End of Programme

The Ministry of Education have confirmed that the First-time Principals' Programme will end 31 January 2017. Registrations for the First-time Principals' Programme will no longer be accepted. All queries should be directed to: http://www.evaluate.co.nz/projects/support-for-beginning-principals/

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First-time Principals' Programme

Update from the Ministry

The Ministry of Education have confirmed that the current First-time Principals' Programme will end 31 January 2017. The Ministry are currently negotiating with a provider (not UACEL) to deliver a "Leadership Advisor" package for Beginning Principals over a 2 year period.

Registrations for the First-time Principals' Programme will no longer be accepted through UACEL. Queries to: http://www.evaluate.co.nz/projects/support-for-beginning-principals/

The First-time Principals’ Programme is the New Zealand induction programme for new principals of all types of schools. The University of Auckland is proud to have delivered this programme to over 2,400 first-time principals since its beginning in 2002.

It is an exciting time to be a principal in a New Zealand school. The role is one of great influence and opportunity. Best Evidence Syntheses provide new principals with an internationally acclaimed, research-based programme, which is focused on best practice. We design our curriculum around the BES School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why.

The induction programme is designed to meet the individual needs of first-time principals. It seeks to develop the professional and personal skills and capabilities of new school leaders, so that they can work effectively with their colleagues and communities to further improve teaching and learning in New Zealand’s schools.


Each first-time principal is assigned a mentor who is an experienced principal. Mentors participate in on-going professional learning with The University of Auckland Centre for Educational Leadership. The mentoring relationship is individualised and needs-based. Mentoring activity includes:

  • developing a professional learning plan and goals, including a goal focussed on improving learning for identified priority groups of students
  • advice and guidance
  • professional learning groups
  • developing a portfolio which tracks the evidence of progress of the professional learning plan


With the rapid uptake and advancement of technologies over the last decade, principals are required to navigate a changing digital landscape. Not only do they grapple with the use of technologies in the efficient organisation of their school, but also more significantly, principals are leaders of learning and expected to understand how digital learning technologies can be effectively integrated with their school’s learning programmes.

The use of tools is not limited by the programme, but is designed to trigger critical thinking for first-time principals around choices and options in technology for their schools and classroom delivery.

As learning leaders, principals must be able to exhibit strong capability in the use of digital tools for both learning and leadership. They must also develop an inquisitive attitude in relation to emerging digital opportunities.

Residential Course

The residential course is a vital dimension to the First-time Principals' Programme. Based over three days, the residential is focused on the leadership of teaching and learning and made up of: keynote addresses, sector group workshops, option sessions, case studies, interest groups, mentor assistance and networking opportunities.

The residential is designed to provide access to a fertile mix of leading educational theory, by world-recognised researchers, and to high quality practice by leaders across the sector groups.  This creates a unique opportunity as a new principal to develop a profound and systemic understanding of New Zealand education and to develop powerful networks of professional interest and support.


The project team is committed to the continuous improvement of the First-Time Principals’ Programme. Feedback from participants is important and this is why evaluation questionnaires are integral to the programme. The evaluation results provide valuable data to assist in identifying the strengths and areas for improvement of the programme.