moving to educational research. She is currently Professor of Learning, Development and Professional Practice at the University of Auckland. For the past year she has been providing expert advice to the Ministerial Advisory Group for Professional Learning and Development. She was also a member of the academic expert advisory group to ERO for the revision of its indicators. Her previous positions at the University of Auckland include director Starpath project, principal investigator Building Evaluative Capability in Schooling Improvement Project, principal investigator research strand for Consortium for Professional Learning, and deputy head of school of Learning, Development and Professional Practice. Professor Timperley became an Ordinary Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in 2009.

Clare Wells

Clare Wells

Ms Wells has been the chief executive of New Zealand Kindergartens Te Putahi Kura Puhou o Aotearoa since 2008. Her previous roles include policy adviser for the New Zealand Public Service Association and a senior policy adviser to the Minister of Education. Ms Wells has been on several education boards and groups since 1991, most recently the Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards Panel of Experts, the Minister of Education’s Cross-Sector Forum and the Minister’s Continuity of Early Learning Group, the Childrens’ Action Plan Directorate Workforce Advisory Group, the New Zealand Teachers Council Early Childhood Education Advisory Group (of which she is Chair), the Early Childhood Education Quality Working Group, and is a member of the Ministry of Education’s Early Childhood Advisory Committee.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 4:17 pm, 29 June 2015

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