Sunday, May 27, 2018

Getting Investigation Right

Last week our SLT were involved in a PLD session with our local NZSTA legal mastermind around the topic of getting investigations right! 

Investigation - getting it right - conduct issues
This focussed on two main issues 
1- Investigation itself
2- Challenging conversation

The first message was 'Park the back story' - need to put prior knowledge aside - this is for conduct not competency. Unless it has been documented or disciplinary action carried out before.

Principals of Natural Justice
- every case has shades of grey
- Inexplicable can become explicable -
- Everybody deserves an opportunity to be heard

Conduct Issues Process
- act fairly towards people who have been affected by your decisions
- This is the process of natural justice
- If there’s an complaint; you need to get all the info before you present to the staff member
- any verbal communication should be followed up in email

Natural Justice
- give info - no surprise
- Give opportunity - been heard
- Demonstrate independence - open mind - have to be able to demonstrate - watch language used -make sure that your language does not suggest predetermination
- Give reasons - details must be given as to why ...
- Give notice - prelim decision needs at BOT level

PEEPO - chart - factors that contribute to the event
- people
- Environment
- Equipment
- Procedures
- Organisation
Focussing on people only leads to blame - this is often what we default to - but can lead to a culture of blames and lack of openness.

Investigation Interviews
- get the statement signed off
- Open ended questions about state of mind - tell me what happened? Tell me about it?
- Just gathering info - always let them know the 3 possibilities
- Don’t talk about allegation until the investigation meeting

- what if complainants want to be anonymous - cannot take disciplinary action if anonymous complaint
- anonymous complaints not followed up
- How does this affect learning relationship - maybe get general feedback
- be careful about professional comments in any comments
- suspension - avoid - discretionary leave - alternative duties
- interview complainant first, then witnesses
- keep everyone informed

Friday, July 14, 2017

Weaving Words 17 - Closing Keynote Dame Claudia Orange

How can an historian help English teachers make sense of our world?
How do we construct the memory of events?

How does history shape our identity of a people?

In the 1960s NZ History was largely written monocultural and badly written. Te Reo was not considered important despite much documentation being in Te Reo.

Her research challenged the majority view of a benign government looking after a peoples. 1940s and 1950s policy saw education stopping for Maori after Yr10.

Her first book published in 1987 was during a wave of 'new' kinds of history - dual voices.

Government viewed Treaty as an historical artefact rather than a working document. 1970s changed this.

1980s 'anti treaty' stance has moved towards reconciliation of now.

Many unresolved issues still - such as the constitutional place of the Treaty!

Writing - creating the Biography of NZ - interesting journey - biographies of women and Maori raised a number of issues - Te Ara has the online repository of this.

Managing Te Papa repository of historical collection cf to collecting 'stuff' in a garage! Te Papa 'a garden' of all the treasures we have.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Weaving Words- Opening Keynote Kirsten Shaw NZATE17

Keynote 1 Kirsten Shaw - National Moderator 

Patterns of moderation - what we've learnt; what we see in moderation - internal moderation. 
Moderators look to agree with the grade you have awarded. 

Breadth of variety is great to see - as are the richness of tasks. 

English rate of agreement sits at 85% - excellent agreement. A quality assurance check. NCE- is a robust, internationally recognised qualification. 

Some standards work really well - writing, speaking, personal reading, connections. Institutional knowledge on these. 
What's improving? Most disagreement over the 'new' standards - visual text creation. 
Information Literacy. First exemplars notbthat useful! Work from the advisors has been essential for this! Ironic! 

Writing - where is integration happening? Often disagreement at L3 of the writing - especially if not reformatted - from another subject area! Obvious really! Go back to audience and purpose! Some text types - diaries, letters - expressive text type - needs to be taken to a published level. More than just a first draft. How are they using a wide range of language features. 
Level 2 - two polished pieces - accepted that teachers have a writing programme that enables this. 

Information Literacy -  vital standard. This standard does them a real favour for future. Generally see 4-8 sources as news age level. Don't expect to see academic reports. The importance of fondly Ng conclusions as opposed to just finding information. Weigh up sources and generate own knowledge. 

Connections - written reports - very few other presentations. Other 5% mainly oral. Potential for seminar - 7 cr. 
98% of reports done thematically - leads into the externals. But other ideas are good.  Level 3 - connection needs to be linked to impact wide world info. 

Oral presentation - YouTube online audience. Still needs to be crafted. Podcasts - generally an essay - but a discussion / sound effects  - edited breaks match the text type! Ocassionally see screencasts - of close viewing analysis. 

Creating Visual Texts - ideas preminantly through a visual mode - images must be manipulated and created their own. 
Would shift a grade if visuals are just an illlustration -OR if Ideas development need to be at sophisticated level. 
Manipulated screen grabs are common. 
Springboard from literature effective but social issues also powerful. 

Critical Texts - great work seen here. Using other people's ideas critically. Focussing on one theory works best. Doesn't have to be an academic article, but not just a teaching and learning article. The focus is on the text! 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sport in Education

Last Thursday I was lucky enough to be in Wellington (on behalf of NZATE) with staff from the 24 schools who take part in the Sport in Education initiative.
These schools deliver curriculum in a variety of ways that take sport as a context or sporting values as a way of shaping education. Teachers came from mainly Health and Pe, English, Maths, Science and Social Science fields. I spent a large part of the day with a group of English teachers sharing how English worked in the programme in their schools.

The day began (after a wet and wild flight up the island) with a high energy key note address.

Key Note: Susie Stevens (a few notes) 

One size does not fit all - the danger of standardisation. 

Trapped by the barriers, of language. 
Guided by the language we use to define education - GATE, reading recovery , accelerated, special education. Always trying to get back to the norm. But what is actually the norm? 

Change in education is not easy - change is compared to death - there's grief (Kubler Ross) 

Is it possible to get change in education without a cape and undies? 
- there's needs to be a reason for the change
- resist labelling those on board and those not- empathise not criticise 
- need systems to support 

Change is hard -as the Child President reminds us 

It's hard to break out of subject silos - but we need to remind ourselves of what is the vision of the curriculum document?

Think about the skills a 'Bomb disposal technician'  - Bomb technicians learn how to engage in effective communication, analytical thinking, teamwork and individual work while under stress and in dangerous conditions. 
These could come from many of our curriculum statements.

What about the jobs that don't exist? Do kids hate Maths? Or hate the fact that they don't understand it? Or it is in no context? 

Differences and 'sameness' 
We cultivate a culture of sameness 
- for ease 
- for power 
- we've always done it this way

If a flower doesn't grow, do we blame the flower? 
Who/What do we blame - the environment.
We want students to grow, get the right environment. That's what we are in charge of and what we are charged with doing - creating the right environment. 

English Subject Cluster - some shared ideas 
- many changes
- focus on active learning - not just sports active learning - making pens
- start small
- mainly junior schools
- end of year all buy in - all subjects - Olympics - bringing outside in as well 
- target a Yr11 focus class 
- literacy based inquiry 
- learning to learn behaviours - creating a community with values - team culture 
- theme based units 'the big deal' healthy community - move towards a more integrated approach 
- change in class attitude but teacher collaboration has been great 
- Yr 11 kayaking - trip to Waitangi included history and English - all work done by all kids across all subjects 
- all boys schools / all boys classes 
- follow a team/competition - history, most expensive player etc Euro16
- speech on their chosen sport on how to get to the elite level in their sport 
-  'the best year teaching of my life' 
- a privilege to be part of this class 
- Eng/PE/Maths - issue of the timetable allowing this 
- active learning - mini teams - building a culture - build in an expedition for this - round the campfire 
- similar language across the classes -eg energisers - integrated assessments 
- why do we lose the 'learn through play' 
- high technology 
- all teachers involved in all activities - teachers build the relationship 
- science of meta-cognition 
- 4 week training with military trainer 

How do we create an environment that allows our learners to do the best that they can do? A shared context? How do we translate to NCEA? 
- active education 
- parts of speech relays
- scavenger hunts for revision 
Level 1- teachers meet every week around the class - shared approach - shared values through sport - great for English text choices 'the body's response to exercise' - needs to be timetabled as a cohort

After a great day, I'm pretty keen to get my own school involved! 

Friday, August 19, 2016

CADAP 2016 - If I knew then what I know now ...Linda Tame

Linda Tame, ex Principal Lincoln High School, MoE consultant. 

Some things to think about - 

1 Know yourself ( and how your team works) 
2 Relational Trust 
3 Strengths  based approach 
4 Other observations 

1 What's my way of operating?  - many models to choose from. What process do you use to understand your behaviour? 
 Eg Hermann Brain Model 
Important to know how the people in your team 'ticks'. Cheryl Doig as an evaluator if this. Need to put time aside for this. 
Why am I senior leader? What is your moral imperative? 
 'it's about us changing not the students changing?' 

2 Relational Trust  (Vivianne Robinson) 
Don't just expect it happen! 
Deliberate strategies can be used to build trust - chaos if no 'genuine' trust! 

Interpersonal Respect 
- genuinely listen - challenging 
- not allowing inappropriate behaviours - eg behaviour at staff meeting/ student interface 
- valuing people's professional work 
- actually have system to value what the staff do

Personal regard for others
- the class for senior leaders are the teachers!  

There needs to be a DELIBERATE drive to build relational trust. 
The only way you know how you're going is to get anonymous feedback, at least once a year. Essential. 

Perception is reality! It may or may not be true, but the perception is there. So acting on this is essential. 
You need to have relational trust in the bank when things go wrong! We are all going to make mistakes, but we need relational trust to get through. 

3 Strengths based approach 
- believe that we all want the best for the students 
- all have positive intentions 
- let's look at what is working well - and do this deliberately 
Great quote - we tend to focus on the wrong

4 Other observations 
- who do you talk to about the big things at work - it's quite lonely for a Principal 
- we need to manage up, as well as manage down 


Thursday, August 18, 2016

CADAP2016 - if I knew then, what I know now! - Neil Hayward

16 months into the job - what have I learnt? 

Not much would have prepared me for the role! 

Management vs Leadership - how do you keep the balance between leading and managing? 
Be brave - can I have the difficult conversations? 

1st Challenge - building relational trust - how do we go about this? 
- be seen 
show that you care - look after them 'RHS' family
- be on top of the portfolio ASAP
- staff assume you know everything admit that you don't know everything - and that mistakes are made from learning 
 Relational Trust 
- respect everyone's role 
- listen
- have competence 
- act with integrity 

Establish the Priorities 
- what are the priorities - what is the current vision? 
- individual 15 mins with every staff member - what do you like, where do you want to be? 
- being visible
- get involved 
- open transparent communication 

What is 'part of the furniture' here? 

Building the Team 
- loyal
- supportive 
- believe in the vision 

5 Dimensions of Leadership 
- simple
- manageable 

Resourcing Strategically 
- who I employ vs who I have to work with that's existing staff?
- are meetings the right meetings? 
Ensuring quality teaching 
Leading Teacher Learning and development
- focus on teacher inquiry 
Ensuring a safe and orderly environment 
- protect teacher time 

Change Management - biggest challenge
Kotter's 8 steps of Change

CADAP 2016 - Keynote Speaker - Patrick Walsh - Education Law

Patrick Walsh, ex Head of Principal Assn, presented on Education Law (Principal and holder of law degree). 

The law is a very fluid issue in schools, not a lot of case studies to go on. Every school is also a unique situation. 

The focus in schools should be on teaching and learning - often this is not the case -. Other high risk things take over - suspension, relationships, financial issues. 

10 years ago very few lawyers practicing  in education law, 25+ now. Parents seem to go to lawyer rather than go to school. Lawyers attending suspension meetings. New laws mean that students have jurisprudence, not school and board. 

52 Acts govern education - generally around compliance eg Section 23 Privacy Act, we need a Privacy Officer.  Important to know what the penalties are. 

We are a 'rights conscious societies' - bodies geared to ensure that the rights are complied to. For example the Ombudsmen has the ability to open investigation into any Principal or Board if presented by parents; Education Council, ERO. A really strong complaints policy will mean that few actually go to the Ombudsmen. 
There has been a growth major growth in litigation and the massive growth in 'social media' litigation! 
Students need to know the complaints policy as well. Really important that the students know to go through our student council at the moment as we have no student rep on the Board, as no Board. 

Apparently we can create 'by- laws' for the school - there needs to be a robust reason - why is this rule necessary for the running of a school. Why is it necessary for good order and governance? Hard to justify around hair colour, jewellery, puffer jacket etc!!!!  Schools have a right to set rules in consultation with the community. 

Staff - BOT can develop a code of conduct for staff, some Principals 'enforce' a code of conduct - which can be problematic. Is this a good idea - and aim for staff buy in as opposed to imposing something that is lawful but may not be successful eg staff and ties!!!

Case Law the use of precedence to inform education issues that get to court. Currently these cases do not seem to be in the public  knowledge - they tend to sit with the Ministry - provide a summary, set the precedent and advise action. Ministry has not done this yet.
Legal risk management is important - need for policies is essential. They need to check that the policies actually match the current law. Audit that the policies match the law - handy if you have a lawyer on the BoT. 
Legal literacy - really important that rushing into make procedural errors! Complex issues need advice! 
Copyright - not for your school but for anyone who uses your facilities!!!

Recent Case Law eg MvR vs Syms vs PNBHS (2003) - alcohol consumption - suspended and excluded. 
- Taken to court for judicial review. Invalid in law - cannot have policy that predetermined outcome and mitigating circumstances. Need 'weasel words' in policy eg 'maybe suspended' ! 
- Difficult for staff to understand that there cannot be a simple list of misdemeanours and outcomes. Maybe different outcomes for same offence. 
- BOTs may come to different decision than the Principal 
Bill of Rights has come into play a lot more -  - student's rights over rode the school's and teacher's rights here! Special needs of the student were not taken into account. 
NB - when a student presents with discipline we need to 'discover ' the cause and THEN investigate other options! 
Student hair length - St John's - was this by-law necessary - obviously not!!! 'Suspension disproportionate to the breach of the rule'.
St Bede's case - education lawyers believe judge intervened unnecessarily as NOT interfering with education of the students . This has created an unfortunate precedent for schools - all sorts of judicial reviews. SPANZ don't think this is good law and will challenge any further cases that rely on the precedent. Judicial Review - the right to review ANY decision that affects the rights of individual students. 

Schools are 'civil' cases. Students who deny any charge can be difficult - but do not have to prove 'beyond reasonable doubt' - more than 51%. Board can decide on 'balance of probabilities' which could be different from 'beyond reasonable doubt'. If 'suspending staff' MUST check with MOE that they will pay for reliever. 

Contract Law - in the world of 'self managing schools' it's important to follow sensible commercial practice. 
- don't pay before you get goods 
- buying businesses that are not key to school business 
- check who leases your properties - insurers need to be notified of who are additional users 
Nice to have a lawyer on a BOT ! 

Governance and Management 
Quote from Richard Harrison, 1993 - BoT and Principal should be consultative and co-operative ! More irony!!!

Employment Law 
- must have a fair and transparent process 
- competency - often fails because too much time gathering evidence - Employment RA checks the process, not the evidence - they do not know the standards - interested in that there has been a fair process 

Procedural Fairness - Competency 
- particularise concerns - need to be specific and details need to be clear 
- communicate concerns in a manner they understand - check with the employee 'do you understand what I say when .......' Onus is on us to explain concerns 
- set out the required standard - this is what you need to do 
- minimum of 10 weeks - unless gross incompetence - don't move immediately to dismissal 

- Support and Guidance - needs to be very clear that they know it is not appraisal 
Very difficult in area of workplace bullying due to subjective nature of complaint. 

Dismissal of Staff - judge steps into BoT shoes - if the judge was sitting here today, would they see this as a fair process. Double jeapordy - as a teacher does not just lose job, but also lose registration and career. Due process must be followed. Howick College good case - . It is important to ASK into mental health. 

Has the school contributed to the problem eg has the school contributed to the problem - by putting the staff member into a job there are not suited for!

- If you restructure to avoid going down the competency road - is that legal? Courts will investigate that you have genuine reasons for restructure OR just avoiding difficult people. 

- How do you avoid the 'roller coaster' effect? Competency, gets better, then goes backwards, competency.....
- is it a substantively reached the standard? Will they get there? 
- if there are multiple 10 weeks -  then it's misconduct - choosing not to maintain competency! 

Really important to ensure that appraisal is robust for teachers who are under competency. Attestation and appraisal need to match. The Principal has to check that the data provided by the S and G person. 

Procedural Fairness - Serious Misconduct of staff 
- never have a complete list
- disclose allegation at initial meeting - if admitted or substance becomes a disciplinary nature 'I must advise if I don't like the answers that you give me, I'll refer to BoT'
-  what support do we have to give to support at initial meeting - tension around being a 'good employer' - also complicated if there is a criminal investigation going on.
- Sect 66 of Ed Act - there is delegation of authority - Principal must have delegated authority from the BoT - eg conduct a Prima Facie investigation, discipline letters - generally not substantive inquiry 

Stress Claims - see the case here regarding workload and not being a good employer
There has been a rise in education related stress claims. Court requires: 
- unreasonable level of stress
- linked to a recoginisable medical condition 
- not related to out of work issues 
- did you know - identify staff who may be stressed - quiet, or angry or sick a lot - enquirer how they are coping in the job (do we need a stress register for Staff? ) 
- check the conditions 'industry standards' eg number of special needs in one class
- what can we afford to do in support - in our resources
- can invoke competency if stressed by incompetency 
- EAP - who do you chat to if stressed 
- SLT raising standards and expectations causes stress - leads to bullying - BoT needs to manage change 

Health and Safety + Students with Special Needs 
- programmes must be provided for all special needs 
- any child who presents with special needs has to be treated differently - how do we actually provide resources to deal with this? 
- MoE could be at fault if these not met! 
- what have you done positively to support the child with special needs (ie no additional support) 
- staff who have to manage these without support COULD create personal grievance if no extra support given in classroom 
- hazard register and RAMS forms should name and manage the BEHAVIOUR not the child 

Students committing crimes 
- if students commit a crime outside of school police currently have no obligation to notify school 
- social media impacts on jurisdiction - especially if victim and perpetrator at school - school  currently has no jurisdiction over these such events - what is the gross misconduct eg sharing video at school of offsite or out of hours offence
- If there is a strong nexus between student and school then there is a strong case for jurisdiction (close to school, in uniform, time of day) - Northcote College example student reinstated -
- if an event disrupts the running of the school, then we have jurisdiction over it - double edged sword - we can be responsible for everything  - Harmful Digital Comminications - Netsafe will be working to create how this will be investigated - students and parents can bring charges. 

Search and Seizure
- potentially dangerous areas include - searching electronic devices - not OK, you can ask them with parent present, or ask police investigate if criminal activity involved. 
- do not to treat confiscation as punishment eg taking a beanie! 
- does a breath test classify a breach? Or do we need to get an official 'non govt' agency to do this! Even if they sign a form agreeing to conditions. 
- schools are bound by BillofRights - even if parents consent
- random drug tests - a grey area around jurisdiction - lawyers on both sides 

Freedom of Expression -
- sections 72, 75, 76 of the Acts are rights of freedom of expression - this UK school in breach -
- section 5 states that these must be reasonable in a free and democratic society 
- schools are not adult communities - need rules and regulations - parents expect this too - being different is not recognised by the courts 
- section 14 - cultural and religious value - test the reason for the deviation - political reasons harder to justify 

Education Council 
- mandatory reporting of dismissal or competency proceedings  - in the preceding 12 months if dissatisfied or intending to investigate 
- Rule 9 serious misconduct - self explanatory 
- laptop agreement - some misunderstanding of the laptop agreements and use of the laptop 
- any act that discredits the teaching profession - balance between being role models and not being the 'moral police' of teachers - and the role of social media in this - do we need a national policy on this? Information on EdCouncil site on this . Must disclose to senior leader if any inadvertent access or pop-up. 
Principal prosecuted for not notifying BoT, police, not ensuring children safe.
Weight of opinion is that the charges against staff member SHOULD be disclosed to community. 

Health and Safety 2015
Education not intended as part of this but caught up, and seen as low risk. Would need to be a high level of systems failure if someone was to be prosecuted. 
Everyone who is involved in overseeing EOTC - seen as an officer. No insurance against the fine. So Board and Officer Liability. 

NB: Most of the youth who appear before Andrew Beecroft are students that been excluded from school! 

Principalship is about relationships 
- relationship with BoT is PARAMOUNT 
- appoint people who are good at the jobs that you are not good at doing 
- leading learning is the key - but all the other shit actually has to have time spent on them - finance, property, community support 
- get out into the classrooms - how do you know if you are not out there looking at what's going on 
- fight the battles that are student centred!