All the time, Every time, All of us, Everywhere! - The intentional transformation of a failing school - Ian Taylor

All the time, Every Time, All of us, Everywhere!

The intentional transformation of a failing school

This is the story of a collective group of people who did a ‘truckload of work’, with much personal sacrifice and professional skill and talent, to make Manurewa Intermediate School be a good place for kids – to help make those kids be better humans than they were the day before, to bring joy and a sense of optimism and hope for them all and to raise their presence, engagement and achievement, and at the same time to positively impact a wider group of whānau and community.


Feedback About Our Book

I recall coming to Ponsonby when you were there, and it was impressive then – and now feel I have visited Manurewa having read your love-letter to and about the school. Again, impressive and of course I know the data behind this story which makes it so credible. 

You have every reason to be so proud, as should the teachers and students and whanau. It is too rare to read books like yours written by principals about the real lives of schools (most are written by the me’s – distant from the reality and talking about leadership and forgetting management, finance, parents), and so many talk about what we DO TO not DO WITH students. 

I only trust this becomes a blueprint for others to emulate – we are not so good at identifying success and scaling it up. I did see some nudges here and there from the VL work, but you made this all your own. Now to scale it up.

May there be many other Manurewa’s!

John Hattie,
Melbourne Laureate Professor Emeritus;
Chief Academic Advisor: Corwin; Technical advisor to i-Ready Assessment

Warm congratulations on an extraordinary story which is a tribute to you and all those who have contributed to a compelling story of how to achieve educational success, no matter what the odds. This story ought to be compulsory reading for trainee teachers, current Principals, MOE people and politicians. You are an outstanding leader who has shown what can be done for disadvantaged kids and their families, despite the odds. Tom Brown would be so delighted to receive the publication. He had a high regard for you, as do I. Well done.

Brother sir Patrick Lynch KNZM, QSO.

Super WOW!! I am thinking of opportunities and see many!! Next step - how to use the book as a launching pad to influence the system - looking forward to talking more about this!

Mary Chamberlain, 
Director Evaluation Associates

Thanks for your book, Iain! Just opened it and seems like will not close anytime soon…

Pasi Sahlberg,
Professor of Educational Leadership, Faculty of Education, University of Melbourne

Thank you so much for your beautifully curated book containing so much, warmth and humour. Your leadership is authentic, personal, courageous and at times outrageous – with a laser like focus on what is right for Tamariki and their whānau. The high expectations you set and meet yourself, raise the standards of those around you and done in a way that builds an enduring team. I love your 12 guiding principles – they are universally applicable – although seldom observed in the dosage or diligence that your story and results reveal. 

One of the ways I try to be “present” in this very distributed organisation is through a daily message to all staff. I started this on the first day of COVID lock-down and just never stopped. The content is very mixed depending on mood! This morning I shared this to all MOE staff:

I have been reading “All the time, Everytime, All of us, Everywhere” The intentional transformation of a failing school, by Manurewa Intermediate Principal, Iain Taylor. It is a book full of courageous leadership, informed based risk taking and huge personal commitment. It is also full of quotable quotes, but one towards the latter half summed things up: “Our goal was to make school appealing, make staying at home unappealing and to communicate with the kids consistently and in a collaborative way giving them voice to say what they needed from school to improve their learning and engagement.” 

How widely available is the book? I know others would like to read it.

Iona Holsted, 
Secretary for Education

I very much appreciate your book - there is so much in here which goes beyond merely a turnaround story. The extent of the transformation that you have led at Manurewa Intermediate is outstanding, given what I know you inherited. Going into the school there is a clear sense of pride among learners, and a real commitment to learning. You and your leadership team clearly model high expectations for learners and of staff, and this really shows in your students and the pride in the school from the wider community. The guiding coalition that you form with your leadership team is also a notable takeaway as I go through the book. 

In going through the book I was most delighted by the photos that are included. In particular a youthful “Mr Taylor”, and the showcasing of some of the key artifacts: “what practice needs to change”, your achievement goals, plans, timetables, agenda on a page, inquiry models, graduate and teacher profiles etc. This is a great reservoir of practical resources to be shared with and reflected on by colleagues across the system. To this end I will be sharing your work far and wide with ERO’s schooling team. 

Nicholas Pole, 
Chief Executive and Chief Review Officer: ERO

This is all making me feel very emotional - it’s beautiful. We need this kind of talk at the heart of education up and down the country!

Barbara Ala’alatoa, 
Retired Principal and Chair NZ Teachers Council

I have read your book - a great read so how do we go from what we have now to shifting the thinking of everyone? I shall look forward to the korero!

Lorraine Kerr, 
President, New Zealand School Trustees Association 

I finished your book last night, definitely an easy read! I loved reading your story. It was also very much a story about the heart of Manurewa and the passion people need to have when working in Manurewa. I enjoyed the anecdotes and the stories from others. 

I think everybody working in Manurewa should read it - it gives a lot of perspective and context to the work we do. 

Lots of principals should read the book too! 

The personal life stuff definitely puts things into perspective and makes you human, just like everybody else, and I love that school opens early for the kids who need or want to be there. None of that gate only opens at 8.30 business!

Debbie Law, 
MOE Service Manager

Iain!! Congratulations – the book is simply wonderful. It is loaded with your bravery and optimism and intelligence – it is just beautifully written and smacks of so much empathy combined with your drive and analysis and creative insights – such a powerful, uniquely you combination! 

I absolutely love it and am deeply proud of you! 

I showed it to our General Manager NZ, Neil Welham, and he reckoned it should be required reading for every NZ principal!  

Robyn Southam, 
Education Manager, Scholastics NZ

Great book Iain. I have now read most of it. Very different, very readable, very inspiring. No excuse really for any principal to not also run a fab school and know how well it is actually doing for all students, their parents and their community. Better get the publisher to double the print run!

Michael Absolum ONZM, 
Director Evaluation Associates

WOW! Iain your book is amazing!! Looks great, feels great, smells great and most importantly has a wonderful message - and shows the work you have done over the last 30+ years!! I love the way you have showcased your teachers, parents and students! I bet you are proud!!

Karen Tui Boyes, 
CEO and Speaker: Spectrum Education 

After having an initial read late yesterday and earlier this morning - and then another read of the manuscript just now - it is clear that this publication is an absolute credit to you and your colleagues at Manurewa Intermediate School. What immediately stands out to me are the ways in which the content connects so strongly with the reality of education today – and the numerus connections recount the many experiences that transpired during your reign – evidence that is oftentimes not captured but is so powerful. For me, the power of ‘practice-based evidence’ is regularly underestimated – its immediacy, relevance, and potential. 

The book is testament to your aim of building a community of scholars (of all ages) - also reiterating the importance of lifelong learning. The topics are broad and compelling and reflect the breadth of teaching and learning. And the anecdotes from colleagues and past pupils stress the philosophy of science and learning – and of western and indigenous knowledges – working together for better outcomes, and in my four visits to MI I have always been impressed by the recognition of language and culture and what I see and hear and smell in your place. 

In summary, the book provides a platform for interdisciplinary research on all aspects of policy and practice. 

Dr Angus Hikairo Macfarlane, 
Te Rū Rangahau / Māori Research Lab, 
Te Kāhui Pā Harakeke / Child Wellbeing Research Institute: University of Canterbury

Oh wow Iain - the book is fabulous. It is real, it is honest and contains so many lessons, grounded in the reality of what it really means to be a principal who cares about the students and the community. I am sure it will become a much-referred to foundational text for education (which we are sadly lacking with this depth of real knowledge and experience of actually doing it). Once again you have been brave enough to put it all out there - but this is what we know and love about you. You say the things and confront the issues many are too scared to speak about. I am sure there will be those who will engage in 'tall poppy syndrome' thinking as a reaction to your success, but I know that won't hold you back! How can we transform all schools like this?

Jill Corkin, 
Education Consultant, ex Principal

Just a quick note to say your book arrived last week and IT’S FANTASTIC!! Well done – what a story and what a list of achievements!! No need for any of those other leadership books now…!!! 

Phil Muir, 
Principal: Northcote Intermediate School

I have only had time for a quick read through, but I am impressed by the production quality (that really lifts it as an important and engaging read) and the way you have integrated your story with the voices of students and visitors. I look forward to going back for a deeper read.

Graeme Aitken, 
ex Vice Chancellor: Auckland University

I’m not much of a reader, I get so distracted and my mind wanders LOL. But with your book I struggle to put it down and man that feels cool. I’ve always known you were awesome, special, fantastic, and now I see some more of the Iain Taylor / MI blueprint…and I’m only up to where you start at MI. I think you need to set up your own teachers’ college or at least get every teacher to read your book. You’ve created something very special, and I can’t wait to read the rest. You ROCK! Thanks Iain.

Cam Calkoen, 
Award Winning Certified Celebrity Speaker

WOW!!!! What a stunning piece of work! This is awesome.

Steve Francis, 
CEO and Speaker: Happy Schools

Iain - your book was a great read. Easy to understand, clear simple messages and a wide range of sources to back you up. 

The book reflected you and your personality on every page. Large, polished paper, well presented and interesting all the way through. You are someone who talks the big talk but also walks the big walk. Mohammed Ali used to do that and he did all right. The mission you began when you went to Man Int has been the mission of a lifetime which you can look back on with a great deal of satisfaction and pride. I know you wanted to prove to some colleagues that you could lead a successful school in a low decile area, and you certainly did that, but I think the greatest achievement you have made is to positively change the lives of thousands of youngsters in Manurewa for the better. There is plenty of evidence of that. Not many people get to do that. I wondered to myself after I finished the book, where to now for Iain Taylor who, by my count, is 57 so still has plenty to offer? 

Leading another school would be a hard act to follow. I think you have a lot to offer in wider educational leadership and from what I see, there are plenty of school leaders who would benefit from your guidance. 

 Well done that man! 

Bruce Adin, 
Ex MOE Regional manager,  Auckland

I was really struck by the many perspectives on your leadership journey, including active teacher, trustee, community and student voices. I enjoyed your overriding message of high expectations, professionalism and focus, and I really resonated with your unrelenting optimism even in the face of so many challenges. The artefacts of the journey were also great, how you got the team to focus on what was important.

I was so interested in capturing your strategic journey for the school, how you focus, and the joys and challenges of strategic execution. This is something that Springboard has in its DNA and what we want to support all principals to have the opportunity to realise.