Reflecting our philosophy of strategic philanthropy and measuring the impact of initiatives, NEXT Foundation is delighted to announce an additional investment to SpringBoard Trust (SBT) to enable robust and rigorous evaluation of their programmes. SBT has commissioned New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) to research learning outcomes from the SBT programmes and we’re thrilled to have their depth of expertise to lead this work.

NEXT Foundation announced in December last year our investment in the SBT, a charitable trust within New Zealand’s education sector working to improve student outcomes by assisting educational leaders and their communities grow in strategic, structured and scalable ways. Focused on enhancing the leadership and strategic planning skills of school principals, the SBT is creating more effective management of schools and – most importantly – better learning outcomes for students.

SBT is led by chair Ian Narev, a passionate advocate for education for all New Zealanders who believes young Kiwis should have access to a great education regardless of their financial circumstances or geographic location.
Ian believes “We all need to work towards better student achievement for all students throughout New Zealand, making sure that regardless of what environment they are growing up in – what neighbourhood they are growing up in, or what decile school they go to – they have an equal opportunity for a good education. This is a critical right. In order for New Zealand to be strong we need to do everything we can to help our young Kiwis get a good education.”

“SBT helps principals make their schools better,” said Narev. “If you want to help an organisation or a team to get better you start with the leader.”

Thanks to its roots in the business community, SBT is able to connect and draw on a multitude of resources in order to focus on the essence of its model – “investing in frontline leadership” – delivering a suite of programmes that leverage, adapt and share best practices across sectors. To do this SBT works via capacity building and strategic partnerships within New Zealand’s corporate and philanthropic sectors and delivers four programmes including the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme, the Alumni Learning Platform, the Schools@Heart Programme and the Learning Forum.
“SpringBoard Trust brings people from different businesses to work alongside Principals, we call them Capacity Partners,” added Narev. “They work very closely with the Principals getting to know their schools. The partnership between the Capacity Partners and the Principals works very well for both.”
The Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme is designed to help principals develop robust strategic goals and plans for their organisations, and enable them to think more strategically about areas such as planning, resource allocation, staff engagement and stakeholder management. SLPP is taught via group workshops and requires principals to produce robust strategic plans for their respective schools.

The initial curriculum was developed by Narev, who was previously a partner at management consulting firm McKinsey & Co and is now CEO of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which has more than 50,000 employees. Subsequent contributors to the curriculum include Mark Russell, Michelle Kong and Jane Judd.
SBT initially concentrated its efforts on principals from low-decile schools in South Auckland, and has since expanded to include West Auckland and Northland schools. Planning is now underway to further expand into Waikato and the Bay of Plenty. In total, 84 school principals in Auckland and six in Northland have so far completed the trust’s year-long portal Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme.

With the continued support of its strategic partners and NEXT Foundation, SBT plans to expand significantly over the next five years to work with a further 264 principals, ultimately impacting more than 100,000 students.

“The Springboard Trust has a simple philosophy: if we can help make principals more successful then we can help make schools and their students more successful. What we’re hoping to achieve over the next 5-10 years starts with the students. We want to help impact education outcomes.”