Dear Canterbury College Community

Canterbury’s Kaizen Journey

A significant social and economic principle in Japanese culture is known as kaizen. Kaizen translates best as ‘improvement.’ 

It is an appealing concept to me when thinking about my role as the Principal of Canterbury College. There is so much of which we should be deeply proud at Canterbury. When reading through the nearly 700 pages of graphs, tables, analysis and written feedback that was produced as a result of our recent MMG community survey, I can’t help but think we are getting so much right.

However, there is feedback on big and small matters from parents, students and staff that should be listened to.  Like the Japanese businesses after World War II who adopted ‘kaizen’ as a principle to improve their efficiency and their products, Canterbury must remain responsive to community feedback to improve the quality of the education on offer.

On the basis of the feedback from approximately 600 families (50%), 160 staff (78%) and 900 Year 6 to 12 students (93%), I will be able to share a summary report of the identified strengths and weaknesses within the next month. It will take the College Executive team some time to evaluate all of the fine-grain detail that exists in the feedback. Ultimately however, parents will be expecting me to make changes and refinements to the way the College operates in the short term as well.

The significant macro trends identified in the review include:


• Very high parent satisfaction with the academic program, with highest levels of satisfaction in the Junior School.
• The top reason for parents choosing Canterbury for their son or daughter was the quality of teaching.
• Some concern that current feedback mechanisms to parents and communication about student progress are not as good as they could be (teacher follow up, Canvas, parent-teacher interviews).
• High levels of satisfaction from parents and students about academic standards and amount of homework at Canterbury.
• A high ‘Net Promoter Score’ (NPS) from Canterbury parents, recommending the College to their friends or family.


• Very high parent satisfaction with the cocurricular sport and arts programs at Canterbury.
• Very high parent satisfaction with the range of activities.
• Very high agreement that the emphasis on sport is ‘about right’.
• High agreement that the emphasis on the arts is ‘about right’.

Student wellbeing

• Lower levels of satisfaction regarding the general pastoral care systems.
• Lower levels of satisfaction regarding the continuity of pastoral care for students in the Secondary School.
• High parent satisfaction on the emphasis on spiritual development.
• Trends of occurrence and types of bullying that are very much aligned to independent schools across the nation.
• Lower levels of incidence of bullying in the Junior School than national averages.

A more detailed report and action plan will be published and made available on the Parent Portal and the College App by the end of August. I will also be sharing detailed feedback with each individual program manager across the College.

I will be producing a Canterbury ‘Kaizen’ Plan by the end of 2019, which prioritises 20 important improvements that will have the biggest impact on improved student learning, wellbeing and parent engagement in the education process.  Parallel to this process will be the development of the new 2020-2023 Strategic Plan. There will also be opportunities for parents to take part in this important development process. We will repeat this community survey process again in regular intervals in the years ahead. I am also working on new parent engagement mechanisms to ensure your voice is heard and valued in operational and strategic decision making.

Mr Dan Walker