021005 Life At Kings Working At Kings Professional Development Opportunities Hero Image

We place as much importance on teacher and staff development as we do on student learning.

We are committed to working with our people to create personalised professional development programmes on both teaching, and non-teaching levels.

We invest in significant development opportunities for our people, such as the Margaret Myers Fellowship, a fund set up by the late Sir Douglas Myers (School, 1952-56) to enable King’s teachers who apply and are successful, to attend overseas study courses.

The Margaret Myers Fellowship is but one example of the professional development opportunities at King’s. 

Separate funding is also made available to enable outstanding educationalists to attend the College to conduct seminars, lectures or workshops for staff, students and the wider King’s community.

Case study: 2015 Margaret Myers Fellowship recipients
  • Jules Robson - Head of Biology

    Jules took a year to travel, study and attend conferences across a wide range of specialist areas including environmental citizenship and sustainability, ecology, marine science and leadership.

    Jules says he returned to King’s with with a “refreshed pedagogical perspective and many new ideas” to support his classroom teaching as well as the wider New Zealand biology educational community.

    “King’s is incredibly lucky to have benefactors that so generously support our dedicated and long-serving staff and I am sincerely grateful to the Myers for their investment in me. Words cannot adequately express my gratitude.”

    Jules visited Glenlyon Norfolk School on Vancouver Island, British Columbia which is a global leader in implementing environmental initiatives and, like King’s, is part of the Round Square programme. 

    Here he was able to see these initiatives in practice and discuss the school’s 2015 Environmental Audit which looked at how green initiatives could be promoted across all aspects of an academic community. He also visited ‘passive housing’ building projects and a range of ecological restoration projects. In Colorado, he visited an “exquisite haven”
    for wildlife high in the Rockies and in Germany he met ecologists responsible for the reintroduction of beaver into Saarland rivers.

    “These ‘quiet confidence’ courses empower young people to develop skill sets for emotional intelligence and selfreliance. In November 2015 we incorporated this material as part of our King’s new Year 12 Leadership programme.”

    Jules also attended a number of new leadership programmes that allow the lessons learned through martial arts training to be transfused into personal development programmes.

    Jules attended Cambridge University’s Marine Science training in Florida where he was able to meet the CIE Chief Examiner as well as other subject leaders for this new course.

    In November 2015, Jules shared a wealth of resources gleaned overseas with other New Zealand schools at a professional development day hosted at King’s. He said these resources helped to bring the syllabus alive
    by adding specific case study contexts for students.

  • May Meng - Deputy Head of Mathematics

    021005 Life At Kings Working At Kings Professional Development Opportunities May Meng

    King's College is currently the only secondary school in New Zealand offering Further Mathematics.

    May was keen to further explore this specialised areas when she travelled to Europe and the United States in 2016.

    Further Mathematics is a Year 13 subject for our top mathematics students who have worked at an accelerated level having completed A2 Level (Cambridge) at Year 12. Further Mathematics offers them a range of topics including pure Mathematic, statistics, and mechanics.

    It is also a prerequisite for students looking to enter engineering and science degrees at top universities in the United Kingdom.

    May visited five leading independent schools - Eton College, Westminster, Latymer Upper, Philips Academy - Exeter and Winsor - and three top universities  - Cambridge, Harvard, and MIT in the UK and US. Her time away also included a conference in Turin, Italy, on the History of Mathematics Education.

    May also spent time with a CIE IGCSE examiner, sharing valuable insight and gaining better perspective of the marking procedure.

    The study trip helped her develop strategies and insights into ways of teaching Further Mathematics in line with the new syllabus.

    "The Myers Fellowship has given me the perfect professional and personal development opportunity to expand my enhusiasm for mathematics," says May.

    "I am confident that our students will benefit immensely from this experience as will the Mathematics department."

    In Boston, at the Phillips Academy (Exeter), her experience and obeservation of Mathematics classes in actions was "a real eye opener." The school's collaborative Mathematics programme follows the Harkness philosophy of learning which is based on smaller classes. This is where 10-14 students work on whiteboards placed around the perimeter of the room while the teacher encourages student-led discussions to find solutions to problem sets.

    "What struck me was how engaged and motivated the students were," says May. "The teacher acted as more of a mentor, challenging the students to solve the problems themselves or with each other. Class selection was critical so that students were working at the same academic level, so they talked the same language and were able to have meaningful peer-to-peer discussions."

    "Seeing this teaching method in action has meant a fundamental shift in my thinking about what it is to be a teacher. As a result, I'm now encouraging the students to find the solution themselves. I used to like controlling the class through my teaching process, but now I guide the students - it's much more powerful and inspiring for them."

    May has taught at King's College since 2008 and has been a five-time New Zealand International Mathematical Olympiad Team Manager since 2007.

Case study: 2016 Margaret Myers Fellowship recipients
  • Bryan Sapsworth - Head of Physics

    For Bryan, applying for the 2016 Margaret Myers Fellowship was driven by his desire to create bigger gains in his teaching and educational achievements.

    “I applied because it appeared to be a good opportunity to seek answers to some burning questions I had in relation to my teaching,” explains Bryan. “For a while I had tried many technological advances in my teaching, but the gain in educational achievement was not being sustained. So I wanted to find out why this was.”

    Bryan spread his Fellowship over a year. First stop was to the United Kingdom for the Bett Show, an annual trade show in the UK that markets information technology in education; and a Visible Learning conference. He then visited Geneva, Switzerland, for a tour of the CERN laboratory, the European Organization for Nuclear Research where physicists and engineers probe the fundamental structure of the universe.

    In Sydney, Australia he attended the National Future Schools Conference; in Melbourne, the IWBnet Leadership conference; and in New Zealand’s South Island, a special Energy Generation and Adventure Tour. In his travels, Bryan also visited a number of schools to learn about their teaching and learning practices in the Physics sphere.

    Bryan feels privileged to be a recipient of the Fellowship.

    “It has given me a refreshed interest in teaching at King’s College and a real sense of pride that I was selected.”

    Bryan’s advice to aspiring and future Margaret Myers Fellowship applicants and recipients is this: “Think about what big educational questions you wish to answer. This will take you on a long journey.”

    Does ICT improve learning?

    “Through my travels, I found that the focus on educational technologies is too strong. ICT is an essential skill to master considering it is all pervasive in the lives of our students and in the workplace. It cannot be ignored. But it is not a magic bullet for education.”

    Bryan concluded that he had spent too much time looking at the activity instead of the outcomes.

    From here on, Bryan’s focus is back to what future learning he wishes to see in his classroom.

    “If ICT helps then that is great,” he says. “For me, ICT is now an essential tool that sits beside all other tools. I will take greater care in analysing what I get out of the use of ICT.”

    How can the classroom be set up to best support learning in Science?

    Bryan explains how finding answers to this particular question gave him valuable insight into what the ideal Physics lab should look like.

    “The adaptability of space is very important,” says Bryan. “It was also interesting to see that our ‘no front’ to the classroom has been done elsewhere and it was pleasing to know that we are doing very well in this aspect.”

    Immersing students into Engineering and Physics at College level

    Figuring out how to best immerse his students in Engineering and Physics at a high school level was the most interesting part of his Fellowship experience.

    “I went to CERN and loved it. But I struggled to develop a way to connect this to my students in New Zealand,” says Bryan.

    So he went in search of a better alternative – in New Zealand’s South Island.

    “There is an amazing power generation scheme there so I went through this scheme with the help of Meridian Energy and took Virtual Reality photos and videos at many of the sites, met the people behind it and collected the information I needed,” explains Bryan.

    This material will be used to create an immersive website where students can place themselves in the power stations and then answer open-ended Engineering and Physics questions. These questions will be embedded into the College’s Physics syllabus with the intention of highlighting the strength of New Zealand’s ingenuity and also making it more relatable to the students.

  • Ro Bairstow - Teacher of Mathematics

    For Ro Bairstow, applying for the Margaret Myers Fellowship was part of his quest to collect information, photos and videos for the creation of an educational and mathematical iBook he was creating, called The Man-made Wonders of the World.

    “Writing iBooks has been a passion of mine for several years,” says Ro. “All of my classes use iBooks, created by me, instead of the traditional textbooks. Students respond well to this method of teaching and learning at the College, and feedback is favourable.”

    During his Fellowship year, Ro visited a number of fascinating places including Dubai where he went up the Burg Kalifa, London and its well-planned undergound transport hub, and India, where he had the opportunity to tour the Taj Mahal.

    “Whilst on these travels, the one key thing that struck me the most was the very important place that Engineering and Mathematics have had in shaping our modern world,” says Ro.

    “I obtained much-needed data for my book and was also inspired to start planning a follow-up iBook, called The Natural Wonders of the World.”

    Ro’s advice to future applicants of the Margaret Myers Fellowship is to ensure they think outside the square when putting together their application.

    Ro is the founder of The BestMaths Foundation, a charitable trust dedicated to producing digital resources to assist and enhance the teaching and learning of Mathematics at primary and secondary school levels.

    The free resources include eBooks, Apps, games and an extensive website full of content such as interactive features and concept videos.