Home' Independence : Independence Vol 38 No 1 May 2013 Contents 64 INDEPENDENCE VOL 38 NO 1 MAY 2013
CRITICAL ISSUES 2
At the outset, the Principals created
an executive to oversee and review the
operation of the model. This consists
of the two Principals and Deputy
Principals, the Marketing Director, the
CIO and the DBO and meets quarterly.
Each of the three key shared senior staff
meet separately and regularly with each
Principal, and are aware that they report
The Principals have completed reviews
of these staff together and more recently
have shared this responsibility.
Of course, there are numerous
challenges. What we are committed to,
though, is making the model work; there
are too many benefits to allow it to fail.
In this era of unease about government
funding to independent schools, it is
essential that schools look at how their
operations can be more cost effective.
Challenges can include perceptions
of staff and school communities, for
example, a perception of 'losing staff'
to the other school and losing 'grunt'
through lack of visibility as key staff
spread their time between two schools.
Sometimes petty comments can suggest
a belief that one school is being favoured
in the relationship and getting more or
Sharing services also requires a
willingness to collaborate and
sometimes compromise at Principal
level. For Principals with healthy egos
and positions of authority in their own
schools, this is not always easy.
What must be carefully monitored is
the time commitment of shared staff
to manage the potential for twice as
many meetings, especially for the DBO
and Business Manager where there
are board reporting requirements.
Through the first six months of the
implementation of the model it was
agreed that the DBO would remain
the Company Secretary to both boards
and attend those meetings but that she
would not attend finance sub-committee
meetings. Not surprisingly, this created
some challenges, so on most occasions
both staff members attend both board
and finance sub-committee meetings.
However the Business Manager is now
the Company Secretary for the boards of
both schools' Foundations.
Both Principals have made it clear that
they are happy to have shared service
staff members attend some meetings
via Office Communicator or some
other technical means rather than in
person. The two schools work hard to
set essential meetings (board events as
well as significant staff meetings and
celebrations) at times so that shared
personnel can attend both.
Work in progress
As well as an extension of the model
to more fully embrace financial
services staff, we are also considering
property and facility management and,
potentially, human resources.
Ongoing discussions are in train
to identify opportunities to share
teaching via online or other modes
as logistics allow. IT has set up a
learning management system, called
The Learning Centre, in which posted
teaching resources are available for
staff to access in both schools. The
opportunity for students to enrol in
subjects offered in one school and not
the other will be explored in 2013.
While each school is keen to look at
efficient and cost saving practices, this
alone is not sufficient to underpin a
shared services model. There must
be absolute trust between the two
(or more) Heads and a willingness
to put egos aside from time to time.
This was facilitated in our case by the
professional relationship that existed
between the two Heads at the outset,
born of working together for a number
The support of the school boards is
vital, as is the willingness to take risks
by launching into the model. Our advice
to schools considering this type of
relationship is that, as a shared services
model demands a 'flip' in thinking
about how schools operate, one should
follow the advice of Peter Sheehan in his
book Flip, that 'action precedes clarity'.
We would encourage you to start the
process and seize each opportunity that
natural attrition of staff and allocation of
St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School, Corinda, QLD
was established by the Sisters of the Society of
the Sacred Advent in 1929. It is a day school
for girls with 795 students from Kindergarten to
Year 12 (the Kindergarten is coeducational).
St Margaret's Anglican Girls School, Ascot, QLD
was established by the Sisters of the Society
of the Sacred Advent in 1895. It is a day and
boarding school for girls, with 823 students
from pre-Prep to Year 12 (pre-Prep and Prep are
Sheahan, P. (2007) Flip: How counter-intuitive
thinking is changing everything - from branding
and strategy to technology and talent. North
Sydney: Random House Australia
Links Archive Independence Vol 37 No 2 Oct 2012 Independence Vol 38 No 2 Oct 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page