ULearn Breakout 3: Transforming Middle Leaders

Creating Communities of Leaders (CoL) Online

Following on from our positive response at FLANZ, formerly DEANZ (see post here), Martin (Unitec Institute of Technology) and I, along with Lachie, also at CORE Education, offered a specific workshop for middle leaders to prototype some of the potential content for our proposed online Empower Middle Leadership course being offered early next year. 

The role of Middle Leaders

Middle leaders have challenging yet rewarding positions in schools/kura. They have a “pivotal part to play in helping their schools pursue their goals and achieve their objectives...Influential positions...to drive curriculum, change and innovation” (Ministry of Education, 2012).

In the latest PPTA News, December 2016 (here), there was an interesting debate: 'Middle Management - is climbing the ladder worth it?'. Both sides are presented, from Erin and Anna's perspectives. Ultimately, the role demands are forever increasing, yet those who are leading from the middle have the potential to directly influence teaching and learning, and improve learner outcomes.

Further reading
  •  'The role of middle leaders in New Zealand secondary schools: Expectations and challenges' (Bassett, 2016) Waikato Journal of Education here

NZ treats and Fast Feedback from our pre ULearn survey
Prior to ULearn, we surveyed our participants to find out more about their experience, challenges, appraisal experiences and leadership development. You might like to read the summary here.

Middle Leadership Workshop:
Interactive workshop focusing specifically on middle leaders



Thanks for the feedback Charlotte!


Overall, the workshop was well received, both in concept and content. There is an identified need for leadership development and meaningful appraisal for our middle leaders. In the absence of a national middle leadership programme, the onus falls on schools to develop and appraise their middle leaders.  

The Empower Middle Leadership online course will provide the opportunity for middle and senior leaders to develop their leadership capacity as they lead from the middle. Underpinned by a middle leader inquiry, leaders will focus on their own context, whilst building a strong Community of Leaders (CoLs) across schools. This may springboard middle leaders into further postgraduate studies, as prior learning will be recognised through Unitec Institute of Technology.

If you wish to learn more, or would like to be kept up to date, click here to register your interest. But wait - there's more! Keep scrolling below ad register to participate in our research project focusing on middle leaders in Aotearoa NZ. 

Middle Leadership Research Project 2017 


In Term 1, 2017,  Martin Bassett, Carol Cardno, Josephine Howse, Arun Deo from Unitec Institute of Technology, and Joanne Robson, from CORE Educationare undertaking a research project focusing on middle-level instructional leadership. The purpose of the study is to investigate the expectations held of middle-level leaders as direct instructional leaders who carry out tasks involving day-to-day interactions with colleagues. We also want to find out about how confident they feel about performing the range of tasks.



Currently, there is very little information available about this topic in a New Zealand context. If you are a middle leader in Aotearoa NZ, your participation will provide valuable new knowledge which could strengthen practice.

Please click here to register your name and email contact. Alternatively, copy and paste the URL link into your internet browser: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MILrecruit. Also, share this with as many middle leaders across all sectors of schools/kura.

Tēnā rawa atu koe! 
Thank you