Investing in Educational Success

Investing in Educational Success (IES) is a Government initiative aimed at lifting student achievement as well as offering new career opportunities for teachers and principals.

How IES will help to raise educational achievement

Research shows that within schools, the quality of teaching has the biggest influence on whether students succeed. IES has been designed with this in mind and is intended to help raise achievement by:

  • improving teaching practice across New Zealand
  • enabling teachers to work together and benefit from each other’s knowledge and experience
  • helping all children benefit from the skills and knowledge of great teachers from across a group of schools
  • helping schools work together so it’s easier for children to move through the education system.

$359m in funding is available over the first 4 years of the programme, and $155m a year after that.

Communities of Learning across the country

On Tuesday, 10 May 2016, Education Minister Hekia Parata announced a further 21 Communities of Learning [PDF, 4.9 MB].

These new Communities add to the 96 already announced in November 2015 [PDF, 3.3 MB], August 2015 [DOC, 2.2 MB], April 2015 [DOC, 3.2 MB] and December 2014 [DOC, 1.2 MB].

There are now 117 Communities of Learning spread throughout the country. Over 40% of all eligible schools (1,006 out of 2,4161) will be part of a Community of Learning involving more than 320,000 students. Communities of Learning are groups of schools, kura and ECE that come together to raise achievement for children and young people by:

  • sharing expertise in teaching and learning
  • supporting each other
  • working together, so a child’s journey through the education system is easier.

These Communities set shared goals based on information about their students’ educational needs and work together to achieve them. 23 communities have already signed off achievement challenges to lift their students’ achievement in areas such as reading, writing and maths. View these Communities of Learning - achievement challenges.

Communities of Learning map of New Zealand.

View a larger version of this map [PDF, 162 KB]

We are updating the maps on this page as more schools join communities of learning. For information on IES, please call 0800 IES INFO (0800 437 4636) or email IES.team@education.govt.nz 

Working with the education sector

The Ministry of Education has worked with representatives from the education sector on the details of IES. A working group of education sector leaders was instrumental in developing the IES model. Go to the working group’s report [PDF, 2 MB].

The Ministry has been in discussions with key education sector bodies and on 30 September 2014 the Ministry settled agreements with secondary teacher and principal unions on IES.

The Ministry has now reached agreement with the New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa

The Ministry has been working with the sector on the design of IES since early 2014 and we will continue to do so.

Joining or forming a Community of Learning

If you want to form or join a Community of Learning, you can complete an Expression of Interest. This means we can support you in that process. Over 500 expressions of interest have already been received.

Or you can contact your local Director of Education if you want to discuss this. You may also find the communities of Learning guides useful.

Resourcing for schools in Communities of Learning 

We support boards in Communities of Learning (CoL) with operational funding and staffing support. All CoL boards receive inquiry time and funding for forming and maintaining a CoL. Boards who appoint teachers or principals to a Community of Learning role receive additional allowances.
Go to the resourcing for schools in CoLs page for more information.

How IES will work

IES provides a process to get communities behind raising achievement for all children and young people through working together to identify and address common achievement challenges. It is intended to enable the most effective teachers and principals to share their knowledge and expertise across multiple schools, to everyone’s benefit. It is aimed at making it easier for schools to work together around a child’s journey through the education system to tackle educational challenges, and get the professional resources they need to do that.

Communities of Learning

Communities of Learning are the ‘engine room’ of IES. Groups of schools and kura will come together into groups of around 10 schools which will represent the ‘pathway’ for students from primary to secondary school. Expressions of Interest are now available for forming a Community of Learning.

New teaching and leadership roles

IES introduces proposed new roles for some of our most skilled teachers and principals, better enabling them to share their knowledge and expertise with colleagues. This will give teachers a genuine choice between going into management and staying in the classroom, and give principals more career stretch.

Working across a Community of Learning

Providing leadership

A new principal role will help and support all principals and teachers in a Community of Learning to meet shared achievement challenges, and will use the principal’s project leadership abilities to harness the best skills from across the Community. Supporting principals to extend their skills and rise to meet new challenges will also provide more opportunities for deputy and assistant principals to step up into an acting principal role, and strengthen team leadership.

Strengthening high quality teaching

It is anticipated that each Community of Learning will have 4 or 5 teachers working closely with other teachers to share their subject and practice expertise and to get the best out of the combined strengths of their colleagues. This would mean about one teacher in 50 would be in the role, so most teachers would not spend any more time away from their classes. The new role is expected to provide an opportunity for teachers to remain classroom focused rather than being promoted out of classrooms into management positions. Each Community of Learning will have resources available to release teachers to work together and to learn from each other, something that international and local evidence says is vital to supporting the highest quality of teaching. Around 1,000 of these roles will be available nationally and interested teachers will need to apply, and meet clear selection criteria.

Within a school

It is anticipated that up to 5,000 new career opportunities will be available nationally to support teachers to open their classrooms as models of learning for other teachers. The roles will be within schools that are part of a Community of Learning. These teachers will remain in their own classrooms and strengthen the “teaching as inquiry” practice of other teachers by providing opportunities for observation and discussion. About one in 10 teachers will be able to take up this role if they apply, and meet the selection criteria. Schools will receive additional funding to release other teachers to spend time on the job, continuing to develop their professional skills for the benefit of students in their own classrooms.

Inquiry Time

All teachers currently have various amounts of time where they are released from their classroom to complete administration tasks and prepare lessons. Investing in Educational Success provides more time for teachers to focus specifically on working together to tackle achievement challenges.

All schools and/or kura within a Community of Learning will be funded to allow teachers time to work together on meeting the achievement challenge in their Community. Communities and schools themselves will decide how best to use this time to help their children and young people.

Work is continuing with the sector on how Inquiry Time will operate, including balancing the amount of Inquiry Time available against the allowances paid for the new roles.

Communities of Learning - Achievement Challenges

Once they have been approved by the Minister, Communities of Learning come together to discuss and analyse data and factors affecting achievement for students in their Community. These form the basis of the achievement challenges that every Community develops and agrees to work on over several years. The endorsement of the achievement challenges is an important step in the development of the CoL and its supporting frameworks.

Teacher-Led Innovation Fund

The Teacher-led Innovation Fund is a pūtea/fund of $10 million over 3 years (mid 2015 – mid 2018). It is open to all primary and secondary teachers in state and state integrated kura/schools, to support the development of innovative practices.

Applications for funding are now closed. The last round of funding opens in November 2016.

Recruiting highly effective principals to schools with challenges

A new Principal Recruitment Allowance will help New Zealand’s most high need schools and kura attract highly effective principals who can provide the leadership needed to lift student achievement. The allowance recognises the additional work needed to transform struggling schools. It will also provide an incentive to some of our most inspiring school leaders to take on new challenges.

When a principal vacancy arises, a board may apply to the Ministry to confirm that their school or kura meets the criteria for the allowance.

Frequently asked questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about IES

Information sheets: Investing in Educational Success

For more information

For further information on IES you can:

Background policy documents for IES

Related documents


1 As of October 2015, there was a total of 2,514 schools in New Zealand, 2,416 of them eligible to receive funding support as part of a CoL.

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