Our goal is to impact the overall teaching ecosystem and subsequently the academic outcomes of the schools where we have a presence.
South Africa spends more on education than any other country in Africa. Yet our schools are failing us. Many people believe that donating resources such as libraries and computers are enough to make a difference. Or that building new classrooms and repairing structures guarantee a better performing school. These endeavours are noble and they help, but we’ve seen that they are not enough.
To really change a school for the better, you have to aim for the heart of it: its people. Specifically its leaders. So we start at the top. Because excellent principals lead to excellent schools and excellent schools lead to exceptional individuals. A simple, but powerful trickle-down effect.
So, quite simply, the Principals Academy Trust empowers principals who head up schools in marginalised communities with all the tools they need to create conducive learning environments that promote continuous improvement. To strengthen the impact achieved by targeting the principal, we also assist from ground-level up by providing classroom support. In this way we can make a positive impact on the quality of schooling in South Africa.
The Principals Academy Trust (PAT) was founded in October 2012 in collaboration with the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. The founders were keen to contribute to the development of effective education leadership and management in the public education system. They collaborated with UCTs Graduate School of Business to develop an executive management development programme targeting education managers in this school system.
The three founding members understood and believed that improving the management and leadership skills of principals in dysfunctional schools who were serving marginalised communities, together with improving the quality of teaching, would be the most critical factors in improving learners’ performance.
The first cohort of principals registered for the UCT GSB course in 2013, receiving mentoring from the retired principals in order to apply the strategies they were learning during the course. As at the end of the 2018/2019 financial year, PAT has nine retired principals who act as mentors for 103 principals. Over 200 000 pupils attend the 221 schools that have formed part of the programme since inception.
WHAT WE DO
The programme consists of three components:
1. Academic support
Each year 20 to 25 principals are selected to complete the Principals Management Development Programme (PMDP) offered at University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. This part-time short course programme allows the principals to complete the training while applying the principles learnt to real problems in their specific schools. It runs during school holidays from April to December each year. Principals are evaluated on an ongoing basis through course-work assignments and elements such as weekly reflections, critical incident logs, know-yourself workbooks, ethics workbooks, a financial assignment etc. Participants receive a certificate once the short course programme is completed.
2. Coaching / mentoring
Nine retired school principals — with a track record of success as heads of high-performing schools – offer individual support to the principals in the programme. The nine retirees have 208 years of experience between them (as at July 2019).
3. Teacher support
Teachers are assisted through an after-school teacher-support programme with a focus on mathematics and English. Foundation Phase (FP) classroom support is also offered by a team of retired Foundation Phase teachers.
WHERE WE CURRENTLY WORK
The Academy has achieved success and offered valuable support to schools in the Western Cape since 2012. These schools are in the following areas:
Athlone, Bellville, Delft, Franschhoek, Gansbaai, Genadendal, Grabouw/Elgin, Grassy Park, Gugulethu, Hermanus, Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein, Kuilsriver, Lavender Hill, Lotus River, Manenberg, Masiphumelele, Mfuleni, Mitchell’s Plain, Nyanga, Philippi, Retreat, Simon’s Town, Stanford, Vredenburg and Witzenberg.
In 2020 exploratory talks started looking at expansion to schools in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.
MONITORING AND EVALUATION
We are always on the lookout for new ways of tracking and monitoring the impact of the work that we do. Ultimately our core mission is to empower school leadership in order to improve the education outcomes of all the schools where we operate. To know whether we are achieving this goal, we strive to find effective monitoring and evaluation tools.
We have developed our own index, the PAT Performance Index (PATPI), a tool based on one developed by the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU) for their research purposes. The NEEDU basket score had one shortcoming in terms of the needs of PAT. It relies solely on the results of learners in the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination and therefore cannot be used as a measure of performance in Primary schools. Fortunately, the Western Cape Education Department’s (WCED) systemic tests provides schools with another set of valid and reliable learner performance data at Grades 3, 6 and 9 level and we’ve used this data, together with the NSC data for high schools to calculate the PATPI score each year for all of the schools that form part of our programme. We will also be developing a tool to use the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA), to track the growth and development of the reading and comprehension skills of individual learners.
To find out more about these monitoring tools, please read more on the links above.
MEET THE TEAM
The mentor/coaching team is headed up by Bruce Probyn who has 26 years experience as headmaster in running both public and independent schools as centres of excellence. PAT school principals are visited once a fortnight for a minimum of an hour, on a one-on-one basis. Emphasis is placed on mentoring for change. The focus is on fostering leaders who:
- develop a sense of confidence in the principles of good education, which enable them to lead effectively.
- put teaching and learning first and who have the ability to rally the entire school community around this goal.
- will drive change where this is needed; will address shortcomings and therefore ensure that quality teaching and learning become the school’s number one priority.
- will have the courage to focus on the needs of all children.
HEAD OF MENTOR TEAM
Qualifications: University of Cape Town – Bachelor of Science, Secondary Teachers Diploma, Bachelor of Education
Teaching Experience: Biology Teacher at Union High School, Plumstead High School, Fish Hoek High School (HOD and Deputy Headmaster), SACS(Deputy Headmaster)
Principal: Sea Point High School, Wynberg Boys High School, Diocesan School for Girls, Herschel Girls School
Known for his charismatic and empathetic leadership style, and often classed as a legend by the schools that have had the privilege of being under his leadership, Bruce is the head coach of the Principals Academy. He spends his time enthusiastically mentoring and coaching Principals to strive to improve their schools and to lead with passion and understanding. He is also a member of the Trust for “Students for a Better Future; Member of the Board for Western Province Preparatory School; Member of the Rondebosch Boys Schools Educational Trust and Chairman of the Western Cape Education Council (an advisory board to the Western Cape Minister of Education).
Qualifications: MA in Contemporary History (UFS) with a 1984 thesis ‘The Emergence and Impact of Dr F van Zyl Slabbert in SA Opposition Politics, 1974-1981’. HPTC (Bloemfontein Teachers College)
Having taught in a full spectrum of Free State schools, Paul was the first ‘gentleman headmistress’ of Eunice Girls High School in Bloemfontein. The longest serving Eunice principal (1987 – 2014), Paul was credited with creating a climate for teachers and learners to excel. He had a reputation for always greeting all girls by name.
Paul was a founder member and executive member of the SA Girls Schools Association and the African Schools Coach in Microsoft’s Global Partners in Learning Initiative. He was the Chairman of the Motheo Principals Committee for a decade. Motheo is the biggest education district in the country. Upon retirement he was given a two year contract to train principals and deputies in the Free State Province. Born and bred in Cape Town he is thrilled to partner with the city’s school leaders.
Qualifications: UCT – Bachelor of Science, Secondary Teachers Diploma, Bachelor of Education.
Taught: Biology/Natural Sciences, Physical Sciences, Mathematics
Principal: Queens Park High School &
Westerford High School
Alan is a highly respected education specialist who has enormous experience in education policy and school management practices. He was a founder member of the South African Principals’ Association (SAPA) and served as General Secretary for the association for a number of years. He has written two books, The Handbook of School Management (2007) and The Handbook for School Governors (2009). He founded School Management & Leadership, a journal which aimed to support the professional needs of principals and others who occupy leadership positions in South African schools. His analytical mind and in-depth knowledge of South African schooling systems plays not only a vital role in coaching and mentoring, but also evaluation, interventions and workshops.
ANNE VAN ZYL
Qualifications: University of Cape Town: BA, UNISA: UED and BEd (Educational Management), University of Paris: Diploma teaching French to Foreigners.
Career: Personal Assistant to Military Attache, South African Embassy, Paris and to Vice President of CSIR Pretoria, teacher of French and English at Loreto Convent and Pretoria High School for Girls.
Principal for a total of 26 Years at Pretoria High School for Girls , St Stithians Girls Prep and College, Stanford Lake College, Bridge House School and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.
Anne’s involvement in school leadership has focused on strategic planning, global citizenship and curriculum development and staff development. Anne has organised and spoken at local and international conferences on the importance of women at all levels and the role of servant leaders in building South Africa. She is an Honorary Member of Round Square, an international organisation focusing on student participation in leadership, environmental awareness, adventure, service and democracy.
Anne continues her interest in the Good Work Foundation based in Mpumalanga, an organisation developing digital hubs and working with rural primary schools, training young unemployed adults as facilitators. She is also on the Board of Releve Ballet Projects of SA., an NGO working in local townships. Anne is currently coaching/mentoring principals on the Principals Academy programme.
Qualifications: Stellenbosch University: Primary Teacher’s Diploma, Higher Diploma in Education, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education.
Taught: Boston Primary School, Durbanville Primary School
Principal: Golden Grove Primary School (4 years), Kirstenhof Primary School (18 years)
Actively involved as an Executive Committee member of the South African Principals Association for many years. Clive has a passion for enabling staff to develop their leadership competencies. He has a supportive and compassionate leadership style and enjoys humour. Clive is currently coaching/mentoring schools on the Principals Academy programme.
Qualifications: Rhodes University: Bachelor of Arts, UED, Bachelor of Education.
Taught: St Aidan’s, Dale College, St Andrews Prep, Kingswood, Bishops Prep, Christel House, Dale College.
Principal: Kingswood Junior, Bishops Preparatory, Christel House
Midge has wide experience in dealing with schools at different socio-economic levels, and the experience that he brings to the Principals Academy in working with children from extremely poor and marginalised backgrounds is hugely valuable. Midge has published two books, Ka-ching Traders and Ka-ching Business Parenting. His calm, calculating manner, relaxed style and vast experience makes him a useful asset to the Principals Academy team and much appreciated by the principals he mentors.
Qualifications: PTC, PTD – Hewat, BA, B.Ed(Honours) – UWC
Taught: Ceres Secondary School
Principal: Ceres Secondary School
Retired in 2016, after 40 years in teaching, of which 26 years were dedicated to being the principal of Ceres Secondary School. Ronald served on both the Cape Winelands Principals’ Forum and Provincial Principals’ Forum, respectively as chairman and vice-chairman. He currently coaches/mentors 1 high school, 1 combined school and 1 primary school in the Witzenberg Municipal District as part of the Principals Academy programme.
Qualifications: PTD 111 Teacher Training qualification; UNISA – Bachelor of Arts; UCT – Bachelor of Education (management and leadership)
Taught: Kimberley, Heathfield High School (Geography, Economics and Business Economics)
Principal: Heathfield High, Portland High, Kleinberg Primary School
Retired as principal of Heathfield High school in 2010 after 34 years at the school, 18 thereof as principal. During that period Derrick served as a circuit manager for 2 years. Two years into retirement he was requested to manage the establishment of A Z Berman High School in Mitchell’s Plain for 3 years. Thereafter Derrick served as caretaker principal at Portland High followed by Kleinberg Primary School. At present Derrick has various schools which he interacts with as mentor/coach within the Principals Academy Trust and has worked within the IQAA doing verification of Independent Schools self-assessment applying the SIAM (School in a Mirror) tool.
Qualifications: UCT: BA Hons, Secondary Teacher’s Diploma, B Ed
Taught: Livingstone High School, Camps Bay High School, Kings Academy, Madaba, Jordan, La Cotte International School Primary, Aubonne, Switzerland
Principal: St Cyprian’s School
Former Head of St Cyprian’s School (1990-2007) and former Weinberg Chair in Peace and Prosperity King’s Academy, Madaba, Jordan. Currently working with the Principals Academy Trust as a principal coach/mentor. Also working with teachers on a weekly basis: supporting and mentoring Foundation and Intermediate Phase English teachers in a Teacher Support Programme (TSP).
OUR OFFICE STAFF
Joanne is responsible for stakeholder management and communication, fundraising and marketing for the PAT office.
Linda is your first point of call when contacting our offices. She ensures the smooth running of the office, fulfils an administration role and makes sure that all our programmes and communication remain on track.
TEACHER SUPPORT PROGRAMME STAFF
Mary Ann Syfret
Jenny van Velden
CONTACT US :