News, case studies and more

Case Studies

How a strategic plan transformed Drury School's recruitment

How far does your strategic plan reach? Not just in terms of time, but in scope? Outside your values and strategic initiatives, there is a lot of room to take what you learn in the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP) and apply it to every aspect of your school. In the case of Drury School Principal Robyn Malcolm, that meant a clear-cut focus on recruiting a new Deputy Principal. Exponential growth on the way In 2019, the roll at Drury School sat around 430. In the next three to five years, Robyn expects that to grow to an astonishing 630. “We’ve been starting talks for six new classrooms, both permanent and temporary. It’s such a massive level of change, which was actually one of the reasons I took this programme on.” On top of this, Robyn had just begun at Drury, with two terms under her belt prior to working with Springboard. Add to that a member of her senior leadership team retiring at the end of 2019, and there was a lot to get done. It’s something that can put a narrow focus on a strategic plan that needs to take the big picture view – but with the help of her capacity partner Kimberley Jenkinson of Bendall and Cant, Robyn was able to prepare for Drury’s immense growth at both the micro and macro level. A blueprint for successful recruitment Robyn’s strategic plan, developed through SLPP, outlined a clear vision and set of values for Drury school in the next five years – particularly, how they would deal with the roll growth. And while Robyn knew prior to developing the plan that she would need a new DP from 2020 onwards, having such a clear blueprint for the future was a huge influence on how the recruitment process worked. With clarity around the role a DP would play and the goals they would help Drury School achieve, Robyn’s planning became a foundation of the onboarding process. “With the strategic plan in place, I was able to shape questions for applicants around what we needed – how they would lead curriculum development, their experience working in semi-rural schools, that sort of thing.” Of course, DP candidates are on their own leadership journey – with many who Robyn spoke to looking for their own principalship in due course. Once again, a clear five-year plan that included their development played a key role. “We don’t want someone in the DP role for 30 years – they have to grow themselves. We could show applicants our five-year plan, where they sit in it, and have them feel really comfortable with their own trajectory.” And finally, the strategic plan helped Robyn whittle down the list of candidates (which turned out to be much larger than expected). “Through the strategic and annual planning, we had identified curriculum development and change as the main areas for the new DP to take the lead. Looking at candidates along that plan was a huge help for narrowing down the field.” Bringing the team on board Having settled on a wonderful new DP for Drury School, Robyn is confident in being able to execute key initiatives in her strategic plan. “It’s not just me excited about it – the new DP was thrilled with the clarity in the plan, while my board and leadership team also love the growth we’re about to go through.” “It is a lot for us all to deal with, but we have a road map that includes everybody and it’s got everyone off to an amazing start.”
4 min read
Media Release

Welcome to Springboard's new website!

Nga mihi nui, and welcome to Springboard Trust’s new website!   This has been a project quite some time in the making, and has involved a huge array of people working together to create a new space for our principals, partners, volunteers and team to engage, learn and get in touch.   In particular, we would like to thank our partners for the support to complete this project, as well as the fantastic team at Pixel Fusion, who built the site you’re looking at now.   There’s plenty of new information here, and we hope you love our refreshed look and feel!   What’s new on the Springboard Trust website?   Our new digital space has much more expanded information about our portfolio of programmes, workshops and services – including a few that we are piloting in 2020. You’ll find all of that under the What We Do section.   Meanwhile, we have kept all our people information (including team members, our board, vision and values and history) under the Who We Are banner. Keep your eyes peeled for our latest Impact Report hitting this space in the near future!   There is also an expanded section on the work that our volunteers and partners do, under the Partner With Us menu. You’ll find details of each of our volunteer roles, who makes a great Springboard partner or volunteer, as well as examples of the kind of work you can do with us.   The other major change is the expansion of our News section. This is where you will find all of the latest from Springboard – education news, internal announcements, updates on courses and events, as well as a wealth of interviews and case studies with our network of principals and volunteers.   We will be updating this regularly, so do keep an eye out for those pieces. You can get updates from our newsletter, our Facebook and LinkedIn, or by following along with our site.   Ready to read?   We are beyond excited to bring you a whole host of interesting insights and research through our website this year, and hope you are too. In the meantime, if you’d like to get in touch with us, you can find the team over here, or fill out our contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!  
2 min read
Case Studies

Evolving the way principals engage parents

Everyone comes to a school from a different background, and it is the job of the school to cater to and communicate with everyone on their own terms.  If the school fails on this front, they will likely fail to engage the community when they need it. Kohia Terrace School, with an incredibly diverse cultural background, ran into this issue after completing their strategic plan.   Background: Building a plan Alison Spence, Principal of Kohia Terrace School (KHS), came to the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP) in 2014. She had been in the role for eight years, and during the course began engaging parents over the school’s strategic goals.   However, this presented some unique challenges. A decile 10 school, KHS has a 50% NZ European roll, with the other half comprised of Chinese, Indian, Pasifika, Sri Lankan, Māori, Fijian, Filipino and Latin American ethnicities – just to name a few.   As the roll grew increasingly diverse and Alison aimed to communicate her strategic plan, a strong parent engagement strategy was absolutely critical.   The project: Canvas the community It began with a meeting. Alison came to Springboard Trust in October 2015, a year after completing SLPP. She worked with a volunteer Engagement Manager, Rich Easton, to refine the school charter and scope out projects for the following year.   At this point, they involved Deputy Principal Philippa Campbell, who was to spearhead a KTS Parents Guide.   “My goal was to enable parents to pick up what makes us KTS, the Kohia Terrace School.” The project included a series of mini surveys in the school newsletter, to better understand parents’ perspectives on the plan. The leadership team held a number of engagement sessions, targeted at parents of different ethnic backgrounds to obtain rich information on how they wanted to engage with KTS.   Springboard Trust provided specialist assistance in the setting up and analysis of these surveys. The results: Sparkle and engagement  Through feedback and understanding, KTS began displaying important components of their plan throughout the school. This ensured that parents, teachers and students were familiar with the school’s values.   KTS also provided clear channels for feedback and suggestions from anyone in the community, and all communications with parents and whānau are aligned with the strategic plan.   This was reflected in a parent / teacher / student night, which had record attendance levels of above 90%. With a plan and some persistence, the community has come together as one.  
3 min read

How long does it take to change your work habits?

Leading a school means leading change.   That change might be your strategic plan, an initiative that sees people use new apps and tools, or even something as simple as a daily check-in with your team.   But as anyone who has tried to affect change in a work environment will know, it takes time. In many cases, changes put forward in a plan can up-end habits that people have maintained for years, even decades.   To truly understand managing change, particularly in a school, you need to understand habits – and how long it takes to adjust them.  The average time to form a habit is... 66 days - just over three months.   However, the research that gives us this number notes that the time taken to form a habit habits, the type of activity and how significant repetition of a task influences their automaticity (how quickly they pick something up without thinking).   This also only applies to people who are willing to change. The research that gives us 66 days also notes that nearly half the participants in the study didn’t repeat their chosen activity enough to form a habit.   And finally, the habits that research participants picked up were quite simple – drinking water, eating a specific item or doing some minor exercise in a morning period just after breakfast. Hardly organisational change at a school.   All of which is to say that while 66 days is a good benchmark backed up by research, principals shouldn’t expect automatic habit changes after this period of time just because a paper said it would.   So what can you do to help and maintain that change?   Maintaining change in a school environment  The University of Oregon’s Elliot Berkman has some good ideas2 on ensuring that an individual maintains change that apply nicely in an organisational context. To wit:   Have a replacement action or habit  The example Berkman uses is nicotine gum, an active consumable, being more effective than the passive patches.   In the workplace, it’s a little more simple. When your change is to stop people from doing one thing, ensure there is a practical alternative. Want everyone to stop using wall planners? Make sure you provide a clear spreadsheet, calendar or Trello board as a replacement!   2. Bring the why  Always, always bring the why. Berkman’s argument is that people will affect change more significantly if the change aligns with their personal values.   That’s where all your hard work on a strategic plan comes in. With strong stakeholder communication and by involving your whole team in a long-term plan, you hopefully already have the buy-in on why you want things to change.   If not, it’s time to consult, listen and understand.   3. Visibility and motivation  Berkman’s final piece of advice is that everyone has the capacity to change. Shining a light on the behaviour or action you want to change and providing clear motivation can go a long way, especially for people who have a deeply ingrained way of doing things.   It won’t happen in 66 days – but it will happen  This may seem like a bleak way to look at change in a school, comparisons to addiction models. But at its core, implementing change through a strategic plan operates on the same principles. You are helping people move from one set of behaviours to another, and need to do so respectfully and with clear context.   Perhaps most importantly - and this is backed up in the research – missing an opportunity to perform the changed behaviour or action doesn’t mess up the automaticity. Basically – if you or anyone in your team makes a mistake, it will still become a habit. Power in persistence, everyone!
4 min read

Our Portfolio

What We Do

Improve your leadership Springboard Trust's unique learning programmes are designed to enable the development of outstanding educational leaders who dramatically improve their schools and wider communities.   To achieve this, we offer a range of programmes and services that provide multi-year support for leaders. Over these years, principals partner with us on a journey to:  Learn or enhance their strategic leadership skills.   Connect with cross-sector partners for unique leadership insights.  Develop the tools and skills necessary to plan and report to boards and other stakeholders.  Build leadership capability throughout a school.   Map the impacts of strong leadership right down to student outcomes.   Network with other schools and sectors to improve the community.   Principals do not generally undertake every programme and service that Springboard offers. By partnering with Springboard and selecting programmes and services that are tailored to your needs, you broaden your skill set and bring yourself – and your leadership team – on a journey that alumni call "the best professional development you will ever get".   The Principal's Journey   Every Principal's journey begins with the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP). After this point, your programme manager will work with you to understand your challenges and opportunities, and support you to select the best programme or service for your needs.Entry Programmes Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP) A one-year, nine-workshop programme that sees principals partner with a business sector volunteer to develop strategic thinking and leadership. The foundational building block of strong educational leaders.  Strategic Leadership for Rural Teaching Principals (SLRTP) A full-year programme, focused on the challenges faced by teaching principals in rural New Zealand communities. (Pilot phase - limited entry). Alumni Services After completing SLPP or SLRTP, principals become Springboard Trust alumni. At this point, they can take part in a number of highly tailored programmes, workshops and services to deepen their strategic leadership and build the capabilities of their team. High Performing Leaders A one-term service for alumni principals or your senior and middle leaders, focusing on building self awareness through 360 degree feedback and support from a coach.  High Performing Leadership Teams A one-term programme for alumni principals and their leadership teams, learning the essentials of group dynamics, shared goals and commitment. Kickstart Your Strategy Workshop A one-day workshop in which principals and your leadership teams are provided with tools and to put your strategic plan into action on a day-to-day basis.   Talent Management Workshop A one-day workshop focused on ensuring that you have the right people in the right place at the right time to deliver your strategic plan. Annual Planning Workshop A one-day workshop for principals and your leadership teams, focused on building initiatives, actions and goals for the coming year.   Learning Events Annual, half or full-day networking events that give principals and your lead teams the opportunity to hear from the best and brightest speakers, from both in and out of the education sector.   School Innovation Services A bespoke service, based around initiatives that schools require specialist support to scope and implement.  Beyond these set programmes and workshops, the beauty of the Springboard Trust model is its flexibility. By partnering principals with cross-sector experts based on your needs, we are able to facilitate solutions for a whole host of issues, including:  Project Management  Coaching and people management  Change management  Digital transformation  Communication plans  Strategy refresh  Parent and whānau engagement  Select a programme above – or head to our contact page to enquire about how else we might be able to help.

Our Portfolio

Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme

Strategic leadership is a pivotal element for improved school performance. The ability to plan, manage and report as the fulcrum of your community ensures healthy relationships and the right conditions for everyone to thrive.   But too often, school leaders lack the time, knowledge or resources to learn strategic planning and put it into action.   The Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP) is a 10-month, sponsored programme that brings New Zealand principals together with strategic experts to develop your leadership and support clear, insightful planning for our schools.   How does SLPP work?   1. Expression of interest  We can’t help you develop your leadership if we don’t know you’re there! All New Zealand principals are welcome to participate in the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme. You can get in touch with us here, and one of our Programme Managers will get back to you on availability for our next set of cohorts.   Our Programme Managers are some of the most experienced members of the Springboard Team and will be on hand to guide you through the SLPP journey, answering any and all questions you have. They’ll also be your main point of contact for post-SLPP programmes and services!   Please note that our journeys begin in Term One of each year, so getting in touch with us by the end of Term Two the year before is a good idea.   While we aim to give everyone an opportunity to take part in SLPP, our resourcing only allows for limited places, with schools in greatest need of our assistance given priority.   For volunteers interested in SLPP, please see our Volunteer Support page.   2. Finding your partner   In SLPP, you work extensively with a Capacity Partner – a volunteer from the business world who brings knowledge, trust and curiosity to the relationship.   Having run nearly 100 cohorts in the last decade, the Springboard Team is adept at finding people who work well together.   3. The workshops begin   Over 10 months, you and your Capacity Partner will meet as part of a ‘cohort’, with five to six other principal-capacity partner pairings and one volunteer facilitator (also from one of our major or strategic partners).   This peer-to-peer, cross-sector work means you get insight and understanding of strategic leadership that often isn’t possible on your own.   As a cohort, your progress through nine workshops, each focused on a core element of strategic planning.   4. Present and Celebrate  The final workshop is more of a celebration and reflection. You and the other principals in your cohort will present your strategic plans to everyone, before celebrating the progress you’ve made together alongside your partners and the Springboard Team.   While this ends the formal meetings of your group, many of our cohorts stick together long after the SLPP is complete – meeting quarterly, sharing advice on their strategic plans and continuously evolving their leadership skills.   Most principals who have completed SLPP will also want to continue their leadership development – for example, sharpening their annual planning skills or involving their leadership team in the same professional development. This is where our Alumni Services begin.   Why take on SLPP?   At Springboard, we believe we’re better together. By sharing tools, frameworks and expertise across sectors, principals and business leaders develop much greater understanding of each others’ roles and the common challenges and opportunities that they face as leaders.   This is reflected in New Zealand Council of Educational Research (NZCER) reporting we commissioned on the impacts of SLPP. Some 93 per cent of principals said this programme had a high or medium impact on their leadership.   In turn, this has a positive impact on leadership teams, teachers, and student opportunities.   What comes after SLPP?   The Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme is the first step on your development journey with Springboard Trust. Once you understand and apply strategic planning tools and frameworks yourself, it’s time to move on to areas like implementation, community engagement and distributing leadership across your teams.  Typically, we recommend the Kickstart Your Strategy workshop as an excellent follow-up to SLPP in Term One the following year. However, alumni principals (those who have completed SLPP) are able to pursue any of the programmes and services we offer.   To find our more about SLPP or join our next cohort, click here.  

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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 two expert volunteer facilitators through four workshops, taking place across one school term, all under the guidance of a Springboard Trust Programme Manager.   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.   The four workshops are: Building a cohesive team; Understanding team dynamics and viewpoints; Operating an effective team, and Strategic leadership in action.  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.   What do school leaders gain from High Performing Leadership Teams?  By the end of an HPLT course, you and your leadership team should be able to:   Give and receive open and honest feedback in a trusting environment.   Operate as a strong team (good time management, delegation and facilitation of meetings). Identify how each individual fits into a long-term strategic plan.   Understand why you work together; what the common goal of your group is and how you contribute to it.   Use and apply tools to improve everyone's development immediately.   Distribute leadership, improving everyone’s strategic thinking.   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.  

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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