Name of Organisation: Gauteng Department of Education; Mathew Goniwe School of Governance
Name of Project/Intervention: Twinning School Initiative: Coaching Component
Duration of Project: 2015-2016
Project Location: Gauteng
The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) is concerned with the huge level of disparity within the state school sector, believing that equal access to resources and quality education remains elusive in an environment where the disparity between state schools remains pronounced and is growing. Of equal significance is the lack of ‘social cohesion’ among schools i.e. ensuring that schools collaborate towards the shared goal of improved cultural awareness through, for example, exposure to different cultures and experiences.
In order to better address these challenges, the GDE has amended Section 17 of the SA Schools Act to incorporate the school governance of twinned schools. This Twinning School Initiative allows for one governing body to govern two schools.
A detailed consultation process was undertaken with schools, school governing bodies, parents and unions. Twenty-one schools have been identified for the first phase of twinning, and the strategic goal of the GDE is to have all township schools twinned with a more well-resourced school by the end of 2019.
School-level implementation plan for the Twinning School Initiative
In terms of governance under the Twinning School Initiative, the two School Governing Bodies (SGBs) will be combined to form an ‘interim’ SGB for both schools. The respective twinned schools will retain their principals, educators, location, learners and facilities, as well as their separate bank accounts. The two principals will also retain the discipline of their respective schools, educators and learners.
Over time, the intention is that the twinned schools will revise school policies so that they reflect the joint governance, discipline and control of educators and learners. The SGBs should start a process of sharing resources and promoting collaboration, which may include the sharing of teaching resources based on identified needs. The SGB will also develop a plan for learner integration in a methodical and planned manner.
During the Twinning School Initiative consultation process, the GDE saw the need to provide on-going support and expertise to ensure effective change management and a constructive transition for the twinned schools. The Department decided to introduce coaching to provide the support and expertise that will assist to effect the change and transition of the twinned schools.
The coaching proposal has five elements:
• The hiring of seven coaches: for 2015, the Twinning Schools Initiative involved seven pairs of schools and one coach per pair of schools were needed. The roles and responsibilities of the coaches was to help effect governance and operationalise the Twinning School Initiative. The coaches were to attend SGB meetings and critical engagement meetings of the two schools. The coaches will produce reports which clearly document the processes they undertake at the schools
• The development of a training manual: to support the coaches, the GDE proposed that a training manual be developed. The development of a training manual involved a service provider using the GDE documents that have already been generated on twinning schools, and which include contextual information, legal information and the operationalisation of the Twinning School Initiative. The training manual will also include coaching and change management methodology as it pertains to the school context
• A training programme: a five-day training programme was planned for the seven coaches and one SGB representative from each of the 14 schools. The trainers included a legal expert, a coaching expert and a change management expert
• Knowledge management: while the coaches are responsible for writing and documenting the processes as part of their reporting, it was important to consolidate the information so that it can be accessible for learning. This meant that it will require a formal writing process that draws out the lessons learnt which will inform the future roll-out and sharing of the initiative with other provinces
• Project management: a project manager assigned by the Mathew Goniwe School of Governance will manage the project – including the quality assurance and planning functions – and manage the funds
In terms of identifying and sourcing quality coaches, the Mathew Goniwe School of Governance and the GDE is in the process of identifying retired school principals who they believe understand management, diversity and transformation.