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Perspectives: Agile and Sustainable Leadership

The nature of Leadership at SCAS is that it is very much distributed, i.e. the Principal has delegated responsibilities to roles within the Leadership Structure. Whilst the Principal remains ultimately responsible for the functioning of the School, the delegation of roles removes the Principal somewhat from the day-to-day operations of the School.

Delegations are reflected in the Leadership Structure in the roles of Heads of School and Directors and cover specific areas of School Operations, for example—Teaching and Learning, Wellbeing and Professional Learning. Further, Directors have responsibility for the 6Cs of Deep Learning—Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Character and Citizenship. Directors run Professional Learning Teams, which meet fortnightly and generally choose the type of whole school professional learning that is scheduled each year.

The Principal of the School sets the direction, mission, vision and pedagogy and our Middle Leadership works with the staff and students to realise these. Developing leadership amongst the staff has been a key focus of professional learning. In an organisation the size of St Columba, it is important that the School continues to function at its optimum regardless of circumstances. To this end, growing leaders has been a focus of the School, ensuring continuity of service, sustainable structures of leadership and succession planning.

Our Perspectives survey asked teaching staff, non-teaching staff and the School Council to provide feedback on Leadership in the following domains:

Growing Leaders
Opportunities for coaching and mentoring; opportunities for growing leaders; distributed leadership is practised.

Leading Teaching & Learning
Leaders participate in professional learning; leaders plan and collaborate for effective teaching and learning; leaders evaluate teaching and learning programs; leaders use evidence to evaluate programs.

Leadership Practices
Leaders update their pedagogical knowledge and practice; leaders set high expectations; leaders model respect; leaders professionally challenge staff; leaders effectively communicate change; leaders effectively lead change.

Engaging with the Community
Leaders make meaningful connections with the community; leaders develop strategic partnerships.

One of the takeaways from the data on leadership is that it raises the question of who respondents were thinking of when they answered a survey question on leadership. Leadership is actually undefined in the survey materials, and therefore, it is difficult to correlate the data with specific actions. So when, for instance, a respondent rated leaders on their participation in professional learning, which leadership position were they rating?

What has become apparent from the Perspectives survey is the need for leaders at SCAS to be visible and for the Distributed Leadership Structures, which have been established to be transparent to the whole community. In this way, we would hope that the School community will have confidence in the capacity of the School to meet the challenges of successfully operating a large educational organisation, despite what might be happening in the world around us.

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