Leadership Culture 201: Two steps to transforming your school

Great reflection by Anne Knock from Northern Beaches Christian School. They are one of the true lighthouse schools in Sydney. I often hear visitors coming back from there blown away by the physical space and what they are doing inside these spaces. I also hear a thousand reasons why this cannot be done in schools in our region. Excuses around financial and physical constraints are often the most trotted out. This article highlights what should be the real point of going to NBCS for a visit and that is to help formulate an achievable vision for your school and find your own ‘true north’. What works at NBCS will not necessarily work in other places and it may be impossible to replicate their learning spaces. What we need are leaders who have a clear vision of the future and know how to get their staff to that place.

anne knock

CompassTwo steps to transforming your school:

Step 1: Find your true north

Step 2: Do everything that will make Step 1 happen

Many of us agree that the historical model of school is broken and not serving the future, or even the present. Often the factory analogy of separation is used to describe the education that many of us received:oldschool

  • Separated rooms

  • Separated teachers

  • Separated classes

  • Separated furniture

  • Separated preparation and planning

This model has led to teachers as the driver, represents dependence and independence (not interdependence), one size fits all, confrontation, control and the relational tensions that often arise. Students usually become either compliant and passive vessels, or defiant and active resistors.

Many educators know that transformation is essential, collaboration is necessary and rethinking student success an imperative. We also know that it’s not a simple thing to transform a school, but perhaps distilling the magnitude of change to a few…

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