Education Law Summit Auckland: Balancing Privacy, Data, and Staff Rights in Schools

What strategies does your school have in place to mitigate the real risks posed by administrative oversights, legal liabilities and reputational damage? Are they up to scratch? Don’t miss your chance to receive a blueprint to navigating the biggest legal landmines effecting schools in Aotearoa as you unpack privacy, data, insurance, dealing with Oranga Tamariki, staff leave & contracts, teacher dismissals, complaints & much more!

Friday, 6 September 2024
Early Bird Discount ends 2 Aug 2024 $483.00

Attend and earn 7 PLD hours

Session 1: Legal Landmines in Schools: Privacy, Data, Legal Proceedings, Rights and Risk

Brent Lewis, Principal, Avondale College

9.00am to 9.50am Privacy: Ensuring Your Information Privacy Practices are Fit for Purpose When Handling School Data and Student Information

Schools in Aotearoa New Zealand are major collectors and users of personal information, essential for their operation. However, they must balance this with obligations under the Privacy Act 2020 to protect this information. Navigate through these essential issues:

  • Getting the context right: what are the high-level signposts to guide school and board procedures and practice in how they collect, create, store, use and disclose personal information they come to hold
  • Establishing and following good information handling practices when collecting, creating, storing and using personal information about staff, students and their families
  • Recognising situations where the school’s information privacy practices are more likely to be challenged, for example complaint investigations, disciplinary decisions and responding to parent complaints
  • Balancing privacy protection with the right of individuals to request information under the Privacy Act and the Official Information Act 1982: privacy vs transparency and accountability- it is always a matter of context and perception
  • The consequences when things go wrong: lessons to be learned from the recent Human Rights Review Tribunal decision awarding significant damages against a school board for failing to meet Privacy Act obligations

Presented by Leo Donnelly ONZM, BarristerEducation Law NZ

9.50am to 10.40am A Guide to Dealing with Oranga Tamariki and Lawyers for Children in the Family Court


  • Basic structure of Oranga Tamariki
    • Working with Care and Protection staff
    • Working with Youth Justice staff
  • Working with the Lawyer for Children in the Family Court
    • Managing requests for information from the school
    • Managing requests to meet children at School

Presented by Vanessa Curac, Barrister, Friendship Chambers

10.40am to 10.55am Morning Tea
11.45am to 12.30pm Insurance Policies and Compliance: What You Need to Know to Protect Your School and Your Staff


  • Understanding risks: current trends and challenges in insurance affecting schools
  • Legal compliance and regulatory requirements: what laws and regulations are schools obliged to take into account
  • Coverage types: which kinds of insurance policies are relevant to schools
  • Risk assessment and mitigation: what can schools do pre-emptively to ensure adequate cover is in place
  • Claims handling and settlement: what to do if schools are required to call on insurance policies

Presented by Mat Martin, Senior Associate, Lane Neave

10.55am to 11.45am How Schools Should Balance Competing Human Rights Obligations to their Staff and Students

Creating a diverse, inclusive, and emotionally safe educational environment is increasingly important for all New Zealand schools. Fundamental human rights and freedoms in New Zealand are protected by the Bill of Rights Act 1990 and the Human Rights Act 1993, with additional guidance from the Education and Training Act. The Bill of Rights Act affirms rights such as freedom of expression, thought, religion, and protection from discrimination. Join for a detailed presentation as you consider:

  • Examples of how schools can seek to uphold the provision of a diverse, inclusive and safe educational environment for all staff and students
  • The application of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and the Human Rights Act to State integrated schools, particularly with a focus on freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination
  • How section 127 of the Education and Training Act, which (among other things) obliges school board’s to ensure that the school is an emotionally safe place for all students, is being interpreted and applied

Presented by Kris Morrison, Partnership Chair, Parry Field Lawyers

2.00pm to 2.45pm Employment Contracts: How to Manage Different Types of Leave for Different Types of Staffing Arrangements


  • School holidays and annual holidays: how do they interact?
  • Casual staff, are their arrangements fit for purpose?
  • Holidays Act changes: progress of changes and impact on school staff  
  • Managing staff sabbaticals

Presented by Darren Gunasekara, Senior Associate, DLA Piper

2.45pm to 3.30pm Teacher Discipline and Teacher Competence: Managing the Processes


  • Making initial enquiries into a potential breach of discipline
  • Mandatory reporting to Teaching Council
  • Making the decision whether or not to use an independent investigator
  • Steps to follow in a formal disciplinary procedure
  • Raising teacher competency issues in a timely way
  • Drafting an assistance and personal guidance programme
  • Determining whether or not the teacher has adequately addressed the competency concerns

Presented by Gretchen Stone, Partner, Harrison Stone

3.30pm to 3.45pm Afternoon Tea
12.30pm to 1.15pm Anticipating Litigation and Best Responding to Legal Claims


  • How to best prepare for the ‘worst case scenario’
  • Documenting day to day communications that may be used in future legal issues
  • Key factors to consider when responding to legal claims and learnings from relevant case law

Presented by Rachael Judge, Partner, Simpson Grierson

Learning Objectives:
  • Understand your legal obligations of mandatory reporting
  • Consider legal and regulatory compliance in respect of privacy issues, insurance policies
  • Receive practical guidance on dealing with Oranga Tamariki, the Family Court and responding to legal claims in litigation
Session 2: Managing Staff Dynamics: Rights, Contracts, and Discipline in Schools

David Graham, Principal, Goodwood School

3.45pm to 4.30pm Board Meetings and Delegations: Getting Them Right to Avoid Flawed Disciplinary Processes


  • Consequences of not getting these right: reference to decisions of the Court/Authority involving flaws that have led to awards against school Boards for unjustified conduct
  • Preparing for a Board meeting: agenda items and motions
  • Holding a valid Board meeting, ensuring decisions of the Board are valid
  • Valid decision making without holding a meeting
  • The importance of delegations: ensuring the decision-makers have delegated authority to make decisions
  • Taking care around the decision-makers: are they free from bias (or appearance of bias)?
  • What can be done to correct a misstep

Presented by Rachel Scott, Principal, McElroys

4.30pm to 5.15pm HERE FROM THE TEACHING COUNCIL OF AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND: Managing your Mandatory Reporting Requirements and Recent Disciplinary Tribunal Decisions

Teachers face complex ethical dilemmas and professional tensions every day. The overarching expectation is that every teacher will apply high professional standards and sound ethical decision-making in all their work, uphold the reputation of the teaching profession and maintain the trust of learners and their whanau.

In this session you will focus on the legal obligations of employers to make a mandatory report, an overview of the disciplinary process for teachers and some recent case study examples.
Presented by Kate Henderson, Lead Investigator, Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand and Tejal Panchal, Lawyer, Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

Learning Objectives:
  • Gain guidance on how to manage different types of leave and staffing arrangements
  • Walkthrough how best to handle teacher discipline and manage teacher competence
  • Understand how best to conduct board meetings to avoid a flawed disciplinary process
  • Examine how you can balance competing interests between staff and students in your school


Leo Donnelly ONZM, Barrister, Education Law NZ
Leo Donnelly ONZM is a former Ombudsman of New Zealand and is one of New Zealand’s leading experts in official information and privacy law. As an Ombudsman, Deputy Ombudsman and a senior investigator at the Office of the Ombudsman, Leo spent 3 decades investigating and reviewing complaints about the administrative actions and procedures of state sector organisations and recommending resolutions to promote fair, just and transparent delivery of services to the public. This involved assessing individual actions and omissions in the context of an organisations systems and culture and statutory responsibilities. Leo brings governance and strategy expertise and wide experience in complaint handling and dispute resolution.

Brent Lewis, Principal, Avondale College
Brent Lewis has led three secondary schools and is currently the Principal of Avondale (a secondary School of over 2,800 students and 240 staff). The school runs a number of strategic business units and earns a high proportion of its annual income through entrepreneurial activities., Brent has both an MA and MBA and uniquely has been the chair of both the Wellington and Auckland principals associations, Avondale College has high success rates in both NCEA and Cambridge pathways with students consistently topping NZ and the world in various subjects, Currently the college has former students at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Amherst; all on scholarship., Avondale College is now the highest provider of IT industry certifications in Microsoft, Adobe, and Autodesk in New Zealand and Avondale students have made up all of the national representatives to the Microsoft Global championships for three years in succession..8 students winning top ten finishes against annual fields of 1 million., The college now has its own data centre and leading edge network and most recently Brent has been engaging with international and domestic strategic partners on the Colleges new Innovation Programme which is being trialled with other schools as a not-for- profit initiative.

Vanessa Curac, Barrister, Friendship Chambers
Vanessa started out as a solicitor for Oranga Tamariki, before becoming a Barrister, working in the Youth, Family and Criminal Courts. Vanessa mainly represents young people in the Youth Court, children in the Family Court and young adults in the District Courts in South Auckland. Vanessa has recently worked with survivors in the Abuse in State Care Inquiry as a panel lawyer, and currently sits on the board of her daughters college in Auckland. Vanessa is based in Friendship Chambers in Manukau.

Kris Morrison, Partnership Chair, Parry Field Lawyers
Kris is a partner at Parry Field Lawyers whose practice focuses on commercial/business law and immigration. Kris frequently provides expert opinion advice on difficult questions that arise for Parry Field's clients, including many and various lease and insurance questions that have arisen since the Christchurch earthquakes. He was solicitor for Ridgecrest NZ Limited in respect of its insurance dispute with IAG New Zealand Limited. Kris has written on New Zealand environmental law and property law. His previous experience included two years as the research counsel for Principal Family Court Judge Mahony. He also tutored Contract Law at Victoria University of Wellington and Tort Law and Land Law at the University of Canterbury. Kris has significant voluntary involvement in community and charitable activities, particularly in the education sector. He is the chairman of the Board of Trustees at Emmanuel Christian School, and is the chairman of the Christian Schools Network in Christchurch.

Mat Martin, Senior Associate, Lane Neave
Mat is a specialist civil and commercial litigation lawyer based in Auckland. He has acted in a range of civil and commercial disputes, including in relation to insolvency, construction, contract, shareholder, employment and property-related matters. He has particular experience in dealing with complex litigation, providing accurate and timely advice to clients seeking to resolve difficult issues.

Rachael Judge, Partner, Simpson Grierson
Rachael Judge is a Partner at Simpson Grierson, specialising in employment and education law. Rachael acts for several independent and state schools on matters such as terms of enrolment, student disciplinary issues, student human rights claims, school policies and the Children’s Act 2014. She also advises schools in relation to their employment agreements and staff disciplinary issues. Rachael regularly attends mediations and represents clients in Employment Relations Authority, Employment Court and Human Rights Review Tribunal matters.

Gretchen Stone, Partner, Harrison Stone
Gretchen Stone specialises in employment and education law. She advises secondary principals through the Secondary Principals Association of New Zealand and with primary principals as the Honorary Solicitor for Auckland Primary Principals Association. Gretchen has extensive experience advising Principals and Board of Trustees in relation to employment and disciplinary issues, governance and management, student discipline issues, social media, and all areas of legal liability within the education sector.

Rachel Scott, Principal, McElroys
Rachel joined McElroys in 2005 and has more than 25 years experience in civil litigation. She has extensive experience in all aspects of insurance litigation, particularly professional indemnity. She also has high level experience acting for employers in employment disputes and for a public sector agency in judicial review proceedings. Rachel focuses on promptly identifying the key issues in a dispute and provides careful and practical advice on the best ways to proceed. Rachel has represented clients in numerous mediations, in the District Court, High Court, Employment Court and Court of Appeal. Rachel has recently been awarded a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Health (with distinction) from Auckland University. She is passionate about social justice and working towards a more equal society within New Zealand along with a greater respect for our planet’s environmental boundaries. When she’s not working Rachel enjoys spending time with her daughter, walking, reading and film going.

David Graham, Principal, Goodwood School
David Graham is an experienced school leader having led three primary schools across the Waikato. He is currently the principal of Goodwood School (a primary school of 400 students) and co-leader of Te Kahūi Ako o Te Oko Horoi, the Cambridge Community of Learning. David has recently returned from the United Kingdom where he worked with the Anna Freud Centre and the national Partnership for Inclusion of Neurodiversity in Schools (PINS) programme. His research investigated policy and programmes which support learners who are neurodiverse, their peers and teachers.

Darren Gunasekara, Senior Associate, DLA Piper
Darren has acted and advised in a range of industries, on matters including personal grievances, workplace policy reviews, workforce restructuring, workplace health and safety, collective bargaining and assisting employers through regulatory audits and investigations. Prior to joining DLA Piper, Darren worked in leading national employment law practices in New Zealand and Australia and has completed several secondments to local employer clients in the banking, sport and transport industries. Darren takes a particular interest in 'global employment' issues and works closely with DLA Piper's global employment team. He has assisted many international companies with matters involving their New Zealand workforces and understands the need to balance local legal compliance against alignment with global and regional strategies. He is a solutions focused advisor and representative who understands what is important to clients when navigating matters relating to their workforces.

Tejal Panchal, Lawyer, Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

Kate Henderson, Lead Investigator, Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand


Education Law Summit Auckland: Balancing Privacy, Data, and Staff Rights in Schools


All Sessions
Friday, 6 September 2024
9.00am to 5.15pm New Zealand
CPD Hours 7
Early Bird Discount ends 2 Aug 2024 $483.00
Face to Face 20240716 20240906

Face to Face

Online 20240716 20240906


On Demand 20240716 20240906

Post Seminar Recording

Morning Session
Friday, 6 September 2024
9.00am to 1.15pm New Zealand
CPD Hours 4
Early Bird Discount ends 2 Aug 2024 $294.00
Face to Face 20240716 20240906

Face to Face

Online 20240716 20240906


On Demand 20240716 20240906

Post Seminar Recording

Afternoon Session
Friday, 6 September 2024
2.00pm to 5.15pm New Zealand
CPD Hours 3
Early Bird Discount ends 2 Aug 2024 $241.50
Face to Face 20240716 20240906

Face to Face

Online 20240716 20240906


On Demand 20240716 20240906

Post Seminar Recording

Mövenpick Hotel Auckland

8 Customs Street East, Auckland CBD 


Nearby Public Transport:

Train Stations - Britomart 150m

Bus stops - Customs Street 

Downtown Ferry terminal 280m

Parking Information

Parking is not included in your registration. Here are some options below:

Hotel valet parking $50 a day

Downtown Car Park - Click here for rates