Salma Seedat

Instructional Leadership Institute NPC

What does your company do?

The Instructional Leadership Institute NPC aims to improve learner outcomes in South Africa's most under-resourced schools by training school leaders to improve the quality of teaching and learning in their classrooms using instructional leadership techniques and practices. Instructional leadership is the practice of ensuring that the principal is the leader of teaching and learning (instruction) in their schools.More than 5,000 school principal positions in the most challenging schools in South Africa are due to become vacant over the next five years. While the government has prioritised this approaching school leadership crisis, there is a lack of high-quality training and coaching programmes designed to equip the next generation of school leaders to overcome the challenges they will face in under-resourced schools.Our approach has been used extensively in the UK and US where it has a strong evidence base, and we have adapted the content and approach to fit the South African context. Our programmes are delivered by our South African team of facilitators and coaches who have worked in leadership roles in South African public schools. Given the profile of school leaders and evolving government policy, we are in a distinctive position to address the growing leadership challenge in South African schools.

What is your biggest success?

Instructional leadership is a key component of South Africa's National Development Plan to develop school leaders who are effective in providing administrative and curriculum leadership in schools. By aligning international best practices with the guidelines and requirements of the Department of Basic Education, we have created a school leadership development model that demonstrates what good instruction looks like in South African schools and how these practices can be applied by South African school leaders. We have been able to successfully implement the model and use the proof of concept to get the buy in of provincial education department officials, education unions and non-profit organisations working on complementary education programmes, so that we co-create a holistic approach to improving education outcomes in schools. Our greatest achievement has been introducing educators who have been teaching for over 30 years to new techniques and skills that they confirm has made a massive difference to how their teachers and learners engage during lessons and to the learning culture within their school.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

The key component of our model is the 1:1 coaching that we provide to school leaders as part of ensuring that the techniques and concepts taught are implemented within the unique contexts of the leader's school. The biggest challenge we face is finding locally based educators who can become instructional coaches so they can work with school leadership teams in their areas. Many educators are in senior positions in schools and have attractive government benefits that is difficult to match in the non-profit sector. We are developing strategies to mitigate this such as approaching retired school leaders to take on these coaching, mentoring and training roles.

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