Learning Charter Update

The Learning Charter review is growing legs

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1HEXdDlLnDXhH8Dvb-0tqaTis4n8OqMsuQNav4G9CASs/edit?usp=sharing This is the basis for using student voice. Fridays seem to be the day for ideas and getting things done. Today chose to use next Tuesday afternoon to gather student voice with a number of students. We (Steve & I) ummed and arghed over how to do this. We decided on groups of about 5-7 students from each of the following groups of students. Yr 9-13(the ratbags to the high flyers and the inbetweeners) Maori students, Pacific students and members of the Student Exec (student leaders) We moved from having them over a couple of days to all in 2 periods Tuesday afternoon.

As we have students that can possibly span two groups thought will go into how we ask them to sit and which groups come which period.

Is this truly gathering student voice? 50 students out of a 1800? Really. This is going to be a gathering of perspectives to get ideas down, a focus group of students. Then how can we take this to the whole student body? IDEAS PLEASE!!!!!

As Steve and I discussed this can be a prototype for further consultation. With our new principal we are moving into a strategic planning stage where community consultation will be key. So I am looking forward to how this goes, learning from the stuff ups and building on the successes.

We (SLT) have been having discussion around promotion of the school and key tools for this. As part of the community consult we will be putting out a survey via different electronic means so can see which form of communication gathers the best voice (email, website, twitter, facebook)

As for growing legs the consultation will probably include gathering ideas from our Community of Learning Schools so we can look at some form of coherence within our COL so when students come to Lynfield College there is familiar learning language.

Next week will be good with student voice gathering and summarising of staff idea.


Learning Charter


This whakatauki was presented by @CathKnell in her first staff meeting as principal at Lynfield College. Part of this was her vision for the use of common learning language to be used across the schools in our COL #lyncolnz. This linked in nicely with the plan we had for this first meeting.


Last term I was working with our Academic Council around making our Learning Charter Awards more visible in school. These are based on the school’s Learning Charter.


Each aspect of the Learning Charter relates to a symbol from the crest. A Plough, Stars, Book and Kowhai.

When speaking with the council they had very little knowledge of the Charter despite being at school for 4 years and most of them had only ever received one or no awards!!!!! Anyway we soldiered on. Next step was trying to interpret what each part of the charter means!!!! So I left it in their capable hands to interpret each part.

Plan… and Action


After struggling with this and having a Learning Charter that should be full of everyday language the challenge was to take it back for consultation to the invested parties.

First up the Staff….. Bring on the front half of the NZC. This involved staff highlighting the characteristics they believe students from Lynfield College should develop whilst @ Lynfield College. This led to conversations around just all of the KCs, or all of it should be there. But what is something that is unique to Lynfield Learners? (hopefully this will be fleshed out in more detail when students involved)


After having time to do this (and catch up on holiday gossip) it was time for the collaboration, bringing their individual ideas together in groups and placing their characteristics under each of the symbols where they thought it best suited. This is where conversations and debate started. Can we change the school crest? How out of date are these symbols? (yes the plough was a traced picture of an Indian plough) Can the same characteristics fit into different categories?

In retrospect we should not have had the symbols but taken it back a level by asking each groups to create their own categories/headings under which these characteristics could be placed. This would have allowed staff more freedom in how they expressed their ideas. Though this did not stop some adding to the diagrams, rearranging them and practicing their colouring in!

The next step was having staff walk around to view other groups work and ask questions and take back to their work new ideas and characteristics.

Next Steps…

All of these are going to be put on display for further conversations to happen and adjustments made. Then the exciting job of unpacking the data gathered and summarising it all begins. Whilst this is ongoing student focus groups will be consulted.



Goes mainly to Steve Mouldey @GeoMouldey for the great conversations at the end of last term to get the ideas flowing and Gabrielle Clark for her support in revisiting the Learning Charter and helping me to understand its origins.

Social Capital



What is social capital. It is exactly what is shown in the picture. It is cash in the back pocket. The more cash you have the more you can buy.

Social capital is earnt like cash, it  accumulates over time. Just like any job generally the harder and wiser you work the more cash you collect. The same with social capital.


Social capital is built up over time and it is based on what you do, how you do it and the relationships you build. It is not something you inherit when you get your leadership badge or your name on a door .


It is about you as a person as a leader. What relationships have you built up, how have you made staff feel valued? If you are wanting to implement change, whether it be pedagogy based or a simple change in procedures, your ability or inability to do this depends on your social capital. The more social capital you have the more change you are able to make.

So coming in new to a school this is very difficult to build this capital. Some who have worked in the school for years have this advantage. It is some thing that I know will take time. Relationships need to be built, open to learning conversations had and being seen to be working hard and having a badge on my door will not suffice.


Open Door Policy

Untitled pictureOpen door policy

Great I have an office and the door is not attached,what a great start, taking the concept of an open door policy literally. But does this constitute an open door? What does an open door mean. Is it like the picture where the door cannot physically shut? Is it that anyone can come in to see you? But are you being open to them? What is being open to people?

I think an open door policy is more than just having an open door and letting people into your office. It is about this but being open to them. It is about being able to demonstrate an interest in what they are saying and being open to them and their ideas. Being able to take on board what is being conveyed and open to suggestions that may challenge your philosophies is being open. Being open to learning conversations (courtesy of Viviane Robinson) is what I believe an open door policy is espousing.

You maybe deeply engrossed in a task or thought when your door opens. To you,  you may roll your eyes when certain people walk in. But to them quite often it is the most important thing for them at that time and being able to respond in an open manner is a  key skill for being a leader. It will make staff feel valued if you can give them time and demonstrate an openness towards them. Having staff that feel valued boosts morale and enables you to build social capital, which is like cash in your back pocket.