34th International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement

Pre-Conference Events: January 20, 2021
Main Conference: January 21-24, 2021
Post-Conference Events: January 25, 2021
Kia ora tatou, Kia orana, Talofa lava, Mālō e lelei, Taloha Ni, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Ni Sa Bula Vinaka, Talofa, and Greetings.

The 34th International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI) will be hosted by The Faculty of Education and Social Work at The University of Auckland, together with our Ministry of Education as partners.

We are delighted to welcome delegates to our campus, our city of Auckland – Tamaki Makaurau, and our country – Aotearoa New Zealand. We offer  ‘manaakitanga’ – warm  hospitality with reciprocity and respect, welcoming, sharing and uniting with humility.

Whiria te kaha tūātinitini, whiria te kaha tūāmanomano

This whakataukī (proverb) acknowledges the multiple ways people are connected and how these relationships provide impetus for collaborative action.

The theme of the congress:

Mairangatia te angitu mā te mahi ngātahi: Ngā pūnaha ka ako, ka tupu hoki

Better Together:  Systems That Learn and Grow

This congress will focus on strengthening the capacity of schools and early learning centres to work together in a system that itself reflects, learns and grows.   It is the relationships and multiple connections across the system, and the learning they enable that provide impetus for collaborative action in support of system-wide educational effectiveness and improvement. By supporting the growth and renewal of the learning ecosystem we will both increase children and young people’s opportunities to learn and enhance education outcomes.  

A system that learns and grows can flex in responsive ways to support learners’ wellbeing, educational agency and outcomes.  Across the world young people are coming together to express their views and call us to action.  We need to listen to their voices in supporting them to learn and grow and become guardians of the world of the future. The strength and contribution of ICSEI is the way it connects research, policy and practice, creating the opportunity for collaboration between key players in educational systems.

The wero (challenge) for all of us is to ensure our systems provide the conditions in which the achievement of excellent and equitable outcomes in relation to multiple valued educational purposes is possible.  The learning of educators, leaders and systems is critical in responding to this challenge. An effective learning ecosystem is characterised by kaupapa (agreed values, principles and plans), manaakitanga (care and support), whanaungatanga (extended family-like relationships), ako (reciprocal teaching and learning relationships) and mahi ngātahi (working together collaboratively on a specific task or towards a specific outcome). 

We look forward to the opportunity ICSEI 2021 presents for educators, leaders, scholars, policymakers, community members and young people with diverse perspectives to come together to wānanga – discuss, debate, critique and problem solve, broadening our insights across shared and valued outcomes.  We welcome the opportunity to engage with the global education community on our theme, and sub-themes for the conference:


In bringing the theme of the congress to life our focus will be on:  

•           broadening the lens on valued outcomes 

•           the importance of deep learning for children, students, teachers in achieving equity and excellence

•           promoting learner self-efficacy, agency and wellbeing

•           ensuring educational success for learners with additional learning needs

•           recognising and responding to indigenous aspirations, knowledge, and approaches in education

•           building educationally powerful connections and relationships with families, whanau and utilising community learning.

•           purposeful professional collaboration for accountability, capability and capacity building at all levels of the system

•           using data, evidence, inquiry and evaluation for education innovation and improvement 

•           achieving coherence between research, policy and practice for system effectiveness and improvement

•           building effective leadership for effectiveness, change and improvement – in organisations, networks and systems.

The Context for the Congress

This congress takes place in Aotearoa, New Zealand where the Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document – the agreement that underpins relationships between Māori and the Crown.  The Treaty principles of participation, partnership and protection frame how we think about education provision.  Our education approaches draw on both Kaupapa Māori and Western knowledges and perspectives. Our national curriculum articulates the vision that every child and young person is entitled to: the opportunity to become confident in their language, culture and identity; enjoy a sense of wellbeing and be resilient and optimistic about the future; be a successful lifelong learner; and participate and contribute in a range of cultural, local, national and global contexts. 

Mairangatia te angitu mā te mahi ngātahi: Ngā pūnaha ka ako, ka tupu hoki

Better Together:  Systems That Learn and Grow