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Professional Growth Cycle

Read Lesley's letter about the removal of performance appraisal, sent to principals, tumuaki and professional leaders. You can also read the Te Reo version of Lesley's letter.


  • As a result of the Accord, performance appraisal for teachers has been removed.
  • The working group recognised the need for a focus on professional learning and has created a set of elements to underpin the design of a Professional Growth Cycle.
  • A Professional Growth Cycle is intended to capitalise on the authentic learning collaborations between teachers that are likely to be in place already.
  • A Professional Growth Cycle focuses on how teachers use and meet the Code Ngā Tikanga Matatika & Standards l Ngā Paerewa in their everyday practice.
  • Right now, there is a moratorium on the collection of evidence by teachers and there is no longer a legal requirement for the Council to audit 10% of performance appraisal.
  • These changes will take place from 1 February 2021.
  • In preparation, teachers can stop collecting evidence for the Council’s purposes, refresh their knowledge of the Code Ngā Tikanga Matatika & Standards l Ngā Paerewa, and work together to develop a Professional Growth Cycle.
  • The MoE is revising the licensing criteria guidance, specifically for GMA7.

Why is performance appraisal for teachers being removed?

Last year, during talks between the Government, PPTA Te Wehengarua and NZEI Te Riu Roa an Accord was developed. One element of the Accord committed to removing teacher performance appraisal as an accountability instrument, in recognition that in some settings the process had become burdensome. 

We had heard from many kaiako, principals, tumuaki and ECE professional leaders that their appraisal systems had become over-engineered and the compliance activity was onerous. Additionally, there is a lack of evidence that appraisal lifts teacher quality or improves learner outcomes. Based on this feedback, the Council wanted to ensure that any change to performance appraisal benefiting primary and secondary teachers, would apply to Early Childhood Education Teachers as well.

The Accord was an exciting step forward, and offered an opportunity to think about how to support quality teaching in a way that centrally positions high trust in the profession. The Council facilitated a cross-sector working group* to consider what removing performance appraisal could mean for teachers and to find new ways of supporting practice. It was important to remove unproductive compliance activities, reduce workload for teachers and enable a focus on professional growth, whilst still meeting the legal obligation that every teacher meets the Standards l Nga Pāerewa. The working group also recognised the strong need for a focus on professional learning, and created a set of elements to underpin the design of a Professional Growth Cycle.

A Professional Growth Cycle is intended to capitalise on the authentic learning collaborations between teachers that are likely to already be in place. The removal of performance appraisal will enhance the status of these collaborations and the role they play in supporting teachers' professional growth. Ultimately, this is a more holistic approach, focusing on how teachers use and meet the Code Ngā Tikanga Matatika & Standards l Ngā Paerewa in their everyday practice, as well as supporting professional learning and collaboration. 

Please note, the agreed requirements decided upon by the working group do not apply to Early Childhood Education professional leaders nor principals - a similar review of appraisal for leaders is beginning shortly.

* The partners involved in this working group included:
NZEI Te Riu Roa, NZ Post Primary Teachers’ Association Te Wehengarua, Ministry of Education, NZ School Trustees Association, Te Rito Maioha, Te Akatea, Early Childhood Council, Education Review Office, NZ Kindergartens, Ngā Kura a Iwi o Aotearoa, Te Rūnanga Nui o ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori, Montessori NZ, NZ Principals Federation, NZ Pasifika Principals Association, Secondary Principals Association NZ.

When is this all happening?

Right now: 

  • There is a moratorium placed on the 'collection' of evidence by teachers. As part of moving forward from appraisal, the Council has put a moratorium on the teachers' gathering of evidence for the purpose of appraisal; this is in place from 20 July 2020, to 31 January 2021. This is intended to allow time for the discussions and preparation of the new process to support the Professional Growth Cycle. However, we note that in schools, kura, centres and services, professional conversations and classroom observations, and other similar activities may continue.Teachers holding Tōmua (provisional practising certificate) will also continue in their induction and mentoring programmes and will collate evidence as part of this.
  • No 10% audit of performance appraisal. As a result of the Accord, the Education and Training Act removes the legislation that previously required the Council to audit 10% of those participating in the appraisal process (previously undertaken for the Council by the Education Review Office). So, there is no longer a legal requirement to audit appraisal, making it both logical and possible to review the way we evaluate and ensure professional growth for teachers.

On 1 February 2021: 

  • The Professional Growth Cycle will be ready for implementation! Each Professional Growth Cycle will align with the Annual Certification Cycle that also begins February 2021, so we can begin both simultaneously in the new school year. 

So who does what?

The key here is collaboration! It is about teachers and professional leaders working together to design a Professional Growth Cycle that works for everyone. It will not be implemented until February 2021, so there are around six months to develop this new way of working. 

In preparation, teachers can:

  • Stop collecting evidence for Council’s purposes* (caveat on this: some professional leaders and centres will continue with professional conversations, classroom observations and other similar activities during the moratorium period ).

Everyone can:

  • Refresh their knowledge of the Code Ngā Tikanga Matatika and Standards l Ngā Paerewa, this is the basis of good practice in the classroom and professional learning for teachers. 
  • Work together to think about and discuss new ways of developing and creating a Professional Growth Cycle in ways that will best meet the needs of both teachers and learners in their settings. Professional leaders, principals and tumuaki will work with teachers to collaborate and design a Professional Growth Cycle that is fit for purpose in your setting. There is no one prescribed way to do this, and you will be guided by the elements, which demonstrate key aspects of the Code Ngā Tikanga Matatika & Standards l Ngā Paerewa and should feature in each Professional Growth Cycle.

Over the next six months:

  • Professional Leaders will also have guidance about what will be useful to include in a Professional Growth Cycle, via the updated endorser guidelines, to ensure a robust cycle for their teachers in each setting.
  • We have been working with members of the early childhood education sector and the Ministry of Education to have a revision made to the ECE licensing criteria guidance (specifically GMA7). The Ministry guidance will be updated to reflect the Council's new requirements for registered teachers to participate in the Professional Growth Cycle.  
  • The Council will be providing ongoing support via regular communications, zoom webinars, and guiding resources for professional leaders, principals/tumuaki and teachers.

Key dates

General timeline:

  • July 2020 onward: moratorium on teachers' collection of evidence as part of performance appraisal.
  • July 2020 - February 2021: teachers, principals and ECE professional leaders working together to design a Professional Growth Cycle for their setting.
  • August 2020 onward: The Council will be hosting Zoom webinars and providing supporting resources. You can find out about this information on our website.
  • February 2021: The new Professional Growth cycles will be implemented, alongside the implementation of the Annual Certification Cycle.

A note about annual certification: 

Hapori Matatū, the Council's online registration platform is a quick and efficient way you can apply for re-certification in approximately 8 to 10 minutes. It also allows you to log in and check the progress of your application in real-time. 

You will need an ESL first, so please make sure you have that ready to go when you log in for the first time. It also means that when you call the Council we can look up your application quickly, find out where things are at and help resolve any issues you may have, rather than calling back after we have looked through the files for a paper application.  

More information

Here is some further information that will help guide your initial thinking about what a Professional Growth Cycle might look like in your setting. We will be providing more details and working directly with both teachers and professional leaders over the next six months:

For further information about the removal of performance appraisal for teachers, please contact us:



Read all of the updates about the removal of performance appraisal from the last year.