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Lead school principal

The lead school principal/tumuaki and the cluster manager have delegations and management responsibilities. They work on behalf of the board.

Together, the principal/tumuaki and the cluster manager form the RTLB strategic leadership and management team.


The principal provides strategic leadership and management support for the cluster manager. Areas of responsibility include employment, administration, finances, and education sector or community issues. 

The principal ensures that the cluster manager is managing the RTLB service on a day-to-day basis so that kura/schools, kaiako/teachers and students in the cluster receive an equitable, quality RTLB service. The principal also ensures RTLB are supported in their role. 

A new lead school principal should seek mentoring support from experienced RTLB lead school principals.

Personnel management

The principal is responsible for the induction, attestation process, performance supervision, and appraisal of the cluster manager.

In collaboration with the cluster manager the principal will make sure RTLB receive regular performance supervision, appraisal supervision, and – if applicable – suitable accommodation.

The two also oversee:

Financial management
  • Ensure the lead school has the financial systems to maintain RTLB financial records that support the RTLB service.
  • Ensure RTLB funding is accounted for separately from the school’s, kura's funding.
  • In collaboration with the cluster manager establish the cluster’s annual budget.
  • Approve and account to the board for expenditure against cluster targets.
  • Ensure RTLB funding is included in the school’s, kura's annual financial statements.
  • Ensure that distribution of RTLB learning support funding or resources is based on student or school need, not on a pro-rata basis.
  • Ensure that there is a robust needs analysis process that informs the allocation of funds and resources.
Planning and reporting
  • In collaboration with the cluster manager and key stakeholders, develop the RTLB service strategic and annual plans.
  • Report regularly (at least quarterly) to the board on the activities of the RTLB service: issues and risks, service patterns, outputs and outcomes, staffing and expenditure.
  • Support the cluster manager with the preparation of the annual narrative and financial reports. 
Sector relationships
  • Advocate for the RTLB service with cluster schools.
  • Meet regularly with cluster school principals.
  • Develop and maintain trusting and collaborative relationships with key stakeholders.
  • Meet regularly with the local Ministry Learning Support manager.
  • Where appropriate, include the cluster manager in meetings with community, sector and agency groups.

Content last updated: March 2018