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Auburn North Public School

Auburn North Public School

The Best of All Worlds for 21st Century Learners

Telephone02 9748 1036

Distributed Leadership and TPL












Outstanding leadership and management programs and practices are priorities at Auburn North and for the past two years we have believed that three main factors have necessitated a paradigm shift in the training, thinking, skills, and abilities of present and future Auburn North leaders and all NSW school leaders. The three factors are:


While research clearly shows that in a school individual teachers have the greatest impact on student learning, research also shows that the quality of a school's leadership has the second greatest impact on student learning.In their paper, ‘Schools that achieve extraordinary success', Zbar, Kimber and Marshall explained that outstanding schools must:


  • have strong leadership that is shared;
  • build leadership expertise;
  • develop a culture of sharing and responsibility, which must be facilitated by leaders; and
  • tailor initiatives to the overall direction of the school, which need to be strategically planned, implemented, monitored and evaluated by school leaders.


As part of its ‘Local School. Local Decisions' initiative, the NSW DEC is changing from its centrally controlled education system to a system where greater autonomy will be devolved to individual schools in the areas of leadership, management, and decision-making.


The only certainty about education in NSW and across the globe in the future is that it will reflect society and be dominated by constant change.


Therefore, for the past two years at Auburn North Public School we have believed that if our leaders were going to develop outstanding leadership knowledge, skills and abilities, and become change leaders, if teachers were going to improve their teaching practices to significantly improve learning outcomes, if our school was going to achieve its aspirational literacy and numeracy targets, if our school was going to achieve our school vision/mission, and if our school was going to sustain and further develop these improvements, then it would only happen if our major priorities were:


  • a focus on strategic, distributed leadership;
  • the further development of our school's leadership and leadership capacity;
  • an increase in each leader's leadership skills;
  • the development of each leader as an instructional leader, a transformational leader, and a change leader; and
  • the development of a transformational and change leadership team.


Our school's initiatives and achievements in these areas have been recognised, acknowledged and replicated across the region.


The flow chart below outlines the process we decided to follow to produce outstanding leaders and managers, to achieve our targets and our school vision/mission, and to produce sustainable change and improvement in our school learning community over the past three years.






leadership ANPS



At Auburn North we believe that "leadership is leadership" so we have embarked on a journey where we have strategically learned about and adopted best practice leadership programs and practices from both the private and educational domains to:


  1. produce outstanding instructional, transformational, and change leaders.
  2. achive school targets.
  3. develop exemplary teaching practices.
  4. maximise student learning outcomes.
  5. achieve our school vision/mission


By facilitating the participation of 14 school leaders in the 2013 and 2014 Australian School of Applied Management(ASAM) Colloquium Program, and 7 school leaders in ‘Changefirst's People-Centred Implementation (PCI) Leadership Program' with outstanding leaders from across the Australian business community and by developing and implementing a fortnightly school-based leadership development program, we believe we have developed a school culture where outstanding distributed leadership is driving our school FORWARD.


Auburn North has four leadership focus areas. They are:

  1. Executive, including two instructional leaders and one teacher mentor (10 members)
  2. Grade /Stage Leaders (7)
  3. KLA Leaders/Co-Leaders (8)
  4. Project Team Leaders


The chart below demonstrates our strategic, distributed leadership model:


leadership ANPS2





i. Australian School of Applied Management (ASAM)


In 2012, 7 members of the executive commenced an 8-month Leadership Development Program with the Australian School of Applied Management. The Auburn North leaders were the first school leaders in Australia to participate in this program. The program focused on a number of areas, including:


Pre and Post - 360 degree surveys Coahing sessions Driving performance
Core leadership competencies Communication skills Continuous improvement
core management competencies T eam development Managing change


The 2012 SWSR Regional Director used a video of the Auburn North leaders to promote the ASAM program and to encourage leaders from across the region to enrol in the 2013 program. As a result, more than 40 school leaders from across SWSR are participating in this year's ASAM program.

After the post-360 degree surveys and in-school data indicated that ASAM significantly improved the participating leaders' leadership knowledge, skills and abilities, it was decided that it was essential for our school's continued development that our 8 non-executive members of the distributed leadership team participate in ASAM this year.


ii. Change First



Changefirst's People-Centred Implementation Program (PCI)


We agreed with Fullan who states that leaders must create cultures which create change and not ones which only respond to change. We believe that Auburn North and, in fact, all NSW public schools need to be led by leaders who have the knowledge, skills and ability to visualise the future and to shape and lead change. For these reasons, leadership development has focused on visionary leadership and change leadership.


In 2013, 6 members of the executive participated in a 3 day 'Change First' leadership development program with leaders from private industry from across Australia. Our leaders further developed their visionary and change leadership knowledge, skills and abilities by participating in a range of workshops including:


  • shared change purpose
  • effective change leadership
  • powerful engagement processes
  • committed local sponsors
  • strong personal connection, and
  • sustained personal performance.




All 14 members of our distributed leadership team participate in a fortnightly school-based leadership development program. The leaders are using their learning from 'Change First' to further develop their visionary and leadership skills. Workshops have included:


  • the psychology of successfully delivering organisational change
  • change management methodology
  • change agents and organisational change
  • delivering transformational change, and
  • the importance of involvement when creating a powerful engagement process.

The leaders are utilising their knowledge and skills in small teams to produce effective change in our school.


Other areas of leadership studied include: 

  • Leadership Capability Framework
  • Moral Purpose
  • Leadership and management ‘
  • Qualities of an effective leader
  • Understanding and comparing leadership in relation to a business context
  • Protocols in the workplace


Evidence of Improvement includes:


  • "I feel as though I am becoming more reflective of myself as a leader and I am also using the skills we are learning in everyday situations. The quality of the presentations is so engaging and I feel very valued in the group discussions."


  • "I can see that a good leader needs to understand their own moral purpose to succeed."





Hattie found that quality Professional Development has a significant 0.64 effect size on student performance. Taking this into consideration and considering other external research data, and the results from our situational analysis and from our annual SWOT Analysis process, our leadership team produced a multi-layered professional learning program which includes:

  1. a whole-school training and development program.
  2. a different professional learning program.
  3. Short-term project team professional learning.


Our whole-school program included mandatory training sessions and workshops coordinated by regional literacy and numeracy consultants.


The differentiated professional learning program was led by our leaders and involved all teachers selecting if they wanted to focus their training on Effective Questioning, Gifted and Talented learners, Learning Styles or Open-ended tasks. Each of these 4 areas had two smaller groups, each led by two leaders. These teams met fortnightly to conduct research into best practice in their respective areas, developed programs in which to embed these practices, and participated in IMPAQT (In-School Mentoring Program Accentuating Quality Teaching) which involved all members teaching their classes using their new knowledge and skills, while being observed and evaluated by their group colleagues. All teachers both taught and observed.


Data demonstrated that leaders improved their leadership capacity, knowledge and skills, while our teachers indicated that the small group discussions, professional reading, IMPAQT and assessing reflections from all teachers from all groups on our professional development wiki had a very significant impact on their teaching practice and the learning outcome of their students.


This differentiated program is continuing this semester but teachers were able to share their expertise at a stage level. Again these groups will be led by our distributive leadership team members and an additional component led by our leaders is Audio Visual Assisting Teacher Assessment Reporting (AVATAR), where teachers are filmed for self-analysis and evaluation or group analysis and evaluation.


Early indications are that this program, especially the AVATAR component, is having an immediate powerful impact on improving teaching practice and learning outcomes.


Project Teams Led by Grade/Stage Leaders


Our grade/stage leaders have coordinated whole-staff training and development sessions in a wide range of areas including our ‘Great to Grand Program', where programs and strategies were developed and implemented that further developed each teacher's high quality literacy and numeracy teaching and learning programs and practices though targeted teacher professional learning, resulting in improved student learning outcomes K-6.


KLA Leaders

To further develop our school's distributive leadership, teachers who are not members of the executive or grade / stage leaders, are selected as KLA leaders to lead teams of teachers. They develop 1-year target-based plans for their KLAs, contribute to both our school plan and management plan, coordinate and implement professional development sessions for their KLAs, take responsibility for financial management of their areas, and proactively raise the profile of their respective KLAs.


Data indicates that KLA targets, in terms of improved teaching and learning outcomes, are in the process of being achieved and that the quality of leadership has had a positive impact on the success of their KLA teams.



We believe that our strategic, distributive leadership practices will achieve improved and sustainable leadership, teaching practices and student learning outcomes because as Michael Fullan states, "Distributive leadership is the key to successful sustainability and that sustainability requires leaders at all levels not simply leadership by one individual or group, and leaders at all levels sustain successful innovation through their collective efforts".