Building collaborative leadership and teaching teams at Ahutoetoe School.

By Judy Bruce

Ahutoetoe School is a new kura which opened in Milldale, north Auckland in February 2023. In this article, Nick Edwards (Tumuaki Tuarua) shares about Ahutoetoe’s journey toward building collaborative teams.

Ahutoetoe School is proud to share some insights around our story describing how we have established and grown collaboration/mahi tahi as a key foundation of our school character since our formation in 2022. 

Ahutoetoe School — Image by: Ahutoetoe School

As a kura, we believe that collaboration and relationships/whānaungatanga are the most important parts of establishing and growing a culture that means all ākonga, kaiako and kaiārataki can connect, nurture and inspire to Grow the Future / Ahutia ngā toetoe mō apōpō.

Collaboration and connection/hono have been a cornerstone of how we have operated as a Foundation Leadership Team throughout 2022. A collaborative focus has continued to be grown and developed as we have added more kaiako and ākonga to our kura throughout 2023.

Wendy Sandifer, our Tumuaki, purposefully looked to employ two Tumuaki Tuarua with recent classroom experience and with slightly different world views, to ensure that all decisions are made with constructive discourse and a range of opinions. 

The collaborative leadership approach of having three members of our leadership team has brought a lot of success for our kura, and we have continued to use groups of three where possible.

Our teaching teams are currently made of two kaiako in our Foundation Year of 2023. Our teaching teams will grow to groups of three when we move into our permanent site next year. Toru/three is a number that we have seen successfully used in many schools throughout numerous visits. Research we have read indicates teams of three provide opportunities for productive and constructive kōrero and teamwork.

Team building at Te Herenga Waka o Orewa — Image by: Ahutoetoe School

We were lucky enough to have Term 4 of 2022 to provide professional learning and development opportunities for our new staff. As our primary means of promoting and learning more about collaborative practice and co-teaching models, we employed the services of ‘Leading Learning’ (Mark Osborne and Jo Robson). Together we explored our understanding of ‘Change Practice’ relating to flexible learning practice and environments, co-teaching models, team norms, and relationships.

Whilst we’re proud of the mahi we have done to establish team norms, a shared culture of collaboration, and a genuine understanding of what each member of our kura brings to the team, we still have a long hīkoi ahead of us as we welcome newmembers into our school whānau and grow as a kura. 

We welcome any foundation or growing kura to contact us for a kōrero via email, or kōrero kanohi ki te kanohi for more insights. 

We believe in collaborative practice and the impact this has had on learning, leadership and enjoyment within our kura.

Nick Edwards, Tumuaki Tuarua

Read more about Ahutoetoe School on their website: