I will remember this year in education for ... the change in vision brought about by the newly elected Labour led coalition government.  The new government brings an end to the relentless obsession with assessment data and data analysis and a new focus which places learners at the centre.  The new Government does not subscribe to the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) and does not aspire to the models of education we have seen evolve in the US and UK.  These are dominated by economic imperatives rather than educational.  They do not take account of the importance of our young people developing skills such as critical thinking, creativity and problem solving if they are to have successful futures.  

Our proudest achievement this year ... has been strengthening the frequency and relevance of our communications with principals and with sector heads. As a national body our role is to be the strongest and most influential advocate for principals. This year sector heads have responded energetically to the points we make in our communications about a wide range of issues. This has helped open doors for us to further explore these issues and to report back to principals the outcomes of those meetings. It has brought a heightened awareness to the Ministry of Education of the real and practical effects of education policies and has resulted in some helpful responses. 

I predict the biggest issue in the sector for 2018 will be ... will be eliminating the effects of the GERM that has infiltrated all New Zealand education policies over the past nine years.  Already the new Minister, Hon Chris Hipkins, has announced that national standards will no longer be a measure of learner, teacher, principal or school performance in primary schools and national standards data will no longer be used as an accountability measure to compare schools.  With national standards no longer a feature, further changes, including legislative changes will have to be made.  

Next year our priorities should be ... supporting the Government in creating a new way of working.  We would first assist the Minister in working through the legislative issues associated with national standards and ensure that principals all have alternative assessment tools to use in their schools that are appropriate for their context. Secondly, we would focus on advocating for the continuation and expansion of successful PLD options that assist schools in lifting the success rates of Māori and Pacific Island students. We will also prioritise advocacy for the expansion of the Leadership Advisory Service, to provide mentoring, coaching and support for a broader range of principals including both beginning and experienced principals.