Five priorities for education leaders in the next normal

This post has been prompted by a recent McKinsey article I read titled What matters most? Five priorities for CEOs in the next normal. It’s one of a series from McKinsey on how leaders can adapt to a different future. I need to acknowledge this from the outset as the source of the five priorities I’ve used below – my post here is simply a reflection on how these might apply specifically to the context of educational leadership, most particularly, school leaders. The driver for this reflection is the experience we’ve all had of the global COVID-19 pandemic. As the … Continue reading Five priorities for education leaders in the next normal

Devices and learning

Digital devices are already an integral part of New Zealanders’ lives, and their use outside theclassroom is likely only set to increase. However, the emerging research detailing their impacts onlearning and wellbeing leads to clear recommendations for a cautious, purposeful, and well-researched approach to their use. PISA 2018: Digital devices and student outcomes in New Zealand schools (page 18) As someone who has spent the best part of a 40 plus career in education researching, innovating and supporting the use of digital technologies in education the recent publicity about the findings from the 2018 PISA study on digital devices and … Continue reading Devices and learning

Taking it in our stride

In my previous post titled ‘caught by surprise‘ I reflected on how, despite all of the signals, so many schools and businesses appear not to have been as prepared as they might be for the eventuality of another lockdown. I received a significant amount of feedback in the various forums I shared my post on – many giving personal anecdotes to illustrate agreement with what I was saying, but several pointing out that there were also schools and students who had a far better experience, and who were better prepared for the current lockdown. In my post I did acknowledge … Continue reading Taking it in our stride

Closing the divide

Now is the time to ensure that EVERY young person regardless of their school and postcode can stay connected to their learning, and not just survive but thrive! Many students have access to devices, many homes have wifi, but if we genuinely care about inclusive education that genuinely puts each and every young person at the centre of their educational experience, we need to equip them, and get on supporting all teachers and leaders to amplify learning and supporting learning relationships online. Come on Aotearoa – let’s close the digital divide!! Claire Amos The quote above appears at the end … Continue reading Closing the divide

Caught by surprise

“The question is not if, but when. Together, we must be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and effectively respond to pandemics in a highly coordinated fashion. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe.” Source: World Health Organisation As NZ experiences another period of COVID-19 level 4 lockdown, I’ve been interested to note the responses I’m seeing across our education system in particular. It’s left me wondering just how much we actually have learned from the lockdown of 2020? I recall a post I wrote back then titled … Continue reading Caught by surprise

Nothing short of terrifying

A headline one of this week’s newspapers has been top of mind over the past few days. It read; Planetary health-check delivers ‘unprecedented’, ‘terrifying’ picture. The article reports on the findings of the latest report from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). As highlighted in the headline, the findings are alarming to say the least, and warn of dire consequences for us as a species if we don’t determine to act quickly enough (and even then it may not be quick enough!) I was discussing this with another colleague as we’d each read the article, noting the encouragement we … Continue reading Nothing short of terrifying

Leadership entropy

The quality and nature of leadership is fundamental to the success of any organisation. Any organisation, be it a commercial business, public office or educational institution, stands or falls on the contribution of its leadership. Look no further than the libraries of books and websites, blogs, podcasts and seminars devoted to the subject of leadership for evidence of how important we think this is. It seems almost every week I come across yet another person who, having demonstrated some degree of success as a leader in their former occupation is now venturing out as a ‘leadership coach’ in order to … Continue reading Leadership entropy

A damaging divorce

During the years our kids were at school this was an all too familiar conversation… Dad: How’s it going for you at school at the moment? Daughter: Great! I just handed in my project for our Social Studies topic Dad: That’s good to hear. How do you think you’ll go? Daughter: I don’t know – I’ll have to wait until I get it back from the teacher! Dad: But surely you have some idea of what to expect? Did you complete everything required? Daughter: I’m pretty sure I did Dad: Did you address all of the criteria? Daughter: Criteria? Dad: … Continue reading A damaging divorce

Pedagogy of compliance

In the so-called “factory schools” that originated in early 19th-century Prussia education was provided by the state and learning was regimented. Before that formal education was reserved for the elite and those who could afford it. But as industrialisation changed the way people worked, it created the need for a model of schooling that includes everyone. In these schools students were placed in grades according to their age and moved through successive grades as they mastered the curriculum. Factories required workers who were going to show up every day, on time, and be prepared to do what their managers told … Continue reading Pedagogy of compliance


Last week I enjoyed an insightful and highly productive day of professional development with the staff of Ōtaki Primary School. We met for the day in Te Marae o Hine, located not far from the school itself. In the traditional manner, we were welcomed onto the marae with a pōwhiri during which an iwi elder traced the history of the marae, its people and the significant events in the story of its past. The concept of whakapapa – or genealogy – is a fundamental principle in Māori culture. I’ve had the privilege of visiting different marae on numerous occasions, and … Continue reading Whakapapa