Somerset Times

The Changing Landscape of Leadership Development

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Somerset Times Edition

Week 4, Term Two, 2019

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In 2017, we strategically redesigned our method to delivering key professional learning by providing staff with a more focussed, inclusive and aligned approach. Our key goal was to build leadership capacity and establish a distributive leadership culture.

Our intent was to move away from a professional learning programme that was externally driven and lacked efficacy to a model that was inclusive and scalable. With this goal, designing and delivering an in-house professional learning program that was aligned to the strategic direction of the school, resulted in the establishment of the Somerset Leadership Academy.

NESLI (National Excellence in School Leadership Initiative) and the Somerset Leadership Academy partnered to co-construct a range of leaderships programmes, suited to a variety of career stages. Through each programme, our participants are prompted to reflect on the content and themes in three distinct ways: how the concepts addressed directly impact their leadership capability; how they can be extended to their team members to make them more effective and how they can be adapted for use in the broader education community context. This process helps to ensure our staff build comprehensive and sustainable capabilities, for developing those around them, during and after each programme.

Over 2017 and 2018, 43 teachers have now completed one of the following programmes: The Australian Schools Leadership Colloquium, Aspiring to Middle Leadership or The Advanced Leadership Programme for Women. This year we are very excited to have a further 22 staff complete the Leadership Colloquium. Participants in this year’s programme, for the first time, come from a diverse range of roles within the College, ranging from teaching faculty, sports managers, the Information Services Administrator, College Administration, the Finance Team, enrolments and communications. The mixed group has fostered a stronger sense of collegiately and understanding of the complexities and challenges of the different departments in the College. However, it has also strengthened the concept of leading together through a common approach and language.

Adding to our 2019 Academy offerings, we organised a one-day in-service, to further build on the skills developed in the previous leadership colloquium programmes. In developing our focus, Dr Mike Gaffney, the Academic Director of NESLI influenced our direction. Dr Gaffney highlights the very real connection between leadership, wellbeing and positive student outcomes.

"One of the key characteristics of any high performing school is the high degree of wellbeing and engagement evident within its workforce. This is never more apparent and important than within the executive and middle leadership ranks. For schools to have a positive and productive culture they need to be guided by leaders who recognise the importance of good health and wellbeing in themselves and their staff. It is also clear that staff wellbeing and engagement is a critical element in enabling improved student outcomes. It is therefore vitally important that as school leaders we consistently monitor and find ways to enhance our own wellbeing and that of staff."

With this in mind, Dr Anna Dabrowski, NESLI Director of Education and Evaluation led a one-day programme for our senior and middle leaders. The day focused on leadership strategies for ‘Wellbeing, Resilience and Relationships’.

We continue to appreciate NESLI’s breadth of expertise across educational leadership as they continue to support us in successfully targeting the development of leadership capacity, which remains a key area in our current strategic plan. Our goal to embed leadership in the school community as a whole, supports our vision of a shared responsibility for a shared purpose of community. As we reflect on our progress we certainly value the contribution these leaders are making to the quality of teaching and learning, to wellbeing and to the continuous improvement of the College. These programmes are fundamentally changing how our staff approach their roles within the College and we believe will produce the kind of leaders who will themselves leave a legacy.

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