About the Bright Spots Awards

The Bright Spots Awards are an opportunity for teachers and leaders to create, trial and iteratively develop, with expert support, new ways of working and innovative practices in their schools or early childhood centre.

We know that New Zealand teachers and leaders regularly design and implement new programmes and approaches to address identified problems and challenges of practice.

To date, there has been limited valid and reliable testing or evaluation of these promising practices. Furthermore, successful approaches are rarely shared or scaled up, beyond the school or centre in which they are developed.

Successful applicants for these awards will receive:

Up to $30,000 in funding to support the design and implementation of their innovation in Year 1. The funding may be used for teacher release time throughout the year, to fund specialist support, or to cover costs directly related to the innovation. Additional funding may be applied for to support further development in Year 2.

Expert hands-on support from the Education Hub, focused on their own project

An 18-month professional development programme focused on the effective design, iterative development, implementation and evaluation of promising practices

The process

Applications are sought from any teacher or leader with clear ideas about a promising practice or an innovation that they would like to implement in their own school or ECE centre context.

Successful applicants will participate in an 18-month programme, delivered by The Education Hub, to develop skills in undertaking in-school research and development. We envisage that the programme will be integrated into and fulfil appraisal and professional learning and development requirements for successful applicants.

The 18-month programme will include:

  • An initial 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 2020 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 own innovation
  • A mid-year meeting in year one to discuss data collection and to develop data analysis skills
  • A final presentation and short report of each project at a one-day symposium for all participants and other interested parties

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.

Important information

Any teacher or leader in a New Zealand school or early childhood centre is eligible to apply.

Applications may be made by individuals. However, where possible, we strongly suggest that you apply as part of a two-or-more person team.

We recognise that each applicant will be at a different stage of their innovation journey. Preference will be given to applications that have undertaken some initial work in their school or centre context.

We encourage you to read about our 2018 Bright Spots Awardees following the link below.

Information sessions

We are offering three online webinars to provide more information about the Bright Spots Awards and the application process. These will be interactive sessions, so we encourage you to come ready to ask questions.

Tuesday 14th May, 4pm. Register.

Wednesday 29th May, 8pm. Register.

Tuesday 4th June, 4pm. Register.


Applications are open from April 29th 2019 to June 14th 2019. There are two parts to the initial application process – a written application and a 2-3 minute pitch video.

Click on the link below to access the online application form and for more instructions about the video.

For more information, email: nina@theeducationhub.org.nz

Submit Your Application View the 2018 Award Winners