Strategic leadership for middle and aspiring leaders

An initiative by

Springboard Trust

in Partnership with EPIT

11 July 2023

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The Middle and Aspiring Leaders programme was aimed at strengthening the capacity of middle and aspiring leaders, supporting them to develop greater confidence and capability to support, contribute to and lead change.

The drive behind this initiative

To build and strengthen the pipeline of leaders working in Aotearoa | New Zealand schools to:​

  • Ensure an unrelenting focus on leading for equity​
  • Develop an active network of collaborators, open to co-designing new approaches to long-standing issues in education​
  • Accelerate leadership opportunities and progress for Māori, Pasifika, and other under-represented groups in education leadership ​
  • Foster sustainability within the education profession

Leadership is what I want to get into... not just for me, but those who come after me. I want to be the teacher that I never had. If I can do what I want in life, they can do the same. That's my why.

Aspiring leader at a participating school

Approach to change

The general theory of change involved a cascade of strategic leadership capacity from principal to leadership team, teachers, students and community.

Impact for Equity

  • Leaders who have an understanding of what it means to be Te Tiriti O Waitangi honouring. ​
  • Effective future leaders with a clear sense of purpose.

Learnings & Outputs

Story one: Having students as co-creators changed the relationship and power balance between the teacher and their students.
Partway through the creation of a wellbeing initiative within the school, it became clear to the aspiring leader that the programme would be more effective if students were included in the design, rather than just reflecting afterwards. This made a significant difference to the engagement, effectiveness and ongoing sustainability of the programme.

Story two:  A culturally responsive late plan
The aim of this aspiring leader was to develop a student lateness plan that was less punitive and more culturally responsive, sustainable and collaborative than previous attempts. This meant becoming aware of “relevant contextual information, [around lateness], then building from the learner’s own prior knowledge and experiences” to develop solutions. This result was a process that was more student-centred and effective.


Springboard Trust

The Springboard Trust was established over two decades ago. It has evolved into an organisation committed to supporting strategic leadership within the education sector.