Joining a Manaiakalani Outreach Cluster

Here are process recommendations to provide school clusters and joining schools a guide for including new schools into their cluster community. It will also assist in bring clarity about how and when the Manaiakalani Outreach programme is able to support new schools coming into the Outreach programme.

Inside each cluster School Leaders and Boards have elected to work together in an intense and cohesive way to share resource, knowledge and support one another to raise student achievement outcomes. Principals, then the Boards, staff and whanau are committed to working together across the community to get better outcomes for the children that they all share. School networks therefore are a local community based on the coalition of the willing and inclusions of an additional school should happen as a result of consultation and consensus.

To seek membership of Manaiakalani Outreach the applying school leader and their corresponding Board will need to ascertain that this is something they really wish to commit to over time.  We recommend therefore that the first step is determining alignment of purpose and that this takes place during the initial 12 month discovery period in a staggered process.

The four stage process for joining an Outreach Cluster is outlined below. Each stage includes a number of activities to assist the new schools to fully understand the disruptive nature of the programme and the commitment required.  The process also allows time for existing members to satisfy themselves about the nature of the partnership and alignment of purpose of the proposed new member/s and allows MET the opportunity to consider resourcing needs and appropriate timing of expanded delivery.

  1. Approach the principals of the local cluster.

The first stage in requesting membership will be in discussion and consultation with the existing Principal members, with the cluster convenor being a natural early contact. If the principals determine alignment of purpose (as outlined in page 2) they will be invited to participate in the next 12 months of learning opportunities.

2. Participation in Learning opportunities

During the first 12 months the new school is welcome to participate in many of the shared activities that are existing and operating within the cluster. At this stage there will be no official support directly, to the applying school, from the Manaiakalani Outreach team. During this lead up year we recommend that schools sign a contract with the cluster’s current IT provider in order to get their infrastructure ready.

Participation during this year will include:

  • Attendance of cluster PLD sessions for enthusiastic lead teachers from the new school.

  • An agreement with the clusters chosen infrastructure provider to prepare the IT infrastructure to the required level for a one to one learning environment across the school. This equates to sufficient wireless coverage and throughput,  local network capability and sufficient internet bandwidth. In addition establishment and bedding in of the appropriate support framework to manage the the proliferation of individual client devices.

  • Participation at the shared Board Forum where Board members from the new school can participate at a governance level

  • Principal and lead teachers’ attendance at at least one of the Visitors Day at Manaiakalani. We recommend that schools invite members of their BOT to attend this day. Online Form to Visit Manaiakalani Schools

During this preparatory year the cluster convenor will notify the Manaiakalani Outreach Convenor Russell Burt or the Manaiakalani Programme Manager, Nikki Carter of the intended involvement of any new schools. This then allows for the Manaiakalani Education Trust to consider resourcing needs and the appropriate timing of an expanded delivery.

3. Memorandum of Understanding

If over the year the new school remains interested and determined to move into a disruptive change of practice, and in discussion with the existing principals, it appears that the respective goals and purposes align, then the principals will make a recommendation to their Trust to expand their membership.

A Memorandum of Understanding would then be signed between the cluster’s existing Education Trust, the new school and its Board of Trustees. When this is signed, the school may be asked to make a financial contribution to the Trust which is used to offset the financial liability carried by the Trust in its financing of student devices, along with other support costs.

Schools can then start developing an operational structure needed to carry the work strands outlined in the “ Growing into the Future Document”.

4. Becoming part of Manaiakalani Outreach

The Principal members, upon growing certainty that the goals of the proposed member school align with Manaiakalani Schools, will recommend to the Manaiakalani Convenor (Russell Burt) that we consider expanding our Outreach membership.

The next step will be for the Outreach Team to meet the Chief Executive Officer of the Manaiakalani Education Trust to help plan for the proposed membership and the gearing up phase of the programme. Schools leaders and Boards of Trustees of the joining schools that still wish to proceed with the programme commitments for the next three years must then sign the Manaiakalani Memorandum of Agreement.  

Attached are the two background documents which need to be fully understood and signed as part of the final process.

  1. The Manaiakalani Memorandum of Agreement with Manaiakalani Education Trust to join the Outreach programme.  Manaiakalani Outreach Memorandum of Agreement

2. Growing into the Future’, which sets out the Manaiakalani approach in detail.

Alignment of Purpose

In ascertaining the alignment of purpose between Manaiakalani and proposed members, we note the need for attention to these essential elements:

  • Interest/Desire/Determination

  • Learning and Change Capability

  • Cultural Responsiveness

  • Communities of Practice

  • Governance and Leadership

  • Technical baselines

These elements require that Manaiakalani members will commit themselves to a collaborative pedagogical change imperative along with the research and technical development that this programme of work entails.


Clusters or schools that wish to seriously engage with this work must be strongly  interested in achieving coherence between three big items, namely:
-the Schooling Improvement agenda, (previously known as schooling improvement work)

-the Digital agenda (formerly known as  eLearning development),

-the cultural/relational agenda (of which Te Kotahitanga is a prime example).

Schools, community, potential commercial partners and philanthropists need to share this interest and be willing and eager to collaborate and network with other like communities of practice.

It is of note that there is a degree beyond desire, when people are just going to get on and do it anyway, irrespective of the help of particular funders. These groups and schools are the most energising to work with.

Parent buy-in to this development work and investment in education is, in our experience, directly proportional to the degree and effectiveness of parent involvement and consultation.

We appear to be on a particular cusp of potential in our country at present where partnerships that were hitherto unlikely, appear to be more easily on the agenda for agencies other than government; e.g. commercial groups, volunteers and philanthropists. This opportunity ought to be maximised.

Learning and Change Capability

There is a need for learning and change capability in all three of the major agendas mentioned above and and then in the coalesced agenda when the three are combined. Schools/clusters wishing to participate in a “Manaiakalani Like” experience will need commitment to the development of understanding and capability in all of these domains.

The ‘Schooling Improvement Agenda’ includes the learnings about accelerated acquisition of Reading, Writing and Numeracy. It includes understandings about the development of Content Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge and Evaluative Capability.

The ‘Digital Agenda’ includes learnings from former eLearning programmes and Learning as Inquiry. It includes developing understandings about changing pedagogy in and out of classrooms and schools as learning becomes mobile, more differentiated and less firmly located in one time and space. Schools moving into this future need to see themselves as being a node on a network. They will be engaged with other schools and communities in the development of a CyberSmart Curriculum.

The ‘Cultural/Relational Agenda’ includes learnings about power relationships and the interactions of learning. It includes developing understandings of pedagogy as relational, with pedagogy based on power sharing. It understands partnership for change as a strength based movement that recognises and truly values culture and is committed to the development of shared culture and character.

The blended pedagogical development that we are committed to engaging in is a result of combining the 3 historical agendas above. The Manaiakalani version of this is called “Learn, Create, Share”. Schools wishing to engage in the Manaiakalani Cluster are by definition committing themselves to collaborating in the development of the Learn, Create Share pedagogy at all levels and layers of schooling. This includes the commitment to investigate what it means for students to be able to learn at any time, pace, place, in any space, and from a wide variety of people.

Cultural Responsiveness

Those engaging with this work will see the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi as foundational to the learning relationship with the learner, whanau the community and other development partners. These principles are; protection, participation and partnership.

Fundamental relationships will be seen as the  foundation of change. This is not just being nice and then getting on with the job of teaching. This is about where the power sits in the classroom and where the power is in the teaching learning process. Clusters or groups need clear definitions of the relational nature of the pedagogical interactions; -caring, expectation, management, pedagogical content knowledge, strategies, modes/use of assessment are all based on power sharing.

Collaboration and co-construction with community is a necessary pre-condition for this work which will also grow with the programme. Co-constructed provision for whanau training/capacity building is likely to be an essential part of this domain.

Communities of Practice

Groups will need the desire and a growing capacity to network effectively around practice. They will be able to source and connect with improvement opportunities and knowledge. This shared practice will include willingness to de-privatise and look rigorously inside classrooms to get really clear about what’s happening. It will include the determination to share this information in order to learn.

Research and development will be seen as a collective and collaborative process rather than an isolated or individual one.There will be a determination to build the evaluation and development in such a way that this unstoppable, world wide movement to digitise education, happens in a timely, disciplined and effective manner for our most fragile communities.

There will be acknowledgement and expectation of variability as communities contextualise their learnings.

Technical baselines

There is a need of the development and application of Content Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge and Cultural Responsiveness in the preparation of technical baselines. Many local movements toward digital citizenship are seriously inhibited because sufficient attention has not been given to this preparation.

  • Learning communities engaging in this development will need to invest time and effort in a co-constructive, pedagogically driven process for device identification, procurement & provisioning. This must involve all strata of the learning community and must engage in robust debate that secures strong pedagogical reasons for device choice. As a member of the Manaiakalani Outreach programme the device identification, procurement & provisioning will be organised by the Manaiakalani Hackers Group and provided for you.

  • The same co-constructive rigour needs to be applied to identification of the core cloud/network solution, permissioning & provisioning. This medium has to be ready, working and inservice prior to learners receiving devices. Issues such as identity and access management, filtering and firewalling should all have been part of the ground up design resulting from pedagogical debate, rather than simply being someone’s convenient or well marketed commercial solution. The Manaiakalani Outreach team will provide information around all of these solutions, as tried and researched in Manaiakalani.

  • At the same time that pedagogy and other domains are being developed toward readiness for the ‘golive’ day, the group will be investing in infrastructural readiness. This means that there will be provision of sufficient wireless coverage and throughput, sufficient internet bandwidth and the appropriate local network capability to handle the proliferation of individual client devices.

Necessary operational baselines which need to be in place prior to golive with individual client devices include provisions for:

  • asset tracking, break/fix, warranty and insurance issues

  • financial tracking and contract management

  • responsible use and ‘kawa of care’ agreements

  • storage and security management procedures

Governance and Leadership

Schools or clusters engaged in this work will have their own effective governance and leadership structure and will develop the operational structure needed to carry the work strands.

Outreach clusters will be deciding together what factors they have to prioritize to grow citizenship.  Academic outcomes are one important factor but not the only one. Manaiakalani participants believe that other factors such as family and whānau engagement and digital capability are equally critical for citizenship.  Manaiakalani Outreach is designed to directly support the priorities of other clusters where they are consistent with the Manaiakalani principles.

It is essential that agreed outcomes are understood and embraced by students, teachers, families and school, community and business leaders.  Sense-making around outcomes and a commitment to practice improvement, therefore, is an important part of the programme for all groups