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Information for interested schools and teachers

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The Science Teaching Leadership Programme supports the Government’s strategic direction for Science in Society by providing opportunities for primary and intermediate schools and secondary science departments to enhance the teaching of science within their school communities.  

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Programme objectives

  • Contribute to the professional learning and development of teachers of science resulting in improved knowledge, skills and confidence
  • Improve the leadership capabilities of participant teachers to increase the likelihood of sustained, effective school-based science teaching
  • Encourage participating schools to enhance their science programmes to better engage students and the wider schools’ community in science and to develop students’ science knowledge and skills
  • Lift the science engagement of the school community
  • Develop, maintain and leverage linkages with others in national science communities.
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What is involved in the Programme

The Programme is a whole school/science department learning opportunity. It has a leadership focus and is not a general science professional learning opportunity for all staff. Schools nominate a teacher of years 1- 10 who they believe has the leadership potential and the commitment to make a difference for students and teachers in their school. This leadership opportunity is best-suited to mid-career teachers. The programme's focus is on the development of leadership confidence and capability that will be used within science and is also transferable to other leadership roles within the school. There are two phases to the Programme.  

Phase One (two terms)

Participant teachers from schools take paid leave from their school for two terms to engage in a programme of learning that involves:

  • working in a host organisation for approximately 15 weeks, alongside scientific staff, to get an appreciation of the Nature of Science. The Royal Society of New Zealand (the Society) will facilitate matching the teacher with a host organisation
  • participating in approximately 12 professional development days, in Wellington, to improve knowledge of good practice in science teaching and learning
  • attending a week long residential leadership course in Dunedin that includes two assignments on leadership
  • attending two symposia – an induction symposium at the beginning of the Phase One and one at its completion to share their learning
  • working in an e-learning environment. Blogs, email contact and web engagement will all be integral to the Programme.

Phase Two (12 – 18 months)

The participant teacher works alongside the Principal or Head of Department and their teaching colleagues to improve the quality of science learning across the school or science department.

During Phase Two - Schools or Science Departments:

  • make science a major professional learning area for 12 – 18 months
  • fund at least 4 days’ release during Phase Two of the Programme to facilitate this process;
  • submit a self-review framework and analysis, and science development plan to access additional support funding from the Programme
  • provide regular outcome reports, on the impact of science development, to the Government
  • commit to the Principal and/or Head of Department attending a one-day workshop in Wellington at the end of Phase One, working alongside their participant teacher on self-review and science development planning. 
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Commitment to whole-school or department development in Science

Both phases of the programme are equally important and they ‘work together’ to support effective science development in a school or department.  When considering applying for a place on this Programme, schools or science departments should:

  • decide whether you can commit to an 18-24 month programme of Science professional learning and development
  • ensure that they and their nominated teacher are committed to completing both phases
  • be open to and actively support the nominated teacher as a science leader during
    Phase Two.

Schools or Science Departments

Integral to this Programme is the commitment and full support from the school or science department to undertake a science development for 12 – 18 months once the participant teacher returns to school. 
This teacher will take a leadership role in the development of effective science teaching in their school or science department. Schools should therefore carefully consider the leadership potential of their nominated teachers and think about who is the best person for this role. 

Nominated Teachers

The Government makes a considerable financial investment in each school and nominated teacher and has an expectation that they will return to their school to successfully lead science development.  This leadership role is an exciting opportunity but can also have its challenges.  Prospective applicants should think carefully about this leadership opportunity and whether they are in a position, personally and professionally, to commit to their school or department during Phase Two.   

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Eligibility criteria

A school or science department must:

  • formally commit to science being a major learning area of 12 – 18 months during phase two of the Programme
  • ensure the participant teacher is fully supported to effectively lead science learning in the schools

A nominated teacher must:

  • be committed to taking a lead in science in their school for 12 – 18 months during
    Phase Two
  • be either a primary teacher, an intermediate teacher (including science specialist teachers) or a secondary science teacher of years 9 and 10 (including Heads of Departments)
  • be a registered teacher who is in a permanent full or permanent part-time position (at least .8 FTE) and is currently employed by a Board of Trustees teaching in a New Zealand school
  • have delivered the New Zealand National Curriculum for a minimum of three years
  • be a New Zealand Citizen, or the holder of a New Zealand Residency permit
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Applications with special circumstances

Schools may submit an application that includes some special circumstances.   A school must provide a clear rationale of why the special circumstances would benefit the quality of science education in the school(s).

Possible examples could include:

  • nominating a second participant teacher, who will also have a leadership role, being mindful of the Programme’s investment in developing science leaders rather than being a general science professional development programme for all staff.  Please note that the maximum phase two funding of $12K is for the school, not for each individual participant teacher.
  • nominating two teachers who have consecutive phase one start times (in essence, employing one relief teacher for a school year)
  • nominating two teachers who are on phase one at the same time.
  • an application from a cluster of schools or a formal Community of Learning
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Other relevant information

  • There is no opportunity, during phase one of the Programme, for participant teachers to complete/participate in further academic study or take extended personal leave. 
  • Participant teachers are expected to attend all calendared events during Phase One.
  • The Programme enables schools to employ a relief teacher to replace the nominated teacher on the Programme. Costs for replacement teacher are covered by the Programme.
  • Teachers on the Programme are on professional development leave during Phase One (they continue to be paid by the Government) so that their employment and conditions of service remain the same (except for some management units or allowances that require the teacher to be teaching students in a school).
  • Formal contracts between the Society, the host organisation, the school and the nominated teacher will be drawn up for the successful applicants. 
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Information for selected Participant Teachers

Preparation for Phase One

This information is included so teachers understand what will be required of them prior to commencement of Phase One of the Science Teaching Leadership Programme if they are selected. These requirements will be completed one term before the phase one start date. 

  • STLP co-ordinators will contact successful Participant Teachers by phone to discuss the Phase One programme, the teacher’s areas of interest and development of the Programme Objectives and Expenses document.
  • STLP co-ordinators will contact a host organisation, based on the phone discussion, and inform the participant teacher of a potential host.
  • The Participant Teacher organises to meet with the potential host to discuss a placement programme that will develop their science knowledge and understanding of the Nature of Science.
  • The Participant Teacher notifies the STLP co-ordinators that the meeting has occurred, that they are happy with the host and describes what steps are being taken to develop a Placement Programme.
  • The Placement Objectives and Expenses Document (POE) is completed by the teacher and the STLP co-ordinators.
    • Teachers provide contact details – personal, school and host
    • Teacher and Host produce a Placement Programme (approx. ½ a page)
    • STLP co-ordinators produce indicative expenses for Phase One
  • STLP co-ordinators set up Dropbox and Facebook page for the Participant Teacher group and provides information for the start of Phase One.
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