State and state-integrated schools and kura involved in CoL | Kāhui Ako receive ongoing operational funding and staffing support. CoL | Kāhui Ako are also allocated resources to support them to develop their achievement challenges and implement a plan of action to attain these. These are allocated at different times during the various stages and include resources for:
The effective coordination and use of resources and the provision of a supportive infrastructure are critical leadership functions in a CoL | Kāhui Ako. While resources are required to support the operational activities of communities, the resources that matter most are those that create the conditions for effective collaboration. The most important resource for collaboration is time.
Developing cohesion across a group of self-managing organisations that may not have previously worked together can be complex and challenging. Opportunities to develop the relationships and trust that will support collaboration at different levels of, and across the community require expert leadership and facilitation expertise.
A clear understanding of the responsibilities involved and the development of shared ways of working ensures that the resource of those in newly established leadership roles is used effectively. The strengthening of a CoL | Kāhui Ako people and leadership resource through collaborative activity provides the foundation for ongoing improvement and sustainability.
In effective CoL | Kāhui Ako, high performing schools work effectively with low performing schools to improve performance.12 Well functioning CoL | Kāhui Ako can choose how best to distribute the resources to meet CoL | Kāhui Ako goals and targets. Equitable approaches to the allocation of resources support these improvement efforts.
|The big picture|
Most endorsed CoL | Kāhui Ako are in the early stages of implementation. Some are finding it useful to conceptualise the operating structure of their CoL | Kāhui Ako in diagrammatic form while others integrate their agreed ways of operating throughout their documentation and Memorandum of Agreement.
Agreed stewardship/governance structures usually consist of an overall group/ committee made up of representatives from each school and may include iwi and wider community representation. Membership varies between principals and board members or a mix of both. In some instances there is a separate group made up of board members from across the CoL | Kāhui Ako. This group operates in conjunction with the appointed CoL | Kāhui Ako leader, Across CoL | Kāhui Ako teachers and the Within School teachers. Effective operating structures include parents and whānau as integral stakeholders and may include other named community stakeholders. Increasingly, early learning services will become part of stewardship arrangements.
We found that some CoL | Kāhui Ako had appointed subcommittee groups in areas where they wanted to look in more depth at such areas as digital learning, monitoring and evaluation or data management. There were also sub committees responsible for areas such as appointments.
Where the CoL | Kāhui Ako infrastructure was working well there was effective coordination of meetings and time is spent on work related to the achievement targets and improvement. The longer standing CoL | Kāhui Ako have generally moved past committing the time they have together to administrative matters and are focussing on enacting their achievement plans.
As CoL | Kāhui Ako move into the implementation of their achievement challenges and plan of action there are key areas that they need to consider. These may include how effectively they use the resources available to align their activities with their agreed vision, goals and achievement challenges, and how well they create opportunities for community members to plan together, work together on collaborative inquiries and target identified professional learning.
We found that communities that have appointed their Across CoL | Kāhui Ako roles have generally thought carefully about how this resource can be best used by designating the roles to reflect their agreed challenges or by thinking about where they might need cross-CoL | Kāhui Ako expertise in areas such as data management and tracking and monitoring progress and achievement. The value of this role is maximised when the degree of relational trust within the CoL | Kāhui Ako enables reconnaissance visits, meetings and the consequent development of baseline information about CoL | Kāhui Ako practice to be shared and acted on.
The CoL | Kāhui Ako has an important strategic role in ensuring that its resources are strategic and equitable. This may mean that there are more resources committed to priority areas rather than being equally shared throughout the community. The effectiveness of these decisions may be reflected in the way the within school resource is allocated, but it might also reflect the way the ‘inquiry time’ resource is maximised to provide time for teachers to spend together on areas identified as priority focuses.
The most valuable resource is time. We found that as CoL | Kāhui Ako are developing their action plans they are considering the best ways to work together on the challenges they have identified through the use of evidence. Some CoL | Kāhui Ako are considering external support to help them facilitate these collaborative discussions, while others consider they have the processes in place to enable them to use their internal expertise. The most value gained from these early collaborative inquiries is around identifying how practice might change and trying out and testing these changes. To do so may require building in regular and ongoing cycles of inquiry to discuss and determine the impact of changes.
A small number of CoL | Kāhui Ako have used their resources to bring their members together in a conference day arrangement. This has enabled key members such as Across CoL | Kāhui Ako teachers and Within School teachers to begin sharing knowledge and ideas on how to lift achievement for all students. Arrangements such as these offer opportunities for participation to extend to a wider group with the CoL | Kāhui Ako including parents, whānau and other interested stakeholders who then benefit from being involved and hearing shared messages.
12 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.