Educationists are well aware of the integral role effective school leadership plays in the education system. School Management Teams (SMTs) – that is the structure which shares the collective responsibility for all aspects of school leadership and management — are key agents in school improvement. This group – which includes principals, HODs and subject advisors – is responsible for promoting a healthy culture and climate, for supporting teacher development, and for planning, organising and monitoring school improvement endeavours. The quality of teaching and learning depends on the competency of members of the SMT. In this regard, the role of SMTs is directly related to learner achievement and overall school improvement. The pivotal function of SMTs sits at the heart of the Standard Bank Tututwa Community Foundation and BRIDGE Leadership Development Programme, an effort which was launched by both partners at the Witwatersrand School of Education on the 9th of July 2018.
This initiative targets both school leadership and teacher development. It merges several important elements into a comprehensive, coherent programme aimed at bringing about positive change in these schools.
These elements include the work of the South African Extraordinary School’s Coalition (SAESC), BRIDGE’s most successful and enduring community of practice (CoP), which has generated a wealth of innovative, high-quality educational practices directed at ensuring success for socio-economically vulnerable children. The programme will draw on these important learnings and resources and adapt them for the new setting. Other important elements are the receptive environment of this cluster of schools, where BRIDGE’s first CoP for principals supported the development of a peer learning and support network amongst the school leaders, and the support of major stakeholders including the Gauteng Department of Education.
The programme has two main drivers: it aims to strengthen school leadership capacity by providing mentorship to principals, and to improve the quality of teaching and learning by establishing professional learning communities (PLCs) to support HoDs and subject advisors. These interventions will lead ultimately to the implementation of a customised peer review process aimed at strengthening school performance in the domains of leadership and management, teaching and learning, culture and climate, and school and community.
The programme was launched recently at the Wits School of Education, with all the key partners in attendance and with the Director for Teacher Development Implementation in the Department of Basic Education, Phillip Dikgomo, delivering the keynote address. A report on the launch can be viewed here.
For an overview of the main programme features, click here to view the programme brochure.