About Us

The Principals Academy

THE PRINCIPALS ACADEMY TRUST, a Section 18(a) Trust, seeks to  turn public schools serving socio-economically disadvantaged communities
into centres of excellence by focusing upon improving school leadership and teaching quality.

It accomplishes this via a two prong approach;

Management Development Programme
at University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business
Individual support by retired school principals
with a track record of success as heads of high performing schools.


  • Intake of approximately 24 principals each year, our first cohort joined the programme in 2012
  • Most principals are drawn from the greater Cape Town metropolitan area
  • Currently 92 Schools on the programme
  • More than 2 000 teachers teach the more than 60 000 learners attending these schools
  • Our schools are located in the following geographical nodes:
    Athlone, Bellville, Franschhoek, Gansbaai, Genadendal, Grassy Park, Gugulethu, Hermanus, Hopefield, Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein, Kuilsriver, Langebaan, Manenberg, Mfuleni, Mitchell’s Plain, Philippi, Retreat, Simon’s Town and Vredenburg.


Our education system is failing the dreams for SA’s future


Initiating the mind change on how to manage and lead effectively and efficiently.


Required to drive school improvement:

  • establish a clear educational vision and a shared institutional mission with all stakeholders,
  • know how well the school is accomplishing that mission,
  • identifying areas for improvement,
  • develop plans to change educational activities and programs,
  • implement those plans or new programs effectively
  • able to sustain improvement after Principals Academy support


Retired school principals coaching / mentoring to support with knowledge and expertise

WHY FOCUS ON THE PRINCIPAL: Overwhelming amount of evidence has shown that school leadership and teaching quality are the two factors which have the greatest influence on school effectiveness and learner performance. You don’t get a thriving organisation without a strong competent leader.

WHY UCT GSB: UCT GSB’s Management Development Programme offers fundamental core teachings that change the way leadership is approached. Providing students with a range of tools to choose from when dealing with challenging circumstances, questions leadership style and is modular – so implementation of what has been learned can have an immediate benefit to the School. With the many alarming circumstances our schools are facing we needed to turn to the expertise of the best at producing competent game changing leaders = UCT GSB.

WHY USE RETIRED HEADS: They have sat in the Principals seat, they know the ins / outs of running a school and all the challenges that come with it – they are confident in their support to the Principal and understanding the levers required to bring about the necessary change.

The work of the Trust is entirely funded by the generosity of its donors.