Coordination of resources and the provision of a supportive infrastructure are critical leadership responsibilities in a Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako. While the operational activities of communities need appropriate resourcing, the resources that matter most are those that create the conditions for effective collaboration. Above all, collaboration needs to be resourced with time.
It takes expert leadership and facilitation skills to develop trust relationships in a group of self-managing organisations that have not previously worked together. This trust needs to be built at different levels and across the community.
Those appointed to leadership roles in a Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako are themselves a resource to be used effectively. It is important therefore that members have a clear understanding of the responsibilities involved, and that shared ways of working are quickly developed.
It may also be necessary to establish new data management systems to support ongoing, transparent sharing and use of data in ways that facilitate effective collaborative inquiry.
In effective communities, high-performing schools work constructively with low-performing schools to improve performance.26 These improvement efforts need to be supported by equitable allocation of resources.
Ultimately, it is by strengthening the resource that resides in the people and leadership of a community that a foundation is laid for ongoing improvement and sustainability. Allocation of resources is clearly aligned to the community’s vision, goals and targets.
Examples of effective practice
> Adequate provision is made for joint planning, collaborative inquiry and professional learning within member institutions and across the community.
> User-friendly data management systems provide timely, relevant, transparent data that enables tracking of student achievement and progress in and across community institutions.
> Infrastructure and organisation enable effective coordination and engagement of community members in purposeful, joint work.
> Community meetings maximise the time spent inquiring into teaching practice and its impact on outcomes, using evidence of student learning.
> Community members who are in change-agent and facilitation roles have access to effective leadership and capability development opportunities.
> Leadership creates pathways across social boundaries to facilitate the movement and use of knowledge and ideas within the community.27
26 Chapman, C., & Muijs, D. (2014). Does school-to-school collaboration promote school improvement? A study of the impact of school federations on student outcomes. School Effectiveness and Improvement, 25 (3), 351–393.