POTENTIAL through the Retreats
Commitments from retreat participants
There are many individuals who do not realise the incredible potential within them. These individuals can be found in countless organisations and oftentimes all they need is a nudge, sometimes a hard push, in the right direction. This book explores the retreats and the role they play in unlocking the potential within each individual. The potential that exists within you.
Founders' legacy Page: 12
Kagiso Trust was founded in 1985 by a group of prominent clerics, secular leaders and businesspeople to initiate development and channel donor funds to worthy causes in South Africa.
Retreat: Art of dialogue Page: 20
The purpose of the Kagiso Trust school retreats is to engender a culture of accountability and to ensure all stakeholders take responsibility for improving learner achievement.
Foreword by the Honourable
The retreats in context by
About the BNSDP
Retreats: the art of dialogue
About the retreats
Impact: case studies
A word of thanks
Glossary of terms
Acknowledgements Themba Mola and Kgotso Schoeman for conceptualisation and editing Amandla Kwinana for authoring and project management Flow Communications for design, layout and publishing Mothusi Boikhutso for research and logistics Yoyo Sibisi for book edits and guidance Dr Mothomang Diaho for consultation
All those who gave their time to co-ordinate and participate in interviews Published 2014
Stakeholder interviews Page: 40
Fondly referred to as ‘Champion’ in the Free State, the Honourable MEC has been one of the BNSDP’s most supportive and passionate advocates.
FOREWORD BY THE HONOURABLE TATE MAKGOE
01 BNSDP Retreats
Foreword by the Honourable Tate Makgoe Free State MEC for Education challenges that we face in South Africa. It is a partnership that is tackling the challenges in education in an integrated manner, and sustaining improvements in the schools system with the major focus on learner performance, and it bears all the hallmarks that have made Kagiso Trust an iconic leader in community empowerment.
Honourable Tate Makgoe
As MEC for the Free State Department of Education, I personally have the privilege of working in close collaboration with Kagiso Trust, one of our key private-sector partners in advancing education in our province. It is a partnership rooted in our shared conviction that education is the most powerful tool to unite the nation, promote democracy and entrench human dignity, equality and freedom. It is a partnership which shares the Department’s vision of “raising the bar and leaving no child behind”. It aims at joint accountability from parents, teachers, schools, provincial and district offices of the department, as well as the broader community, for resolving the education
Kagiso Trust believes that all sectors of society should be working together to create a better future for our children and that together, we should be taking ownership of the crisis in education. Kagiso Trust has a strong view that all stakeholders, including government, business, civil society organisations and communities, must move away from the blame game and get on with the work of fixing the system. Kagiso Trust understands very well that this process has to take place at grassroots level, in the classroom, one school, and one district, at a time. It understands that to change course we need to create pockets of excellence that radiate their learnings out to the wider community. This is the approach of the Trust’s Beyers Naudé Schools Development Programme (BNSDP). The BNSDP is implemented in a district and in marginalised communities over a fiveyear period, after which the schools are able to continue on their own. The focus is on leadership and management skills for principals, teachers and governing bodies,
and leadership skills for learners. The BNSDP retreats have made it possible for teachers to take part in those difficult conversations that force them to take responsibility and be accountable for the success of the school. The retreats have changed the culture of schools; we see teachers wanting to be at school and wanting to teach. As schools change their attitude, this directly affects the schools’ performance. The remarkable results we are now seeing coming out of the BNSDP can in a great part be attributed to the programme’s retreats and controversial business-like approach of rewarding schools, educators and learners only once they have committed to and then achieved set targets of performance.
The transformation in performance in these schools provides a unique model for driving sustainability and accountability at all levels, a model that all educators and all in government can draw on. It is a model that embodies every principle that Kagiso Trust espouses – individual and mutual accountability, partnership, raising standards, striving for excellence, and working together to give every child in South Africa access to a quality education. To use the term of the times we live in, we’d like to see this model "go viral". Kagiso Trust has set a benchmark of excellence that should inspire all private-sector entities to invest in their own communities and join forces in a national partnership, to raise the bar of education and leave no child behind.
THE RETREATS IN CONTEXT BY Kgotso Schoeman
THE RETREATS IN CONTEXT Mr Kgotso Schoeman, Kagiso Trust chief executive officer Organisations in this day and age are confronted with numerous challenges, and in order to survive, they need to change. And with people being the most important resource for any organisation, it is vital that we invest in our employees and stakeholders. Kagiso Trustâ€™s Beyers NaudĂŠ Schools Development Programme (BNSDP) primarily works with rural schools in South Africa (currently in the Free State), and through our interactions and experiences with such schools, we realise that these organisations are fraught with issues that inhibit them from being performing, and even excelling, schools. Mr Kgotso Schoeman
It has now been 20 years since South Africa became a democratic nation, and we must acknowledge the great strides the country has made. In the mid-1980s, when Kagiso Trust was founded, the political and educational landscape was plagued with immense prejudice, injustice and inequality. With influential and passionate trustees steering the boat, Kagiso Trust became a vessel to improve the lives of South Africaâ€™s marginalised and disadvantaged. The values instilled in our organisation almost 30 years ago continue to keep Kagiso Trust above water, and integrating values in the conversations of the retreats is what has sustained the model.
The mere fact that these schools are situated in predominantly remote areas with very few resources, both at a school and community level, tends to place them at a disadvantage compared with those in urban areas. Kagiso Trust saw that a significant change needed to take place within the school organisations to address these challenges. And turning around a school begins with the issue of values. Kagiso Trust is of the view that values are the foundation of any organisation because they define the character and accountability of the organisation. Without a strong foundation, an organisation itself cannot be resilient and progressive.
We have been fortunate to find consistent and enthusiastic partners in the Free State Department of Education. In the eight years we have been in the Free State, Kagiso Trust has facilitated 167 retreats. The retreats are three-day workshops attended by the BNSDP schools, in order for the schoolsâ€™ stakeholders to turn around their situation while utilising organisational values. Oftentimes schools have to develop their organisational values at the retreat, as they come to the workshop without knowledge of their organisational values, should they exist. The retreat process begins with understanding how to deal with people, affirming them and then facilitating the change. We engage the schools in a deep conversation that forces participants to look within themselves and understand the role they, as individuals, play in the bigger scope of things. It is important then for the schools to make their own choices regarding where they want and need to be as an organisation; we never dictate a course of action, but instead facilitate a process of positive change. This book is one that tells the story of how organisations, no matter how dysfunctional, can overcome their obstacles through teamwork, solid values and commitment, and the transformation of their organisations into respectable, accountable and exceptional places of work.
It has been humbling to us to see just how much the retreats have converted schools and instilled a sense of accountability in all stakeholders. We find that participants also gain self-belief. And when we think about it, that is the purpose of the retreat: to unlock potential in our educators, just as our leaders did back in 1985 with Kagiso Trust and South Africa.
The retreat objectives 1. Hold each other accountable for the effective functioning of the school. 2. Provide an introduction to the programme. 3. Prepare schools for professional development of teachers, management and leadership, as well as the overall functionality of the school, including the provision of infrastructure.
Kagiso Trust is of the view that values are the foundation of any organisation, because they define the character and accountability of the organisation.
03 Kagiso Trust founding trustees: Dr Max Coleman, Dr Abe Nkomo Established in 1985, Kagiso Trust has a rich history and humbling legacy
Kagiso Trust was founded in 1985 by a group of prominent clerics, secular leaders and businesspeople to initiate development and channel donor funds to worthy causes in South Africa.
On his recommendation, Kagiso Trust decided to enhance its focus on education. The trust had already invested substantially in education, mostly through its bursary programme.
In its early years, the Trust covered a wide range of programme areas that included healthcare, rural development, food security and education, with the latter being identified as a key priority area.
Based on their learnings from previous work in education, the trustees and staff felt that starting small and building sustainable models with partners was the best option.
Just before the 1994 elections, Rev. Beyers Naudé, one of the trust’s founders, was consulted about the new focus.
The Beyers Naudé Schools Development Programme is one of the successful outcomes of this approach.
'Kagiso Trust started out as an organisation that placed a great deal of focus on education and we have come ful circle, as our activities going forward will continue to focus on this area of critical need.'
'We have a purpose, and that is that Kagiso has to outgrow us as individuals. Years from now, when we are qualified ancestors, it must still be here. It must still be serving people.'
The Late Yunus Mohamed, former chairperson of Kagiso Trust
The late Eric Molobi, founding CEO of Kagiso Trust
Kagiso Trust founding trustees Left to right, top to bottom: Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; Dr Max Coleman; Fr Smangaliso Mkhatshwa; Rev. Frank Chikane; Prof. Jakes Gerwel; Rev. Beyers NaudĂŠ; Mr Goolam Aboobaker; Dr Abe Nkomo; Rev. Allan Boesak
Kagiso Trust current trustees Dean Zwo Nevhutalu (chairperson), Ms Mankone Ntsaba (deputy chairperson), Mrs Zanele Mbeki, Mr Hylton Appelbaum, Ms Girlie Silinda, Bishop Mazwi Tisani, Ms Nthobakae Angel, Mr Goolam Aboobaker, Rev Frank Chikane, Mr Thabiso Ratsomo, Mr Andrew Maralack and Ms Bongiwe Njobe.
Pioneered by Kagiso Trust, the Beyers NaudĂŠ Schools Development Programme was developed to tackle South Africaâ€™s key education challenges.
ABOUT THE BEYERS NAUDÉ SCHOOLS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
04 BNSDP Retreats
The Beyers Naudé Schools Development Programme
The Beyers Naudé Schools Development Programme (BNSDP) was pioneered by Kagiso Trust in 2004 to help tackle South Africa’s key education challenges. The programme’s primary aim is to restore a culture of learning and teaching in rural public schools, and to develop functional and sustainable relationships between key stakeholders within the schooling community. The programme runs interventions lasting three to five years in a number of schools in selected districts. These interventions strive to: • Provide leadership and management skills to educators • Encourage learners and governing bodies to assist schools in becoming more efficient and effective
• Improve learner performance by enhancing content knowledge and curriculum management • Reward schools that improve on their performance by providing them with infrastructure as an incentive
Rolling out the BNSDP The BNSDP was piloted in 10 high schools in the Vhembe district of Limpopo in 2005 and was subsequently adopted in other provinces on the basis of its success. It has now been implemented in five provinces: Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Free State. The focus has mainly been on high schools, but in the Free State, where the programme is being implemented, the programme now focuses on the whole pipeline.
Basic functionality line
Delivery model phases
de rs h
ip m an
nt me lop e nt v e me ty nd e o v i i t ie ca un e ach edu m â€™ ur s & er ct om ing n c u r n r a r & ea Le st ts of l fra en lity i r n a i a Qu P ol ho c S Cur
Consolidation & exit
Whole school functionality
Incentive-based infrastructure Capacity building Management support
School retreat Needs assessment School & district selection
The concept of the retreats is one that has existed for hundreds of years. Dr Mothomang Diaho elaborates.
RETREATS: THE ART OF DIALOGUE
05 BNSDP Retreats
Retreats: the art of dialogue
The purpose of the Kagiso Trust school retreats is to engender a culture of accountability and to ensure all stakeholders take responsibility for improving learner achievement. Each school participates in a team-building retreat that engenders a reflective approach, to allow the school to identify its own challenges and formulate clear action plans on how to improve and bring about a positive and accountable solution. Kagiso Trust established the Beyers Naudé Schools Development Programme (BNSDP) in response to the long-standing and deeply rooted challenges that our national education system faces. The aim is to restore a culture of learning and teaching in schools, while at the same time develop functional and sustainable relationships between key stakeholders within the school community. At the heart of the BNSDP is the quest to strengthen the quality and confidence of educators in rural communities, and to encourage communities around the school to participate in the management of their school. The BNSDP therefore focuses on establishing good governance and management principles, which will ultimately form the foundation of the long-term success of the schools affiliated with the programme. The BNSDP is a well-rounded programme consisting of a number of interventions:
'In the end, our purpose is social and communal harmony and wellbeing. Ubuntu does not say, ‘I think therefore I am.’ It says, ‘I am because I belong, I participate, I share.' Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Kagiso Trust patron
retreats, curriculum training and reward systems. Retreat workshops are held for each school. At the retreats the schoolsâ€™ management and key stakeholders (principals, teachers, learners and school governing bodies) are engaged. One of the retreatsâ€™ outcomes is to get these different parties to communicate, bringing to the fore issues that affect the performance of the school, and come up with solutions and innovations.
allow for dialogue. In these times of busy-ness, information overload, electronic communications, scientific rationality and organisational complexity, we are forgetting how to talk to each other. Fortunately, as a response to this trend, a number of methods for facilitating dialogue have been emerging globally, in particular over the past 20 years. Many of us seem to have forgotten how to engage in, and be party to, such conversations.
For millennia, people in villages have worked through collective challenges, creating solutions through conversation1. But it is not only when groups face problems that dialogue takes place. Life in Africa is an ongoing conversation. Dialogue happens through imbizos, lekgotlas and indabas. These traditional gatherings
The BNSDP has revisited this art of conversation in its retreat format. The retreats are held in places that make participants feel comfortable and relaxed, alert and awake. The physical spaces where the conversations are held are carefully chosen, as such spaces can exert a strong influence on what happens during the process.
1 Mapping Dalogue: Marianne 'Mille' Bojer, Marianne Knuth, Colleen Magner HIV/AIDS, NMF, Heiko Roehl McKay Nelson Mandela Foundation: Johannesburg, February 2006 German Technical Co-Operation (GTZ)
Retreats: the art of dialogue
Current programmes and interventions continue to ignore true school community leadership and ownership, resulting in the weak infrastructure that has repeatedly undermined education and other development outcomes.
A “safe” space is created through facilitation to allow for free flow of conversation. Experiences from other dialogical approaches have shown that communities do have the ability to identify behaviours that need to be changed to effect improvement.
The Kagiso Trust dialogical approach takes into consideration the socio-cultural dynamics of the school communities. It harnesses and builds on the school communit's capacity to respond to crisis by giving the key partners the tools to lead, through facilitated dialogues. This results in structured responses and credible solutions, owned by the school community.
This dialogue’s approach provides schools with the tools and competencies to facilitate community decision-making processes from within the school community. It also promotes ownership and acceptance of decisions once made collectively.
Dialogue promotes people participation and involvement, with a particular focus on strengths and resources that exist within the school community. The BNSDP retreats use an approach that facilitates and builds social cohesion, encouraging principals, teachers, learners and the larger school community to work as a team. The facilitated dialogical approach of the BNSDP at the retreats focuses on people and their interactions, on their strengths and resources, and is based on the premise that all people, principals, teachers, learners and their school governing bodies, have the capacity to respond effectively to the challenges they face in their schools if they build on their strengths.
The approach contributes to the sustainable changes required for the schools in dealing with behaviours that prevent effective learning. At the BNDSP retreats, participants are given, through careful facilitation, the opportunity to engage and come up with their own solutions to the problem as they see fit. In order to succeed with that endeavour, the creation of spaces of trust and mutual respect is critical for genuine interaction. When responses are imported or imposed from the outside, they often meet resistance and can fail. This is partly because they are not exactly appropriate in the given context, but just as much because there is a lack of ownership from people who haven’t participated or been consulted in the decision-making.
and own, solutions they have been a part of creating. The success of implementing interventions on social issues often depends more on ownership and motivation of those involved than on the cleverness of the idea. Kagiso Trust’s step-by-step and rewarddriven approach with the BNSDP is the best way to achieve a lasting, positive impact on South Africa’s schooling system, and wider rural communities.
Dr Diaho is CEO and co-founder of TEACH South Africa, and has worked as head of the Dialogues Programme at the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Human beings have a deep, living impetus for freedom and self-determination, and given appropriate circumstances, they are usually more resourceful than expected in terms of finding their own answers. They buy into,
A key performance indicator of the programme is the successful implementation of the basic fundamentals of an education institution – where teachers are teaching, learners are learning and the school has a credible, functional and sustainable management and leadership capability. Our experience continues to reinforce that there are no “quick-fix” or “one–size-fitsall” solutions when turning underperforming schools around. The key here is to identify and support committed stakeholders to drive change from within the school. Mothomang Diaho
A look at how the retreats engage schools at a deeper level, preparing them for transformation.
ABOUT THE RETREATS
06 BNSDP Retreats
About the retreats
The BNSDP retreats framework ACCOUNTABILTY
Gr ow i
i ow Gr
Connection Individual Team School
in ow Gr
Gr ow i
The retreats began with Kagiso Trust’s Beyers Naudé Schools Development Programme in 2005. Kgotso Schoeman, Kagiso Trust CEO and key retreats architect, defines the retreats as “an affirmation of people and the alignment of their values with those of the institutions they are in”. Described as being “life-changing”, “empowering”, “motivating”, and “needed by every school” by those schools that have participated, it is obvious that the retreats are more than a workshop, more than a weekend getaway and much more than a session where schools plot out their plan for success. The retreats are one of the first interventions that are undertaken, as it is important for
schools to attain the drive to take them to the next level. Each school’s retreat is hosted in a separate conference venue, to allow each school the freedom and focus to attend to its school-specific issues. In the following paragraphs you will get an understanding of what happens at the threeday retreats, and the real changes that take place in individuals and schools as they take the deep dive into transformation.
Day 1 The first day of the retreats is divided into two sections: introduction to the retreat and
participants introductions. Before the session begins, the school arrives at the venue and heads straight to lunch. Following lunch, the school arrives at the conference venue where name tags are randomly placed (to avoid participants choosing to sit only next to their preferred colleagues. The retreat team is made up of a workshop facilitator sometimes a co-facilitator is present, an administrator who takes care of all the admin requirements during the retreat, and a scribe to document the workshop proceedings and comments.
'Who are we?'
Introduction to the retreat The introduction is given to participants in order to ensure that they understand why they are attending the retreat, and to give insight into Kagiso Trust as an organisation. In acknowledging the culture of the participants, the facilitator asks the school to open by either singing a song, sayinga prayer or whatever else the school usually does. Following this opening, the facilitator engages with the school to explain Kagiso Trust as an organisation and its partnership with the Free State Department of Education. After this organisational introduction, the facilitator and the school set their own workshop ground rules, which often includes things such as keeping one’s phone on silent during the sessions.
Affirmation Participants introductions Often, colleagues do not know each other beyond the day-to-day interactions of school life. The participants’ introductions aim to increase their’ knowledge of each other, which ultimately leads to better understanding between colleagues.
Section 2 of the workshop involves participants introductions. This is a beautiful and often fun exercise. However, the facilitators have warned that it is best to sit down during the introductions, as one can never anticipate what each participant will share; some have really shocking things to say. During these introductions it is interesting to see each participant’s personality shine through and by opening up to share these personal details, the schools become more relaxed. More often than not, when each school arrives at the retreat they are nervous; they do not know exactly what will happen, and how deep they will go in uncovering their school’s challenges. But after the introduction we often find most participants laughing more with each other, cracking jokes and even sitting back comfortably in their chairs. This is when the session breaks for tea. During tea it is interesting to note how the school interacts with each other. You will notice that some educators always end up together, or another educator seems to get along with
everyone, or there is another participant who spends their teatime on the phone. The facilitator notes these interactions, as often this behaviour informs later things that are said about individuals. After tea the facilitator sets
the scene for an open discussion on "taking the deep dive". But before going into what a deep dive is, she takes the school through the growth path.
The growth path
Organisational performance growth path
Team performance journey
Your individual performance lourney
The growth path allows participants to critically look at themselves as individuals in terms of their behaviour, thinking and performance and how these affect the functioning of the school. Organisations are only as good as the people in them - and not the other way around. The growth path consists of three stages: dependent thinking, independent thinking and interdependent thinking. Here the facilitator asks the school to comment on the three stages and ask themselves where they, as individuals, are in the growth path. The entire school agreed that most of them have been working dependently, an indication that most exclude themselves from any form of responsibility and accountability. When asked where they want to see their school, all the schools have said that being interdependent is the only way their school will succeed. Following this exercise, the school is taken through their school’s performance. More often than not, this is usually where things become serious. The schools see their threeyear results up on the projector screen, and they are asked what contributed to their results being better in one year or worse the other. A common occurrence is that, most schools initially blame others (resources, learners, policy, parents, etc.) for their poor results. Following their reasons, the facilitator reminds
the school that they had agreed on being interdependent and having chosen that, each individual who makes up the school team is to be held responsible. A good example facilitators use is that when a school obtains a 100% matric pass rate, we do say the matric educators achieved a 100% pass rate. It becomes the school’s success and as such, when the school does not do well, it is the school’s failure. The facilitator then asks the school to use interdependence thinking as they rate the school as either poor, average or good. The school breaks away into smaller groups and upon the groups’ return, a representative presents their rating. After each group has presented, the school needs to consolidate the ratings to come up with one rating that informs where their school is. Most of the schools declare that their schools are currently average. The facilitator would then share with the school that because they know where they are and have an idea of where they want to go, they are on the right path. But before they get there, the school needs to take a deep dive. “When an eagle reaches the age of 40, it is old and its feathers are not as glossy; its beak is not as sharp and its claws are not as strong as they used to be. The eagle goes high up into the mountain to its nest, secluded from everything, and starts plucking out its feathers. It plucks at the feathers until every one of them is gone. It then pulls out its claws, one after the other, until it has no claws. Then the eagle
beats its beak against the rock until even its beak is gone. This is a painful process. You can imagine how it must feel to do that yourself. Yet the eagle does this and stays in his nest for the next three to four months without any food, because he can’t fly or hunt for prey. But after those four months have passed, the eagle flies out of his nest a new bird. His feathers have grown back, beautiful and glossy, his new claws and beak are strong and sharp. The eagle knew that in order to survive and add another 30 years to its life, it needed to undergo that painful process of shedding those things that were holding him back. And this is what we have to do, colleagues.” This is the story that facilitators share with the school in preparing them for the deep dive. The painful process of acknowledging your wrongs and the things that are holding the school back has to take place in order for the school to become a new, beautiful and strong school that flies high. And on this note, the school retires for the day.
Day 2 The second day of the retreats could be said to be the most honest and impactful. You’ll find out why shortly. This day is divided into three sections, namely team awareness, organisational awareness and visualisation. The schools enter this day, aware that they will be engaging with their challenges as they were prepped for this the day before through the telling of the eagle story.
'Where are we?' Team awareness Creating strong teams is important for any organisation. Strong individuals alone cannot move an organisation forward; but a team can. The purpose of this section is to unify the school, and to assist them in seeing how much more their school can achieve once it is operated by a good team.
The session kicks off with individual and team awareness in relation to the team and organisation functionality. The first topic of discussion is the meaning of a team. Before proceeding to come up with ways in which a school can better function and be productive, it is vital to address this issue and ensure that the school realises that without being a team, it cannot succeed. The facilitator then takes the school through characteristics of a good team: communication, purpose, membership, vision, ownership, results, structures and systems, management, synergy, integrity, leadership, culture and celebration. The facilitator then takes the school through the meaning of values and why it is important for a school to have its own set of values. The facilitator does this by getting the school’s input and the finding out whether the school has a set of values. There is a diagram of a house that is used to illustrate the importance
of values in organisations: the roof is the organisation’s vision, the top part of the house is the mission, the bottom part of the house is the organisation’s strategy, and the foundation is made up of the values. This shows that without values, an organisation cannot stand strong.
A values-driven organisation
When asked to share their thoughts on what a team is, schools know exactly what it means. Responses have included: “people working together”, “people with a specific goal”, “co-operation”, "people with an identity”, “there is power in unity” and “it’s a lot like marriage”. Following this, the facilitator asks the school whether, based on their definition, they consider their school a good team? Many conversations are struck up from the responses to this question. In a certain secondary school, the principal answered “yes, we are absolutely a team” but the rest of the school disagreed with him. In another instance, a primary school admitted that as a school they were not a team, but teams existed within the school; this is where one would find the Grade R teachers have their own "clique" or team and did their own thing. The schools, having deduced that they are not a team would have to rate their school and determine whether as a team, their school rated poor, average or good. Once more, most schools rate average because they understand the concept of working together and do so, but not to the extent that they should. Following the exercise, each group presents their school team rating and why they say so, using the characteristics of a good team as a guide. Issues that come up through this exercise have included leadership (“there is a lack of interaction and inconsistency in controlling that work gets done”). and integrity (“as educators we sometimes don’t even attend our own classes and visit each
other during contact hours. ”) Usually by this stage the school has learnt to be accountable for their actions and their language has changed to include "we" (the idea behind interdependence) as opposed to "I" (the idea behind dependence). Often the school will break for lunch at this stage; as the next section is best conducted uninterrupted.
Organisational awareness This session helps participants to understand that for their organisations to succeed, each individual is responsible. This is where individuals learn to be accountable. This is what most would refer to as the crux of the retreat. This is where schools are most honest about their challenges and shortcomings, paving the way for positive transformation. This section begins with schools contributing two things their colleagues do that hamper the performance of the team. Here the facilitator emphasises that the participants are only to mention those things and not the names of the people who do them. A few examples of what schools have to say include: • • • •
Absenteeism Lack of commitment Gossip No feedback
• Don’t resolve issues • Selfishness (refusal to share information • Inability to communicate Following this contribution the administrator hands out small pieces of paper to each participant and the facilitator asks them two write two things about themselves that hamper the performance of the team. She then asks each participant to read out loud what these two are, and the team will remind them of other things that they do. The hardest part for the participants, besides the honesty, is to not respond to or explain themselves following comments from the other participants. This is the deep diving-process. Some of the common "confessions" include: • • • • • • •
Late coming Not finishing and/or submitting work on time Lack of communication with the rest of the team Neglecting policy in educating learners Not teaching during contact hours Rejoicing in others’ failures Short-temperedness
Through these reflections many issues tend to come up. A particular primary school had issues far beyond what they had alluded to in the beginning. One participant announced that a Grade 5 class had not had a single lesson in PSW, a separate class that falls under the Life Skills subject. She asked the Life Skills
(head of department) who was meant to teach this class, and he could not reply. She asked her fellow colleagues and none of them could respond. But this was not all: the school indicated that three educators taught Life Skills: one taught physical education, another PSW, and another arts and culture. The school had three educators teaching one subject, Life Skills, even so one class was not delegated an educator for PSW. The SMDG from the Department of Education was not impressed, needless to say. And when HODs and the principal, three months into the school year, have no idea that such a problem exists, it is a grave concern. It is not unusual for tears to be shed in the sessions either. One educator could not keep herself from crying. She relayed how she was made to feel insignificant and replaceable at work, by being constantly reminded by the principal that she can be fired easily because she was hired by the SGB (school governing body) and not the Department. It is heartbreaking seeing educators develop low selfesteem and dread going to work, based on certain individuals in their school. What needs to be understood is that in most schools that come to the retreats, the platform for educators to communicate their grievances does not exist and the relief mixed with the pain of finally letting out things one has been harbouring, sometimes for years, is enough to bring them to tears.
This section sometimes takes up the rest of the day, as you can see a facilitator cannot just move on or neglect the need to discuss certain issues. In another school there was the issue of learners constantly wearing earphones: the educator who brought up the issue was very emotional about it as no one seemed to share her frustration, and the fact that the children did not hear her talking greatly disturbed her. The principal mentioned that the rule book mentioned no use of cellphones during school hours. This discussion went around in circles and no resolution could be foreseen. The facilitator made the decision that the school would go back and come up with a solution to this issue after the retreat. Such issues are an exception and waste time for focusing on the things that really matter. At this point, many educators feel wronged; they were not given the opportunity to respond or defend their actions. Others feel a great load being lifted from their shoulders; finally, everyone knows how they feel about a certain issue. Others feel bad: they had said negative things about their colleagues and wish to also tell them the good things that they do. However, the most interesting thing is that in most schools, they continue to have dinner together and laugh. Others, though, have been known to become very angry at this and refuse to speak to those who had mentioned their shortcomings. And as such, it is the end of the day and they need to go to bed.
'Where do we want to go?' Visualisation School X performance 120 100
With some schools, the schedule is followed and they get to delve into the last section for Day 2. Having being made aware of each oneâ€™s challenges, the schoolâ€™s attention is shifted to seeing how they move from where they are to where they want to be. But the important thing here is to know where they want to go, thus the vision. Although all schools have a vision that is probably framed and placed in their school reception, most schools have been unable to say what their vision is. Some do not even recall phrases from the school vision. The facilitator gives the school an opportunity to collectively come up with a new vision of where they want to see their school. Once more the school breaks away into groups and the resulting visions are consolidated to create the schoolâ€™s new vision. This process is particularly gratifying: one gets to witness the school working together and being excited at the prospect of creating such a school as described in their vision.
Before the retreat 2009
After the retreat 2012
The participants are given paper by the administrator and asked to write two things which they commit to doing. These will serve as reminders that as part of a team, they need to fulfil certain duties and act in certain way for the benefit of the school as a whole. Following the end of the retreat, the commitments are sent to the Kagiso Trust offices, where they are laminated and sent back to the school. The laminated commitments are placed where each individual will daily be able to see the promises they made. This has proved to be an effective reminder in ensuring the school sticks to their plan.
School X performance
The schools are required to visualise where they would like to see their school and draft up a vision statement. This is a joint effort from all the participants, to ensure everyone has a stake in the vision of the school, and its implementation.
Day 3 'What has to change?' For those schools which have kept up with the schedule, the third and final day of the retreats includes four sections: Transformation, tapping on your growing edge, implementing the change, and creating support systems. This is where each school ultimately gets to put everything they learnt in one box, and realise that they can indeed turn their school around. Transformation Unless behaviour is changed, the vision statement the school conceptualised will not be realised. Through the process of transformation, the school is required to formulate an action plan that will ensure that their vision is implemented and sustained.
statement was “to strive to provide a quality teaching and learning environment in order to achieve 90% results in all grades and Excellency in extracurricular activities”. Through their school action statement, the school has a guide on how to obtain their vision.
Your growing edge Here the school receives the opportunity to identify what they are doing right, and maximise these strong points. The school lists their good attributes and considers ways in which they can utilise them to move the school forward. All organisations possess both good and bad habits and practices; the key to growing the organisation is to leverage on the good, learning from those good practices in order to improve the bad.
Implementing the change The facilitator takes the school through the nine areas of functionality to determine what areas on which they need to focus, based on their vision. As with the vision statement, the school is tasked with having to create their action statement. The groups share their views and they are consolidated to form the school’s action statement. One school’s action
Having identified their shortcomings, their strengths and where they want to go, the school is taught that this can be done by setting up projects. The facilitator informs the school of the need to set smart goals for their projects to avoid failure, and that objectives need to be:
Specific Measureable Attainable Relevant Time-bound This activity of plotting their goals and projects is to be executed by the team upon their return to school. Having planned their projects, the local co-ordinator will arrive at their school to see this plan and follow up from time to time to see whether or not the school is executing the projects they had set out to do.
Creating support systems This last section of the retreat encourages the school to set up support systems that will ensure the execution of the projects. This process of creating systems involves the school utilising each individualâ€™s strengths, and assisting each other where there is a shortfall. This process stimulates the creation of effective relationships and structures. Each member of the school is to be responsible and accountable. Often, schools deviate from the topic to discuss how the retreat has helped them
realise that everyone has a role to play in the success of their school. This could be attributed to how at this stage, many participants have gone through a variety of emotions and finally see why they had to do the exercises, and speak honestly about themselves and their school. Facilitators have various ways of concluding their sessions: some play a motivational song, others offer a poem, while others will show an inspirational video clip. Regardless of the method, each facilitator parts with the school on a positive, can-do note. Following the closing remarks and thank-you speeches, schools do not hold back their affection. They hug each other and hug the facilitator and his or her team.
The end of the retreats â€Ś The beginning of transformation Kindly take note: The duration of each section is dependent on the school, so some schools may finish earlier while others finish later. The order in which the presentations are conducted are also dependent on the school, but these are hardly ever compromised. However, most facilitators would revisit certain slides, such as values, to emphasise a point. The facilitators use games or light-hearted exercises to keep the workshop exciting and to teach certain lessons: for example, one facilitator asked a school to make music using
At this stage, many participants have gone through a variety of emotions and finally see why they had to do the exercises, and speak honestly about themselves and their school.
whatever they could find. They banged on tables, clinked glasses, whistled and clapped hands, and the sound was horrible. The facilitator asked them if they had made music, and the obvious response was "no". This little game taught the school the importance of synergy and communication.
Schools that have participated in the retreats share their experiences.
07 BNSDP Retreats
Retreat feedback from Mrs Busi Tshabalala Free State Department of Education district director, Thabo Mofutsanyana
The retreats have opened my eyes to the way that organisations should be operating. In trying to turn around schools, one cannot expect to plough on soil that is not fertile, and that is why the BNSDPâ€™s first intervention at a school is the retreat. They get people to understand their common goal, and know that each individual is needed for the team to work efficiently. An important thing I have picked up with the retreats is that all stakeholders need to be involved in the process: you can have your retreat and have your intentions, but without buy-in from all involved in the running of the school, you cannot expect the retreat to have any impact. From my point of view, the BNSDP retreats have really assisted with schools that experienced internal conflict. The retreats brought together all the relevant people within the community: the learners, the teachers, the principal, the SGB and the SMT. In the space created, the school as a whole can agree on what they want and need to do in order to achieve their goal, and in so doing, work in unity.
When people feel appreciated and valued, they are very easy to work with and putting in those extra hours is not a problem. When we work harmoniously together, we can achieve anything.
As a parent attending the retreat it is easy to see how you, too, play a role in the functioning and productivity of the school. The role of parents is brought under scrutiny and they can
see the consequences of not attending parent/ teacher meetings, or coming into school when requested to by the child’s teacher to address the problems that the child may be experiencing in his/her studies. The retreats are a great space for introspection.
educator, against whom he held a grudge. So that is how powerful the retreats can be. My most memorable retreat moments are those times where I have observed teachers telling the principal things that they don’t like about the way he acts.
The retreats are helping so many schools change their attitude, and it’s fantastic that even principals are required to do the same exercises as the rest of the participants, as this shows that they are all equally important to the process of change and the team they are building. We have witnessed learners being given the opportunity to also share their thoughts and inputs.
The same applies for learners: one learner spoke about a certain educator and told her that as much as the learners enjoyed coming to school, the educator has a habit of insulting the learners so much that they don’t want to attend school at all. This was very brave of the learner, and the teacher saw her fault and apologised.
This has resulted in very positive outcomes for the schools. Schools leave, knowing that being open and honest allows them to all work more efficiently as a team. They realise that through working together, they are able to move forward. There was an incident where an educator shared that the retreat was the first time in five years he had spoken with a fellow
If only we could all be given this opportunity. Kagiso Trust held a district-level retreat in May 2011 but this was only attended by the SMGDs. I was not district director for Thabo Mofutsanyana at the time, and so was not part of the retreat. Although a great initiative, I realised in 2012 that because not all stakeholders of the district office had been represented in the retreat, the district did not
'In trying to turn around schools, one cannot expect to plough on soil that is not fertile, and that is why the BNSDP’s first intervention at a school is the retreat.' Mrs Busi Tshabalala
much about creating teams and being a fair leader. I realised that one may be a leader, but that does not make one perfect. As a result, I encourage the office to tell me when I am wrong. All our views matter. What people need to understand with the retreat is that everyone needs to participate and be prepared to say everything. We have to be open and honest. The retreats are there to build and grow people, and it is the part of the facilitatorsâ€™ job to not only open the wounds but to allow them to be healed as well. Lastly, as the district, we realise that Kagiso Trust will not be in the Free State forever. There will come a time where we will have to sustain the progress made on our own. We want to remain with the skills on how to conduct retreats and continue in KTâ€™s absence. We are excited that 10 officials are being trained already. We ask that Kagiso Trust continues with the transferring of such skills, and believing in us.
Mmathabo Secondary School
Retreat date: 2007
Mr MK Kumalo principal The entire retreat experience was memorable. As a school we realised the seriousness of being a team â€“ people cried, people confessed, all grudges were coughed out on the day. Those tears changed me and my personality, because that was the first time I realised that I had not been a good leader. We gained so much from the retreat up until now. As educators we meet every morning; we sing, we pray and we celebrate by pulling together as a team. In 2007, the year of our retreat, we only improved by 1% to a pass rate of 30%, but we were happy because it was an improvement nonetheless. The following year we achieved 92%! We are currently one of the best schools in the programme. In 2012 we were in the provincial top 10 and in 2013 we received R100 000 in prize money from the Department of Education for being the top Mathematics school. Since the weekend of the retreat, we have learnt to celebrate all our achievements. Our school was changed by the retreat. We are now communicating. Before then, there would be no contributions at all. I also realised my own mistakes at the retreat, so it not only changed our school but the retreat changed my life as well.
'I would love for our school to go back to the retreat, to refresh.' Mr MK Kumalo, principal
We are currently implementing all those things we learnt from the retreat. I would love for our school to go back to the retreat, to refresh. We have new recruits now who did not attend the retreat, and only a few left from the group that went. These educators also want to taste the fruit of the retreats.
Mrs Matieho Dorole Educator On the Friday, our first day at the retreat, one educator was sent home. The educator was going on retirement and felt that the retreat was fruitless. The following day another educator was sent home as he refused to co-operate. In fact, the entire school wasn’t co-operating and (Kagiso Trust COO) Mr Mola decided we should all be sent home. I thought, what will we tell our husbands when we get home? We left saying we would be away for the whole weekend! So we sat down as a school and tried to come up with a solution. We agreed we wanted to change. We went back inside and sang a hymn. Before the retreat, communication was a big problem. Now we hold morning meetings and
we had an intercom installed to do morning announcements. Our human relations have improved: before we used to have cliques and you’d find that these people would just be opposing because they belonged to different cliques. We don’t have that any more. There is so much improvement. When someone does not come to school because they are sick, we are all concerned. Our parental involvement has been strengthened: we have sectional meetings where we hold meetings for each grade. We involve the parents in our daily activities and have told them of the school’s expectations. I would not want to change anything about the retreat. It was marvellous. We could finally open up. Everybody took responsibility after that.
Mr Mothusi Sikhosana RCL member I was not around when our teachers went on the retreat. I found out about Mathabo in 2009 and enrolled because it was a performing school. Our teachers are fantastic; they function well and co-operate with each other, and are like parents to us. They go the extra mile. I see now that the learners are playing along and co-operating with our teachers. What I like is that before they teach, the teachers talk about the purpose of the lesson and tie it in with what to expect in life. Our school is performing very well and because of the computer labs, our school has a subject called Computer Applicable Technology. This subject introduced me to computers and it has really helped a lot with projects and submitting assignments. I donâ€™t think our school would be like this if our teachers hadn't gone to the retreat, so Iâ€™m happy and grateful they did.
'Our school is performing very well and because of the computer labs, our school has a subject called Computer Applicable Technology. This subject introduced me to computers and it has really helped a lot with projects and submitting assignments.' Mr Mothusi Sikhosana
Manthathisi Secondary School
Retreat date: 18 February 2011
Mr Samuel Mphuthi Deputy principal When I arrived at the school, Kagiso Trust had already started their intervention and the school had gone to their retreat the previous year. In 2010 the school had obtained a matric pass rate of 77.92% and since the retreat, the school’s results have been improving year by year. Manthathisi obtained 75.21% in 2011, 82.31% in 2012 and last year we achieved 96.7%. Kagiso Trust’s local co-ordinator, Mr Keele, has been visiting our school frequently and assisting us. Our educators have received help from Kagiso Trust and we also do team teaching, where educators help each other out with subjects. In 2012 our school received infrastructure from the BNSDP, something for which we are very grateful. Our school spirit is great, and the community sees that we are a wonderful school that will continue flying high. There is no way we can go lower than where we are. We have also revived the spirit of rewarding. We have rewarded the learners and, in fact, as we speak we are getting ready to go to Kroonstad to celebrate our 2013 matric results. We are such a great team and I know that this all started with the retreats. Kagiso Trust’s presence in our school has brought about a huge difference. You can see it in the way we, as educators, relate to
each other and, of course, our learners are doing well.
Mrs Lindiwe Lemaoana Educator The way the retreat was designed was just perfect, and it made a huge difference to our school. We were told about the background of Kagiso Trust, we had to rate our team and do presentations. The retreat changed how we approach, solve and talk about issues. Our school had a lot of problems with miscommunication, ownership and management. We learnt how to do things better. And as soon as we got back to school, we restructured everything based on our strategy from the retreat.
The most memorable moment for me was when we were reflecting on our system – how we communicate between management, and our teamwork. Through the activities we realised that we had problems and needed to improve. Our school has taken a lot from the retreat; we have a team-building project and we do activities that make us work together, like celebrating birthdays, we celebrate as colleagues, there is communication – we do things the right way, observe protocol and best of all, the lines of communication are open.
The retreats are perfect and organised. They are professional – everything is structured. We were able to see that this was not personal, but for the purpose of improving our school.
Ms Masekoali Malakoane SGB chairperson Kagiso Trust did us so much good. Our children can learn properly, the environment is clean, we are proud. Our school’s results have also improved. I have a child at this school and she is part of Kagiso Trust’s Resilience Network Programme. I am proud of what my daughter has become: she now has a sense of responsibility, and knows right and wrong. This school has changed. The teachers and learners are now proud of their school.
Teachers treat each other so well, they speak well. I come to the school frequently, and I’m always happy to be here.
'The retreats are perfect and organised. They are professional – everything is structured.' Mrs Lindiwe Lemaoana, educator
Manthathisi Secondary School
Mr Monei Ntsie Community member (85-year-old man) Kagiso Trust has been improving our performance since 2011; we made a good move. This organisation shows that there is an interest in the learners; you can see it in the help we get. Before 2011, children were coming to school but not learning. We see what they are doing. We are proud of this school. We still wish to improve in 2014, and achieve 100%.
'Kagiso Trust has been improving our performance since 2011; we made a good move. This organisation shows that there is an interest in the learners; you can see it in the help we get. Mr Monei Ntsie, community member
Hlajoane Secondary School
Retreats date: 2012
Mr Mafika Maunden Mngomezulu, principal For me the highlights were the exercises like team building. When we were setting targets and making plans on how to achieve that. We raised points, like how to draw parent and community involvement. We were given a task for us to finish at school, and we did that. At the retreat we also got to understand that working together with government is key. We also tackled the issue of learner performance. We were at 47.2%, underperforming badly. We had very interesting problems and it was good to see that these were not new to the facilitators, they could easily point them out – and they used us to give solutions to problems, and this taught us that we could solve problems on our own. Right now, 60% of the plan we came up with for our school during the retreat is being implemented. Our school has improved a lot; we are now at 77.8%. Our school was terrible. We played the blame game; we could not work as a team. Now, if one makes a mistake or goes back to those tendencies, we remind each other about our team spirit. Since the retreat we have had
three educators deployed elsewhere, but this hasn’t let down our spirit. One thing Kagiso Trust could do to improve the retreats is to tackle the time factor; the retreats should be extended to a longer period. And maybe we could have a reflection retreat after a year. Another challenge is that the SGB comprises people who can’t read or write, they can’t catch up and don’t understand English. Maybe they can have interpreters at the retreats.
'At the retreat we also got to understand that working together with government is key.' Mr Mafika Maunden Mngomezulu, principal
Hlajoane Secondary School
Mrs Christine Motsoene Educator Oh, my most memorable moment was when we were able to speak. Some of us were were too shy to speak out at school. At our school there was a lot of miscommunication. We didn’t communicate or hold staff meetings. Management plans were not executed and there was no follow-through. No monitoring. Absolutely no transparency. We were afraid to say certain things at school, but at the retreat we felt free. At the retreat we learnt how to not be afraid of anybody. Our purpose is to build the school and we were given plans to do so. And we got the opportunity to choose a champion for each task in our plan. When we came back to school, Mr Mishaki noticed that the principal was neglecting his duties as the champion of a certain task, and he reminded him. And this was for the benefit of the school. We realise that we need to be a system; different parts working together. I must say, the champions thing works very well. One thing people don’t understand is that this
school was about to be closed when we went to the retreat. We were hired as the new staff and there was low morale. The retreat was needed for reflection. Learner numbers were also decreasing: it was really not a good time for the school. It was important for our school to attend that retreat. Our school changed for real. The retreats can improve by monitoring schools after their retreats. The checks can be divided into terms, one session every four months. Monitoring is important; it reminds us of what we promised to do for this school.
Mr Thakali Job Setsoha SGB chairperson The retreat put us on the right track. We realised that as parents, we don’t support the children. We don’t attend meetings and the children become discouraged. Our children are always watching TV or are on their cellphones. Parents need to be involved. I have two children at this school and I have seen that when the teachers changed, they changed too. As a community, we are now more active in encouraging our children.
Ms Dimakatso Julia Mokoaqatsa RCL member Iâ€™m in Grade 11 and was not present at the retreat, but there are so many changes that happened when our teachers came back from it. Our pass rate has improved and learners are focused. Our teachers are active, and they organised study camps for our learners in Physical Science. I see that there is teamwork. Since they took one RCL member to the retreat, we are more involved in management, but we need more learner/teacher relations. Our teachers told us what they learnt from the retreat: they were advised on how to improve management and work as a team, and they also know how to share their opinions. I am proud to be a Hlojoane learner.
Boikemisetso Primary School
Ms Magokolotso Lydia Moremoholo, educator
I don’t think the retreats need any improvement; they are done in such a way that they leave you at peace and at ease. The passion from the facilitators also feeds the mood of the participants.
Mr Matteus Filand Mkhwane, principal
My most memorable moment was being able to speak about certain issues that had been on my mind for a while. It was sad and emotional, but left me feeling relieved. We don’t always get a chance to work with each other, so the activities gave us a chance to interact. The introductions at the start of the workshop gave me a better perspective on my colleagues. It was interesting to hear about other people’s unfulfilled wishes. I saw some changes in the team. People talked, hugged and got lots of issues off their chests. The biggest change is us having found a better way to deal with our issues. We’ve all let go of a lot of issues that we had kept inside, and we are going to start on a clean slate.
The most memorable moment for me was getting to find out more about the people I work with – their dreams, wishes and their flaws. After us stating the things that we think hamper our work, it felt as if the staff were less chatty, that they were more reserved, especially around me. One of the sessions at the retreat involved stating two things that negatively affect your
performance. The rest of the team then had a chance to add to those two things with things they think affect your work. I feel as though, after receiving feedback from colleagues, we should have been able to respond.
Ms Thabita Ndamane Administrator
Mr Elia Lebuso, HoD
It was interesting to hear about the things my colleagues are and aren’t doing, as well as having to state my own two flaws that affect my work as an educator. As an HoD, I never expected to hear some of the things I heard during the sessions. I started seeing a change in us, especially in terms of attitude. I saw that my team was eager to get back and start working. Everyone was aware of their mistakes and their flaws. I don’t think the workshop needs any improvement. The facilitators we had, managed to explain everything in a simplified manner.
My most memorable moment was everyone stating things that they did and didn’t do that hampered their performance – my colleagues expressing their feelings. It had an impact on me because, although I work with all of them, there are some whom I don’t know too well. It taught me that we should know ourselves, and be aware of our feelings and attitudes towards one another. I realised that in that short space of time we had grown – we were a real team bound together, and worked together unlike before. My attitude towards my work has changed drastically, and the workshop empowered me a lot. I think the retreat was very well organised and everything was excellent. I learned many things about myself, and about my colleagues.
Facilitator reports of the first retreats held in the Free State.
IMPACT: CASE STUDIES
08 BNSDP Retreats
The first BNSDP retreats in the Free State Date: May 2007 Venue: Golden Gate Resort Facilitator: Kgotso Schoeman
• Insubordination • Gossiping • Lack of communication
Dikwena Secondary School Introduction
This was the first school to attend the retreat. The idea was to expose all new facilitators to the process to enable us to learn, as well as contribute any views with regard to the retreat session. We facilitators had no other resource except Kgotso, who had previously facilitated workshops in Limpopo.
The retreat The school looked like any normal school, with a young principal, and we had no premonitions or any information about relations at the school. We were all amazed by what the retreat workshop was able to do in terms of creating an environment of frank deliberation by all the stakeholders, and the ability of the facilitator to trigger such an enabling environment. That first retreat was an eyeopener to all of us with regard to the level of facilitation required in running the retreats; we were immediately aware of the challenge of facilitating the retreats.
Challenges identified Among other challenges that the school faced, the following were the most disturbing at the school: 60
We were later informed of the enormous impact of the workshop in heightening the levels of motivation, as well as bringing parties together to resolve conflict at the school. The principal shared that the educators are grateful to Kagiso Trust for having come to the school’s rescue at the right time. He informed us that he had already begun the process of instituting disciplinary action against some of the staff members. It has taken Dikwena a few years to become a performing school. Two years following the retreat it had a matric pass rate of 56.44%, and in 2010 it dropped to 45.95%. By 2012 the school was at 68.18%, and it achieved 84% in 2013.
Date: May 2007 Venue: Golden Gate Resort Facilitator: Themba Mola Written by:
Mmathabo Secondary School Introduction
This was our second school to attend a retreat. It was still a learning exercise for us and we were very cautious, but wanted to maintain the momentum and success of the first workshop. We chose a school we knew had serious challenges.
The process • The stakeholders were very cautious and did not open up – this created a challenge to the facilitator, as they had indicated that they were not a good team • It was worrying that the school did not open up and presented a picture that everything was well at the school – the session had a very tense atmosphere • The facilitator had to be very slow in proceeding with the workshop. We realised that there were cliques within the school and people who had presented were dishonest, and evidently careful not to upset members of their cliques • As the workshop progressed, some members of the staff openly confessed to belonging to cliques that undermined the formal structures of the organisation
• During the workshop two educators came out and aired their pessimistic views, to the effect that they did not see themselves as part of the team nor did they think that the BNSDP would succeed in fostering a team spirit at the school • The session had to be paused to try and resolve the impasse, because we all realised that we could not continue in that kind of situation • After some deliberations by the school community, it was reported that one educator (who had about a month to exit the system) had reconsidered his stance and he addressed the workshop on his decision • The other educator was adamant, however, and was consequently requested to leave the workshop by the school, which promised to attend to the matter as soon as possible and report to Kagiso Trust Two years after the retreat, Mmathabo had already shown great improvement. The school obtained a matric pass rate of 78.83%. In 2012 it achieved 86.7% and in 2013, the school realised an impressive 91.33% matric pass rate.
'We chose a school we knew had serious challenges.' BNSDP Retreats
Impact: case studies
Date: May 2007 Venue: Graceland Lodge Facilitator: Yoyo Sibisi Written by:
Tsebo Secondary School Introduction
This is the school where the BNSDP was launched â€“ judging by the standard of its preparations, as well as its display of willingness to help the school, we were tempted to assume that there were no problems at this school.
The retreat The atmosphere was very cordial, compared to some other schools. The educators seemed to have a very good relationship with management. It was noticeable that the principal commanded a lot of respect from the staff and was viewed as a mother figure â€“ but this was not accepted by male colleagues, who had been in the teaching fraternity for some time. Be that as it may, we learned that there is no organisation without its challenges.
Matric pass rate of 95.34% in 2013. In 2009, two years after the retreat, it had obtained a 76.79% matric pass rate. 62
Challenges • The retreat surprised the members of the school – the respect commanded by the principal was found to be a challenge in itself. While the principal consults the educators before taking decisions, it was discovered it was not easy to disagree with her because of her status as a mother figure • It was also discovered that there were long-standing feuds among some of the staff members • An educator also commented on unsatisfactory telephone etiquette at the school, which was acknowledged by the principal, who mentioned that it was impossible to blame one individual as all the teachers answer the telephone at one time or another • Communication was highlighted as a challenge • Favouritism was also mentioned and the principal acknowledged the fact that she did sometimes give support to certain individuals, and assumed that others did not need it as much. She promised to work on that particular challenge and improve • It was further acknowledged by the parties that the history of the school had contributed to an inhibitive atmosphere with regard to teachers’ contribution to decision-making processes, because of the management style of the current principal’s predecessor • To sum it all up, the workshop was a
breath of fresh air to all stakeholders, as well as the facilitator, in that there was an atmosphere of frankness and maturity throughout the deliberations Tsebo is currently performing very well: it achieved a matric pass rate of 95.34% in 2013. In 2009, two years after the retreat, it had obtained a 76.79% matric pass rate. This school continues to go from strength to strength.
The BNSDP has seen more than 200 schools across five provinces benefit from its intervention in rural communities.
09 BNSDP Retreats
The BNSDP Footprint
One school piloted in Vhembe district of Limpopo
Mount Fletcher region of the Eastern Cape
Kwaggafontein district of Mpumalanga
Total 10 schools Exited province
Total 10 schools Exited province
2005: Programme pilot expanded to 10 schools in the Vhembe district of Limpopo
2009: Sekhukhune district of Limpopo Total 20 schools Exited province
uMzinyathi district of KwaZulu-Natal
Maluti-a-Phofung municipality of the Free State
Total 10 schools Exited province
2011: Expansion of the programme to the Thabo Mofutsanyana district of the Free State Total 167 schools Currently in province
The BNSDP Footprint BNSDP FREE STATE IMPACT: 2013 MATRIC RESULTS
schools obtained 80% and above
registered for exams
achieved in 2013
Target set for 2013
5.8% up from 2012 2011 - 2013 RESULTS 2011
3 000 2 000
Matric pass rate
2013 MATRIC PERFORMANCE
Learners Learners who who passed wrote
Rantsane Secondary School Thiboloha School for the Deaf and Blind
4 000 3 000 2 000 1 000 0 3 439 learners passed 1 276 learners achieved a bachelors pass (37.68% up from last year) 1 483 learners achieved a diploma pass 677 learners achieved a higher certificate pass 430 learners failed to achieve matric
learners selected into the Eric Molobi Scholarship Programme (EMSP) in 2014: the largest intake since its inception
The BNSDP Schools
In partnership with the Limpopo Department of Education
Thomas Ntaba SS
In Limpopo, 10 secondary schools from the Sekhukhune district partook in the BNSDP retreats, conducted from September 2009 until March 2010.
Tshabelang Dinoko SS
Kwaggafontein, Mpumalanga In partnership with the Mpumalanga Department of Education Ten secondary schools in Mpumalanga participated in the BNSDP retreats. The first phase took place from July to August 2008, and the second phase from February to March 2009.
Mount Frere, Eastern Cape
In partnership with the Eastern Cape Department of Education
1. Dinizulu SS
2. Jamangile SS
Ten secondary schools in the Eastern Cape partook in the BNSDP retreats, conducted from late 2007 to early 2008.
3. Khanya SS
In partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education
Ten secondary schools in KwaZulu-Natal participated in the BNSDP retreats. The retreats were conducted from June to July 2009, during the winter break.
Justice Lefuma PS
Thabo Mofutsanyana, Free State In partnership with the Free State Department of Education A total of 167 schools have participated in the Free State BNSDP retreats, the BNSDPâ€™s largest provincial footprint to date. 1.
Kgola Thuto SS
Kgoledi ya Manka PS
Koos Motha PS
Lerato Uthando SS
Morena Tshohisi Moloi II IS
Mosiuoa Lekota SS
New Horizon SS
Seleleka SS BNSDP Retreats
Thakoana Makaota SS
ZR Mahabane PS
Thebe ya Kgomo PS
Facilitators reflect on their retreat experiences.
10 BNSDP Retreats
A retreat is … A retreat to me is when people are taken out of their usual workplace or environment, to a place where they will be free to communicate and confront issues that affect their performance.
My most challenging retreat Firstly, what these workshops teach us is not to bring our personal baggage to the mix. You might feel tired, something might have disturbed you or changed your mood, but you have to be professional about it and rise above your issues. Non-verbal cues show on the exterior. Personally, I wouldn’t want any mood that I’m in to mess up the workshop.
My first retreat experience I started facilitating in August 2013. I was nervous at first, but with time was able to adjust. The group was not that big, though. Although I was an observer, I was given the opportunity to make inputs. The school had a lot of challenges but at the time I wasn’t able to pick up the major issues they had. What I have been told is that, in time, from your first engagement with a school, especially during introductions, you are able to identify the challenges that a school is facing.
When it comes to challenges that I have experienced, I have encountered a school with people who were not on speaking terms at all; there was a lot of harboured hate and they didn’t want to work together. These things can be seen from the start of the retreat, when the facilitator would engage them and when we analyse their non-verbal cues. The first hurdle that we, as facilitators, have to jump over is getting people to understand that they need to learn to work together and learn to deal with their negative attitudes towards each other.
A good facilitator is … A facilitator needs to have a humble personality and knowledge of the education system.
I have learnt â€Ś The schools have taught me that it is not easy to be an educator, being underpaid and overworked.
Values Values are a guiding principle for organisations to succeed and cope with difficulties.
'I started facilitating in August 2013. I was nervous at first, but with time was able to adjust'. Muzi Tshabalala
The most gratifying thing about the work I do Seeing people owning up to their mistakes, appreciating one another and, importantly, seeing people embracing change and acknowledging the wonderful job that KST is doing to change the lives of the African child.
The retreats can be used by â€Ś I have been fortunate enough to have worked in both the government and private sector. I would say these workshops would come in handy in all the governmentâ€™s departments where there are people having to work together and deal with other people. The government has a concept called Batho Pele (people first), and through the retreats I feel the government sector would handsomely benefit.
first thing I said to the school was, “Who is from Reitz?”, and most of the people raised their hands. Then I asked, “Is it true you guys are infamous for witchcraft?” I had the whole school bursting into laughter. Since then it gave the sense that I need to make people laugh. As soon as people laugh, they relax and that gets the conversation rolling. So my first retreat experience was fulfilling and exciting. The school had its challenges but we made it through. My bubbly personality came through. That weekend was … wow, I love this and I want to do it over and over again, and I’m still here.
A retreat is …
My first retreat experience The first retreat was in 2011 at the Thabo Mofutsanyana District, and I co-facilitated with Themba Mavuso. I remember it was a huge school in a huge hall, and for some reason I was super-excited. I guess I was excited because then I was going to be officially part of the facilitating team. I remember I had to do the introductions. Previous schools had mentioned that Reitz (the town) had witches. And this school was from Reitz and so the
A retreat to me is a space where people physically remove themselves from the normality of everyday activity, to actually go and think and reflect about themselves as individuals and as a team. To me a retreat is all about thinking beyond your normal way of thinking; we go deeper and do more introspection. It goes beyond introspection: it’s also about what you are going to about it. So it’s not just about thinking, but about implementing action.
My most challenging retreat It was a school where we had almost the entire SMT (school management team) being very passive in their duties, but very active in their drinking. So from the first day that they arrived we were dealing with intoxicated SMTs.
Even the next day people came intoxicated, and I think it was also why they were the worst-performing school: they were at 26%. Throughout the retreat there was denial, and they placed all the blame on the Department of Education; there was nothing wrong with them. It was very hard. Even if at the end of the day we say the retreat happened and you get positive feedback from the school, for me it’s one of those cases where I question whether we achieved what we wanted to achieve. Have these people actually changed? Eventually, when I followed up with the school, I found out that they had made a slight improvement. Obviously I can’t make them change but one still questions: “Did I do everything I could have done to help this school?” It’s one school I would love to visit just to see where they are.
A good facilitator is … First, I think it is a person who can build a rapport with the participants from the moment they meet. To connect with them beyond the role of facilitator, but heart to heart. Retreats are about heart-to-heart conversations and it’s important to get people at that level. It’s also important to understand that it is not about me; I don’t sit there and pass judgment, or tell them where to get off. It is about the school and enabling them to open up and say the things that they were unable to say at school. As facilitators we need to simplify a lot of things. We need to avoid using too many big words: the participants need to understand what we are saying. And as serious as it may be, let’s try to have a bit of fun, because the retreat should not
be morbid. The retreat should have an element of fun in it.
I have learnt … A lot! I think I learn more from the schools than they can learn from me. Some of the things I have learnt are: • It’s easy for people on the outside to pass judgment on the schools. I have learnt there is far more to them than meets the eye, and these are usually very complicated situations • More about the Department of Education • Humility. Someone will say “I’m from a farm school,” and so you don’t come there looking and acting like you are better than them. It grounds you. We need to ask: will this school look at me and feel overwhelmed? • One can never be narrow-minded and jump to conclusions • How to relate with other people, regardless of where they come from
Values Most workshops focus on competence, abilities and skills, and we tend to forget that there is another side, which is the attitude side. In order to deal with this other side of passion and having a positive attitude, we need values. Unless that is done, things will not happen as they should, because the attitude drives how we relate with each other and the way an individual carries out their work. And that is why we talk about values-driven organisations.
The most gratifying thing about the work I do
When the results come out you want to know, “How did Free State do?” Through the retreats you become part of the team, the school and the process. The little that I do impacts on the learners somehow. Looking at the bigger picture, I play such a little role but it means so much. As facilitators we even call them “my school”, such is the connection we build. And when educators contact me I realise that the role we play goes way beyond that of being a facilitator. Making that little mark and going to bed thinking, “Man, but I love our educators” – even though they gave us a headache all day.
The retreats can be used by … They can be used anywhere where there are teams. Whether it’s families or the private sector. We look at your performance, and everyone has a role within their families. If we were to implement it in public services it would increase productivity, and people won’t see their jobs as “just jobs”. The model is just so replicable.
'The little that I do impacts on the learners somehow' Fikile Buthelezi
My first retreat experience My very first facilitation alone was in 2014, the weekend of 28 February to 2 March in Parys. I facilitated a relatively small school compared to the other groups that I have observed. I was anxious. My anxiety was mostly on whether I will be able to strike a rapport with this group. Initially the group, although small, found it difficult to have an effective conversation and I was worried that I would not be able to achieve the desired objectives of the workshop, or create a conducive environment where we all feel protected and reassured. I needed to get my group talking!
I was conscious of the fact that effective communication needs one to realise that people are all different in the way they perceive the world, and therefore I had to use this understanding as a guide to my facilitation. I needed to also listen to the "silent" voices in the midst. As I was engaging I saw a nod, a gesture, a raised eyebrow, a smile or a frown, and I knew that a signal has been sent that has made an impression on someone. At that moment I said inwardly: "Wow! A voice is a powerful tool of communication."
A retreat is â€Ś A retreat is a moment in time when one takes a step backward to reflect.These retreats give all of us an opportunity to do introspection, reflect, acknowledge, inform, engage and advise where things are out of tune. To put our heads together to come up with solutions that will create a conducive environment for learning and teaching but, more importantly, solutions that will help all stakeholders to attain objectives that will help them to achieve and work as interdependent teams to the best of their abilities. At the retreats the SMDGs also get an opportunity to appreciate the challenges of their colleagues, so that they can focus on what needs to be done to support the schools. They also get to interact in an informal way. It is somehow a social gathering of like-minded individuals.
My most challenging retreat My most challenging retreat so far was with a school I facilitated in mid-March. It has been the most challenging because it was a group of 14 people. There were only 7 educators in that group. Initially they decided not to talk. Two people responded and the rest were still sizing up the situation. The challenge was the relationships that had collapsed to an extent that when we began to talk and focus on the school results, we realised that they did not have results to present. The school had sent us a shoddy document that did not give information about the performance of the school. There were also cliques in this very small school, and the principal was totally overlooked by the rest of the educators. Had it not been for the SMGD who came in at that very moment when we were discussing results and found out that the school did not bring any for the discussion, a huge and crucial step of the retreat would have been compromised. The SMGD, Mr Mosala, summoned the principal and the clerk outside and offered them his own car to go and fetch the results. The school was about 30km from the retreat venue in Thaba-Nchu.They came back eventually but these disturbances can demoralise you as a facilitator and create gaps of information in your presentation.
A good facilitator is â€Ś A good facilitator is someone who facilitates a conversation and is able to hide their anxiety, if any. S/he has to start strong so that they exude confidence from the onset of the retreat, and they communicate to express and not to impress. A good facilitator has emotional intelligence, is punctual, prepares and plans well. S/he is able to help participants identify their own challenges so that they may find solutions among themselves can thus build a good, effective and confident team. A good facilitator can give clear instructions and because emotional reactions are not unusual when relationships have broken down in schools, in a retreat this demands that a facilitator be the source of calm.
I have learnt â€Ś
leader and this is why some of us get the fulfilment of working with the Free State DoE. I I have learnt that having a smart vision takes you places.
Values Values are emphasised in the retreats because they test the culture that exists in a school. We can listen and see if the culture in a school is that which inculcates accountability and work ethic, and respect. Values are an anchor in our personal lives. If we have or adopt good values, we are able to distinguish and separate right from wrong and form good habits. These are what sustain and distinguish people from each other generally. In the retreat we need to inculcate values so that issues of discipline and classroom management do not hinder issues pertaining to learner performance.
So much! I I must commend the Free State DoE. Hats off to MEC Tate Makgoe. He is a visionary and in a space of his own. I have not met him yet but I have seen how the officials respond when they are called in to save a situation. They do not look at the time: one official came in at 11pm once. The SMGDs sit for the whole weekend in the retreats and not just a few hours. I think the directive comes from a strong, respected
The most gratifying thing about the work I do I just love the fact that I do not work to produce a product but I am changing peopleâ€™s habits for the better. I am grateful to be making a difference in the learners' lives by merely interacting and transforming their educators. This will cause a ripple effect if I succeed in making a change, no matter how small.
I have worked in the development sector and education for the better part of my career, and this is what I want to do for the rest of my life: to transform and empower the educators. We have already lost so much over the years, before and after the apartheid regime, so we actually need a millionfold BNSDPs to roll out these interventions and facilitate these kinds of partnerships.
Retreats can be used by â€Ś The retreats can be used anywhere where there is non-performance. A friend of mine suggested hospitals. In my previous retreat an educator raised his hand and asked why we do not do hold retreats with learners as well. I think this teacher may have been thinking now that he is motivated to start a new journey on Monday, he would be returning to the same learners that still want to do things the old way. Maybe they did not have enough confidence in the LRC present. I let the issue go because together, as a team, they will hold hands and apply the interdependency thinking strategy and grow.
Sizakele Mphatsoe Kagiso Trust programmes manager
regardless of the position each holds in a school. What has humbled me as an individual, is seeing a group of professionals who have put everything aside to be part of the forum. On many occasions the expectations are about them being better individuals, groups and a better team, that performs well to promote the culture of learning and teaching in their schools. They also want to know what it is that you will do as a facilitator to make them a better school. Egos are sometimes visible from the start of the workshop, but usually diminish as individuals start realising that we are not attacking people personally, but addressing the issues arising from systems and processes which in many instances are either in place but not implemented, or donâ€™t exist at all.
Going to a retreat for the first time you have mixed emotions, of excitement and fear of what might come out of it. You understand that your role as a facilitator is to ensure that the conversation is contained in such a way that the participants realise and accept change without being victimised. This is one platform I have come to know, which allows everyone an equal opportunity to share,
What I have learned is that each retreat is different. As fun as it can be, it is not a place where people come to just talk, eat and go home. It is a platform that allows individuals to do self-evaluation and accept their faults openly, by committing to do the right things in the right way. Personally, being part of the retreats has made me a better person and empowered me with life skills that enable me to treat people as the unique individuals they are. I donâ€™t jump
to conclusions, as I now understand that there are reasons for every action. After each retreat a facilitator is forced to engage in their own reflections. Some of the issues from the retreats, without intention, cause one to take a good look at oneself. Being at the retreats becomes therapy on its own. There are times when you feel drained
and helpless, and this shows just how resilient teachers are when you realise what they face each day. For me, the retreat is a success when the entire school community realises that no money or external people will change their actions for the better: they hold the power to that.
'All in all, the school has a significant pool of highly capable individuals.' Tumi Mabitsela and Themba Mavuso
Extract from a facilitatorâ€™s report compiled by Tumi Mabitsela and Themba Mavuso, 2011 Another factor is that educators, despite of the fact that they are not working as a team, and with the exception of a few, do attend to their classes and effective teaching is taking place. There is a high level of commitment from individual educators. All in all, the school has a significant pool of highly capable individuals who are unfortunately not able to work together as a team. If they could work on building an amicable and strong team, they could be back to their peak form. In their reports to Kagiso Trust, the facilitators are required to give feedback on how the school functions based on the information that eventually comes out during the session. In the school above, one can see that the school is generally one that is functioning.
Extract from a facilitator’s report compiled by Nathi Makae and Tsakane Khosa, 2011
Extract from a facilitator’s report compiled by Yoyo Sibisi and Sizakele Mphatsoe, 2011
The phrase “a conspiracy of silence” was coined by one of the teachers. This emanated from the fact that it was difficult to get the participants to open up. It transpired that even during staff meetings, this happens to be the case. The reason given for this silence was that teachers felt that their contributions were of no value, as the school management team (SMT) always imposes decisions upon them without any consultation. There seems to be a schism between the SMT and other teachers
Interpersonal relationships are not good at all levels. The educators don’t share ideas; everyone works alone. Behavioural issues include learners and educators bunking classes. Educators arrive late to class and also come late to school. Policies which can assist in controlling, even stopping, the bad behaviour such as absenteeism are not being implemented. There is a high rate of late submissions. There is evidence of limited effective teaching and assessment of learners, because most educators run away from school when subject advisers visit the school. There are no specific interventions in place to assist struggling learners.
One of the deputy principals mentioned that the principal does not take kindly to opposing views. There have been cases where the principal and his deputies differed in public because the latter felt that the principal was communicating to the staff something different to what they had agreed upon. The principal is also seen as being too lenient with the learners; they look forward to be taken to him for reprimanding, and this discourages other teachers who want to enforce discipline. This report shares the challenges that were picked up during the session, and it is important to note how relations at a school affect a school’s responsiveness at the retreats.
Mohaladitwe Secondary School (mentioned in the extract above) was clearly a dysfunctional school but has since made a 180-degree turn and is one of the best-performing BNSDP schools. In 2010 the school obtained a matric pass rate of 58.14%, in 2011, the year of their its retreat, they it obtained a dismal 20.34%. The following year the school achieved 79.63%, and in 2013 celebrated a 100% pass rate.
A sustainable model, the retreats are being replicated by the Kagiso Shanduka Trust.
11 BNSDP Retreats
In creating sustainable models that have a social impact, organisations need to be of the understanding that we do not need to reinvent the wheel, as the saying goes. The successful implementation and results of the BNSDP retreats make up one of the models that Kagiso Trust has decided to replicate in two more districts in the Free State, through the Kagiso Shanduka Trust (KST). In March 2013, Kagiso Trust, Shanduka Foundation and the Free State Department of Education signed a memorandum of agreement to implement holistic school development in the Motheo and Fezile Dabi districts in the province. This collaboration will harness the experience, intellectual property and resources of all the partners for the greater good of education in South Africa. In choosing to include the retreats as part of the KST intervention, Kagiso Trust is sharing a tried and tested model that lays the groundwork for schools to refocus, rebuild and become the centres of excellence they have the potential to be. More than 100 KST schools have already benefited from the retreats. But Kagiso Trust is aiming higher: the retreats can be implemented beyond the education sector. The retreats model is one that can be replicated
throughout a variety of organisations: corporate, government and social investment – anywhere where there is a need to turn around an organisation and conjure a sense of interdependence, value, accountability and common vision within the stakeholders. Kagiso Trust’s experience and stout belief in sound values being the foundation and driver of successful organisations, has culminated in the Trust’s keen interest of replicating the retreats to organisations across South Africa. Our country’s 20 years of democracy are testament to the fact that without solid values being the foundation, the organisation will eventually topple and fall. Thirty years on and Kagiso Trust retains the values on which it was founded, an accomplishment that the Trust wishes to see being simulated by many other organisations in our country. Following the passing of South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Tata Mandela Rolihlahla Mandela, Kagiso Trust released a statement: “Because you taught us that liberty lies within us all, we pledge our commitment to living your legacy and empowering ordinary South Africans.” And the retreats, which Kagiso Shanduka Trust has aptly renamed “empowerment and team-building workshops”, are one
way in which Kagiso Trust is fulfilling the commitment it has made. For it is only through being empowered that people can
unlock their potential, and our country gains the great individuals, teams and organisations it deserves.
A word of thanks.
To quote an African proverb, “A single stick may smoke but it will not burn.” We extend our gratitude to our partners, staff, stakeholders, and the communities we have worked in. Rea leboha. BNSDP facilitators and administrators These are the men and women who have played an integral part in facilitating the retreats.
Kgotso Schoeman Yoyo Sibisi Sizakele Mphatsoe Emmanuel Jacob Makae Xoliswa Motshohi Tsakani Khosa Rakgadi Motang Tumi Mabitsela Nombuso Dlamini Mothusi Boikhutso
Themba Mola Angelinah Mdakane Themba Mavuso Nompumelelo “Spukie” Mlangeni Sonto Sibeko Nontobeko Scheppers Thabo Seekane Sarah Motaung Itumeleng Lukhele
Local co-ordinators To these men on the ground, we applaud your diligence and the support you offer to the schools.
SMDGs Ten officials from the Free State Department of Education District Office facilitated some of the retreats. Their participation has been invaluable in displaying the strong partnership between the BNSDP and Free State DoE.
Palesa Mochesela Nompumelelo Mokhatla Theko wa khotla Phillimon Mosea Lindiwe Mabaso Motsamai Jerry Mokoena
Thabo Staat Lerata Moqubane Michael Lethepa Modupi Amos Maleka Penelope Nkhiki Nthunya Mashishiwane Lesley Kunene
Glossary of terms BNSDP
Beyers NaudĂŠ Schools Development Programme
One who facilitates the retreat
Free State DoE
Free State Department of Education
Head of Department
Learner Representative Council
Learning Support Material
Learner Teacher Support Material
Those participating in the retreats
School Governing Body
School Management, Governance and Development
School Management Team
School Based Support Team
Contact details 27 Scott Street, Waverly, Johannesburg, Gauteng , South Africa Phone: +27 11 566 1932 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.kagiso.co.za
Published on May 16, 2014