Latest news & updates

August 2021

The first workshop in our four-part Leadership Series was held on August 13, and putting one's heart into the very centre of leadership was the key message from facilitator, Angus Jenkins. Acknowledging Simon Sinek's golden circles, he depicted this in the following way:

The series started with building the foundations of collaborative leadership as each participant was asked to focus on their own authentic leadership narrative. It offered the opportunity to reflect on the attributes of great leaders and convey one's passion and beliefs through a powerful narrative that connects with people at an emotional level. Key concepts included:

- differentiating management from leadership

- (being aware of) unintended consequences

- (step into our) vulnerability to create trust.

The workshop participants were able to lean into a korero with Derek Wenmouth who focused on leadership of learning. Derek described great leaders as having a vision, a moral compass and are relational which combine to generate dynamic energy for everyone involved. He identified some signs of leadership "entropy" when this energy cannot be sustained and things start to slide backwards. He suggested that a mindset of appreciative enquiry is critical for leaders of learning. See his blog for further information on this topic at

We started to explore the attributes of collaborative leadership and why this approach is fundamental to leading schools. Research from Oxford Leadership (2011) shows that:

"... all of us together can be smarter, more creative, and more competent than any of us alone, especially when it comes to addressing the kinds of novel, complex and multi-faceted problems that organisations (schools) face today."

The transition from an "ego"-system to an "eco-system" is challenging and our participants are eager to learn more practical ways in which they can embed this approach. These will be an important part of subsequent workshops in the series.

The following feedback reflects the deep reflection that has taken place in the workshop:

The workshop gave me "time to reflect on my leadership purpose and the influence I have on my team"

"Great to spend time reflecting on our narrative and understanding ourselves and others leadership for collective improvement"

The workshop has begun to "reignite my passion for leadership"

We are really looking forward to further recharging of leadership passion across the sector!

July 2021

There is so much to celebrate and share in regards to SchoolTalk! Since SchoolTalk began in 2015, it has successfully grown to 14 schools - eight in New Zealand and six in Australia. We now have 631 teachers and 6520 learners actively using the app!

The benefits of SchoolTalk are now being captured through research. In 2020, the Ministry of Education funded a Record of Learning (RoL) project through the Stonefields Collaborative. The purpose was to investigate through 10 SchoolTalk Schools how the SchoolTalk app was successfully being implemented as a RoL and what further developments might need to be considered. This year, the Cognition Education Trust has funded a one-year project. The aim is to support the growth of teacher effectiveness through the use of the SchoolTalk app by understanding how to effectively use the Teaching, Learning and Assessment cycle in order to accelerate student outcomes, predominantly priority learners.

There are also exciting developments in the pipeline! The growing network of SchoolTalk users continues to feed forward ideas and innovations of how to improve the app. This has informed the creation of a two year development roadmap. Users can expect to see:

  • New and efficient ways of capturing formative data to support teachers' learning design

  • A more holistic view of a child's learning

  • More choices in how to report to parents