Tags:PrimaryEducationStrategic PlanningTalent Management

Case Studies
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 Trust. 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.

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.”

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 transformative 10-month leadership development programme for Aotearoa principals.  The Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme (SLPP) brings New Zealand principals together with strategic experts to develop your leadership and to support clear, insightful planning for schools.  Strategic leadership is a pivotal element for improved school performance. The ability to plan, manage and report as the fulcrum of your community ensures strong relationships and the right conditions for everyone to thrive.    Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme: Expression of interest How SLPP works for NZ principals  Over a series of workshops spanning 10 months, SLPP explores the core elements of strategic leadership for New Zealand principals – beginning the journey to creating better student outcomes.   This learning occurs with the support of a Capacity Partner – a dedicated expert volunteer, with whom principals will build a trusted, high-empathy relationship that delivers outstanding impact. This cross-sector model is unique to Springboard Trust, and ensures every principal who takes part has personalized support to meet their needs at both a personal and professional level.   Together, they work with a cohort of up to seven other principal-Capacity partner pairings, under the guidance of an experienced facilitator and Springboard’s own expert Programme Managers.   By the end of the programme, principals typically demonstrate significant progression in:  One- and three-year planning and outlook  Creating and communicating a vision and strategic plan Identifying, communicating with and gaining buy-in from key stakeholders Measuring the impacts of their changes Leading the same transformative change for their team  This forms the bedrock of the conditions for improved student outcomes, which we explore in more detail through our Alumni Services.   For more information on the direct impacts on school leadership that principals gain through SLPP, please check out our annual Impact Reports.   SLPP Requirements and Application Details   SLPP is open to principals who wish to enhance their strategic leadership. However, due to the high number of applicants we receive each year, we prefer to prioritise principals who meet the following criteria for our philanthropically funded places:   Have at least two years of experience as a principal  Have been at their current school for at least 12 months  Have no major PLD commitments in the coming year  Have no Commissioner or Limited Statutory Manager  Have the support of their Board of Trustees Uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles through a particular focus on results for Māori young people and their whanau Are willing to lead others in change   SLPP workshops can be delivered either in person, virtually or through a combination of both – please note that depending on location, some travel may be required for the former.  Across the 10 months, it is expected that principals will spend around two hours per week engaging in this professional learning and working with others, in addition to the workshop times. Volunteers will be required to give around 40 hours of their time, while for facilitators about 50 hours of time is required. For PLD applications, we ask that principals apply for 100 PLD hours. For volunteers with leadership experience who want to find out more about becoming a Capacity Partner, you can find full details of the role here – or contact our Volunteer Manager Rebecca Brown to express your interest in the next programme.   

Want to know more about our programmes?

Springboard Coaching for Leadership

Foster your strengths through a comprehensive 360-degree feedback system with coaching support. Springboard Coaching for Leadership 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.  Express your interest in Springboard Coaching for Leadership here! What school leaders gain: Through 360-degree feedback and expert coaching from our pool of experienced volunteers, school leaders will:  Foster trust, safety, creativity and exploratory thinking in themselves and their teams.   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.   Who it's for: The programme is open to all school principals, their senior leaders and middle leaders.  This service runs across two terms, and requires committed input from up to 15 key people, including leadership team members, direct reports and peers. Your commitment: Time - This is a two-term programme with intakes in terms 1, 2 and 3. The time commitment per participant is 12-13 contact hours plus time to apply coaching actions in the workplace. Involvement will be required from a wide cross section of other staff members who will be invited to provide feedback through the 360-degree survey. Please allow 30-40 mins for survey completion. Cost - The programme cost is $1,500 +GST per participant. Where there are three or more participants from a school, there is an additional one-off $500 +GST fee for a half-day Our Strengths workshop (see below for more information). How it works:  Springboard Coaching for Leadership is a process of reflection, introspection and then connection. Fully confidential, the programme provides a safe and supportive environment in which to receive the feedback needed to grow and thrive as a leader.   Leaders receive comprehensive 360-degree feedback from up to 15 coworkers and are supported through a series of one-to-one sessions with an expert volunteer coach to decipher their strengths, areas for development and where they should focus their efforts.  Springboard Trust’s leadership framework used as a basis for the 360-degree survey has been developed for the Aotearoa school context. Our Strengths Workshop Where three or more leaders from your school are participating in the programme at the same time, the programme includes a half-day workshop which allows the team to come together to: Share insights about their strengths gained through the 360 feedback and coaching Build a picture of strengths across the team and identify any gaps Reflect on whether strengths are being utilised to best effect strategically Reflect on how the team can embed a culture of feedback within their school and continue to support one another's ongoing development To find out more about Springboard Coaching for Leadership or to register your interest, head to our Expression of Interest form. 

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