Leaders for Change

With a robust programme of mentoring and support, Principals Academy Trust knows empowered leaders are the key to sustainable, positive change for schools.


With a robust programme of mentoring and support, Principals Academy Trust knows empowered leaders are the key to sustainable, positive change for schools.

With a firm focus on improving school leadership and teaching quality, PAT has been working with primary and secondary schools in the Western Cape for over a decade! Since 2012, there have been some great successes like PAT’s partnership with Beacon View Primary school in Mitchells Plain — which included:

  • Principal professional development (at the Graduate School of Business)
  • Principal ongoing mentorship with an ex school principal to develop her as a leader and manager
  • Teacher development and further education and mentorship programmes in
    • Foundation Phase
    • English
    • Maths


The results have been wonderful, as seen in their systemic academic results, which have shown great improvement. The school’s culture has also been enhanced and thanks to MySchool supporters swiping their cards to give back, we have been able to partner with PAT to set up 33 classroom reading corners with mini book-containers in each classroom.

School principal Edna has also taken up her role as leader in a proactive way. With her mentor’s guidance, Edna took on the Dept of Education and lobbied for a fence to be installed around her school to protect children and staff from the gangs that surround her school’s location. She succeeded and the school is now fenced.

With 1450 children from the Mitchells Plain and surrounding community, their PAT partnership has also led to school’s teachers receiving additional training and support from ex-teachers from top private schools.

Perseverance Primary is another school facing many challenges. And Mr Auburn Kelly is its hands-on, passionate and down-to-earth principal. Consisting entirely of prefab classrooms, Perseverance has a large number of learners to support.

Socio-economic challenges aside, Mr Kelly has 15 teachers, three of whom are permanent and four who are completing their qualifications online. He works closely with his mentor who comments on his great ideas and leadership – supporting him as he develops confidence

Results and training

Along with offering specific Maths and English support for teachers, PAT tracks internal and external exams and academic results are proof that PAT is certainly doing something right. The programme includes:

  • Taking on about 25 principals to mentor every year.
  • Enabling principals to attend the UCT Graduate School of Business for a purpose-designed 15-day certificate course – The Management Development Programme (MDP).
  • A Teacher Support Programme with a focus on Maths and English
  • Offering a collection of some 40 themed workshops to schools, as requested. e.g. Discipline, Classroom Management, Staff Motivation, Vision & Mission, Strategic Planning

Building mentor relationships

Each principal is assigned a mentor when they sign up – with a commitment from PAT to mentor the principal for at least three years, meeting every fortnight. These mentors (currently 8) are retired school principals, with 208 years of combined educational leadership experience, as principals.

Mentored principals are introduced to topics such as Systemic Thinking, Personal Mastery, Lean Business Thinking, and International Trends in Education. The course is designed to get principals to think differently about their schools and education.

And mentors are seeing significant change after approximately three years. The relationship of trust between the mentor and the principal is bolstered by work with school management teams to identify and action change for each school.

The relationship between the principal and his/her SMT and staff is critical, as this impacts the teacher-pupil relationship. When teachers instil hope in their learners and the learners respect the teachers, a change in school culture starts to happen.

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