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Table of contents1INTRODUCTION . 6We know that . 62POSITION: MAPPING WORKING TOGETHER SYSTEMS . 8Some school communities work together . 10For example – a working together school . 13Most school communities don’t work together . 14For example – a working ok school . 15For example – working apart school . 153PERCEIVE: FINDING ROOT CAUSES AND LEVERS FOR CHANGE . 16Moving from working apart to working together. 184PUSH: LEVERS FOR CHANGING RELATIONSHIPS . 19Focus group insights – context matters . 20Levers for changing working apart relationships . 214.1DEVELOP THE COLLABORATIVE CAPACITY OF DISTRICTS . 22District working together challenges and opportunities. 23Focus group insights - districts . 26For example - building collaboration (Jika Imfundo) . 284.2ENABLE SCHOOL LEADERSHIP TO BE AGENTS OF CHANGE AND COLLABORATION . 29School leadership working together challenges and opportunities . 30For example - Actonville Primary School . 30Focus group insights - leadership . 34For example – the SAESC’s School Peer Review Process . 36For example – Partners for Possibility (PfP) . 384.3BUILD THE PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY OF SCHOOL UNION LEADERS AND TEACHERS . 41Union working together challenges and opportunities . 41Focus group insights - unions . 44Focus group insights - teachers . 454.4CATALYSE RESOURCES TO CREATE AND SUPPORT CONDITIONS FOR LEARNING . 47For example - Principals’ CoP Maths Test . 49Resource working together challenges and opportunities . 51Finances. 51Human resources . 53Technology, information and communication . 54Infrastructure, materials and physical resources . 57Focus group insights – infrastructure, materials and physical resources . 57For example – the GPLMS . 59For example – language and learning. 604.5ACTIVATE VALUES FOR LEARNING AND AN ETHIC OF CARE . 60Working together values – challenges and opportunities . 61Focus group insights – discipline . 62For example – activating values for learning (LEAP schools) . 63Inclusive education is about care . 65For example - leading through collaboration . 674.6BUILD SHARED ACCOUNTABILITY. 68Accountability working together challenges and opportunities . 70For example - The Jika iMfundo School Safety Pilot Project . 72Focus group insights – parent participation . 742

For example – building shared accountability . 765CONCLUSIONS AND POSSIBILITIES FOR INVESTMENT . 77Focus group insights – recommendations . 78What can FRF/FREF do? . 795.1CHANGE GRANT MAKING CONDITIONS . 805.2COP AND PLC FACILITATION SKILLS FOR DISTRICT OFFICIALS . 815.3SUPPORT UNION DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTES TO DEVELOP PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL-LEVEL GOVERNANCE ANDETHICS CAPACITY . 815.4PROVIDE SCHOOL LEADERS WITH THE KEYS TO UNLOCK CHANGE, COLLABORATIVE COMMITMENT ANDSHARED ACCOUNTABILITY . 825.5ENABLE SCHOOL COMMUNITIES TO FIND RESOURCES AND SUPPORT WITH EASE . 825.6DEVELOP A NATIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE VALUE AND PURPOSE OF SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS TOADDRESS THE ERODED CULTURE OF TEACHING AND LEARNING AND BUILD AN ETHIC OF CARE AND COMMITMENT TOCHILDREN AND THEIR FUTURES . 826APPENDICES . 916.1A NOTE ON METHODOLOGY . 916.2#PARKTOWNSCENARIOS . 95The ‘working ok’ scenario (top left) - Thabo’s blog “Education against the odds” . 97The ‘working apart’ scenario (bottom left) - we’re on the road to nowhere . 98The ‘working together’ scenario (top right) - the Nadine Scenario . 100The ‘working aside’ scenario (bottom right) - people’s education re-imagined . 1016.3A TOOL FOR SCHOOL COMMUNITY RESOURCE SHARING . 103Figures and TablesFigure 1: Deep dive process . 7Figure 2: Numbers of disabled children in educational institutions, 2014 . 9Figure 3: Overview map of the working together system . 10Figure 4: An ideal working together system . 12Figure 5: What working together looks like . 13Figure 6: Perceive: root causes and levers for change . 17Figure 7: Corridor of possibility. 18Figure 8: Levers for change. 22Figure 9: Percentage of Foundation Phase and FET phase teachers visited by a subject/curriculumadvisor during 2011 by province . 25Figure 10: Leadership development framework . 35Figure 11: Union membership 2012 . 43Figure 12: Average scale score and performance at benchmarks by school type, TIMSS 2011 . 48Figure 13: Largest corporate education investors in South Africa (estimations) . 53Figure 14: Elements of effective ICT interventions in schools. 56Figure 15: Percentage of learners affected by resource shortages according to principals, by type ofschool, 2011. 583

Abbreviations and acronymsACEANAANCCAPSCLECMSCoPAdvanced Certificate in EducationAnnual National AssessmentAfrican National CongressCurriculum Assessment Policy StandardsCollaboration and Learning EnvironmentCourse Management SystemCommunity of PracticeCOSATUCongress of South African Trade UnionsCPDContinuing Professional SGPLMSHoDHRHRDCICTIDSIDSOLDEDepartment of Basic EducationDistrict DirectorDepartment of EducationEastern CapeEarly Childhood developmentEmployment of Educators ActEducation Labour Relations CouncilEducation Management DevelopmentEducation Management Development InstituteEducation Management Development OfficerEducation Management Information SystemsEducation Management ServiceFree StateGauteng Primary Language and Mathematics StrategyHead of DepartmentHuman ResourcesHuman Resources Development CouncilInformation and Communication TechnologyInstitutional Development SpecialistInstitutional Development and Support OfficerLimpopo Department of g Management SystemLearner Teacher Supply MaterialsLearning and Teaching Support MaterialsMatthew Goniwe School of Leadership and GovernanceNational Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South AfricaNational Teachers UnionNational Development PlanNational Education Collaboration TrustNEEDUNEPANGOsNQFNRFNSCNSESOECDOSDNational Education Evaluation and Development UnitNational Education Policy ActNon-governmental OrganisationsNational Qualifications FrameworkNational Research FoundationNational Senior CertificateNational School Effectiveness StudyOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and DevelopmentOccupation Specific Dispensation4

nnel Administration MeasuresProvincial Education DepartmentProfessional Educators UnionProgress in International Reading Literacy StudyProfessional Learning CommunityPerformance Management and Development SystemPublic Servants Association of South AfricaProgramme to Support Pro-Poor Policy DevelopmentResearch on Socio-Economic PolicyResearch on Improving Systems of EducationSubject AdvisorSystems Approach for Better Education ResultsSACESACMEQSADTUSAOUSASASGBsSMTStatsSASouth Africa Council of EducatorsSouthern and Eastern African Consortium for MonitoringEducational QualitySouth African democratic Teachers’ unionSuid-Afrikaanse OnderwysersunieSouth African Schools ActSchool Governing BodiesSchool Management TeamStatistics South AfricaTIMSSTrends in International Mathematics and Science Study5

1 IntroductionWe know how important basic education is to a nation’s current and futureprosperity, development and growth. (Minister Angie Motshekga: Basic EducationBudget Vote, 6 May 2015)We know that Education has a pivotal role in achieving the National Development Plan’s (NDP)goal of eliminating poverty, reducing inequality and creating employable people. Education is a means to move people out of poverty and inequality and to growand sustain development and democracy. Education does not prepare many young people to be productive citizens.Regarding the report that follows The insights provided here are not new but the perspectives on root causes andlevers for change are. The primary focus is on government school systems. Inclusion and technology in education are complex systems in their own right sowe focus rather on collaboration.The majority of South Africa’s children cannot read for meaning in any language at the end ofgrade 3. Patterns of under-performance are established in the foundation phase. A child’sperformance in grade 4 correlates to their matric results (van der Berg, 2016). Theunemployment rate is close to 27% and is higher for black youth at 39%. The percentage ofskilled workers has increased (favouring white and Indian) except for blacks between the agesof 25 and 34 (StatsSA, 2016).We know that the “education system needs urgent action” (chapter 9 of the NDP), butsubstantial public and private investment, policy change, and large scale reform interventions,have not significantly altered the further learning or work prospects of the majority of blackchildren. No matter how you read the statistics - quantity or quality – South Africa performspoorly in terms of efficiency (getting learners through) and effectiveness (enabling them to besocially engaged and productive adults).This deep-dive into ‘school leadership-teacher-parent relationships to achieve positiveeducation outcomes for learners’ forms part of the ‘Art of Teaching and Learning’ bucket ofsystemic interest. The research is about practical steps that can be taken to improvecollaborative relationships in school communities to improve the quality of basic education.There is a mountain of international and local research, evaluations and interventions onstrategies to improve the quality of education. The challenges are well-examined and seemclear (socio-economic context, historical legacy, weak institutions, low capacity), but6

interventions in education improvement seem to have had limited, or localised, effect1.Established relationships are difficult to shift and more targeted, society-driven interventionsare required.School leadership, teacher, community relationships are a critical part of school change. Thisis the reasoning behind the commitment to school governing bodies (SGBs) and attempts toimprove the quality of education delivery through structured democratic organisation anddevelopment. However, there is limited understanding (and innovation) about how ‘workingtogether’ improves learning.The first part of the deep dive process – position – is a mapping of the resources, regulationsand relationships that restrict or enable change, combined with an analysis of existingresearch about leadership-parent-teacher-school interactions that support positive learningoutcomes. Very little of the research focuses on the interaction between parents, teachers andleaders in schools. There is, however, information on individual stakeholder contributions toimprovement.The extended research process, depicted in Figure 1, filled the research gap, using schoolcase studies, focus groups interviews and scenario planning, to provide fresh and practicebased perspectives on working together relationships, as well as identifying possible levers ofchange – perceive to push.Figure 1: Deep dive usesscenarios ystems comprise interactions (formal and informal) between stakeholders in a particularcontext. These relationships shape interactions between leaders, teachers and parents byestablishing boundaries for acceptable practice and action. Systems produce outcomes basedon agency and interaction within a particular context in which there is no single point of control(Smit, 2016, Carr-Chellman,1998).Extensive research has been undertaken on how education systems actually work. Twonotable projects are the Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) funded by DiFD,a multi-country research programme on transforming education systems, and the World1See, for example, N. Besharati, N. Spaull; S. Taylor; N. Taylor or B. Fleisch on successes and limits of changeinterventions. Also, the National Development Plan and the DBE’s Education Action Plan to 2019.7

Bank’s Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER), which uses educationsystems knowledge to support and implement effective reforms2. The research from theseprogrammes, and related projects at UNESCO, provides insights into the kinds of relationshipsthat support learning quality.In South Africa too, there is a growing interest in ‘system change’ and what this means. TheNational Development Plan (NDP) includes a system-wide diagnosis of the successes andchallenges facing education. Successes include the integration of an apartheid educationsystem comprising 27 different education departments, organisational systems andregulations into one national and nine provincial departments.What the NDP and other system assessments have in mind is an ‘ideal-type’ system whichproduces “learners with an excellent education, especially in literacy, mathematics andscience” (NDP, 2011, p. 264). A graphic representation of an ideal system in which schoolleadership, teachers and parents work together to improve and sustain the quality of learningis mapped in Figure 3.In South Africa, the combination of resources and ability to use them, is strongly mediated bythe physical, social and political context. Since education systems are complex, the deepdive focuses on interactions between leadership, parents and teachers, which isprimarily the school governance system. This focus on governance system is not limitedto formalised school governing body (SGB) structures. It also maps the combination ofpolitical, social and institutional power in schools that affect learning outcomes.2 Position: mapping working together systemsThe mapping process involved identifying the components of the system, the processes thatcharacterise their interaction and the nature of their relationships. Exploration was guided bythe following questions: What regulations bound or enable quality education? Regulations comprise formaland informal authority and ‘rules of the game’ outlined in law, or evident in routinepractice (as in ‘that’s how things work here’). What resources or components enable or constrain relationships that supportlearning? In other words, what are the financial, leadership or support resources thatdefine operational capability and ability to implement or sustain policy andchange? What are the relationships of voice and response that define the system? Who arethe stakeholders and how do they interact? This involves an analysis of the institutionsthat pattern access, engagement and accountability.South Africa has an almost universal access to primary education and high participation rates(85%) in further education and training. As per a historical legacy related to migrant labour,gender parity exists with small differences that favour girls. According to Deliwe (2016, seeFigure 2, p.2), disabled children are integrated into mainstream school with high participationrates, but slightly less than 10% of black and coloured disabled learners are not in schools.2The research team presented the results of this deep-dive at the RISE global conference in Oxford in June 2016.8

There are 25,720 schools and 12,489,646 learners in the system (DBE Education Statistics,2014).Figure 2: Numbers of disabled children in educational institutions, 2014There are a number of stakeholders in the school system who contribute to learningachievement in schools as setters of policy, providers of support or collaborators listed below.These interactions between stakeholders vary in relation to national, provincial and localsocio-economic, political and institutional contexts.StakeholdersIdeal roleCurrent influenceMedia and civil societyMonitor and reportHighlight corruption and failurebut not t administration andappropriate supportSupport for teaching and learningUnionsPromoting the professionalism ofteachers and supporting the professionImplement to scale improvementprojectsSet and maintain standards ofprofessional qualification and conduct.Professional development andknowledge sharingBoth supporting implementation andchallenging/holding to account ofgovernmentCreate jobs and learning opportunitiesfor learners.Support schools, safety and encouragethem to push children to achieve.Tendency to instruct rather thansupport.Limited by lacks of skills andresources.Uneven, sometimes destructive.NECTSACEAssociations ofprincipals or SGBsNGOsBusinessLocal and traditionalauthorities9Supports innovation in thesystem.Compromised by a range ofissues.Insufficient collaboration andcommitment to share knowledge.Weakening. The NECTcommissioned report of 2016outlines reasons for that.Fragmented and ineffective spendbecause of silos.Both positive or negative butthere is a tendency to pursue owninterests.

The ‘big picture’ in Figure 3 provides an overview of the components of the education system.Spatially, educational performance tends to reflect old boundaries. Rural and townshipschools are predominantly black and mostly no fee under-resourced schools in terms ofteachers, community support, infrastructure and leadership. Mary Metcalfe (DBSA, 2012)confirms Nick Taylor’s (2007) view that attempts to improve schools seem to more deeplyentrench these differences. Class and race define access to resources and socio-economicstatus.In South Africa, the combination of resources and ability to use them are strongly mediatedby the physical, social and political context. The specific way in which each school systemworks is dependent on its context, location and initial conditions. School governance systemsare diverse and tend to work well where they work (usually well-resourced public orindependent schools) or are fragmented where they don’t (the majority of schools).Figure 3: Overview map of the working together systemPolicy:Policy is enabling enough inits interpretation to supportparent, teacher and leadercollaboration.Responsibility is delegatedwithout authority. Policymodels privileged schoolsand reinforces inequality.REGULATIONSFinances:Bulk of funding fromgovernment – then parents,private sector and donors.Bulk of state finances usedfor used for salaries. CSIcan be coordinated to buildcapacity for parents tomonitor progress anddemand accountability.Practices:Routines favourbureaucratic complianceand to follow line hierarchywith limited space forinnovation. Accountabilityand responsibility isminimal – pass sideways orup without consequences.RESOURCESSupports:Physical resources limitedin majority schools and indistricts. District officialslack skills to supportschools. Teachers havelimited content knowledgeand skills. Leaders lackskills to support learning.NGOs provide importantsupport.Beyond schools:there is a lack of clearobjectives, progressmonitoring and a reluctanceto ensure people do theirjobs. Districts ensurecompliance but don’tprovide support. Unionshave undue influence.OUTLIERSLeaders, teachers andparents set goals andsupport learners despite thecontext. Some schools doimprove when expectationsare high and relationshipsare caring.Within schools:Low expectations,unprofessional conduct andlimited competencecontribute to poor resultsand restricted learning.Relationships range fromconflict to collaboration.RELATIONSHIPSIn institutional terms, authority, the right to make decisions, and voice, the right to participatein decision-making, are defined by routines that either support or undermine collaboration. Forexample, lack of trust, adversarial relations and unprofessional practice cause stakeholdersto work apart from each other. There is minimal accountability leading to fragmented control.These types of systems are characterised by anomie and a lack of values that are childfocused and learning oriented.Some school communities work together Working together is when parents, teachers and leaders (in schools as well asdistricts) collaborate to set goals, monitor and manage progress and providesupport and resources relevant to context.10

Working together requires minimum learning conditions: operational infrastructure(water and sanitation); clean and safe environment; adequate space, materials,and time. Working together requires shared accountability; professional collaboration;distributed leadership and collegiality. Sharing resources, experience and accountability, enables school communities tocreate basic conditions for learning in spite of the context. Shared responsibility and goals can and do influence learning quality. An estimated 20% to 30% of schools show evidence of working together, mostlythrough SGBs, but also in principal-led collaborations with local business, NGOsand the community. Unequal contexts and poverty impact on learning in terms of family and communityresources to support learning, and school resources for learning. The learning effects of poverty and marginalisation can be mediated by whatresources and support exist, how they are used, and what teachers and leadersdo, but it adds a burden of care. Sharing resources, experience and accountability, enables school communitiesto create the basic conditions for learning in a school in spite of the context. Shared responsibility and goals can and do influence learning quality.Effective working together relationships rely on trust (see Figure 4 for the ideal-type workingtogether system). Bryk (2010), using research based on the Chicago School ImprovementProject, argues that schools need five supports for change:o Clear instructional guidelines (such as Curriculum Assessment Policy Standards CAPS);o Professional capacity in the form of capable teacher, leaders and district support;o Strong parent-community ties;o A child-centred learning environment so that students feel safe and at home; ando Leadership that actively drives change. Principals build relationships across theschool community.Bryk suggests that relational trust smooths organisational change processes and providesmoral fortitude for the graft of improving learning in schools. In addition, the research showsthat trust positively influences learning by creating the right conditions. Principals are key tobuilding trust especially when power dynamics are uneven.Relational trust can emerge only if participants show their commitment to engagein the hard work of reform and see others doing the same. Principals must take thelead and extend themselves by reaching out to others. (Bryk, 2010, p. 28)The vital role of principals in building relational trust is evident in the focus groups carried outas part of this deep dive as well as in the case studies. A key ingredient of building trust is asense of care and commitment not only to children but also to the local community. The casesshow that characteristics of trust are compassion and good will, reliability, competence,honesty and openness. These characteristics, built into school relationships, enable problemsolving, sharing and the building of an ethic of care.11


GPLMS Gauteng Primary Language and Mathematics Strategy HoD Head of Department . IDS Institutional Development Specialist IDSO Institutional Development and Support Officer LDE Limpopo Department of Education LMS Learning Management System LTSM Learner Teacher Supply Materials . SAOU Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie

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