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Alternative approach: The story of Te Tupu Managed Moves

Stand downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions are difficult decisions for any school to make. And in almost every single case, they are decisions that have long-lasting negative impacts for the students and whānau involved. For a group of Napier principals, such punitive measures were far from ideal – yet there remained (and remains) a significant gap in our education system around more restorative measures for students who face challenges in school. Taking the issue into their own hands, they began the process of building a better system to support these students – which has become Te Tupu Managed Moves. Creating new sources of support for students Te Tupu Managed Moves is an amalgam of many different organisations that share resources to support children who struggle to integrate into mainstream education. As Te Tupu Co-ordinator Damien Izzard notes, it’s a vital space to work in. “Without a shadow of a doubt, we exist to address gaps in the current education system. We are working with students who haven’t been in education for a year, sometimes more – and at the age of year 4 or 5, that’s a critical formative time in their learning and development.” It is a gap that many principals in the region wanted to address formally but needed support to get ideas up and running. “We worked with a group of Napier principals initially, thinking the main challenges of stand downs, transients and disengagement applied to year 5-8 students. After engaging Waikato University to provide us with quantitative evidence to support our case, we realised the age range was bigger.” With a clear focus and hard data, Te Tupu began engaging a whole host of organisations who could support these students: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Oranga Tamariki and a series of locally based and Māori-focused organisations. After presenting their case to then-Associate Minister for Education Tracey Martin, they received funding to roll out Te Tupu Managed Moves for three years. How Te Tupu Managed Moves works At its core, Te Tupu Managed Moves is about sharing resources to provide support to students facing a crisis point in their education and giving them a pathway back into schools. “We can take on around 10 students at a time,” Damien says, “and give them a tailored learning and support environment. Every child has an individualised programme, that we work on with their whānau, school and relevant community organisations. It’s a true wrap-around approach – a lot of the reasons kids might be with us are out-of-school factors, that need out-of-school solutions.” The original plan was for a student to stay with Te Tupu for around 10 weeks, but the highly personalised nature of the support means that time can vary. “Some students will be with us for just two or three weeks, while some longer than 10 weeks. We’re built to be adaptable to the child’s needs, supporting them with whatever they need, be it dealing with the stress of a bus trip or helping them with longer-lasting trauma.” And so far, the initiative has provided immensely positive support, with 19 of the 21 students to have come to Te Tupu back in education in some way, shape or form. “When you consider that these children come to us because they are at a crisis point, it’s a really wonderful thing to see.” The keys to success Damien stresses three key elements of how Te Tupu has been effective to date – removing stigma, collaborative work, and continuous support well after a child leaves them. “When a student comes to us, it’s so important to remove any negative perception of what we do. We want them to come to us, we’re lucky to have them and the opportunity to help them return to school. The last thing we want is for this to be a numbers game or a negative marker for schools or students – it's simply a different source of support that helps everyone, principals see that a child has come to us and they trust our approach and want to bring them into their community.” “We’re providing a solution to a problem, but we’re by no means the be-all and end-all of it. Te Tupu exists in a specific region to support specific students – we're excited to see the potential for replicating this work elsewhere, but anything we’ve done right so far is down to the fantastic community collaboration. The people we have in these environments are incredible – they know the kaupapa and they know the community, which are critical for giving adequate support to our tamariki.” “That knowledge and support go well beyond the time a student spends with us too. The goal is helping kids get back into school and stay there – it might not be where they came from, but we work with the school’s staff, the whānau and external agencies to help the students and check in with them for some time after they go back. I’ve even gone with some students to school camp – the social engagement I get to see them have in that kind of situation is just amazingly powerful.” The work that Te Tupu is doing is incredibly important – and, as media coverage over the last year has shown, turning heads up and down the country. A true wrap-around approach to helping New Zealand students return to school where they may otherwise be excluded is a vital – yet often missing – element of our education system. And as part of the team supporting Te Tupu with their evaluation and reporting, Springboard is honoured to help the work continue. “That evaluation side of things is really important,” Damien adds, “because it’s how we present the effectiveness of Te Tupu. Again, it’s an initiative specific to our schools’ needs, but it could potentially lay the groundwork for other, similar groups to do the same.” “The gaps exist – they exist all over. But if we can become a place to ask questions about bringing students back into education and provide some solutions, we’re in the right space.”
5 min read

Lighting the spark of success: KPMG's Matt Prichard on his commitment to NZ schools

For KPMG, everything has to come back to their purpose – fuelling New Zealand’s prosperity. And few are better placed to speak to how working with Springboard Trust helps them do that than incoming Executive Chairman, Matthew Prichard.  Since 2016, Matthew has been an integral part of our Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme, travelling to Tairāwhiti once a month to facilitate a cohort of principals and volunteers.   It’s an experience he is not slow to recommend – and, as he explains, one that enriches the day-to-day work of KPMG to a massive degree.   Help where it’s needed most   It all began, according to Matthew, with a twist of the arm.   “It must have been 2015 – I knew of Springboard Trust and the work you were doing, but it properly began with Lorraine (Mentz, former CEO) approaching me and asking me to get involved.”  “I started as a Capacity Partner for the Auckland secondary schools’ cohort, but working with a Whangārei-based principal. That was an amazing year, the relationship was so easy and warm. We got KPMG quite involved with the school, which ended up happening for the following 2-3 years. We have our graduate inductions at a marae in that area, and did a lot of painting, planting and building projects at the school that our team helped on.”  Matt enjoyed the Capacity Partner relationship.  Lorraine, however, had another twist up her sleeve.   “She twisted my arm and asked me to facilitate in Tairāwhiti instead – and I immediately said yes.  I knew I’d be supporting principals in need, many of them operating rurally and dealing with some significant challenges. I want to help where it’s needed most, so the shift in location was a great fit.” Disruption at the structural level  Part of Matt’s commitment to supporting school leaders in poorer or more remote communities is seeing first-hand the myriad issues that principals contend with on a daily basis.   “The school is the centre of the community in so many of these areas. It coordinates with iwi, health, justice, welfare agencies, and so much more. The principals are running Civil Defence responses, painting lines on the rugby field, mowing the lawns, and often teaching when staff aren’t on hand.”   “It’s been illuminating how structural issues, like housing, have a huge impact too. I’ve heard so many times about schools struggling to attract new teachers because there just wasn’t the housing to support them. There’s a real argument that you could improve education with regional building programmes for these kinds of places to attract and support the local teacher/nurse/policeman/social worker – not just in Tairāwhiti , but all over rural New Zealand.”  “These inequities – none of us want to see them, but they’re so very real. Some of KPMG’s community work in Auckland is with schools where nobody in the entire school community owns a home, and where COVID is having a significant impact on the education outcomes and financial wellbeing of so many families.”  “I do believe the private sector has a big role to play in helping change this social inequity. Partnerships like the one between Springboard and KPMG, expanding those to include community, private sector, philanthropy and government – it can all come together to make a difference.”  An energetic environment   Having facilitated in Tairāwhiti  for three years now, Matt is energised every single time he visits.   “I’ve been doing a tour around the country at the moment as Chairman for KPMG, talking to people across all our offices. A big part of that has been talking about the work so many KPMG people do with Springboard.”  “Our purpose is to fuel New Zealand’s prosperity. We can’t do that by working only in major centres or with large corporates, in both our paid and pro bono work. We can’t pretend that poverty and racism don’t exist – by engaging with Springboard and supporting communities in need across New Zealand, we’re living our purpose.”  Of course, purpose and support are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Matt enjoys about his work.   “Tairāwhiti  is just an amazing region. The rich culture, the beauty in the communities and settings – it's so much better for the soul than the urban, commercial setting I spend the rest of my time in. That becomes a gift in itself.”  “Many of my workshops in the last few years were up the coast.  Working a day north of Gisborne on a marae or coastal school up there is beautiful – most people would be lucky to get out there once in their life. I got to go every month, every time in a beautiful new community and location!”  “It’s easy to be busy being busy, but finding time to do this work with school leaders gives me so much energy. I come back with so much learning and so much new energy to put towards my family, myself and my work.”   Lighting the spark of leadership   That spark, that energy doesn’t just come from getting out and about. Above everything, Matt is energised by the school leaders he works with.   “They’re heroes – there is no other logic to ending up in the position they are in. It’s emotionally draining, physically exhausting, underpaid, anybody in that role is there out of pure vocation. They are called to do it, they passionately believe in their kids and the impact they can have on them.”   “That's why I’m so happy to support these principals. We’re contributing 1% that lights a spark under these heroes, and I learn so much about leadership from them. It makes me aspire to be a better leader, and give to those around me in the same way that they do.” 
5 min read

Critical friendship: Alex Davids on the volunteer experience of Kickstart Your Strategy

A principal's strategic plan is just the first step on a much longer journey. Breaking the plan down into what they will do on a week-to-week basis, who will take responsibility for what, how to know what's on track – it is these details that form the basis of a school’s progress.   That’s the focus of our Kickstart Your Strategy workshops – helping school leaders turn their long-term vision and planning into manageable, measurable actions. And, as with all the work we do under our unique cross-sector model, it relies on the invaluable contributions of our expert volunteers.   For some more insight into how volunteers contribute to the Kickstart Your Strategy workshops, we spoke with someone who’s been there and done that – Alex Davids, from Next Evolution Performance!    A simple shift of skills  Having worked in our Springboard Coaching for Leadership programme previously, Alex has a firm understanding of the work Springboard does with school leaders. And as she points out, moving into the ‘Critical Friend’ role for Kickstart Your Strategy was a simple shift.   “Like with the previous work I had done, you don’t have to know the education sector to provide value. [The KYS workshop] is about offering critical thinking, time, support and that alternative perspective to the school leaders.”   “Everyone involved at the school level is so passionate, you obviously don’t get into it if you don’t care a massive deal. But that energy can mean school leaders lose some perspective, they have to be everything to everyone – so getting to provide that ‘Critical Friend’ support, I think, was really helpful for helping them break down the details of their strategic plan.”   “It’s a really clear structure for the session, and with only half a day there’s a bit of time pressure compared to SLPP – it helped us all make intuitive decisions that I’d love to have the chance to see rolled out. After a year of mostly working remotely, it’s also so nice to be in the room with the people you’re working with!”   The learning continues  For Alex, Springboard Trust offers an opportunity to volunteer in a way that aligns with her skill set – but also fuels her own learning.   “Serendipitously, I had recently joined the school board where I live, so I was really excited to get involved in Kickstart to keep my insight into schools going.”   “It’s also a perfect fit for someone like me, who works in the business coaching area. A lot of people in my sector want to volunteer, but it can be hard to find opportunities that line up with our skill set. Volunteering with Springboard slots perfectly into what I’m already doing and helps me learn at the same time as the school leaders.”  “I’m hugely impressed by everyone involved in Kickstart Your Strategy and Springboard more generally. Giving back to communities is an important element of being part of the wider world, and it’s such a positive experience for everyone involved. I can’t recommend it enough!”   Springboard Trust's Kickstart Your Strategy workshops are running throughout March this year. If you'd like to volunteer as a Critical Friend, get in touch with your Programme Manager!
3 min read

Finding your leadership flavour: Carolyn Smith and Pauline Johnson in conversation

As we wrap up 2020 and look forward to a less disrupted year ahead, we’re reflecting on the year that was – as well as our recent celebrations – with people who have taken part. In this conversation, we have Pauline Johnson (Principal, Poroti School) speaking with Carolyn Smith (Partnerships Manager, Department of Conservation) about their journey together through 2020. This year, Pauline took on our Strategic Leadership for Rural Teaching Principals Programme – a first of its kind in New Zealand, focused on the unique challenges of leaders in these rural contexts. She was supported by Carolyn, who volunteered as an Impact Coach – supporting Pauline to create her strategic plan and develop her own leadership style. But to start with, they recap the amazing celebration they just had with the other principals and volunteers! PAULINE: I loved how we both turned up in purple and white outfits - color coordinated without even talking! CAROLYN: We’re in sync! The best part for me was seeing your strategy, reflecting all the various conversations we’ve had on the legacy, hopes and ambitions for the future of the school brought together into a beautifully described plan was amazing! We’ve dipped in and out of certain aspects of it, but the celebration was actually the first time I’d seen it all together – you wouldn’t let me see what it looked like before! PAULINE: I just figured that even though we’ve been connecting online for much of the year, we got to know each other so well. You know so much about me now, I wanted to keep something as a surprise for you! I wanted something special for the celebration! CAROLYN: Well you nailed it! It was actually quite emotional seeing where you’ve come from and then your confidence in describing the future. PAULINE: It was so good having you, my support, sitting beside me. CAROLYN: Its certainly been a different year learning to work virtually. PAULINE: Sure has. With COVID-19, only one of the block courses was in person, so the programme has been virtually all online. I don’t know if it would have been any different – for me, it felt like you were in the room anyway. I’m an easily distracted person, my husband has to place me in restaurants so I don’t watch other people too much – so having those conversations in a private space, even online – the ability to focus on one person was perfect. CAROLYN: That’s really interesting – the online thing, it doesn’t phase me because I do a lot of my work on Teams anyway. I can compare our work this year to previous years working with Springboard, and I actually prefer it online, you stay really focused. Your right that If we met in a café, or go for a walk, we can get distracted. It’s still great to have some general chat, but that deliberate one-on-one time online meant we stayed really focused on the coaching. PAULINE: We did! I left those sessions completely brain drained and exhausted, having focused on leadership for that length of time. It was so beneficial; I’d say more beneficial than working face to face. CAROLYN: Coming back to the celebration, the presentation of your plan – I remember noticing a lot of little things, watershed moments throughout the year that were totally aligned with what you presented. When we unpacked the 360 feedback, set goals, understood your leadership style – it all came together so well. PAULINE: It’s not something I’m comfortable doing, standing in front of people and presenting. The first part, school and strategy, that was fine, but the second, talking about personal leadership and the impacts on me – that was hard. I had to come out of my comfort zone and talk from the heart, really reflect on the journey. I really wanted to do the people who had supported me justice with that. CAROLYN: That ties a bit into the learning we did throughout the year, especially introducing the idea of servant leadership. That was a new term for you, wasn’t it? PAULINE: It was! CAROLYN: It perfectly described your style though. I felt that at the start, you were almost reluctant to be a leader. PAULINE: Very much so. CAROLYN: But with the servant leadership discovery, it was like you realised that you already were one! And the style just needed a name. Once that clicked, you were on your way. Watching that transformation from, I think mother hen, you called it? From that to a massively empowering servant leader, and delivering this amazing strategic plan with all of that reflected in it – that was so special. PAULINE: That servant leadership moment, when you asked me what I thought a leader was, and gave my style a name – that really gave me permission to lead how I do naturally, losing some of that mother hen stuff and using my strengths from the 360 feedback. I was so emotional as well, because I’m also on the other end of my leadership journey to others in our cohort. They’re all younger, I’m on the way out kind of thing – I don’t know how many more years I’ll be doing this, I wonder if the 3-year outlook I wrote is the last one I’ll ever do! But it was amazing to get this opportunity, at this stage of my career. I was in a comfortable place with my day to day, but now I’m completely revitalised. I feel like we’re having much more of an impact on the community too, so many new people coming to visit and enrol their kids. You don’t normally get this kind of chance at my age! CAROLYN: I hear that, and I saw so often this year that love you have for the school and the students. One of your strengths that shone through early was your heart for the community, marae, teachers, whanau – everyone. But you also made an amazing shift in knowing when to collaborate, to gather everyone’s voices, and when to turn that into a decision. If nobody’s giving a direction, the waka won’t move where you need it to. PAULINE: Those changes are thanks to you! You’ve said before I give you too much credit but if you never posed the tough questions, pushed me out of my comfort zone, I’d still be the same mother hen leader with the same strategic plan as last year. We clicked so well and got a lot achieved in a short amount of time – I wouldn’t be where I am without your help. CAROLYN: That’s such nice feedback, thank you – it's exactly what you want to hear as a coach. But I could ask the best questions all day long, if the person I’m working with isn’t interested in growing it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s a team effort! PAULINE: As a rural school principal, it’s amazing that someone like Springboard had the insight to see the ways in which we are different from metro principals and have a programme tailored to that. Like three days a week I’m a teacher, two days a week I’m a leader – but all at the same time most days really. CAROLYN: For me it’s just such a privilege to step into a different space, into your space. It reminds me that leadership is leadership regardless of the scenario. A good leader can have a positive impact anywhere. The difference your making now through your leadership practice, and then extrapolate that impact out, into teachers and students and their whanau, it’s a pebble with some massive ripples – I'm grateful to have helped cast that pebble out! Pauline and Carolyn have just completed the Strategic Leadership for Rural Teaching Principals programme. If you’re a school leader or a volunteer looking for this kind of opportunity, get in touch with our team!
5 min read

"I don't remember being hit by lightning" - Paul Cartlidge and Mel Jones in conversation

Continuing our series of reflections on the year that was, we’re thrilled to present a conversation with Paul Cartlidge (Principal, Waimate Main School) and volunteer Capacity Partner Melanie Jones (Waitaki District Council) about visioning, meeting new people and – of course – their recent celebration to complete the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programe! PAUL: It was nice to be able to stand up and talk about our plans at the celebration. It was a great group of people, Mel and I got along really well! MEL: I felt so proud of Paul doing his presentation, he did it so well, it was so compelling. I know you’re not supposed to feel like this but I couldn’t help being like, ‘my principal was the best!’. PAUL: We obviously know each other really well now, Mel and I. I went in deep with some of the other principals too, the networking and relationships were great. MEL: That’s a really nice point, we did all bond so well! I came away feeling like wow, I’d love to catch up with everybody again. PAUL: We planned a BBQ together, didn’t we? MEL: Did we?! I could see us all doing that! Over the programme, you just really get to know the whole holistic person, way beyond who they are in the school. PAUL: I’ve bumped into a few of the other principals at education things in Timaru, we have a bit of a Waimate (District) group too – the ongoing catching up has been so great. MEL: That personal progress together, alongside the professional stuff, that’s been so nice to see. How was it presenting to them all? PAUL: I’m used to presenting – mainly in board meetings – but this was the first time I’ve had a plan on a page, per se. I do a bit of it at the school, but it’s not at the same level as this presentation. The work I put into making it innovative, even attractive to look at – I felt like there was an expectation, it being a Springboard thing and not my own, that I had to bring my A-game! MEL: I felt that for myself too! It’s intimidating at the outset – not the programme, but more that I’ve never done this kind of coaching in this context before. Am I going to get along with them, do I know what I’m doing? Then our first meeting, Paul did you come to my house? PAUL: I think I did, yeah. MEL: Did we start with wine? Or did we have a coffee first time around? It didn’t take long to switch! [Laughing] PAUL: I think we were really good with that keeping in touch. You were great at keeping me accountable, caught up on the programme, but keeping it fun – it was a good partnership. MEL: That extra catching up we did was important I think – if we hadn’t sat down and had those sessions with just us, we might not have had the same output. You have to put in a lot of work, and it’s my job to challenge the thinking – and we both have to just keep going at it! PAUL: Yeah I need a bit of that – I see a pile of paperwork and I’ll be like oh look, a canary is outside and get distracted. Teaming up overcame a lot of those barriers. MEL: Particularly iterating the vision. I think you started with Think, Care, Achieve and we tried to iterate it, but it was really hard. The learning for me was to go through the programme, then come back to the vision. Which I think is what you did! PAUL: Yeah, and I ended up with Treasuring Taonga - MEL: Which is perfect! It’s exactly what your school does. And what a school! It was so helpful for me to visit the school – if you don’t see the environment your partner is working in, take the time to understand what the kids are going through, it just doesn’t work. PAUL: Another part of the vision that was great for me personally was the review – realising our old vision wasn’t a vision, but a value. Then getting to reach out to the marae and community, and the marae gifted the school a whakatauki which was so special. MEL: That was superb, yes. The relationship building and bringing the marae on board – not everyone does that, it was as you said, something special. Was finding Treasuring Taonga a breakthrough moment for you? PAUL: Sortof – through our conversations we spoke about pastoral, pastoral, pastoral – my heart is with the kids of this school. We brainstormed and it always came back to why do I do this, and one day I just said they’re our treasure. I don’t remember being hit by lightning, just finding what we were digging for! MEL: The tools we got to do that work were great – really effective for helping us deliver. Nicholas (Williams, Springboard Programme Manager) put so much great stuff on the internal forum that I was printing off, reading, using all the time. It’s been valuable knowledge for another trust I’m working with too! PAUL: Agree on those resources – sometimes you feel like you need a dictionary for all the acronyms though! Mel, a thought – do you think our work would’ve been different if COVID didn’t happen? MEL: I’m not sure! We had that combo of face to face and online which I thought worked. PAUL: I wasn’t worried about it, but I was grateful that COVID didn’t end up being a barrier to this happening. People were probably apprehensive, but it ended up being business as usual for us! MEL: In a manner of speaking! As someone relatively new to the area, it was a totally different and new way of looking at my own backyard, so to speak. But the insight into schools, families, teachers and communities was just amazing. PAUL: I should mention too, you’ve put me onto a lot of people and groups in the community - MEL: And vice versa! PAUL: That I wouldn’t have otherwise considered. The connections, the learning, it’s all been great. And now I have a new person to see out and about, like when I saw you at the Christmas tree lighting. MEL: That was so cool! PAUL: You feel like family to me now, so it was great for you to meet mine. MEL: The journey continues for both of us! Paul and Mel have recently completed the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme with Springboard Trust. If you’d like to know more about it, get in touch with our team!
5 min read

10 steps for more equitable leadership practice

Equity is a priority for almost all school leaders – but focusing on what that means in the day-to-day can prove difficult.   After all, unfairness in both opportunity and outcome has deep-seeded structural roots that regularly stymies progress of those on the margins. Identifying and solving the issues that result in statistics like Māori having the lowest NCEA level 2 rates in the country is often deemed something for the too-hard basket. What can school leaders do from their sphere of influence to change that?   Yet the reality is, it is at that school leadership level that change can be incredibly effective, influencing teaching staff and school culture to create the conditions for change. And in Ishimaru and Galloway’s Radical Recentering paper, we find some key ways to turn equity from an end goal into leadership practice.  10 steps for equitable leadership: An overview  Radical Recentering is a paper that sets out standards for school leadership that put equity at the core of the role. This isn’t limited to race, and incorporates class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and more marginalised identities.   Essentially, they want to outline concrete practice that centres the marginalised and provides blueprint for school leadership that affords all the same opportunities. Those ten practices are as follows:   1. Engaging in self-reflection and growth for equity  In this action, leaders proactively interrogate their values, biases and privileges. They practice ongoing inquiry into the place they hold in the world, as well as the place of each and every member of their community.   Key questions: Who is included by my school, and who is excluded? Who has the greatest need for a school leader’s service?   2. Developing organisational leadership for equity   In this step, leaders distribute the first step among their team. As a group, you foster an ongoing dialogue about equitable teaching practice in your own context and giving every student the highest quality of learning.   3. Constructing and enacting an equity vision  Here, leaders engage the entire school community, especially those traditionally without authority or power in education decision-making, to create an equity vision. This is similar to the work we do in the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme, but with a laser focus on a vision that recognises the structural underpinnings of inequity in schools.   4. Supervising for improvement of equitable teaching and learning  Teachers remains the most direct channel of influence on learners in a school environment, and this step recommends leaders support those team members to adopt equitable practice. That means culturally response or sustaining practice and critical thinking with regards to issues like race, class and gender identity. Leaders create a culture of feedback, as both leader and teacher hold each other accountable.   5. Fostering an equitable school culture  Build sincere relationships throughout the community, enhancing the sense of belonging for all students, especially those typically on the margins. Leaders will actively confront and challenge ideas that students are “less than” based on any aspect of their identity, and enacts school policy that aids restoration of power and healthy learning conditions.   6. Collaborating with families and communities  This step puts meaningful relationships at the centre of equity – speaking with and listening to everyone in the community, especially those whose voices may not usually be put at the centre. This includes understanding everyone’s beliefs and promoting the school as the centre of a community that supports everyone.   7. Influencing the sociopolitical context  Here, influencing means working within and outside the community – for example with other schools, coalitions or organisations – to spread the focus on socially aware practice. Effectively, ensuring that the work you do in the school begins to reflect elsewhere, utilising your position as the fulcrum of the community to change structural inequity piece by piece.   8. Allocating resources  This may be time, finances, material or labour hours, but focusing these resources on those who are historically marginalised, bringing everyone to the same level.   9. Hiring and placing personnel   This means ensuring your staff have the understanding and experience to empathise with and promote the perspectives of those ‘othered’ groups.   10. Modeling  This is where school leaders embody all of the above practices in the way they comport themselves. From the largest speech to the smallest interaction, placing the voiceless at the fore.   There is considerable overlap between some of these initiatives, and the exact form they would take in your own school may be wildly different from another, depending on your unique context. But the principle is clear – school leaders are in a unique position of influence, and can take practical steps to ensure the wellbeing and strong education of all.   Many will already be doing this – but by reiterating the importance of placing equity at the centre of everything we do, we shine a light on the often unnoticed ways people get left behind.   At the bottom of it all is one simple way of looking at things: who is in the room when decisions are made in your school? And how can your school better include those who are left out?  
5 min read
Media Release

Connecting with Principals - a new Springboard Trust whitepaper

What did NZ principals do well – and want to improve on – under a COVID-19 lockdown?   Throughout 2020, Springboard Trust has maintained a close relationship with principals across the country – providing support, adapting to the conditions to deliver leadership development remotely, and listening to their concerns and successes.   Between March and May (the Level 4 lockdown period), we undertook a survey of 65 principals nationwide, asking them about what had gone well, what hadn’t, and what kind of support they wanted for the future.   We’re very excited to present the results of this survey in Connecting with Principals - a brand-new report based on reflexive thematic analysis and research from the Springboard team.   The results tell a tale of immense strength – how school leaders and their teams kept their students, whānau and communities engaged from a distance, where they found support and how distance learning has reshaped the way their schools run.  Of course, it is also a tale of challenges – inequities in resourcing, maintaining school culture without face-to-face interactions and the competing demands of home and school environments.   All told, we believe this report provides useful and detailed insight into school leadership during the most difficult of times to be in this role. You can read the report below – we hope you find it enlightening and useful.  
2 min read

Eyes on the North-East: An interview with Russell Bishop

"When teachers and other school leaders effectively engage in establishing caring and learning relationships, they are then able to use the pedagogies that we know make a difference for Maori and other marginalized students’ learning.” Russell Bishop, ONZM, hopefully does not need much by way of introduction. He is the past Director of Te Kotahitanga, now Emeritus Professor of Māori Education at the University of Waikato, and author of a wealth of essential research on Kaupapa Māori education and education reform processes. Perhaps most relevant for us right now, he is also the keynote speaker at our Leading for Equity event on September 9! Ahead of Russell’s presentation, we caught up with him to discuss his latest work Teaching to the North-East, and how both teachers and leaders can improve their practice in this regard. Where to find the North-East “The North-East is a metaphorical position,” Russell explains, “on a scatter plot with two axes – relationships and interactions. When teachers are teaching in the North-East, they are proficient at establishing caring and learning relationships (the ‘East’ on the relationships continuum) and using these relationships to enable those dialogic interactions we know make a difference for students’ learning (the North on the Interactions continuum). "When you teach in the North-East, you are able to teach all students – rather than just some, or just those of the majority culture.” “Teachers in the North-East perform well on both axes – they implement effective relational practices in the classroom, and they also use the pedagogies that make a difference. It isn’t enough, particularly for Maori and other marginalised students, to do one without the other – you must have both.” It’s a model borne out of Russell’s theories about the centrality of relationships for researchers and teachers being able to undertake their work more effectively, tested through Te Kotahitanga, then developed further with Cognition Education, laterally with a focus on how to sustain teaching and leading in the North-East. “Sustainability is enabled by teachers continually monitoring student’ progress and the impact of the processes of learning on student learning so as to be able to modify relationships and interactions in a formative manner. Such modifications are supported by coaching so that you’re teaching everyone involved in a classroom and the school to learn, so they can help others. In this way, creating a cycle of self-determined learners at all levels.”Creating the right conditions from the top "The simple message for school leaders who are wanting to promote equitable outcomes in their school is to replicate in their practice what they expect their teachers to do. That is, North-East Leaders supporting North-East teachers in what will become a North-East school." Be they principals, senior leadership team members or any other leaders, they need to learn to create caring and learning relationships, interact dialogically within this context and monitor learners’ (in this case, teachers’) progress so they can modify and sustain their North-East leadership practices.  “A further major role of leaders here is to challenge and support – particularly those who persist with strategies we know don’t work and in fact, are harmful to students’ learning. The aim is to promote a common code of effective practice at all levels in the school.” “Leadership in this approach is essentially a coaching process. And just as we coach teachers into the North-East position, leaders need to be coached and mentored as well so that all are working to the agreed common code of practice.” “If you don’t constantly emphasise a relationship-based environment, and then interact and modify practices within this environment in ways we know make a difference to students currently not benefiting from their participation in schooling, then the chances of Maori and other marginalised children realizing their potential is very limited.” Russell Bishop is the keynote speaker at Leading for Equity – a Springboard Trust learning event on September 9 and 10. For more information and tickets, please click here. For more information on Teaching to the North-East: Relationship-based learning in practice, Russell’s book is now available through NZCER press.
4 min read

Helping you lead through change with confidence and clarity.

Kickstart Your Strategy Workshop

A strategic plan is a foundation document for any future-facing school. However, that plan takes the long and broad view of your school’s vision and strategic goals and does not provide the level of granularity that is required to translate strategy into action.  Kickstart Your Strategy is all about breaking down your strategic plan into scoped, measurable pieces of work that your team can use to guide action and review progress on a regular basis.   How does Kickstart Your Strategy work? This workshop will assist you and your lead team to: Initiate - Practical experience in initiating and planning your activities Communicate - Understand who your key stakeholders are and how best to engage them Implement – Gain knowledge of tools that will assist in monitoring and measuring your plan Change - Appreciate your role in leading the strategic change within your school.  Who is Kickstart Your Strategy for? The KYS workshop is open to principals who have completed the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme in the prior year, as well as their senior leadership teams.   To find out more about our next KYS workshop, get in touch with your Programme Manager or head on over to our contact page. 

School Innovation Services

Professional learning and development (PLD) is at the heart of any good school. Building tomorrow’s leaders and helping them adopt the same lessons you have learned through our programmes is a key part a future-focused education.   But for so many New Zealand schools, needs are varied. Needs are unique. And those needs must be met to improve the lives of young New Zealanders. School Innovation Services is Springboard Trust’s latest offering, supporting school leaders and Communities of Learning/Kāhui Ako with bespoke development opportunities.   What is School Innovation Services?   The goal of School Innovation Services is to support school communities to take collective responsibility for the success of all learners. We do this by supporting strategic leadership growth, improving management practices and creating the conditions for positive change.  In action, this will look different for every school. We are an accredited PLD provider with the Ministry of Education, and have worked in multi-agency and multi-school environments, right down to helping leaders with single-issue projects.   The theme is collaboration – consulting with every available party, from school to government to community, and finding unique solutions for your challenges.   If it will help learner success and it isn’t in our existing portfolio, our School Innovation Services team will be able to help.   How does School Innovation Services work?   Rather than focus on the development of a single leader or their team, School Innovation Services works on a project- or issue-based system around your school or Kāhui Ako.   We utilise innovative thinking and cutting-edge frameworks to help schools tackle issues with the help of everyone around them. At all times, this is driven by a social impact model that ties everything you do back to the outcome – success for your learners.   In practice, we have five general focus areas in School Innovation Services, with the resources to help New Zealand schools in any and all related issues.  History of School Innovation Services  This offering has stemmed directly from our work with Kāhui Ako across New Zealand. Recently, we participated in the Communities of Learning Change Management panel with the Ministry of Education, and worked closely with many Kāhui Ako as a consultant to help them streamline, evolve and work together to achieve their common goals.   Through this work, we developed a keen understanding of schools’ ongoing needs that complement our original suite of programmes.   In 2019, we began a pilot series of School Innovation Services programmes, with a view to expanding this work in 2020 and beyond.   Who is School Innovation Services for?   School Innovation Services are available to all who need it – not just the Springboard Trust alumni, and not just Kāhui Ako. Whether you need help developing leadership capabilities, are struggling to manage conflicts or simply want communications assistance – School Innovation Services is set up to deliver your solutions, based on your needs. To find out more about School Innovation Services, please contact your programme manager, or head on over to our contact page.  

Strategic Leadership for Rural Teaching Principals (SLRTP)

Rural teaching principals face challenges that their metropolitan counterparts often do not.   Working as both teacher and principal, these leaders also have numerous other roles within their school. On top of this, in a rural context school leadership extends far into the community – to the extent that they are ‘always on’.   Finally, there are often significant hurdles for rural teaching principals in terms of accessing development opportunities, and finding relief teaching when those opportunities arise.   With some 20% of the country’s principals in this situation, Springboard Trust is thrilled to offer a unique, fully-funded programme designed with them in mind.  Tailored development for rural teaching principals  The Strategic Leadership for Rural Teaching Principals Programme (SLRTP) is the first of its kind in New Zealand. Combining elements of our Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP) and our Springboard Coaching for Leadership programme, we developed this course in recognition of those rural-specific challenges that principals face.   SLRTP includes:  Three 2-day residential block courses and one final full day course  Interactive webinars from our Subject Matter Experts  Regular online cohort meetings  A 360° leadership review  One-on-one meetings with Impact Coaches  Debriefing sessions with Programme Managers  Self-paced learning and ancillary resources   Cohort engagement through our Canvas LMS  Taken over the course of a calendar year, principals will pair with Impact Coaches – volunteers from our network of experts – and learn the fundamentals of strategic leadership, with a unique focus on rural teaching principal roles.   They will work together through our new blended learning model, combining the best of both virtual and in-person learning environments.   As with our other programmes, the relationship with your volunteer forms the cornerstone of your learning. A high-trust relationship forms, and helps you develop your skills as a leader within the parameters of the programme.   For principals, it is a fully funded leadership development course – a benefit made possible by our partners in the Elaine Gurr Endowment Trust, from Perpetual Guardian. Who can apply for SLRTP?   SLRTP is open to all principals who have not completed our previous programmes, and who fit the following criteria:   Work in schools with fewer than 100 students Teach in classrooms on a regular basis  Live in communities a significant distance from the nearest major urban area   Applications for SLRTP typically open in Term 3 of the year before the course begins. To get in touch about taking part in this course, please contact one of our team.   For volunteers interested in becoming an Impact Coach, please contact our Volunteer Manager, Rebecca Brown.  

Annual Planning Workshop

Principals also need to know how to deliver their strategic plan effectively, year on year.  Which initiatives you’ll take on this year, who will be responsible versus who will be accountable, and when do actions need to be completed.  With the Annual Planning Workshop, you get the clarity you need to deliver on your strategy in the upcoming year.     What happens in the Annual Planning Workshop The Annual Planning Workshop is a Term Four programme tailored for alumni principals who have completed the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP). A single-day session for you, your senior and/or middle leaders, it is a time to break down your strategic hierarchy (vision, mission, initiatives, actions and outputs) and set clear goals and initiatives for the following year.   Once finished, you will:  Understand your strategic hierarchy  Be able to define and tell apart the above terms in your own plan  Have a shared language for talking about the plan in your team   Use the SCOT and PEST models, and apply them in your school  Understand where you are in the delivery of your strategic plan Be able to apply RASCI frameworks to your plan  Have a leadership team who understands the ins and outs of the strategic plan.  In short, the Annual Planning Workshop breaks down the strategic plan into an annual plan.    Who is the Annual Planning Workshop for?   As above, this workshop is open to all alumni principals who have completed the Strategic Leadership for Principals (SLPP) programme.   While principals may come on their own, we recommend they bring at least their Deputy Principals or Assistant Principals, as well as other key members of their leadership team.   In Auckland, the workshops will take place at the Springboard Trust offices in Onehunga. Elsewhere in New Zealand, we will host them at venues to be advised based on demand and resource.   Please note that, as with most of our programmes, resource is limited. While all alumni principals are welcome, we may have to prioritise based on school need. What does the Annual Planning Workshop cost?   Nothing but your time! Annual Planning is a free workshop, and will run for approximately six hours on a single day. Where can I enrol in the Annual Planning workshop?   Registration will open in term three but before then you can get in touch with your Programme Manager, or head on over to our contact page to fill out an expression of interest.  

High Performing Leadership Teams (HPLT)

It takes a village to raise a strong school environment.  While strong leadership is a must for any New Zealand principal, it is equally important to bring that journey to each and every member of a school’s leadership team.   Springboard Trust’s High Performing Leadership Teams programme helps schools develop a shared vision, understanding and plan for high performance. It helps individuals find their place in a leadership team, create development pathways and identify how every members of a team contributes to the vision or plan of a school.   A problem shared is a problem halved, and leadership shared is leadership gained by all.   How does High Performing Leadership Teams work?   HPLT is a programme designed to light the fire of distributed leadership in New Zealand schools.   You and your leadership team (both senior and middle leaders welcome) meet with an expert volunteer facilitator through three four-hour workshops, taking place across one school term, all under the guidance of a Springboard Trust Programme Manager. The workshops are: Laying the Foundation Building the Team Operating to Get Results A pre-survey helps the facilitators understand your team, and they will feed back analysis on how you all work together before the workshops begin. This ensures the course is tailored to your leadership team’s needs, rather than a prescribed curriculum that may not be an ideal fit.  Through the workshops, you will build a cohesive team unit who understand one another, learn to operate effectively and communicate with one another to improve learner success.   A final round of analysis with the facilitators helps your team set next steps, and clearly define roles and development for the future.   You can find more information on the facilitator role here! What do school leaders gain from High Performing Leadership Teams?  By the end of an HPLT course, you and your leadership team will have:   A shared knowledge of what constitutes a High Performing Leadership Team and a shared team purpose, behaviours and goals to achieve this.  Increased their skills and abilities to work effectively together as a high performing leadership team and lead change.    Developed a shared commitment to change and a focus on operating strategically to achieve results.  Who is High Performing Leadership Teams for?   HPLT is open to the leadership teams surrounding all Springboard Trust alumni (those who have completed the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme).   While all leadership team members are welcome, it is ultimately the decision of the principal on who to bring to the HPLT programme. In particular, leadership team members who play an important role in the implementation of your strategic plan should be invited.   What do you need for High Performing Leadership Teams?   First and foremost, a willing leadership team that wants to commit to positive change and a better shared understanding of your work. The HPLT programme will take up to five days of time across a single school term, ideally conducted face to face in a safe environment. Please note that unlike many of our other strategic leadership programmes, HPLT does have a cost of $2,500 plus GST. There are scholarships available thanks to our partners – please contact us to find out more about this.   To enquire about our next HPLT intake, please either contact your Programme Manager or head on over to our contact page.  

Skills Workshops

Developed in response to school leaders’ needs, Springboard Trust Skills Workshops are one-day events that focus on a specific element of school leadership. These offer a fantastic opportunity for principals and their teams to dedicate time and resources to their planning and leadership, with guidance from our expert volunteers and Programme Managers.   With more Skills Workshops in development, Springboard Trust is thrilled to continue working with school leaders on whatever facet of their leadership needs focus.

Springboard Coaching for Leadership (SCL)

Foster your strengths through a comprehensive 360-degree feedback system with coaching support. Springboard Coaching for Leadership (formerly High Performing Leaders) is a service designed to support principals, senior and middle school leaders to understand their strengths and how these can be leveraged in existing or future roles.  From Term 3, 2021, Springboard Trust will be offering this programme in an extended format, running across Term 3 and 4 (rather than a single term as have historically done). How does Springboard Coaching for Leadership work?  SCL is a process of reflection, introspection and then connection. The Springboard team – along with our volunteers – provide a principal, senior or middle leader with coaching and guidance to help them decipher their strengths, areas for development and where they should focus their efforts.  This is supported by a comprehensive 360-degree feedback process involving up to 15 people the leader works or engages with. Fully confidential, SCL provides a safe and supportive environment for all the feedback you need to thrive.   You will work through SCL in a series of one-on-one sessions alongside an expert volunteer coach, who will support you to unpack the feedback, set a goal and work on a plan to achieve your goal.  What do school leaders get out of Springboard Coaching for Leadership? Springboard Trust’s leadership framework is a tried and tested model for not just strong school leadership, but the flow-on impacts of that leadership to the rest of the school and wider community. It correlates with the Teaching Council’s Leadership Framework, as well as the Mental Health Foundation’s 5 Ways to Wellbeing model.   Through 360 feedback and coaching in SCL, school leaders will:  Foster trust, safety, creativity and exploratory thinking in themselves and their teams.   Develop strengths-based leadership with clear, practical next steps.   Get unique insight into their own leadership style.   Create positive leadership practices that impact the whole school and community.   Finally, SCL gives you the starting point for developing your own skills and bringing the rest of your leadership team on this journey with you.   Who can take on Springboard Coaching for Leadership? The SCL programme is open to all Springboard Trust alumni principals (those who have completed the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme), their senior leaders and middle leaders.  This service runs over several months, and requires committed input from up to 15 key people, including coaches, leadership team members, direct reports and peers. To find out more about Springboard Coaching for Leadership or to register your interest, contact your Programme Manager or head over to our contact page. 

Strategic Leadership for Rural Teaching Principals (SLRTP)

Rural teaching principals face challenges that their metropolitan counterparts often do not.   Working as both teacher and principal, these leaders also have numerous other roles within their school. On top of this, in a rural context school leadership extends far into the community – to the extent that they are ‘always on’.   Finally, there are often significant hurdles for rural teaching principals in terms of accessing development opportunities, and finding relief teaching when those opportunities arise.   With some 20% of the country’s principals in this situation, Springboard Trust is thrilled to offer a unique, fully-funded programme designed with them in mind.  Tailored development for rural teaching principals  The Strategic Leadership for Rural Teaching Principals Programme (SLRTP) is the first of its kind in New Zealand. Combining elements of our Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP) and our Springboard Coaching for Leadership programme, we developed this course in recognition of those rural-specific challenges that principals face.   SLRTP includes:  Three 2-day residential block courses and one final full day course  Interactive webinars from our Subject Matter Experts  Regular online cohort meetings  A 360° leadership review  One-on-one meetings with Impact Coaches  Debriefing sessions with Programme Managers  Self-paced learning and ancillary resources   Cohort engagement through our Canvas LMS  Taken over the course of a calendar year, principals will pair with Impact Coaches – volunteers from our network of experts – and learn the fundamentals of strategic leadership, with a unique focus on rural teaching principal roles.   They will work together through our new blended learning model, combining the best of both virtual and in-person learning environments.   As with our other programmes, the relationship with your volunteer forms the cornerstone of your learning. A high-trust relationship forms, and helps you develop your skills as a leader within the parameters of the programme.   For principals, it is a fully funded leadership development course – a benefit made possible by our partners in the Elaine Gurr Endowment Trust, from Perpetual Guardian. Who can apply for SLRTP?   SLRTP is open to all principals who have not completed our previous programmes, and who fit the following criteria:   Work in schools with fewer than 100 students Teach in classrooms on a regular basis  Live in communities a significant distance from the nearest major urban area   Applications for SLRTP typically open in Term 3 of the year before the course begins. To get in touch about taking part in this course, please contact one of our team.   For volunteers interested in becoming an Impact Coach, please contact our Volunteer Manager, Rebecca Brown.  

Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP)

A fully funded 10-month development programme for New Zealand principals.  The Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP) brings New Zealand principals together with strategic experts to develop your leadership and to support clear, insightful planning for schools.  Strategic leadership is a pivotal element for improved school performance. The ability to plan, manage and report as the fulcrum of your community ensures strong relationships and the right conditions for everyone to thrive.    This year, Springboard Trust is thrilled to announce its very first virtual cohort – accessible from anywhere in New Zealand in 2021. How SLPP works for NZ principals  Over a series of workshops spanning 10 months, SLPP explores the core elements of strategic leadership for New Zealand principals – beginning the journey to creating better student outcomes.   This learning occurs with the support of a Capacity Partner – a dedicated expert volunteer, with whom principals will build a trusted, high-empathy relationship that delivers outstanding impact. This cross-sector model is unique to Springboard Trust, and ensures every principal who takes part has personalized support to meet their needs at both a personal and professional level.   Together, they work with a cohort of up to six other principal-Capacity partner pairings, under the guidance of an experienced facilitator and Springboard’s own expert Programme Managers.   By the end of the programme, principals typically demonstrate significant progression in:  One- and three-year planning and outlook  Creating and communicating a vision and strategic plan Identifying, communicating with and gaining buy-in from key stakeholders Measuring the impacts of their changes Leading the same transformative change for their team  This forms the bedrock of the conditions for improved student outcomes, which we explore in more detail through our Alumni Services.   For more information on the direct impacts on school leadership that principals gain through SLPP, please check out our annual Impact Reports.  SLPP Requirements and Application Details  SLPP is open to principals who wish to enhance their strategic leadership. However, due to the high number of applicants we receive each year, priority may be given to principals with the greatest need for support.   2021 SLPP workshops will delivered either in person, virtually or through a combination of both – please note that depending on location, some travel may be required for the former. Across the 10 months, it is expected that principals will spend around two hours per week engaging in this professional learning and working with others, in addition to the workshop times.  Volunteers will be required to give around 40 hours of their time, while for facilitators about 50 hours of time is required.   Applications for principals have closed for 2021 - but please get in touch with our team if you wish to join a cohort! For volunteers with leadership experience who want to find out more about becoming a Capacity Partner, you can find full details of the role here – or contact our Volunteer Manager Rebecca Brown to express your interest in the next programme.  

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2019 Impact Report

In-depth analysis of Springboard Trust's impact on New Zealand students, schools, leaders and communities.

Students impacted

Over 150 participating schools across New Zealand

From strategic leadership to educational transformation, our programmes impact schools and learners right across the country.

Our Partners