Tags:PrimaryEducationStrategic PlanningTalent Management

Case Studies
02/17/2020
4 min read

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.

Students from Drury School dressed up on a boat for a day out.
Photo courtesy of Drury School

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.

“The annual planning part of the programme really made things clear. I understood which parts of the school needed individual leaders and was able to articulate to the board the importance of having a walking DP in the years ahead.”
Robyn Malcolm, Drury School Principal

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.”

A cohort of principals who took part in the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme.
Robyn Malcolm (second from left) at her SLPP celebration in 2019.

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.”

Want to know more about our programmes?

Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP)

A free 10-month development programme for New Zealand principals. The Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP) brings New Zealand principals together with strategic experts to develop your leadership and support clear, insightful planning for our schools - free of charge. 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.   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.  

Want to know more about our programmes?

Talent Management Workshop

With a New Zealand teaching workforce of 70,000 and counting, principals have a huge variety of people on their teams. Yet it is becoming more challenging to recruit and retain the right people at the right time.    Schools that don’t pay close attention to how their people are feeling, developing and responding to change will likely face higher turnover, and more issues implementing their strategic plans.   Springboard Trust’s Talent Management Workshop gives school leaders an insight into a framework for good talent management, supports schools to develop a people strategy, and gives you the tools to ensure everyone in your school can bring their best.   How does the Talent Management Workshop work? Talent management isn’t a set-and-forget action – it's a constantly evolving process, and one that needs a holistic focus at all times. As with everything, it’s all about the people.   In our Talent Management Workshop, you work with a facilitator and one of the Springboard Programme Managers to develop your school’s own view of talent management, where your team fits in the cycle, what is a priority area for you to start and what you need to do to ensure a healthy, happy team in the future.   The workshop is broken down into five stages, each representing a part of the talent management cycle: onboarding, development, retention, planning and attraction.   We will help you align a talent strategy to your strategic plan, helping you work with the right people for your vision and values. That may include identifying  solutions to address your talent gaps, where your team’s strengths lie, and how the talent management process never stops – even when you’re not actively looking for new people.   It is a half-day workshop, and takes approximately four hours.   What do you get out of the Talent Management Workshop?   Understand the talent management cycle and all its different stages.   Have a framework and tools to get the best out of your people.   Be able to develop a talent management/people strategy for your school.   Apply the GROW coaching model to support your existing and potential people.   Who is the Talent Management Workshop for? The Talent Management workshop is open to all alumni principals (those who have completed the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme) and works best when the leadership team attend the workshop together  To find out more about our next Talent Management workshop, contact your Programme Manager or head on over to our contact page.  

Start your journey

High Performing Leaders (HPL)

High Performing Leaders (HPL) is a service designed to support principals, senior and middle school leaders to understand their strengths and how these can be leveraged in existing or future roles.  How does High Performing Leaders work?  HPL is a process of reflection, introspection and then connection. The Springboard team – along with our volunteers – provide a principal, senior or middle leader with coaching and guidance to help them decipher their strengths, areas for development and where they should focus their efforts.  This is supported by a comprehensive 360 degree feedback process involving up to 15 people the leader works or engages with.   Fully confidential, HPL provides a safe and supportive environment for all the feedback you need to thrive.   You will work through HPL in five one-on-one sessions alongside an expert volunteer coach, who will support you to unpack the feedback, set a goal and work on a plan to achieve your goal.  What do principals get out of High Performing Leaders? Springboard Trust’s leadership framework is a tried and tested model for not just strong school leadership, but the flow-on impacts of that leadership to the rest of the school and wider community. It correlates with the Education Council’s Leadership Framework, as well as the Mental Health Foundation’s 5 Ways to Wellbeing model.   Through 360 feedback and coaching in HPL, principals will:  Foster trust, safety, creativity and exploratory thinking in themselves and their team.   Develop strengths-based leadership with clear, practical next steps.   Get unique insight into their own leadership style.   Create positive leadership practices that impact the whole school and community.   Understand and apply the GROW (Goal, Reality, Options, Way Forward) coaching framework.   Finally, High Performing Leaders gives you the starting point for developing your own skills and bringing the rest of your leadership team on this journey with you.   Who can take on High Performing Leaders? The HPL programme is open to all Springboard Trust alumni principals (those who have completed the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme), their senior leaders and middle leaders.  This service runs over one school term and requires committed input from up to 15 key people, including coaches, leadership team members, direct reports and peers. To find out more about High Performing Leaders or to register your interest, contact your Programme Manager or head over to our contact page. 

Start your journey

Our Partners