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A Joint Leadership Fellowship 2004

Building leadership capacity

and density within

Western Sydney Primary Schools

Toni Simms Jan Anderson

Principal Principal

Noumea P S Beaumont Hills P.S.
Emergent Leaders Program

“A Learning Journey

Overview of the Research Study

The focus of the research study is to develop mentoring and coaching as tools to enhance succession planning in schools within Western Sydney. This succession planning will relate to beginning middle managers and primarily, teachers aspiring towards middle management.

The project undertaken was designed to develop an Emergent Leaders Program rather than being a research study. This program was linked to leadership programs implemented through the Western Sydney Leadership Team. The pilot program itself was designed to meet a need across Western Sydney in addressing leadership density and capacity by developing leadership skills and understandings in those classroom teachers who had little or no experience in the executive leadership role.
Background Information

Both of the researchers are Principals in PP2 schools (with a student enrolment between 450 and 700) where the executive staff changes frequently and opportunities are created for classroom teachers to take on executive roles and responsibilities. We also had concerns with the continuation of corporate knowledge regarding leadership within schools as the retirement rate within the executive ranks is on the increase and will continue to rise over the next 5 to 10 years. We felt this would leave a significant impact on the leadership of schools and therefore, there was a need to develop the skills and understandings about leadership from within the classroom teacher ranks.

Our experience showed us that many class room teachers were reluctant to step up into executive positions for the following reasons;

  • lack of experience in teaching,

  • lack of skills and understanding of leadership,

  • lack of the effective use of mentoring and coaching within schools, and a

  • lack of understanding of the differences between leadership and management.

As members of the Western Sydney Leadership Team we identified that the majority of Departmental programs across the Western Sydney Region focused on middle-managers, aspiring Principals and Principals. Programs for those participants aspiring to middle managers were ad hoc in implementation and lacked future planning and direction. We wanted to develop a program which would support our class teachers in the development of skills and understandings in leadership for the future.

Documents and websites which informed the planning of the project include:




Leadership Capabilities Framework and Questionnaire

Judi-Ann Abdini, critical friend and consultant in Mentoring and Coaching
See Bibliography

Research Methodology

The methodology consisted of two aspects within this project:

  1. Investigation of mentoring and coaching programs.

  2. Development of a program for Emergent Leaders based on The Leadership Capabilities Framework.

1. Mentoring/Coaching Programs

Through consultation with the Australian Principals’ Centre we attended a course in Melbourne on Coaching and Mentoring.

Whilst in Melbourne we were able to make contact with Barry Joy, Director of Coaching and Mentoring at the London Institute for the National College of Education and had discussions with Garry O’Mahony from the Australian Principal’s Centre, regarding the differences between mentoring and coaching.
Discussions were held with our critical friend, Judy-Ann Abdini around the differences between mentoring and coaching. She also provided us with links to websites and documents covering these areas.
2. Development of a program for Emergent Leaders based on the Leadership Capabilities Framework

Using the information we collected about mentoring and coaching we developed a pilot program, Emergent Leaders Program – A Learning Journey (see Appendix 1 and 2) for Western Sydney Region. Emergent leaders were selected from six schools (see Appendix 3) , two of which were our own schools. Each participant was then matched using the Leadership Capabilities Questionnaire with a Learning Partner from middle management in the same group of pilot schools.

The mentors were trained in a mentoring and coaching program over two days to equip them with the skills and understandings to make an effective learning partner. They were then asked to make contact with their emergent leaders to establish a mentoring coaching relationship. Most mentors were from outside the participant’s school. This made contact difficult for some learning partners and their emergent leaders.

Mentoring/Coaching Training

The program was designed around the Leadership Capabilities Framework to develop the emergent leaders’ skills and understanding of leadership. A two day conference, Emergent Leaders Program – A Learning Journey (see Appendix 4) and follow-up workshops were designed to address each domain of the Leadership Capabilities Framework. We invited principal colleagues with experience in leadership and expertise in specific domains of the Leadership Capabilities Framework to facilitate each of the conference sessions and follow up workshops.

As part of the process, participants were asked to develop a project which could be implemented within their schools during the year. Mentors/coaches were asked to facilitate this project where possible. For some participants, the project was taking on middle management responsibilities in a relieving capacity.
The Key Research Questions Used

  1. What was the effect of mentoring and coaching in the development of leadership skills in our emergent leaders?

  2. What skills and understandings are required by emergent leaders to move into the role of the middle manager?

The Findings

  1. The mentoring/coaching aspect of the program highlighted for our participants the significant differences between the two processes and the need to understand the context for the use of either process. Most mentors/coaches believed they were mentoring, when in fact they were coaching their learning partners. Both processes were successful in their application, once the learning partners were made aware of the differences through the training conference.

  1. Each of the processes of mentoring and coaching were effectively covered by the presenter over the two day conference. On each day, the presenters focused on one element, either mentoring or coaching and this allowed time for participants to gain a deeper understanding of the function and application of the two processes.

  1. Having a two day conference with follow-up workshops, allowed participants to gain an understanding of the skills required for the middle management area and then to focus on a particular domain of the Leadership Capabilities Framework, as required for their own personal development.

  1. The Questionnaire highlighted the areas for development and was an excellent tool for the learning partners to use, to generate discussion on specific areas of leadership development.

  1. Participants gained a greater understanding of the breadth and the depth of the role of the middle manager and feedback indicated that participants felt they were better equipped to take on the role in the future.

Comments on the implications of the findings
The participants’ comments reflected the need for this type of program to be further developed across regions and possibly the state. Both the emergent leaders and their learning partners found this to be an invaluable exercise in the development of their leadership skills. The areas of mentoring and coaching are vital in the development of our future leaders and current school leaders generally.
The principals of the pilot schools also commented on the value of the coordinated approach to the program, in relation to the development of specific skills within their staff members, both emergent leaders and learning partners, some of whom gained promotion positions at the end of 2005.

The UK has developed a mentoring coaching model based on research, which has been adopted throughout a number of countries. This model is designed to train leaders in both mentoring and coaching with an emphasis on listening and questioning, providing an educational philosophical platform. Recent enquiries indicate that a modified model and or consultancy can be provided for countries to develop a model relevant to individual needs.

DET Leadership Strategy
From this pilot program our Regional Leadership Project Team will further develop our Emergent Leader Program as part of the Teacher Leadership Strategy to be implemented during 2006.
Our findings indicate that there is a need for a consistent model of mentoring and coaching to be implemented across the state at all levels. This will ensure there is a consistent approach to the development of leadership skills and understandings at all levels. A framework outlining how, when and where this model can be used is necessary to ensure the effective implementation of the program.
There is a need to secure consultants with a coaching/mentoring program to support the development of a New South Wales framework. This will ensure a rapid development of a framework, where we are utilizing the proven research findings already established in this area.
There is a need for the development of a data base of personnel having specific skills and experience across the Leadership Capabilities Framework, who can be utilized in the presentation of workshops and sessions, thereby expanding the leadership opportunities for personnel across the state. This would support the building of leadership density.

Aspiring leaders in schools
Any program designed to develop leadership capacity needs to be flexible in content, presentation and access for participants. A ‘one size fits all approach’ does not always meet the individual’s needs and this can cause people to discontinue attendance.
Future programs need to incorporate an action research project for participants to undertake within their school setting and for sharing at the end of the program. This will provide participants with the opportunity to practice the skills and understandings delivered throughout the program.
DET Leadership Capabilities Framework
There needs to be an electronic tool which will evaluate the responses provided in the Leadership Capabilities Framework Questionnaire. The model we designed for our purposes did not provide us all the information we required in a simple format and was time consuming. The tool needs to be efficient and effective when used across the regions and state.

Appendix 1: Outline of Emergent Leader Program
Schools involved in the pilot study:

  • Beaumont Hills

  • Noumea

  • Parklea

  • William Dean

  • Plumpton


  • Contact schools re participation

  • Contact Principal Mentors Kerry Pool, David Jenkins, Chris , Judy-Ann Abdini, Toni Simms, Jan Anderson

  • Preliminary meeting with mentors 1.00-4.00pm

  • Leadership development questionnaire for mentors


  • ½ day at Beaumont Hills with mentors

  • 2 day conference with trainee mentors at ?

  • meeting with emergent leaders 2-6pm

  • questionnaire with emergent leaders


  • mentoring/coaching/shadowing begins, using tools from leadership unit, Learn, Lead, Succeed and Team Leadership course for workshop sessions

  • workshops will cover the 5 domains in the leadership capabilities. One per week/ fortnight held at a school venue. 4-6pm

  • Judy-Ann to cover Personal and interpersonal

  • Jan to cover Educational

  • Chris Presland/Jan Strategic

  • Peter Rowsell/SECU – Norma? Organisational

  • Preparing for the next step CV writing and interview skills


  • 4 weeks of mentoring and workshopping

  • sharing days

  • evaluation using viewpoint triangulation

Appendix 2: Contents of the Folder provided as a resource for participants and learning partners.
1. Leading and Managing the School

2. DET School Leadership Capabilities Framework

3. Values of NSW Public Schools

4. Quality Teaching Framework

5. Institute of Teachers – Standards for Professional Leadership

DET List of criteria for merit selection for Executives other than Principal

6. Reframing Leadership – Articles from the Team Leadership Course.

Including some leadership tools.

7. Support Handbook for First Time Principals

8. Leadership Development Questionnaire

9. Learning Journal

10. Notes from workshop presenters

DET Leadership website :


Appendix 3: Letter to principals requesting participation in the Emergent Leaders Program
Emergent Leaders Program

“A Learning Journey”

Dear Principal
This is to introduce a Leadership Fellowship project conducted by Jan Anderson and Toni Simms in 2005. This project focuses on Emergent Leaders who aspire to become Middle Managers and at the same time provide middle managers with a Principal Learning Partner. The following is an outline of the project and the commitment required of schools and participants.

  • Provide a middle manager you would recommend as someone who would be a good Learning Partner (LP). This would be someone who could role model effective leadership.

  • 1-2 Emerging Leaders (ELs) i.e. class room teachers who are aspiring towards middle managers.

  • 2 day conference for Learning Partners, 24th & 25th May. 1 days release provided (if LP is an AP). Schools will need to draw on Professional Learning funds (career development) for the second day.

  • Identified ELs will need to be released from school from 2.00pm 13th May for a 2 hour Orientation Program.

  • Workshops (2 hours) throughout end of term 2, terms 3, 4, 2005 & 1, 2006 will in most cases commence at 4.00pm with an occasional 2.00pm start.

  • Sharing day week 6, term 4 to discuss future directions.

  • Optional: Conference for leaders across the region sometime during semester 2 in association with the Regional Leadership Strategy (TBA).

  • By the end 2005 our emergent leaders may need to negotiate some significant roles and responsibilities in the school to consolidate their new leadership capabilities.

LEARNING PARTNERS’ COMMITMENT (current middle managers)

  • Need to complete a leadership questionnaire in a 360 context.

  • Be available for a 2 day conference 24th & 25th May. Topics include: models of mentoring, coaching and shadowing. (Judy-Ann Abdini)

  • Be willing, as part of their professional development, to shadow, be mentored and or coached by a trained Principal Learning Partner.

  • To be able to give time to the emergent leader to be shadowed, to mentor or to coach throughout term 3, 4, 2005 & 1, 2006.

  • Optional: Attendance at any afternoon workshop organized for the emergent leaders throughout late term 2, term 3, 4, 2005 and 1, 2006. These will be run approximately every three to four weeks.

  • Sharing day in week 6, term 4 to share outcomes and experiences with both Jan and Toni and the EL and provide future directions.

  • Optional: Keeping of a journal to record learning. This could be added to a portfolio to use in future job applications.


  • Attend a half day workshop for orientation purposes on Friday 13th May, from 2-4pm.

  • Complete a leadership questionnaire in a 270 context, i.e. A supervisor, a peer and their own.

  • Attend all workshops intended to develop leadership capabilities aligned to the Leadership Capabilities Framework, these will occur during end of term 2, term 3, 4, 2005 & 1, 2006, every 3 – 4 weeks.

  • Be mentored, coached or to shadow a current middle manager matched though the survey.

  • Attend a sharing day in week 6 term 4, 2005, for evaluation purposes and for future directions.

  • Keeping a learning journal which will support their demonstration of leadership capabilities when applying for future middle management positions.

Please send names of a current middle manager who would be a great Learning Partner and the names of 1-2 Emergent Leaders who would be keen to engage in this journey.

Toni & Jan
Toni Simms (William Dean P.S., Plumpton P.S. )

Principal Noumea P.S.

Email: toni.simms@det.nsw.edu.au

Jan Anderson ( Parklea P.S., Jasper Rd. P.S. )

Principal Beaumont Hills P.S.

Email: jan.anderson@det.nsw.edu.au

Appendix 4: Emergent Leader Conference Program
Emergent Leaders Program

“A Learning Journey”

Conference Program
Day 1 Thursday 23rd June

    1. Registration and coffee

9.00am Welcome and opening Dennis MacKenzie, Releiving Regional Director

9.10am Chris Presland, Principal Airds High School

Keynote address

10.30am Morning Tea
11.00am Workshop 1

Chris Presland Strategic Leadership 1 (Emergent Leaders)

Peter Rowsell Organisational 1

Principal, Matthew Pearce P.S.

Toni Simms Executive Roles and Responsibilities

Principal, Noumea P.S.

Darelle Duncan Educational Leadership/Quality Teaching

Leadership Unit

12.00pm Workshop 2

Chris Presland Strategic Leadership (LLP participants)

Kerry Poole Team Building

Principal, Ironbark Ridge P.S.

Darelle Duncan Educational Leadership Repeat Workshop 1
Jan Anderson Quality Teaching

Principal, Beaumont Hills P.S.

1.00pm Lunch
2.00pm Workshop 3

Peter Rowsell Organisational 1 repeated

Toni Simms repeat workshop 1
Kerry Poole Team Building
Emergent Leaders Program

“A Learning Journey”

Conference Program
Day 2 Friday 24th June

    1. Registration and coffee

9.00am Welcome and

9.10am Chris Cawsey, Principal Rooty Hill High School

Keynote address

10.30am Morning Tea
11.00am Workshop 1

Chris Cawsey Educational Leadership 1 (Emergent Leaders)

Peter Rowsell Organisational 2

Principal Matthew Pearce P.S.

Judy-Ann “Basic Communication Concepts”


Chris Presland Strategic Leadership 2
12.00pm Workshop 2

Chris Presland Strategic Leadership 2 (LLP participants)

David Jenkins Teaching and Learning

Principal, Richmond P.S.

Chris Cawsey Educational Leadership 1 (LLP participants)

Judy-Ann Abdini  “How to Have a Powerful Conversations With Colleagues”

1.00pm Lunch
2.00pm Workshop 3

Peter Rowsell Organisationl 2 repeated

David Jenkins Teaching and Learning
Jan Anderson repeat workshop 1
Judy-Ann repeat “Managing Large Meeting”


  1. Australian Principals Associations Professional Development Council. Learn:Lead:Succeed A resource to support the building of leadership in Australian schools

  2. Barnett, Bruce G, O’Mahony, Gary R., Matthews Robin J. Reflective Practice – The cornerstone for school improvement, Hawker Brownlow Education 2004.

  3. Barnett, Bruce G, O’Mahony, Gary R., Matthews Robin J. Building Culture – A framework for school improvement, Hawker Brownlow Education 2004

  4. Department of Education and Training. Leading and Managing the School

  5. Department of Education and Training. Quality Teaching Framework

  6. Department of Education and Training. Values of NSW Public Schools

  7. Department of Education and Training. School Leadership Capabilities Framework

  8. http://www.eeo.nsw.gov.au/careers/mentor2.htm Mentoring made easy – A practical guide (2nd edition)

  9. https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/newsroom/yr2003/mar/mentor.htm Mentoring the mentors

  10. https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/media/downloads/detawscholar/lfship/lfellow/report_davis.doc

NSW Department of Education and Training

  1. Lambert, Linda. Building Leadership Capacity in schools, Association for Supervision and

Curriculum Development, Alexandria Virginia USA.

  1. Lambert, Linda. Leadership Capacity for Lasting School Improvement. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria Virginia USA.

  2. Lovely, Suzette, Staffing the Principalship, Funding Coaching and Mentoring School

Leaders. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria Virginia


  1. Matthews, Robin J., O’Mahony, Gary R., and Barnett, Bruce G., Managing Change –

Leading school improvement , Hawker Brownlow Education 2004

15.NSW Institute of Teachers. Professional Teaching Standards 2005

16.O’Mahony, Gary R., Matthews, Robin J., A Climate of Mentoring – A whole-school team

approach. Hawker Brownlow Education 2004.
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