Tags:Change ManagementEducationPrimaryVolunteersPrincipal

Case Studies
02/02/2020
3 min read

Change management in action at Hurupaki School

For many principals, managing change means revolutionising the way their team teaches. Oftentimes, you’re modifying habits and processes that have been around for years, even decades.  

Difficult enough on its own, yes? Now try doing it as the newest person at your school.  

Robyn Posthumus had just become Principal at Hurupaki School when she undertook the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme in 2016. While she came up with a resoundingly strong strategic plan during the course, there lay ahead a lot of work in convincing teachers to change their methodology.  

The project: A change in focus

Robyn had a clear vision for Hurupaki School, but one that was at odds with ‘the way things were done’ in the past.  

She hoped to emphasise teaching as inquiry in a way that measured each teacher’s day-to-day impact – especially in how they helped priority learners. This required a level of transparency and accountability that teachers were not used to, therefore a clear plan was required.  

Robyn achieved this through several steps: collaboration, consultation and conversation.  

The consultation occurred during her time with the SLPP. She consulted widely with the community and teachers, implementing their feedback into a long-term strategic plan.  

The collaboration came through in this plan. She took over a public whiteboard, writing up key initiatives and inviting all teachers to submit changes or their own ideas on this board. In an interative process, the team’s plan evolved into a cohesive set of goals that everyone bought into.  

The conversation was a mass-scale change management process. Springboard Trust appointed a subject matter expert, Jo Field, to work with Robyn in talking with staff, identifying a behaviour baseline, and linking behaviours to the overall school culture.  

These steps lead to a staff survey, which would allow the principal to surface key issues and begin courageous conversations with staff who needed to change. Only then could she really know the key areas to focus on and address.  

The survey: Drawing a line 

The survey process highlighted several key steps to be taken at Hurupaki School: 

  1. The need to clarify teacher roles and accountabilities and link them to the strategic plan.  

  2. Benchmarks for behaviour that contributed to (or detracted from) the school’s goals and culture, called “Above the Line” and “Below the Line”. 

  3. “Belonging Workshops” in which staff explored their values, sense of belonging, and shared responsibility for the school.  

Principal Posthumus knew that these changes would not revolutionise the school culture overnight – but they were a vital starting point. By bringing the team together, fostering a sense of belonging and focusing on their needs, the teachers slowly began to shift.  

However, several remained skeptical, admitting they had resisted the changes. Over time, and through these conversations, those teachers slowly changed their attitudes, adopting the “line” language and focusing on how they can move forward – as well as why they were doing it.  

The evolution: GROW modelling 

In 2017, Principal Posthumus attended our coaching Alumni Learning Event, alongside several hundred other educational professionals from across the country. It was here that she learned the GROW model, and how it could benefit her school.

This was a system Hurupaki School had used with its priority learners, but the Learning Event showed Robyn how it could also apply to her staff. In coordination with Jo Field, Robyn began using this alongside the DOMA model – Direction, Opportunity, Motivation, Ability. Jo also assisted Robyn’s professional learning and development in having courageous conversations.  

Eventually, these models helped all teachers analyse all aspects of a work situation in collaboration with one another, furthering the shift in institutional culture.  

The outcomes: Strides ahead 

One year on, a staff survey showcased just how far the team had come under Robyn’s leadership. Culture has changed, collaboration is rife and staff buy-in to the strategic plan is strong.  

Robyn acknowledges that it is still a work in progress, but considering the major cultural change underway at Hurupaki, this is still an astounding achievement.  

Change is difficult at the best of times. But as a new leader at a school with ingrained philosophies, affecting such profound change is an immense job. Delivering this kind of result requires: 

  1. Stakeholder involvement at every step.  

  2. Baseline data that your team can improve upon.  

  3. Establish a resource library – point people do not have to answer every question.  

  4. Be courageous in your conversations, show vulnerability and stick to your passions.  

  5. Reinforce changes until they are business as usual.  

  6. Be flexible with everyone involved.  

Valuable lessons – not just for change in education, but change in any organisation.  

Want to know more about Springboard's volunteer opportunities?

Subject Matter Experts

The Subject Matter Expert (SME) role is a flexible opportunity to support alumni (principals who have completed the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme) as they take on a bespoke project built around their strategic plan.   This might be assisting them at a Kickstart Your Strategy workshop, helping them review an annual plan, or simply sitting down with a principal and/or their team to help them clarify goals for the year ahead. What makes a good Subject Matter Expert? SMEs are typically senior leaders in their organisation, and have a wide range of expertise, including but not limited to:  Change management  Strategic leadership  Instructional design and leadership  Project management  Transformation projects  Coaching  Strategy analysis and refresh Marketing, branding and communication  Depending on the project, we may require more specialist skill sets for principal support. We would ideally prefer SMEs to have previously worked with Springboard as a Capacity Partner.   Time requirements Due to the variability of the work SMEs do, requirements may vary. Setting up a project usually takes 8-10 hours, while implementation may be anywhere from four hours to 50, across three to 12 months.  

Facilitators

Volunteer Facilitators Facilitators work in two of our programmes – the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme and High Performing Leadership Teams (HPLT). In the former, they work with a full cohort of six principals and volunteers, while in the latter they work with full leadership teams. While facilitating SLPP means working with principals new to Springboard, in HPLT they will be working with experienced principals (now alumni of Springboard Trust) and their leadership teams. This presents a unique set of dynamics every time, and can be an incredibly rewarding for those who volunteer their time.   What makes a great facilitator?  Typically, facilitators we work with are middle to senior leaders in their organisations, with extensive experience in people coaching or leadership. They may also be emerging leaders looking to accelerate their development, or highly skilled individuals in this area.   The key aspects facilitator should excel in are the art of facilitation itself, the ability to bring the content to life for the participants and how they can relate it to their own unique context.  Experience working with High Performing Teams and Leadership Development helps bring the programme to life for the participants.  Facilitation of SLPP in particular, facilitators should have experience in leading teams, as well as the ability to engage large groups of people and tell stories with ease.   It is critical that facilitators have strong emotional intelligence skills as you will facilitating cohorts often in varying situations of need , and contexts you are not familiar with.  Empathy and listening skills are a must.   Please note that in most cases, we prefer Facilitators to have prior experience as a Springboard Trust Capacity Partner so they have experienced the programme from that perspective.   Time requirements Facilitation volunteers for SLPP will need to volunteer 50-60 hours, including induction (for first time facilitators), across the calendar year. For HPLT, facilitators are asked to commit to up 10-15 hours over a three month period.

Capacity Partners

Capacity Partners are matched with a principal undertaking the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme, meeting one-on-one with them throughout the year with through nine workshops. They build trust, understand the needs of the principal and their context and support the principal in building their strategic plan and their leadership in their unique situation.   As a Capacity Partner, you will work with principals who are new to Springboard Trust and may have backgrounds, specialisations and experiences vastly different from your own. Taking the time to listen, learn and leverage your expertise to support them is critical to success.   The experienced Springboard Trust team will match you with a principal, making all the necessary introductions before the programme begins. You’ll also be part of a cohort with five other principals and their volunteer Capacity Partners, as well as a volunteer who will facilitate each workshop.   Who makes a great Capacity Partner?  Typically, Capacity Partners are senior leaders in their organisation, who are highly capable and skilled professionals.  Experience is typically in strategic planning, change or programme management with strong coaching skills. They may also be emerging leaders hoping to support their learning and ongoing career growth, or who want to accelerate their development in this area.   Volunteers who are also skilled and experienced in leadership or facilitation.   You’ll have experience in coaching, understand how to lead people (particularly from a strategic perspective), and grasp the core ideas of strategic planning, change management and transformation. Time Requirements Capacity Partners are asked to volunteer approximately 40 hours of their time annually, including a three-hour induction for first-time volunteers and nine half day workshops over a calendar year. Programmes typically start in March and have their final celebration workshops in November.  Participation in the workshops is encouraged to ensure maximum learning and impact for the volunteer but also encourages the conversation and discussion that happens within the cohort. 

Coaches

Volunteer coaches work in the High Performing Leaders (HPL) programme, building an individual principal’s leadership insight, capability and practice – all with the goal of them successfully leading their school to better student outcomes and delivery to their strategic plan. You could be working with alumni principals, their leadership teams or their middle leaders.  What makes a good coach?  Our coaching volunteers are typically senior or middle leaders in their organisation, with extensive people coaching experience . They may also be emerging leaders, looking to accelerate their development but still have a core capability to coach and development others  Due to the advanced nature of the HPL programme, Coaches should be highly skilled in the usual areas of requirement: coaching, leadership development and planning, accredited or experienced in debriefing 360-degree surveys and analysis, as well as in-depth emotional intelligence.   Time requirements Coaching volunteers will have to spend at least 10 hours on the HPL programme, over a 90-day period (a single school term).  

Our Partners