Welcome to our 34th Annual Conference
6th – 9th June 2024

From “Re-setting the education agenda” of last year’s conference to “Being the change we want for today and tomorrow” for this. 

School boards make an enormous contribution to all our kura in Aotearoa.  The strength of school governance lies in the fact that schools work under the strategic guidance of members of their own communities, including parents, professional people and others who are able to contribute relevant skills and expertise.

Through quality governance we can continue to assist in shaping the future for our children of today and beyond but, we need to be relentless, we need to be determined, we need to be courageous.  Our children, our future, deserve no less. 

This year, we ask you to rise above the noise of today, to find the traction needed to keep us from slipping, To tie us all together to make sure no-one falls, and to ensure we keep heading in the right direction. 

As boards we need to concentrate on how we can support and challenge each other, our principal and staff and our whole school community to strive for excellence in everything we do, especially for and on behalf of our students.  Governing our schools really well doesn’t just mean doing okay by eighty percent of the students. Or ninety. It’s a good start – but we need to aim higher. We need to help every student, every member of our staff to face their Everest, and conquer it. And to do that we lead by example. We face up to the hard stuff, we deal with it and we move on. 

We lead the world in our commitment to community involvement in our children’s schooling. As school boards, we can be proud of the part that we, and the people who’ve come before us over the past 34 years, have had in making that work. One of the changes we have been part of in that time is the increasing focus on the fact that schools are about students. It’s the ability to make a positive change in their lives that motivates us, and the quality of their work that indicates whether we’ve succeeded. 

I will continue to remind us all that there is a song at the heart of every school. Each one is a song about hope and opportunity; about the joy of learning and growing and becoming better; about nourishing the treasure that our children and young people can and will be. The song can all too often be drowned out by the noise of day-to-day school life. As trustees, we are the guardians of our school’s heart song. It is our task to know the song in the heart of our school and to sing it back when others forget how it goes.  We do that by knowing why we are there and keeping focussed not just on how and when we do things, but why we do them, and whether we might do them better.  The result is a firm, shared commitment to creating an excellent school, with staff who excel at the work they do, with students who excel at being all they can be, whether academically or ethically; physically, emotionally, or socially. However well we have done so far, we remind each other that there is always more we can do. When school boards do this well, our schools thrive, and so do our students and the things they can achieve. 

“Be nice to your kids – they’re the ones who’ll choose your rest-home”

There’s another saying, “it’s the little things you do that make the big things happen.” The “big thing” for us as school board members is creating a school that produces the kind of people we want to leave in charge of our future. To make that happen, we need to do the “little things” well: manage the school finances; choose the right principal; ask the right questions; make sure the grounds and buildings are safe, uplifting, and fit for purpose; create a group dynamic that celebrates the achievements and the potential of adults and students alike; communicate openly, early and often, with the other people who make up our school community… These don’t always feel like “little things” and we all know they are not always easy - but compared to the prize we are playing for, that’s what they are. They are the steps that begin the journey of a thousand miles, the drops that eventually fill the ocean, the link that determines the strength of the chain. If the ankle twists on the first step, or the water source is stagnant, or the link is weak, it is the future of our children and our friends’ and neighbours’ children that we have compromised. But then you already know that! 

So, once again WELCOME – welcome to conference 2024 - where we will serve up a smorgasbord of learning opportunities that will disrupt your thinking, arm you with courage and equip you to be determined, to be relentless yet to be kind and to remind us all about our heart songs together.

“Whᾱia te iti Kahurangi ki te tuoho koe me he maunga teitei” 

Nga mihi mahana - nga mihi aroha

Lorraine Kerr MNZM

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Conference dates
6 - 9 June 2024

Te Whakarōputanga Kaitiaki Kura o Aotearoa Conference 2024

Conference organisers: The Conference Company
Email: tewhakaroputangaconference@theconferencecompany.com

Phone:  +64 9 360 1240

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