Community of Learning leader

Learn about the Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako leader role.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Principals and tumuaki 
  • Boards
  • Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako
  • Teachers and kaiako

This guidance supports Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako to understand the functions of the Community of Learning leader.

About the leader role 

The role of the Community of Learning leader is to:

  • provide leadership in building productive collaboration in the Kāhui Ako
  • facilitate the ongoing development and implementation of the Kāhui Ako achievement plan
  • support the professional growth of member principals and teachers
  • provide leadership in the use of professional expertise across schools to meet the Kāhui Ako achievement challenge goals.

As well as modelling highly effective practice in their own school the Community of Learning leader facilitates collaborative, professional activities across their Kāhui Ako. They take a lead role in planning, coordinating and facilitating the work of the Kāhui Ako as a whole, as well as with the across schools and within school teachers.

In any Kāhui Ako, only one leadership role is available. Usually, one principal is appointed to the leadership role, but where one principal cannot be appointed, the Kāhui Ako can apply for approval from the Secretary for Education for an alternative leadership arrangement (see below).


We provide the employing board with:

  • 0.40 full-time teacher equivalent release time (this will appear on the school’s staffing entitlement notice)
  • between 90% and 140% of a rate 2 travel grant and a $1,000 per year induction and networking allowance are paid as part of the operations grant.

Allowances are made on a pro-rata basis if an appointee is in a role for less than 1 year.

Prerequisites for the role

Applicants for the Community of Learning leader role will have:

  • current employment within the Community of Learning
  • a current practising certificate
  • met professional standards relevant to their current position.

Primary principals must also meet the experienced principal criteria of the primary principals’ career structure. 

Part 4.4 Primary principals career structure – Primary Principals' Collective Agreement

Alternative leadership arrangements

Alternative leadership arrangements for Kāhui Ako require approval by the Secretary for Education.

If your Kāhui Ako decides to apply for an alternative leadership arrangement, the following considerations should be detailed in your application.

  • Confirmation that an employment process has been undertaken where principals and senior leaders in the Kāhui Ako were able to apply for the leadership role.
  • Why a leader was not recruited.
  • The proposed alternative arrangement.
  • Confirmation of broad support for the alternative leadership arrangement from the members of your Kāhui Ako.
  • Your work with an independent advisor from the New Appointments National Panel (NANP).
  • Any other information relevant to the application.

Submitting your alternative leadership arrangement application

Applications should be sent to your Director of Education. The director will check and ensure that all the necessary information is included before sending on to the Secretary for Education for her consideration. 

If all information is present, we undertake to process your application within a fortnight from the date the request is received in National Office.

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback