A dozen South Wairarapa schools have raised their hands together to be part of the Community of Learning initiative, while a similar number of Masterton schools were yet to climb aboard.

Fourteen schools were represented in each of the Masterton Principals Cluster group and the South Wairarapa Principals Association.

Martinborough School principal Craig Nelson, who is also the chairman of the South Wairarapa Principals Association, said all but Pirinoa School and Ponatahi Christian School had moved to unite under the Community of Learning banner.

"We've put in an expression of interest to [the Ministry of Education], which is a continuation of what we started about four years ago around our learning and change network," Mr Nelson said.


"We saw the value in working together as a cluster and continuing that growth with a consistent focus for all of our schools and the achievements of all our kids in South Wairarapa."

He said working details regarding the Community of Learning concept were yet to be refined but principals from 12 South Wairarapa schools were committed to the programme.

"There's a lot of grey area around what it actually means and there's not a lot of working models. The devil is in the details and we don't have enough detail about the implications for schools, teachers and communities.

"We're keen to go further with this because we do see potential in growing the ability of our teachers and focusing on our students as leaders, and their achievements.

"We were already doing that as a cluster and this seems to be the natural next step."

Mr Nelson said the cluster had already developed "a shared vision" regarding the acceleration of learning for children and raising student achievement.

"Between us, we have children from all walks of life that we care for and we're already growing the sense that all kids are our kids," he said.

"It's an accountability issue as well, you know where we're all committed to the same thing and sharing information and practices, and providing opportunities for people to lead professional development for other schools, then you're making sure the teachers and the kids are getting the same developmental focus.


"Especially for some of our smaller schools that can find it hard to get that professional development," he said.

Sue Walters, Masterton Primary School principal and Masterton Principals Cluster chairwoman, said the group of Masterton principals had debated the scheme, and its benefits and drawbacks, but were yet to decide on involvement.

"We have had a discussion with the ministry about what the benefits of a Community of Learning would be and we have not yet made a decision," she said.

There were "a whole lot of things we've been doing as a cluster" that embraced learning as a collective dynamic, she said, including the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) programme.

"I have to say, we have been operating as a community of learning and that's what we've been in all but name for decades."

Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott said students in the region would "benefit from shared teaching practices and expertise, with teachers working alongside each other on goals to help improve educational outcomes in the classroom" as proposed under the auspices of the ministry's Communities of Learning scheme.

"I'm proud our schools realise that together they can achieve even more for our children," Mr Scott said.

"Across the country, more than 1000 schools are working together in Communities of Learning to raise student achievement -- supporting more than 320,000 Kiwi kids.

"This is 40 per cent of all New Zealand schools."

He said these communities were funded through the Government's $359 million Investing in Educational Success initiative, and "evidence shows quality of teaching and school leadership are the two most important factors in a child's education, so the Government is supporting those areas".

"The communities will work together on challenges they identify for their students, who will then benefit from schools sharing their expertise and resources," he said.