ACT Education and Training Directorate

THE CHALLENGE

The Australian Government developed the Empowering Local Schools National Partnership to improve educational outcomes. The initiative provides school principals with greater autonomy to make decisions at a local level to respond to school needs. While the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) joined the program in early 2012 it had embraced empowerment as a concept from the establishment of the ACT education system. Few ACT schools however had exercised the autonomy and flexibility available to them due to ignorance of the parameters of ‘empowerment’ and how these could be applied in practice. To build the autonomy of principals in the ACT, the Education and Training Directorate (ETD) engaged Noetic to assist in defining the concept of empowerment and developing the roadmap for change required to progress its implementation in the ACT.

WHAT NOETIC DID

Noetic initially consulted ETD staff and the Principals’ Association to better understand the expectations of principals under an empowerment model, the support they require to enable them to adopt this model, and the issues/constraints to implementing principal empowerment. Noetic then conducted workshops with the majority of ACT principals to identify what empowerment meant to them, and what freedoms and constraints existed to exercise this empowerment.

Noetic delivered a paper defining ‘empowerment’ in the ACT based on the above research. The paper outlined the vision and key elements of empowerment, and the roles and responsibilities and support required to those operating within an empowerment model. Noetic conducted a change workshop with both ETD staff and principals to validate the changes required to implement empowerment. From this an implementation plan for empowerment was developed and initiated.

THE OUTCOME

Noetic built upon the foundation for empowerment by articulating its definition, vision and key elements. This and Noetic’s consultation strengthened the understanding and support by ACT principals for the initiative and built momentum for its uptake. ETD drew upon the implementation plan to incorporate key change elements into business plans in order to progress the effective implementation of empowerment.