Wednesday, 1 April 2015

No TLIF, now what?

We believe we are part of a wonderful profession in New Zealand. There are so many educators who have a passion for teaching, learning, their students and all the students of Aotearoa. This drives them to work hard, think a lot, and try innovative things, many with the deep support of their leaders, all to support and challenge their kids to be the best they can be now as well as be prepared for the future - academically, artistically, creatively, socially. 

Massive congratulations to the initiatives which made it through to the second round of the TLIF process. You guys have got some great ideas and I hope all teachers get to find out how they go. Many will be transferable ideas that others can benefit from. 

We are incredibly disappointed not to have been short-listed for the next round. We are also a bit confused to be honest (probably like many of the others not short listed). We thought we had ticked a lot of the boxes about what this funding was for: students at the heart, priority learners, future focused, underpinned by research and supported by researchers, and using the network data we have. The feedback from the panel was generic - nothing specific about our application.  This wasn't very helpful, even as the words "apply again" signed off the letter. We can't help, at moments, to feel cynical but are mostly trying to stay optimistic.

So now what?

Our network principals will get together with us in the holidays to make a plan about what to do next. Our current ideas include: 

  • asking for a meeting with members of the TLIF panel to get specific feedback
  • continue to progress with creating our network trust which may then help source funding to have another round(s) of AoN
  • see if there are some grants we could apply for
  • ?????
We are so appreciative our network schools have funded our first round (and their amazing support after not getting through to the next round). But them funding further rounds is not an option. It's early days but we do believe that AoN could support our kids to not only become more active learners, but that what we are doing at AoN will help their achievement in other areas. We would like/need time to find out! 

Wish us luck. And if there are any innovative ideas out there....

PS: we are wondering about the other ideas that didn't go through. What little golden nuggets are in there that could help others that we may never hear about? Could we find out somehow and share these among ourselves? 


  1. Union perspective Teachers flock to Innovation Fund
    Thursday, 26 March 2015, 3:53 pm
    Press Release: NZEI

    Teachers flock to Innovation Fund

    The high number of applications for the government’s new $10m Teacher-led Innovation Fundshows the enthusiasm for developing and sharing innovative ideas following a long drought of professional development funding.

    More than 200 applications have been made for the first $2m round of the fund, which is the one part of the government’s Investing in Educational Success scheme that primary teachers and principals are excited about.

    NZEI Te Riu Roa past President Judith Nowotarski said there was a real hunger for flexible professional development and support for teachers, especially since National Standards was introduced in 2010. Since then, most professional development funding has been funnelled into training teachers how to assess students under National Standards.

    “Teachers want to build on and share innovative ideas for the benefit of their students, and this initiative offers the funding and flexibility that we need to do that,” said Ms Nowotarski.

    “We want to see more of this sort of resourcing, and including the early childhood education sector too. It’s a far more effective use of money than the $359m IES scheme, which most schools don’t think will make a real difference in helping children achieve,” she said.

    1. So many applications, so few accepted - less than a third through to the second round. Trying to stay optimistic!

  2. You have posed many questions in this post and I have been thinking about a response for a few days now...

    Something reassuring, perhaps even an answer that will solve the problem, inspirational, motivating...

    and I've got nothing.

    Not that Akoranga o Naenae doesn’t deserve all of the above and more, its just that I don’t have the answers that you are looking for. I guess the only thoughts that I have centre around your purpose for all of the hard work, hours, and risks that you have taken etc to get you where you are now. Was it for the TLIF or for nga tamariki?

    At a guess, I think I might know the answer… and therefore the next question, is it working for THAT purpose?

    I have used your model as a discussion point on at least three or four occasions with medium to large groups of educators. Sharing an example of educators thinking outside the box, challenging the status quo, doing what they know is in the best interests of the students, developing their own pedagogy, not just running through the motions (which is so, so common in many schools), going above and well beyond what they are required to do, inspiring other educators and much more! Everyone who hears me retelling your story is impressed - and without hearing more from TLIF you won’t know if they were or not either. So - yes definitely get that specific and critical feedback.

    More pragmatically:
    The only ideas that I have for further funding is in two areas:

    >Private funding. I don’t have any particular contacts, but if you get your story out there (via all Media, John Campbell, Hayden Jones (those ones on TV that actually seem to care)?) I would hope that you could ignite a spark in a wealthy philanthropist's soul… (give-a-little?)

    >Universities. Again, no specific contacts, but I do know that there is money in health research, especially for Maori and Pasifika peoples, so what is your demographic at AoN? Could you alter or extend the research arm of your project to incorporate the impact of AoN on attendance throughout school, educational interaction of parents, or parent interaction with health services (held concurrently with your AoN sessions)?
    I don’t particularly like any of the ideas above, but my stink ideas might make you like your own ideas a bit better eh?

    I know the TLIF decision is going to be hard to swallow for some time yet, I still can’t seem to fathom it from an external perspective. It was my understanding that AoN was exactly what the TLIF was all about… But, take reward from the gains that you will be seeing in your AoN students each week.

    Thats all for now...

    1. A great reply Mr Theo. You are right, it's all about our kids. and what we can do to their support learning in any way we can. We will certainly work to keep going. Green hats on!