Schools Leadership Programme – He Kākano

The National Institute for Māori Education

Hine Waitere is director of the Indigenous Leadership Centre housed within the National Institute of Māori Education at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. She is also currently the professional development director in He Kākano, a Ministry of Education Professional Learning and Development (PLD) Contract jointly held with Waikato University.

The PLD project provides professional learning and development  that has included principals, senior leadership teams, school board trustees, whānau, hapū and iwi with the aim of supporting the development of culturally-responsive school leadership that works to improve educational outcomes “for Māori, as Māori” in secondary schools throughout Aotearoa.

The three-year project involves a variety of schools: co-ed, single-sex girls and boys, secular and non-secular, urban, rural and AREA. The range includes from decile one to 10 schools in a geographical spread from Bluff (Ngai Tahu) to Kaitaia (Ngāpuhi). Although the schools celebrate their differences they are unified in the common goal of realising the potential of institutions, professionals and students to enhance educational outcomes.

Combining marae-based wānanga with in-school support by regionally based manutaki (facilitators) has helped embed and spread the impact of wānanga learning. Using evidence to examine systems processes and practices including the forms and functions of whānau engagement has brought groups together in respectful relationships  of interdependence to co-construct goals, processes and practices aimed at realising Māori student potential. Building relationships with whānau, hapū and iwi to support data-driven improvements around leadership, teaching and learning is new for many of the schools.

In the context of contributing to the development of a 21st-century profession, schools in their self reporting are offering a number of thought-provoking insights, among them:

We need to develop a culture of care not one of compliance.

He Kākano has inspired a much greater degree of evidence-based practice.

The key shift for the middle managers who attended [wānanga 6] was that improving Māori achievement is not about strategies, it is about attitudes to our learners and their families.

He Kākano has provided the ‘space’ and tools for our school to reflect and review practices and processes. From this monitoring we embraced a co-constructional way forward to work towards goals that we have identified.

Our understanding of professional development has changed – embedded, intensive, ongoing and collaborative.

There is staff willingness to constantly ask the question “how does any change impact on Māori and priority learners”. Reflected in all levels of planning and reporting. We are all constantly asking “how does this improve our teaching and learning?”

At these He Kākano sessions [wānanga] I have been blown away by the personal development of some school leaders who have acknowledged that there is a problem and are trying to develop strategies to deal with identified issues. Isn't it wonderful that we have moved from blaming the system, the child, the whānau to pushing blame aside to deal with the reality of how external issues are impacting on achievement. There seems to be less ‘just give me the answer!” which, I think, can only be attributed to He Kākano project.

Contact the Director, Indigenous Leadership Centre – Hine Waitere

Phone: +64 (0) 27 369 5087