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About the Bright Spots Awards

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The Bright Spots Awards give teachers and leaders the funding and expert support to create, trial and iteratively develop new ways of working and innovative practices in schools and early childhood centres.

New Zealand teachers and leaders regularly design and implement new programmes and approaches to address identified problems and challenges of practice. To date, however, there has been limited valid testing or evaluation of these promising practices. What’s more, successful approaches are rarely shared or scaled up, beyond the school or centre in which they are developed. The mission of the Bright Spots Awards is to encourage and empower innovation, and then to share the results so everyone can benefit.

Development funding

We offer up to $30k to support the design and implementation of your innovation in Year 1. These funds may be used for teacher release time, specialist support, or to cover directly related costs. Additional funding may be available for Year 2.

Professional support

The Education Hub provides winning projects with expert, hands-on support as part of an 18-month professional development programme. You will develop skills in undertaking in-school research and development, and support to iteratively improve your initiative.

Global network

You will be connected with experts and others working in similar areas both within New Zealand and around the world, enabling you to grow your professional network and tap into a wide range of expertise.


In addition to funding support, the 18-month programme includes:

  • A two-day training workshop focusing on clarifying, planning and preparing the project for implementation: problem definition, innovation development, and creating robust measures and processes for testing impact
  • A one-day session at the start of the year to ensure the first round of implementation and testing is ready to commence
  • Regular sessions in the participant’s own school/centre or online to discuss progress and to support the iterative development of each participant’s innovation
  • A mid-year meeting in year one to discuss data collection and to develop data analysis skills
  • Innovations that have demonstrably led to strong outcomes will be supported to scale up – for example, implemented and evaluated in a greater number of schools or centres – in Year 2 of the programme.

The Bright Spots Awards gave us the support, development and access to professional development that really solidified our belief in our ideas. We are now implementing in-school research, practices and skills in the leaning environment.

Sharne Quickenden - Burnside Primary School / 2018 Bright Spots Awardee

Find out more

Information about the next Bright Spots Awards program will be available soon.

Register your interest now and we’ll keep you posted. 


Raising Scientific Literacy in Primary and Intermediate Schools

House of Science NZ
This charitable trust is busy developing and delivering resources to improve science programmes in New Zealand's primary schools

Seeing Learning Better

Auckland Grammar School
Developing a more impactful way of providing guidance to new teachers, to ensure they receive more support and mentoring

Removing barriers to success in learning; Understanding neurodiversity to enable success

Lake Rerewhakaaitu School
This initiative involves understanding the strengths of each student and building the capacity of teachers to work effectively with diverse learners.

Congratulations to The Education Hub and the awardees. You are lucky to have been selected and I know that you will get fantastic encouragement and support.

Bernie Wills - Wellington High School / 2018 Bright Spots Awardee


Oracy Framework

BSA Burnside Primary School
A partnership with a speech language therapist is enabling teachers to explore how they can improve pupils' language skills of new entrants

Te Waka STEM Innovation Hub

Tauhara College
A pilot programme for Year 9 students aims to improve engagement and enrolment in STEM subjects among Māori girls in particular.

The Student at the Centre

Wellington High School
Maths teacher Bernie Wills proposed “flipping” teaching and assessment practices in order to put the student at the centre of their learning.

Unlock achievement

Mt Aspiring College
Micro-credentialing in secondary school classrooms aims to make the language of NCEA assessment more engaging for students and their parents.

Enhancing Student Achievement through Teacher Inquiry and Collaborative Quantitative Analysis

Gisborne Boys’ High School
Through an innovative reporting tool, Gisborne teacher Darcy Fawcett is working to help teachers evaluate their initiatives and improve student outcomes.
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