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.