Evolving perspectives sees the Menzies School Leadership Incubator advance

The Menzies School Leadership Incubator, delivered by Australian Council for Education Research (ACER) and powered by the Menzies Foundation, continues to be an example of innovation in building a pipeline of leaders who are equipped and empowered to lead in increasingly challenging and complex settings. The Incubator’s approach to school leadership and improvement is one that acknowledges the interplay between individual, team, and systemic dynamics in achieving better student learning outcomes.

“While the lens remains on collective efficacy, 2024 will take a more integrated approach with the incubator’s next phase of work to encompass comprehensive research into strategic planning and further development of the Rising Team for Schools platform”.

Dr Kerry Elliott, Senior Research Fellow, ACER

While the importance of collective efficacy remains undisputed, the incubator’s learnings have prompted the need for a more holistic view of school improvement. Collective efficacy is now perceived not just as an end goal but as part of a broader strategy that includes leadership development, team dynamics, and systemic improvement. This transition signifies a strategic pivot from focusing solely on collective efficacy to leveraging it as a vital component within a wider array of improvement strategies.

The incubator’s research lens aims to dissect and reassemble the concept of strategic planning within the education sector. This endeavour seeks to uncover how strategic planning practices can be re-envisioned to foster collective efficacy, align efforts, and enhance coherence across educational systems. The goal is to generate actionable insights that can guide schools and systems in embedding collective efficacy into their strategic frameworks, thereby optimising their improvement efforts and outcomes.

Parallel to the research efforts, Rising Team for Schools represents a groundbreaking platform designed to empower school teams. This initiative is structured around three pivotal phases:

  • Developmental Readiness Preparing teams to embrace new ways of collaboration and problem-solving.
  • Collaborative Capacity Equipping teams with the skills and mindsets necessary for effective collaboration.
  • Complexity Leadership Enabling teams to navigate and address complex challenges through innovative thinking and collaborative strategies.

This platform aims to transform how teams operate within schools, ensuring they are better equipped to foster collective efficacy and tackle complex educational challenges collaboratively.

“The Menzies School Leadership Incubator is dedicated to leading this transformative journey, supporting educators and leaders as they navigate the evolving landscape of improvement”. She continued, “By embracing these streams of activity, the incubator aims to provide leaders and their teams with the tools, insights, and support necessary to thrive in an increasingly complex education environment, ultimately benefiting students, educators, and communities alike”.

Liz Gillies, Menzies Foundation CEO

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In response to the challenges associated with understanding, diagnosing, and developing collective efficacy, the Collective Efficacy Tracking Tool was created. This tool is a direct outcome of the incubator’s work and represents a critical step in supporting schools to navigate and enhance collective efficacy effectively.