Wednesday 10 November 2010

Review Summary: Performance Management

SchoolDocs has strengthened the Performance Management section as a result of the recent review feedback, ERO and MOE guidelines, Employment Contract requirements, and consultation with the NZSTA Handbook June 2009. See Upcoming Changes on the Demo site.

Much of the feedback from the review of Performance Management was very positive and included words like: extremely clear and concise, comprehensive, well outlined, easy to follow, easily read, practical, thorough, clear expectations, …

School boards and staff reviewed this section last term and provided an abundance of feedback. As a result we have made many changes through the section, and created two new topics: Review an Appraisal, and Attestation. We think the section is greatly improved and strengthened by the review and subsequent changes.

For the most part, the changes were made to clarify or expand on points in the original topics in response to feedback comments of the “what if..” variety. What if the appraiser leaves during the year? What if the teacher is part time? What if the teacher doesn’t begin in the first term? What if an issue is identified?

We have expanded on the purpose of performance management, and on managing concerns and feedback from trainee and beginning teachers, and have also added a reference to Records Retention.

Thanks to all reviewers for their comments and suggestions.

Review Summary: Improve Educational Outcomes for Maori Students

SchoolDocs has made significant changes to the generic Improve Educational Outcomes for Maori Students policy as a result of the ongoing review feedback by subscriber school stakeholders, and reference to the key resources; Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2008-2012, the ERO Promoting Success for Maori students: Schools’ Progress June 2010 and Better Relationships for Better Learning Guidelines for boards of trustees and schools on engaging with Māori parents, whānau and communities.

This topic has been on a continuous review by school boards, staff, and parents. It is now on the regular review schedule, with its next review due in term 4, 2012.

There were many comments about the policy being too brief or vague so the new topic contains more specific objectives. Many people also wondered why the emphasis on Māori students, and not those of other cultural groups within New Zealand. One of the reasons for this is that schools have legal requirements in relation to Māori under the Education Act, 1989. The Act requires schools to include in their charter aims that reflect the unique position of Māori culture [s63 (a)]. Furthermore, the views and concerns of Māori communities are to be considered before a school's charter is prepared or amended [s62 (1)]. The National Administration Guidelines place explicit requirements on schools to plan for improving the achievement of Māori students, to carry out a process of self-review, and to report to the community on this self-review and on Māori students' achievements. The process is an annual cycle linked to the Ministry of Education’s requirements for Planning and Reporting, and raising Maori achievement. We’ve added a link to the Ministry’s Five Year Plan Ka Hikitia.

The link to Recognition of Cultural Diversity has been moved to a more prominent position in the topic reflecting its importance.

Thursday 4 November 2010

Review Summary: Crisis Management

The SchoolDocs team has clarified parts of the Crisis Management policy and strengthened the Crisis Management Plan as a result of the recent review feedback, MoE guidelines and consultation with the NZ Police. See Upcoming Changes on the Demo site.

The Crisis Management topic and its associated Crisis Management Plan was reviewed in term three by school boards and staff and generated a large number of reviews.

Thanks to all reviewers. We remind principals to check their school’s implementation feedback and advise us of any school specific changes.

We have clarified the roles of the police, and the Ministry of Education Traumatic Incident team, and added contact details for the latter. Other support now referred to includes NZSTA, spiritual and cultural advisors, and security services.

Many reviewers were concerned about the mention of counselling, claiming that compulsory debriefing and/or counselling can be a bad thing. Reviewers also mentioned the need to extend support to the family of the victim, and to ensure the safety of staff as well as students.

The importance of keeping the board included and updated, and of having a media person, was also raised. We will be discussing the issue of media guidelines and hope to bring you some new content about media delagation and training in the future. Feel free to comment here or send us an email ( if you have experienced a crisis situation and issues with the media.