Call for conference speakers

2021 Independent Schools of New Zealand Conference

Harnessing the Power of What Works and Innovating for the Future of Education

20-21 August 2021 | Hilton Auckland


Are you a talented professional eager to share your knowledge, expertise, research and experience?

Independent Schools of New Zealand welcomes inspiring presentation proposals related to education with a specific focus on the future landscape of schooling in New Zealand.


How to apply

Please email your proposal to by 30 April 2021.

To submit your presentation proposal, you will need to provide:

  • Abstract of your presentation
  • Your biography notes
  • Full contact details
  • Links to video clips of previous presentations you have given.


Why apply?

  • Share your knowledge or your latest research in front of +180 school decision makers: Board Members, Principals, Business and Senior Managers of New Zealand Independent Schools
  • Enhance your profile and network with delegates from leading private/independent schools.


About the conference

Independent Schools of New Zealand (ISNZ) is the national body representing 50 private (also known as independent) schools in New Zealand. The role of ISNZ is to promote independent education in its widest sense.

The conference programme this year shall explore the value proposition of the independent school sector in New Zealand, both from the perspective of what’s working for our schools and the influences we should be mindful of in the future landscape of education, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the key conference programme highlights we hope to include:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on New Zealand population projections – what might this mean for independent schools and school roll projections?
  • Schooling beyond COVID-19 – does the value proposition of independent schooling need to change? How sure are we of consumer confidence in our preparation for the uncertain road ahead? Has our market changed?
  • Governance – the rules of good governance apply now more than ever – coming out of a pandemic crisis what elements of effective governance should be uppermost in the minds of our school boards?
  • The sustainability and viability of the New Zealand private school sector – independent schools must quickly adapt to the potential financial sustainability challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. How can our schools innovate, explore new models and deepen their collaboration to become more financially sustainable? Provocatively, should we be considering a “merger and acquisition market” that may save many smaller, vulnerable schools while strengthening the position and viability of the independent schools that remain?
  • Leadership – our schools can be justifiably proud of the crisis leadership that has been demonstrated during the last year; disruptive and adaptive leadership skills have been crucial in this ongoing pandemic environment. We’ll have a focus on future-prepared school leaders and look, more practically, at what type of leadership approaches have and haven’t worked during this crisis and consider what leadership characteristics are required of 21st Century school leaders and educators.
  • Mental health and emotional wellbeing in the workplace – the pandemic has had an impact on us all with some people, young and old, thrown into an isolated world full of uncertainties. A culture of health can make a difference. We’ll look at a people-focused approach outlining the role of an employer in ensuring the wellbeing of the workforce during and after a period of crisis. We’ll analyse the needs of employees, and how we provide support through learning and development of employee mental resilience to handle stress or trauma.
  • Student wellbeing, child protection and pastoral care – educators have been key in protecting student mental health and wellbeing long before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. However, early indicators suggest that COVID-19 has impacted some students’ lives through increased isolation, loneliness, stress and sadness. Many students are shouldering their parents economic and employment uncertainty which is affecting their wellbeing and learning. What should we be looking for in student behaviours and should we be adapting our child protection and wellbeing support mechanisms?
  • HR/workforce trends – recent commentary and research suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a hybrid working model that is here to stay. How might this affect the teaching workforce in the interest of recruitment and retention? What should we consider in promoting teaching opportunities in independent schools?
  • International education – many schools in New Zealand have been impacted by the loss of international students as a result of border closures. We’ll look at the New Zealand international education recovery plan and the unique selling points for independent schools in attracting international students and our preparedness and readiness for the opening of our borders.


Session formats and lengths

Conference session formats include:

Keynote presentations: these presentations are standard plenary conference sessions. They are 45 minutes to one hour in duration and may include time for facilitated questions and answers with the audience.

Panel discussions: three or more panellists are invited to these sessions. Panellists have the chance to share their point of view on a given topic before opening to facilitated questions and answers from the audience. Panel discussions are usually one hour in duration, allowing interactive input from the audience.

Workshops: these sessions are expected to be highly interactive and should involve audience participation. Duration can vary depending on the topic, but they are normally 45 minutes to one hour long.



Representatives from the leading private and independent New Zealand schools are expected to attend the conference.

Delegation is made up primarily of: Governors, Board Members, Principals, Business Managers and senior leaders of private schools in New Zealand. Attendance at the ISNZ Annual Conference is open to anyone with an interest in education.


Guidance for presentation abstracts

As part of your presentation proposal submission, you will need to provide a summary of your presentation.

Please state the content of your presentation and explain why it is relevant to the conference audience.


Guidance for biographies

As part of your presentation proposal submission, you will need to provide your biography. It should include:

  • Name, title and the organisation you represent
  • Portrait photo
  • Your background and experience
  • Any career highlights you wish to share
  • Full contact details (phone, email address).


Formats accepted: Word, PDF


If your proposal is selected, the abstract and biography information in this proposal will be printed in the ISNZ Conference handbook.


Non-promotions policy

Conference sessions aim to inspire, inform and challenge attendees. They are designed to share knowledge and must not be used to promote products or services. If you have a specific product or service targeted to the conference audience, please get in touch to discuss potential sponsorship/promotional opportunities at the conference.