Select a category below to be taken to questions and answers relating to that topic.
Where did the Primary Principals’ Sabbatical come from?
The Primary Principals’ Sabbatical was negotiated as one of the professional learning provisions for principals as part of the Primary Principals’ Collective Agreement (PPCA).
What is this award?
The purpose of this sabbatical is to provide a sustained period during a principal’s career to engage in a balance of professional learning, reflection and rejuvenation.
The school receives relief funding in accordance with the relevant collective agreement, while the principal is on sabbatical.
What is the purpose of the Primary Principals’ Sabbatical?
The sabbatical aims to:
And more broadly:
How many sabbaticals are available each year?
There are 105 Primary Principals’ Sabbaticals available each year.
Principals are able to apply for a ten-week sabbatical (which may be taken in two blocks), a five-week sabbatical or a three-week sabbatical.
Note that this may result in sabbaticals being awarded to more than 40 Primary principals during one school year.
What are the expectations if awarded a sabbatical if awarded a sabbatical?
If you are selected for a sabbatical, you must:
If you are successful and then decline the offer prior to undertaking the leave of a sabbatical, you can re-apply in a subsequent year with no prejudice.
A sabbatical cannot be postponed to the next year.
However, under exceptional circumstances the board of trustees/employer may postpone the sabbatical to the first or second term of the following year, subject to notification and agreement from TeachNZ.
When will I find out the outcome of my application?
You will be notified by Friday 9 September 2022.
Are all the sabbaticals allocated each year?
Yes, the selection process for Primary Principals’ Sabbaticals is always competitive. There are a limited number of sabbaticals available and only applicants of the highest calibre are successful.
What does a Primary Principals’ Sabbatical provide?
A Primary Principals’ Sabbatical provides you with normal salary paid leave for 10 school weeks. TeachNZ covers the relief costs to replace you while you are on sabbatical.
‘Normal salary’ includes all permanent salary units and allowances.
The leave counts as service for most purposes.
Any salary increases or increments due during the sabbatical still apply, according to the provisions of the PPCA.
Please note that there is no contribution to any additional expenses.
How long is a sabbatical?
A sabbatical is for 10 school weeks only.
If you choose to take your sabbatical in a term that is nine weeks in duration, you can choose to take the tenth week of sabbatical either in the last week of the term before, or the first week of the term after, in agreement with your school.
When can I take my sabbatical?
You can choose which term to take your sabbatical as long as your board of trustees/employer agrees. Please make sure you notify TeachNZ of the dates you plan to take your sabbatical.
Can I work while on a sabbatical?
No, you must not be in paid work while on sabbatical. The purpose of the Primary Principals’ Sabbatical is to provide a sustained period of time in a principal’s career to engage in a balance of professional learning activities, reflection and rejuvenation.
You cannot work at your school, or another school while on sabbatical.
What do I need to do to confirm dates for my sabbatical? Can my sabbatical dates change?
Please indicate on the application form the dates that you plan to take your sabbatical. If you are successful you will be asked to confirm the dates.
Please note that these must be agreed to with your Board. Please notify TeachNZ of any dates changes.
What will happen if I have applied for the wrong award?
Your application will only be assessed for the award you have applied for. It’s important that you check the application information to ensure you are applying for the correct award.
Can I submit more than one application for a sabbatical?
No, you can only submit one application for each sabbatical you apply for.
Do I need to return to the same school after completing my sabbatical?
There is an expectation that you will return either to your previous role or a role within the education workforce.
What if I am offered a position at a different school?
If you are offered a primary principal position at a different school you will need approval from the new school’s board of trustees/employer confirming that they will support you with your sabbatical. You would need to provide us with confirmation of support from the board of trustees/employer so we can advise the correct school on how to charge relief costs to TeachNZ.
If your new position is not as a primary principal your cannot continue with the sabbatical award.
Can I postpone my sabbatical until the next year?
You may request to postpone your sabbatical under exceptional circumstances to either Term 1 or 2 of the following year. You must have the approval from your board of trustees/employer to postpone your sabbatical.
Please make this request in writing to TeachNZ with a short explanation of the reason for this change.
Can I withdraw from a Primary Principals’ Sabbatical?
If you choose to withdraw, you can apply again in the future with no prejudice. You would need to let us know in writing that you would like to withdraw from the sabbatical. We can accept this by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How is my application assessed?
First, we will check that your application meets all of the eligibility criteria outlined above. A selection panel, made up of representatives from the Ministry of Education, the New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) and the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA), will then assess your application on the following:
Your proposal shows that the professional learning you’re planning to complete during the sabbatical is in one or more of the approved fields ( ‘Approved professional learning activities’).
Your proposal is clear and shows:
Your application will first of all be assessed and scored on the selection factors listed above, if after ranking, applications are on equal scoring at the cut off point for awarding, preference will be given to those who have not received a sabbatical within the last five years.
The selection panel’s role is to ensure that the selection process is open, fair, consistent and impartial and that it provides for equal opportunity and non-discrimination.
What if I am offered a position at a different school?
If it is not as a primary school principal position you will no longer be eligible for the sabbatical leave.
If you are offered a primary principal position at a different school you will need approval from the new school’s board of trustees/employer. You will need to provide TeachNZ with written confirmation of support from the board of trustees/employer, so we can advise the correct school on how to charge the relief costs.
What is the eligibility criteria?
To be eligible to apply for the Primary Principals’ Sabbatical, you must:
The eligibility criteria state that I need to have at least five years’ service as a Primary or area principal in a New Zealand state or state-integrated school. I am currently in my fifth year as a principal. Can I apply?
Yes, if you will have completed at least five years of service by December 2022.
Can I apply if I’m not a member of a union?
Yes, the awards are open to all principals in New Zealand state or state-integrated primary schools, and who meet the eligibility criteria.
I am appointed to the Kāhui Ako|Community of Schools leadership role, am I able to take sabbatical leave for Principals?
Yes, a principal in receipt of the allowance for the Kāhui Ako|Community of Schools leadership role may apply for principals’ sabbatical leave to be taken while they hold that role provided that any application has the support of their employing board and all other schools in the Kāhui Ako| Community of Learning which shall consider the needs of the wider community of schools.
Where can I find information on the professional learning activities completed by previous sabbatical recipients?
Reports by successful applicants from previous years can be found on the Educational Leaders website, www.educationalleaders.govt.nz.
What professional learning activities are approved for a sabbatical?
The professional learning you’re planning to complete during the sabbatical is in one or more of the following approved fields:
What professional learning activities are not approved for a sabbatical?
Can I change my sabbatical project after submitting an application?
Yes, but not substantially as this will need to be approved by TeachNZ. Please notify TeachNZ of this change in writing and provide details of your new sabbatical project and a short explanation of the reason for this change.
How should I present my proposal?
Please ensure you provide enough information for the selection panel to judge whether your sabbatical proposal meets the selection criteria and is realistic and achievable within the period of leave. You must complete your sabbatical proposal on the application form. This makes it easier for the selection panel to assess applications consistently.
Can I put in a joint sabbatical proposal with another principal?
No, you cannot submit a joint application for a sabbatical, each application will be assessed separately by the selection panel.
Can I submit more than one sabbatical proposal with my application?
You can only submit one sabbatical proposal with your application.
What are the Ministry of Education priorities for education?
For further information please refer to the Statement of Intent which can be found online at
What is considered ‘professional isolation’?
It is important that you outline any professional isolation as applications are judged based on the information you provide.
Examples of professional isolation include:
What can I provide as evidence that my board of trustees/employer supports my application?
We can accept one of the following as board of trustees/employer support:
Board of trustees/employer support, in one of the formats outlined above, must be submitted by Monday 18 July 2022.
Please note that support from the board of trustees/employer is an eligibility factor.
Who has the authority to support my application on behalf of the board of trustee’s chairperson?
The deputy chairperson or another trustee who has delegated authority in the absence of the chairperson or their deputy. Please make sure this is clear on the application form.
Who can sign my application form if the board of trustees has been disestablished?
Please ask the commissioner acting in place of the board of trustees to confirm support for your application by signing your application form. Please ensure its clear the signature is that of the commissioner.
Who can support my application if my school has a limited statutory manager employed?
If the limited statutory manager is acting in place of the board of trustees for employment matters, ask the limited statutory manager to confirm support for your application by signing your application form, otherwise the board chairperson should sign. Please ensure it’s clear that the signature is that of the limited statutory manager.
What if I can’t provide confirmation of board of trustees/employer support when I submit my application?
If you have not received support from the board of trustees/employer you may still apply, but please send this in by Monday 18 July 2022. Please provide an explanation in the box provided on the application form as to why the support of the board of trustees/employer is not included with your application.
Please note that support from the board of trustees/employer is an eligibility criteria, and must be submitted by Monday 18 July 2022 or the application will be incomplete.
Can I apply online?
Yes, just complete and submit your application form online at www.teachnz.govt.nz/studyawards on or before Monday 4 July 2022.
Can I email you my application?
No, we can only accept applications sent in by post or courier. For your application to be considered, it must be sent and postmarked on or before Monday 4 July 2022. You can apply online at www.teachnz.govt.nz/studyawards
Can I post a digital copy (on a disc or USB stick) of my application?
No, please submit a printed, unbound document on A4 paper.
What happens if my application is late?
Late applications will not be considered. For your application to be considered, it must be submitted on or before Monday 4 July 2022.
Can I send in additional information after submitting my application?
You may submit additional information for your application up to Monday 18 July 2022 (two weeks after the closing date), otherwise this cannot be considered with your application, and it incompletes will not be assessed.
How will I know you have received my application?
You will receive an email to confirm that your application has arrived. Please contact us if you have not heard from us by Monday 18 July 2022.
What happens if my application is incomplete?
It’s important to ensure you’ve submitted all the required information. If your application is incomplete, or it is not in the correct format, the selection panel may not be able to assess it.
What will happen if my application is postmarked after Monday 4 July 2022?
Your application will not be considered.
How should I report on my sabbatical?
Reporting on your sabbatical professional learning activities principals awarded a sabbatical are required to provide a written report that may be accessed online by other principals.
It is strongly recommended that the report is reviewed, preferably by a colleague, before submitting it for publication, and that you have permission from anyone named in your report.
Failure to submit a report within the timeframe will preclude you from being considered for future awards.
When is the report due?
A copy of your report and a link to your report must be emailed to TeachNZ at
email@example.com within three months after completing your sabbatical.
A link to your project will be listed on the Educational Leaders website for other principals and teachers to view.
If a report or resource has not been received within the requested timeframe, an email reminder will be sent to the principal and the website will be amended to advise that the report has not yet been received.
A link to the project will be listed on the Educational Leaders website for other principals and teachers to view.
Before uploading this we advise you to ask a colleague to read through your report.
Reports of successful applicants from previous years can be found on the Educational Leaders website (www.educationalleaders.govt.nz) along with more guidelines for writing your report.
What is recommended for the structure to reporting on my professional learning?
It is recommended that reports are structured in the following way:
Note that reports are required from the shorter sabbaticals but would not need to be as extensive.