Long term impact report: Piritahi Kāhui Ako

Read how a Kāhui Ako saw transformative impact from a three-year Leading Adult Learning programme,


Dr Wendy Moore


At the time of this report, the Piritahi Kāhui Ako in Marlborough had participated in the longest sustained working relationship with the Leading Adult Learning (LAL) programme spanning across five years. Initially, five principals from the Kāhui Ako participated in the programme and wanted to extend its benefits to a broader range of staff. The programme then evolved using Ministry of Education regional funding over the next four years, involving multiple schools and leaders, with a focus on fostering adult learning and leadership development. The overarching goal was to positively influence both school and regional culture.

An evaluation was commissioned by the LAL leadership team in 2020. The aim was to investigate the impact of learning by the Piritahi Kāhui Ako from being involved in the LAL programme for such a sustained length of time.


An appreciative inquiry methodology was utilised for the evaluation and a sample of participants from across the Kāhui Ako and across the four years were invited to participate. 17 voices are represented within this report, with roles including principals, associate principals, deputy principals, team leaders and within school and across school leaders. Face to face and online interviews were conducted. Set questions were asked of each participant regarding their initial thoughts about the LAL programme, their journey through the programme, their reflections of the impact of the programme, and final messages. Interviews were transcribed, analysed and themes collated using a thematic analysis approach.

The final report presents an overview of the themes and uses the voices of participants extensively to tell their story of impact from being part of the LAL programme.


The impact of the LAL programme was substantial and observed at multiple levels—within the Kāhui Ako, individual schools, and among learners. Participants noted improved relationships and collaboration within the Kāhui Ako, emphasising a shift from individualistic approaches to a more collective mindset. The LAL programme facilitated changes in communication, leadership styles, and the establishment of shared language and protocols. Schools experienced cultural shifts, with enhanced teamwork, empathy, and distributive leadership. The influence extended to learners, where teachers adopted LAL strategies in classrooms, fostering deeper and more learner-focused conversations. Finally, the personal impact for some had been profound, with participants highlighting increased self-reflection, changed reactions to learners, other staff and during parent conversations, and the application of learned skills not only in their professional but also personal lives.

The overall consensus was overwhelmingly positive, with participants considering the LAL programme as highly valuable and transformative professional development.

Piritahi Kāhui Ako Impact report

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