BRIDGE: Linking innovators in education

BRIDGE believes that the principal’s leadership is the basis for successful schools and impacts on the quality of teaching and learning a great deal. Their School Leadership Communities of Practice programme seeks to provide development in this area through three interventions: Principals Upfront (a seminar series for role-players), Western Cape School Leadership Community of Practice (where activities focus on instructional practice, and leadership and curriculum management), and Local Principals Community of Practice (where principals who work near each other meet to help each improve their effectiveness).

Siyawela: Leadership & Management

Siyawela offers a number of programmes to drive effective school leadership, including:

  • Curriculum Leadership and Management. This programme helps principals and teachers to manage the delivery of the curriculum. Two short learning programmes include: Subject Head Roles and Responsibilities (which aims to build the capacity of heads of department and subject heads) and Curriculum and Instructional Leadership (which aims to support deputy principals and phase heads by teaching them how to structure their schools’ teaching and learning process).
  • Leadership Matters. This two-year programme directed at primary schools helps school management teams create a culture of learning within schools, focusing on leadership, development and support, as well as personal growth.
  • Principals and SMT Leadership Development. This programme aims to develop and strengthen the leadership of high-school principals and school management teams, to ensure a sustained improvement in learner achievement. The programme also helps the Department of Basic Education to develop an effective, standardised approach to training high-school principals in South Africa. The mentorship component of this programme uses mentorship to improve team work and leadership, influencing attitude, morale and behaviour.

Partners for Possibility

Partners for Possibility's vision is to provide quality education for all children in South Africa by 2025. Since 2010, Symphonia for South Africa has supported and developed school principals, partnering them with business leaders in a co-learning partnership. These change agents mentor the principals to help to equip them with the skills and knowledge they require to lead change and mobilise communities. They provide practical hands-on support to principals using proven interventions like mentorship and skills upliftment.

Columba Youth Leadership Programme

The purpose of this three-year programme is to transform the culture of schools, focusing on leadership development and youth engagement. The aim is to strengthen schools and make youth more employable. The programme has graduated 8 773 principals, educators and learners from 223 schools across seven provinces.

Billion Child Foundation: SA Districts Centre of Excellence Programme

This programme aims to turn every school in South Africa into a Centre of Excellence within four years.

This Programme is a culture change intervention which trains and empowers:

  • District Directors to turn their district offices into centres of excellence 
  • Circuit Managers to simultaneously train and empower the principals of all the schools in their circuits to reinvent their schools to become centres of excellence.  

Read more: Billion Child Foundation: SA Districts Centre of Excellence Programme

Seed Educational Trust: School Leadership Programme

Partnered by the University of Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development (USB-ED), Seed’s goal is to make schools facing socioeconomic challenges more resilient by improving their organisational health. The programme started in 2006 and was initially run in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo.

These stressed and challenged schools are ill-equipped to offer the type of leadership required. Seed aims to build long-term sustainability into the systems within and around schools so they can function independently of NGO support after three years. This includes the formation of Communities of Practice for school principals and School Governing Body Chairpersons and leadership forums for key leaders.

This will improve resilience in schools, improve matric results, and help schools to retain educators.

David Newby, Managing Trustee of the Seed Educational Trust, says he looks for two things once leaders have graduated from the programme. “The lead indicator is the greater organisation health of schools, but the ultimate prize is improved learner results,” he says. He uses tools to track organisational health – in 70% of the schools, steady improvement has been noted, with similar but variable learner performance. Building a resilient school system means that even if leaders and teachers leave, the school can absorb shocks more readily and the impact will be less severe.

[Case Study] Columba Leadership Programme

Columba Leadership’s purpose is to transform the culture of schools to change the trajectory of youth.  Our programme focuses on leadership development and youth engagement for youth employability and school strengthening.  

Our funding comes from corporate South Africa as well as local and international trusts and foundations. A total of R129 226 667 has been invested in this organization since 2009. 

Read more: [Case Study] Columba Leadership Programme

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