Growing ‘Relational Leaders’ with PLD funding: A long term impact

PLD funding from the MOE is enabling staff in the Hillcrest Kahui Ako and the Kahui Ako Tokoroa to grow their relational understandings and practice at both an individual and organisational level. After providing Hillcrest Kahui Ako leaders with a tiered programme of PLD for three years, participants are expressing their desire to continue with further PLD within this tiered programme. From Term 3 of this year, the interest and demand has led to the commencement of the programme for leaders of the Kahui Ako Tokoroa.

The PLD is initially orientated towards ‘middle school leaders’ in their role and contribution. The tiered process designed for middle school leaders moves towards the implications of relational thinking for their practice amid the realities of schooling today. The Middle school leaders conclude their engagement with a presentation of their learning to their colleagues and Principals.

Examples of the dialogue and activity involved in the tiers:

  • Sharing experiential accounts of being in leadership
  • Relational Leadership and Sensibilities 
  • Educational Leadership
  • Perspectives of, and responding to educational change
  • Professional and organisational formation.

The recommended text for the PLD is ‘Relational Leadership in Education: A Phenomenon of Inquiry and Practice’ (Giles, D.L., 2019, Routlege).

Critical to the success of the PLD experience is the one-on-one mentoring sessions that take place every two to three weeks.  These mentoring sessions enable deeper discussion related to the leader’s local context.  In subsequent tiers, the focus turns to Emergent leaders, Senior Leaders, and Senior Leadership Teams. 

Some examples of Principals deepening their understanding of relational leadership are as follows:

  • the construction of strengths-based strategic planning
  • the use of Appreciative Inquiries for school-wide decision-making
  • the adoption of life-centric practices for mentoring and leading SLT.  

The Facilitator for the PLD is Professor David Giles, Emeritis Professor of Educational Leadership from Flinders University (South Australia), formerly Dean of Education (Flinders).

EDconnect is successful in gaining Ministry and NZEI approval to deliver Teacher Aide PLD 

EDconnect nominated five courses that are designed to support Teacher Aides 

All teacher aides have access to funding to support their professional development and career progression. The funding recognises the important role Teacher Aides have in supporting education outcomes and provides financial support for professional learning opportunities related to that role. 

Who can access this funded PLD:

  • Teacher Aide is working in a New Zealand state or state-integrated school.
  • PLD applied for builds capability and competency in relation to the applicant’s role.
  • Supports development of Teacher Aide’s skills and knowledge that contributes to the vision of school or kura.
  • Supports learning needs of ākonga Teacher Aide works or align with one or more of the Teacher Aide Competency areas.
  • Agreed the timetable or time required out of school with their supervisor.
  • The Board of Trustees/principal agrees to the PLD the Teacher Aide intends to participate in.

Find out more about how you can apply for funding to undertake professional learning.


EDleadership foundations workshop series

A great way to bring everyone together and see where we are as a collective at the beginning, and where we need to go next to be a better and more effective leadership team.

Today has highlighted areas of need for our team. It promoted professional discussions.

Today’s professional development was thought provoking and at times challenging. It was great to have an ending where next steps are planned for. Bronwyn was interesting and real. She was great. Thank you. 

Today was interesting and engaging. We got to identify our strengths and weaknesses then set goals to work on as a senior leadership team together to support the whole school. 

Interesting, informative, goal setting, reflective, honest, collaborative with the team. 

Today highlighted how we can be a more effective team. It caused us to think about what is necessary for a team to be effective. 

I think today’s workshop was really insightful. It put in front of us how we work as a team which was a little uncomfortable but essential if we are to move forward as a functional team.


In mid-August 2022, a team from Sound Beginnings had the privilege of joining the NZAIMS Leaders Conference as an official partner. 

2022 is a significant year in our country, as it marks a century of Intermediate schooling in Aotearoa. 

The conference, held in Taupo, bought together education specialists from around New Zealand and hosted a number of exciting and thought-provoking speakers.

The team were delighted to share their knowledge, resources and practice with attendees. 

NZAIMS is New Zealand’s networking organisation for intermediate middle schooling educators. 


Congratulations to Bucklands Beach Intermediate School for winning a year’s membership to Sound Beginnings. 

Staff from the Auckland school attended the recent NZAIMS Conference held in Taupo, where they were in for a chance to win a whole school membership to Sound Beginnings. 

The win means all staff at the school will now have access to the entire Sounds Beginnings library.

“More than 30 teachers will have free access to our extensive range of oral language and literacy resources. These resources provide the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ with opportunities to listen, observe, participate, and interact,” says Bronwyn Weston of Sound Beginnings.