Prime Minister John Key is today expected to unveil a plan that will allow the boards of some poorly performing schools to hire high performing principals with big pay incentives.

Dubbed "change principals", the policy is bedded in the belief that the leadership in school can have a big impact on the quality of teaching and the quality of achievement.

Boards with vacancies will have to get the agreement of the Ministry of Education that they qualify for a change-principal allowance.

It was understood that the concept of change principals would be introduced next year, only if National leads the next government.


It will be part of a broader education package of policies to be announced today by Mr Key in his annual state of the nation speech. The speech is expected to focus on lifting educational achievement.

The salary allowances is expected to come from the $1 billion in new spending forecast for the next Budget, rather than from savings.