Rebbecca Sweeney

About me

Rebbecca’s work with clusters encourages the exploration of conceptual understandings of collaborative work in clusters, in part by helping them to work with an adaptable framework.

Rebbecca’s extensive experience of mentoring and facilitation is underpinned by her ability to:

  • Mediate groups and teams towards shared vision and goals.

  • Ensure sustainability by helping participants develop their own capacities.

  • Help people to slow down and reflect.

  • Guide planning by exploring options.

  • Encourage the seeking of other perspectives.

  • Help clusters develop good relational trust.

  • Model the use of resources and communication strategies and skills.

Rebbecca works with teachers and middle leaders to develop their evaluative capability using Spirals of Inquiry and other Teaching as Inquiry frameworks.

Prior to her time at CORE, Rebbecca was a Leadership and Assessment Facilitator at Learning Media and a Senior Adviser at the Ministry of Education where she worked in partnership with clusters and networks of schools.


Rebbecca has expertise in the following areas:

Supporting clusters, CoLs and networks

Supporting clusters to engage in the following learning and development:

  • How to truly collaborate on a common goal across sectors – to move beyond basic "sharing" practices.

  • Narrowing or building a coherent cluster plan.

  • Developing a common needs-based goal or goals that are relevant to all schools/participants.

  • Involving whānau and community or iwi in cluster level work.

  • Developing new ways of working after a cluster split/reorganisation.

  • Building role clarity and trust/relationships.

Mentoring and coaching principals, middle leaders and teachers

Provides effective mentoring and coaching support through CORE’s uChoose mentoring programme, supporting mentees to:

  • reflect on and analyse their practice

  • grow both personally and professionally

  • set and reach self-identified goals

  • address areas of need through observations and feedback

  • identify their own leadership and teacher qualities for leading change

  • become mentors themselves.

Building teamwork and communication capabilities

Successfully building teams to work together effectively through the application of Learning Talk (Dalton and Anderson) and other tools. Outcomes are that teams:

  • trust each other more, both personally and professionally

  • can comfortably challenge and critique each other

  • are able to hold each other accountable

  • can engage in debate successfully

  • are more committed to their mahi (work)

  • successfully reach their goals

  • know each other and feel like a great team.

Inquiry and knowledge building/Spirals of Inquiry

Reviewing and implementing improved approaches to Teaching as Inquiry (Self Review in ECE, Pakirehua in Māori Medium) so that staff no longer see the process as an add-on or “tick-box” activity, but a genuine and supportive process for reflection on and change in practice for learner success. Rebbecca has particular expertise in the use of Spirals of Inquiry (Kaser and Halbert, 2012).

Teacher Only Days (TODs)

Rebbecca has facilitated successful TODs for single and combined teaching staff of up to 80 participants in relation to:

  • Spirals of Inquiry

  • Future Focused Education

  • School re-Visioning

School re-Visioning

Rebbecca facilitates effective processes for school re-visioning that is co-constructed with learners, whānau, iwi, communities and teachers. She uses the Julia Atkin model for a values-based visioning process and encourages a shift in participants towards preparing learners for their futures, not ours.

Research and evaluation

Quantitative and qualitative data collection, analysis, and review. Write up of research and evaluation reports.

Conference presentations, keynotes, seminars, workshops

Keynote speaker

  • 2016: Marlborough Community of Learners (The Future of Education)

  • 2016: Christchurch Primary Principals’ Association Breakfast Seminar (The Future of Education)

  • 2016: CORE Education Breakfast Seminars: Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin (Spirals of Inquiry)


  • 2015: ULearn Conference (Collaboration, Spirals of Inquiry, Mentoring and Coaching)

  • 2016: ULearn Conference (How to be a Community of Learners)

Personal statement

I enjoy working in a wide range of contexts and situations to support adults and children to transform their leadership teaching and learning practices. I love ambiguity and have an agile approach to facilitation and mentoring. I like to help people to have fun while they learn. I am strengths-based and am passionate about transformation, innovation and equity. I get a real sense of achievement from the shifts that I see as leaders, teachers and learners transform. I have worked in education, business and government to support people in my areas of expertise - particularly in relation to leading change, building teamwork and conducting research.

Brief description: For the past three and a half years Rebbecca has been part of CORE Education Tātai Aho Rau. She facilitates and mentors groups and individuals in clusters or networks, schools and early childhood services. She works with practitioners in their own contexts to set and achieve their aspirations.
Telephone: 0274873009
Mobile phone: 0274873009
Twitter username: beccasweeney
Organisation you work for: CORE Education - Tātai Aho Rau