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Basically this evaluation is in response to a Government requirement, made at the time of its introduction in 1997, that Enhanced School Based Management be evaluated following its full implementation. Specifically this assessment is mandatory to:
Provide an summary of current SBM provision, including a extensive comparative comment on arrangements in other jurisdictions
Analyze the efficiency of SBM arrangements in meeting stated objectives and
Identify the scope for additional supporting schools to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery.
So using this project as a reference I discus the different aspects of the task given and recommended the improvement by the team involvement, training need assessment and training, team building process and leadership abilities required for the project success.
This report is based on Enhanced School Management; this evaluation is being conducted fourteen years after the introduction of enhanced school based management in ACT schools in 1997
Terms of reference
The evaluation is mandatory to provide an overview of current SBM provision including a broad relative comment on arrangements in other jurisdictions, analyze the effectiveness of SBM preparations in meeting the stated Objectives and identify the possibility for further supporting schools to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery.
In this project the methodology for the evaluation consist of the following steps:
Confirmation of the methodology and evaluation questions with a Reference Group
A review of system financial data and selected school data, a sample of primary schools, high schools and colleges was selected to include representatives from each of the categories of enrolment size, location, and age of school.
Surveys of school principals, office managers/registrars and school boards on their perceptions of the effectiveness of SBM, For principals the survey covered the effectiveness of SBM since its introduction, school expenditure, school decision-making, the impact on educational outcomes, efficiencies from SBM, future planning, training needs and support arrangements for SBM. For office managers and registrars the survey covered time spent on SBM, the ease of meeting SBM requirements, the efficiency of the tendering and contract management processes, the quality of service providers, suggested improvements and training needs. For school boards the survey covered the benefits of SBM, SBM's impact on the overall running of the school, tendering and contract management processes, board involvement in SBM and support arrangements for SBM
Analysis of the survey results to ascertain the key issues
Interviews with the principals and some office managers in 18 schools regarding their experience of SBM
Interviews with key SBM personnel responsible for finance, procurement and assets in the Department
A discussion with the School Resources Group
Meetings/discussions with key stakeholders: the Australian Education Union, the LHMU and the CPSU and the ACT Council of P&C Associations
Focus groups with principals, office managers/registrars, teachers and board members to discuss possible options to improve the effectiveness of SBM
Development of a draft report for discussion with the Reference Group and writing and submission of the final report
Aims of Enhanced School Based Management
In this report the stated aims of Enhanced School Based Management (SBM) introduced into ACT schools in 1997 were to:
Improve educational outcomes for students through increasing the range of decision-making and resource management at the school level
Provide for the efficient delivery of services to the school community with a minimum of administrative overheads and an emphasis on community controls and provide the opportunity for local decision-making.
The introduction of SBM saw the complete devolution of responsibility and budget to schools in the areas of cleaning, grounds maintenance, some IT and communications, minor and mandatory maintenance, energy and education expenses such as classroom materials and professional development. It was intended that such devolution would give schools the flexibility to direct funds to their areas of greatest priority and need. The necessary conditions for a system to operate successfully with devolved management have been shown through many organizations' experience to include.
Central development of policy frameworks and provision of specialist expertise to support the devolved units
Centrally provided tools to assist managers in the devolved units and benchmarks or indicators against which the health of the individual units can be monitored and
Clear accountability and reporting from the devolved units with central monitoring and analysis of the data to assess the overall condition of the system.
Collaborative leadership teams and high performing are significant for schools'growth and success. The leadership team sets the teamwork standard for the school community at all levels. If the leadership team is modeling and teaching high management and mutual teamwork, the entire community will probable get on board. Those who cannot or refuse to work collaboratively on teams should find a school where they would be a better fit. Teamwork is completely critical for schools to succeed and achieve ambitious goals.
Teacher morale or faculty traditions has greater impact on student learning than any other factor. Students learn little when the faculty is distress from low morale. Students learn a lot when the faculty is enjoying elevated morale. One of the main determinants of faculty morale is teamwork. When teachers are working jointly in teams and with the interests of every team member at stake, morale is high and students succeed. When teams are dysfunctional, morale is low and students experience, students learn very little.
Critical to engaging students in learning to the paramount of their abilities, are highly effective faculty, staff and leadership teams. Team building through Appreciative Inquiry is almost positively the best way to build collaborative, high performing teams that will also increase faculty morale and student presentation. Grateful Inquiry is manifestation and research that groups use to make new understandings of them based on positive approach to looking at the past. The four action research principles are to start on with appreciation, be applicable, be challenging and be collaborative.
Appreciative Inquiry start with thoughtful observation of the "best of what is." The next step is to predict collaboratively "what might be", while reaching consensus on "what should be" and experimenting with "what can be."
The Appreciative Inquiry move toward to team building creates influential, collaborative and high performing teams based on the past, present and future. Teams learn from the past, categorize and admiration the strengths of their team members in the present and commit to working collectively to achieve the goals for the future.
Team Building Process:
A step-by-step approach to change can assist a team to work methodically and prevent
the oversight of significant stages. Practical observations suggests six steps that are
important in the team building process.
Step 1. Wanting To Feel improved
Change is never eager by comfort and complacency. Successful change start with
the comprehension that all is not well or that difficulties lie ahead. At this initial stage, feelings
play an significant part because the need for change must be felt by those individuals
who will be accountable for implementing the process.
Step 2. Identifying The Needs and Problem
Sometimes problems can be complicated for a supervisor to identify. A supervisor trying to
diagnose a problem may find it difficult to examine symptoms, as a superficial
assessment is often made that fails to spot the causes of the problem. A technical
analysis of problems needs to be complete.
Step 3. Creating Vision
It is very important to Specifying the preferred situation . As the supervisor, you need to be as
clear as probable about where you wish to go. If you and your team can imagine the
changes you wish to see and the difficulties which may chunk you, you have a better
chance of persistent and achieving. One way of doing this is by asking yourself the
question. "What do I want to see happening with this team in one year? "Most people
respond to this question by restricting their vision with practical difficulties. However at
this stage it helps to ignore the practical limitations. Concentrating on what you wish to
see happen will help to construct a vision of the future.
Step 4. Building Strategies For enhancement
After the teams vision has been clarified, it should be worked on until it can be
uttered in terms of objectives. once objectives are stated, strategy and tactics can be
developed. There are many strategy for team development, but not all can be
implemented at once. An appropriate treatment is one that is affordable and effective.
Step 5. Reviewing development
The team building process wants to be monitored. Progress can be carefully reviewed
by using mechanisms such as clearly defined responsibilities ,regular meetings, open
discussion, development reports and etc. These are not special techniques. Team building
can promote from many of the same tools supervisors use in other areas.
Issues in team building:
It is very difficult to make schools successful, takes more than just individual effort - it takes teamwork. Schools are using teams to achieve many tasks. Teams may work on site-based decision making, implementing new programs, curricular reform, or restructuring. For teamwork to be successful, teams and individual team members need to have clear, shared goals; a sense of commitment; the ability to work together; mutual accountability; access to needed resources and skills; and other elements of effective teams.
whilst successful teamwork can be rewarding in itself, teamwork ought to center on meeting the academic and societal needs of all students in the school. Just as the school vision and mission should spotlight on student learning, team building, team planning, and team developing should be heading for improving student outcomes.
In many schools, teachers work in segregation, administrators try to achieve tasks alone, and the responsibility of implementing new ideas falls to individuals. Working collectively in teams often is a more effectual way to accomplish important tasks. Teams have many advantages over individuals working in isolation. Teams tend to be improved at solving problems, have a higher level of pledge, and include more people who can help implement an idea or plan. Moreover, teams are able to generate energy and curiosity in new projects.
Both research and practice show the advantages that teams bring to accomplishing goals. But effective teams do not develop by accident. Teams take time, skills, and knowledge to be successful.
Transformational leadership skills can assist in developing such high-performing teams. Leaders of school transformation must be able to inspire, motivate, and support teams. Engaged and high-performing teams flourish in a "learning organization," where colleagues support each other in learning, risk-taking, innovation, and change.
Obtain support, training, and information on shared decision making, conceivably by contacting organizations that work with schools in developing teams.
Learn about the importance of teams in the success of organizations by reading about how teams are more effective than individuals.
Discuss how the team is performance and learn about the functions of teams in schools by reading about programs that work.
Teams can become more efficient, with less conflict and more successful decision making, by participating in training for effective team building.
To conquer individuals' resistance to working together, team members should learn from other successful teams, perhaps by presentation videotapes on effective teamwork or reading about another team's accomplishments.
Learn how collaboration and a shared culture can support teamwork.
Teams also can become more successful and self-aware by learning about the stages of team development, the positive and negative roles that can subsist in teams, team problem finding and problem solving (Yukl, 1989), and methods for avoiding and resolving conflict.
The team may not divide a clear goals or purposes, and therefore defining specific goals will be important.
Hargreaves, Fullan, and others (cited in Fullan, 1993) note that teams frequently face issues that can reduce the effectiveness of the team and specifically its ability to make decisions: (1) the time trade-offs in decision making (team decision making can take time away from working directly on curriculum, classroom planning, and instructional activities), (2) problems of "groupthink" and pressure to conform, and (3) the potential for increased conflict over decision making.
Without enough team training and preparation, it is unlikely that team(s) will work effectively to develop and realize a shared vision.
Katzenbach and Smith (1993) list the following requirements for building effective teams:
Teams should be small enough in the number of members.
Members should have enough levels of complementary skills.
The team must have a truly meaningful reason.
The team must have a explicit objective and goals.
The team and its members must set up a clear approach to the team's work.
Members must have a sense of mutual accountability.
Without team leadership (as opposed to traditional top-down leadership), teams will be unproductive. Another potential obstacle is individual resistance to working in teams.
There remain significant opportunities to improve the efficient delivery of services to the school community
Quality of contracted services
The surveys results on the quality of service under SBM are based on respondents (office managers) own perceptions on the quality of services provided, as well as the relationships schools have with their service providers. The results show that the quality of services was generally much the same as was the case four years ago, or, for those office managers more recently appointed, since the time of their appointment. The only aspect of facilities management where there appeared to be some concern was in the provision of cleaning services. In the survey about 25 percent of office managers indicated a decline in the quality of cleaning services. This was offset by 36 percent indicating that the quality of cleaning services had improved in recent years. There did appear however to be an improvement in the quality of other services for 20 - 40 percent of schools. In addition to cleaning services, office managers indicated that the quality of service provision was better in recent
Years, in respect of:
Grounds maintenance (39 percent)
minor maintenance and OH&S compliance services (32 percent)
IT supports (28 percent)
HVAC (24 percent)
Communications (20 percent)
In terms of the actual relationships schools have with service providers these remained much the same as had been the case in previous years. In the survey there were no services where office managers reported a significant worsening of relationships.
Through focus groups and interviews with the Department we established that there are few standards promulgated to schools against which services can be assessed. For example how clean should a school be, condition of carpets, or condition of paint or the standards of repair in which buildings should be kept. Such standards are a necessary precursor to being able to monitor a contract
Effectively and to having a clear basis on which to manage the relationship with a contractor
Managing procurement and contracts
Office managers have considerable difficulty meeting several important aspects of tendering for and contract management of the provision of HVAC, cleaning and maintenance services, in particular: preparing tender documentation, tender selection, contract negotiation and monitoring contracts and contractors. In the survey results, more than 50 percent of office managers found these requirements to be very difficult or moderately difficult. Similarly the school visits confirmed that office managers often experienced difficulties in respect of particular aspects of contract management.
The main reasons offered by office managers, in the survey, as to why these operational requirements were difficult were a lack of training and experience to undertake procurement of services such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning which required technical expertise and, for some, even the procurement of less technical services, such as cleaning services, due to a general lack of understanding of the tendering requirements.
The time consuming nature of tendering and contract management, Office managers claimed that the amount of time required for tender selection and contract management was too great and that, due to their other responsibilities, they could not allocate sufficient time to do the SBM work properly. This was particularly the case in small schools, where assistance was very limited. In this regard, office managers also mentioned the amount of paperwork that was required.
The need for greater assistance from central office than was available, including assistance when changes to processes were made. Some suggested consideration is given to improving the friendliness of the web-site in supporting SBM Availability of contractors to submit a tender. This was either due to a limited number of potential contractors in the region and/or the amount of funding available to a successful contractor. The same issues were raised in focus groups with office managers from all sectors. In these sessions it became clear that many of the concerns were based on experience of tendering prior to Central.
In addition to the reasons already listed for finding procurement difficult, for those services where the contracts were long-term, there was no opportunity to learn from experience as one was almost starting from scratch each time. This, together with the overall increased complexity, placed additional pressure on staff for continuing professional development. We recognize that many of the changes and increase in requirements in procurement processes were introduced as a result of changes to procurement legislation and practices introduced public sector-wide by the ACT 1997 by Government, and were not a direct result of SBM. While the survey responses from office managers generally showed that there had been little change in the efficiency of managing contracts and contractors over recent years, a rather more worrying picture emerged in focus groups with both principals and office managers. In these forums it was stated repeatedly that contract management in, for example, cleaning, HVAC and grounds maintenance can get scant attention. Some principals do not see this as their role, particularly if it were to be fulfilled at the expense of their educational leadership role. Many office managers claimed that they have little time available and they are not confident in their skill to carry out contract management, particularly where there are problems with the contractor or where it is in relation to a highly technical area. Where contract management is not being systematically and strongly carried out, this represents considerable risk for the individual school and for the system as a whole that for example:
Appropriate standards of maintenance of the grounds to ensure they are safe may not be maintained and the overall appearance of the school may deteriorate, making it an unattractive to students and their parents
Poor cleaning standards may lead to deterioration in the appearance of the school and, in extreme cases, to possible OH&S problems. Again, in meetings with school board members and the P&C Council there was considerable concern expressed that there was not the expertise to undertake procurement in schools and that it was taking principals, particularly in small schools, away from their primary role as educational leaders.
At this stage it is relevant to point out that global school budgeting does not necessarily require contracting to be done at the school level. There are examples in other States where contract procurement, and even management, is held centrally and costs are debited against the schools global budget. This particularly applies to cleaning contracts and, in the case of Queensland, cleaners are actual Departmental employees.
The survey suggested strong support for changes in SBM operational arrangements, especially centralization of contract tendering for cleaning and HVAC. This was also raised during school focus group sessions and sometimes during school visits. Rather than, at this stage, recommending centralizing functions such as cleaning and HVAC, as in the case of several jurisdictions, it is better to improve the quality and type of central office support for these SBM functions.
On the basis of the above project survey it is clear that the project was nit managed well by the project manager. There was a lack of team spirit and internal team bonding which lead to the poor results of the Enhanced SBM project.
The employees were not fully trained from the procedures and the rules of the project especially the procurement rules. There was a lack of training in the area of tendering as the employees from the tendering department were not cleared where to go and what to find out in a successful tender selection according to the objective of the project.
The team leader was unable to create a team spirit and effective team because he was not aware about the process of effective team building and selected the team members without defining the duties and specification of the team members. This reduced the effectiveness of the project and the problems such as cleaning introduces into the project which cause its expected failure.
The project team leader was lack of the leadership qualities and was unable to motivate the team toward the main objectives of the project. The team members were not involved in the project from the initial stage of the project and were not motivated.
The vehicles to address the difficulties being reported in carrying out procurement are already being improved through new templates for cleaning, training programs developed over the last year and the regular monthly office managers' meetings; the latter being regarded by office managers as the best means of exchanging and gaining information. We recommend that:
The Department continues the development of these programs and, with schools, looks for opportunities for further streamlining of procurement processes. The training of all the employees involved in the tendering process is most important as it will reduce the cost of the project redoing. For this purpose to avoid these problems in future project of the same nature if the team development process was followed at the time of team selection at the initial planning stage of the project.
The Department should play a more active role in developing the agenda for the office managers meetings with the School Resources Group and the office managers. For this purpose the internal motivation of the manager is required which can be created by providing the managers an opportunity to involve in each of the project and in the meetings so that they will feel themselves a part of the project by involvement in the project.
In order to be able to properly monitor contracted services I recommend that:
In consultation with schools and through the rolling audit program, the Central Office establishes minimum standards for cleaning, buildings and grounds maintenance and HVAC. The quality control will play a central role in this context as in quality control process the procedures and rules will be defined which will enhance the standards cleaning according to the Health and safety requirement. The rules and procedures defined in the quality control process will help to define the standards of maintenance and HVAC which will help to resolve all the issue related to the maintenance and HVAC.
To better exploit the buying power of the schools as a whole system we recommend that:
The Department explores every opportunity to use preferred supplier agreements for both goods and services. If there will be a centralized procurement department for all the schools than this opportunity of exploiting the suppliers can be availed as there will be more power with the procurement department to negotiate with the suppliers on the prices being a bulk purchaser. When there are large contracts with a centralized procurement management than the problems of short deliveries and shortage of the good and services can be resolved.
To address the difficulties experienced by small schools with SBM:
The Department considers Central Office managing the tendering process on behalf of the small schools for the following services:
Once the tender was let, the schools would manage the contract.
The success of the project depends upon the availability of the leadership characteristics of the project manager. For a successful project manager the planning for the manager should be from the Human resources planning stage so that the project manager can motivate the team members, Principal of the schools, teaching staff and the community for the participation in the project success. The good team leader will be able to motivate the parents for the participation into the decision making processes at the school level and can save the cost of doing wrong. So the project manager should have charismatic personality for good leadership.
To address the fact that a significant number of school boards are not as involved in school based decision-making as envisaged in the objectives of SBM and the relevant legislation, we recommend that:
The need for principals to engage teachers and parents in SBM decision-making, and for that decision-making to be transparent, should be stressed through principal forums, training, recruitment and induction. This is the problem which occurs because of the improper definition of the project. If the project objectives are defined objectively and at the initiation stage all the stakeholders are properly identified which will help in the planning stage for the resource planning. The proper resource planning will help to recruit enough team members to be involved in the decision making process and success of the project.
To encourage greater participation by the community in school based decision-making we recommend that
The Minister makes a media statement at an appropriate time each year encouraging parent participation in P&C and school board elections. The other way is the personal invitation for the parents to come to school and have a discussion with the team members, they should be encouraged to give some suggestion for the improvements and also consider the suggestions so that the parents will take initiatives for the suggestions.
To improve the effectiveness of school board operation, I recommend that
The current training for school boards be reviewed and supplemented by coaching, funded by the Department. To review the training needs and area of raining performance appraisal should be introduces. For the performance appraisal the best way is the 360 performance appraisal so that the need for the training and improvement can be accessed properly and according to the project objectives. Priority should be given to ensuring school boards at their initial meetings which provide full understand of their responsibilities and relationship to the principal, P&C and staff. Consideration should also be given to using the new technologies, such as DVDs and videos for training and development purposes. Consideration could also be given to extending the same coaching to the P&C committees in consultation with the P&C Council.
2.4. The Department improves the extent and nature of feedback given to school boards on their annual board reports to the Department.
To address the fact that a significant number of school boards are not as involved in school based decision-making as envisaged in the objectives of SBM and the relevant legislation, I recommend that:
3.1. The need for principals to engage teachers and parents in SBM decision-making and for that decision-making to be transparent should be stressed through principal forums, training, recruitment and induction.
To encourage greater participation by the community in school based decision-making I recommend that
3.2. The Minister makes a media statement at an appropriate time each year encouraging parent participation in P&C and school board elections. The other way to encourage the community and parents is the rewarding the good suggestion through public recognition. The best way is the announcement of the best suggestion in the next coming meeting or through the personal invention letters.
To improve the effectiveness of school board operation, I recommend that
3.3. The current training for school boards be reviewed and supplemented by coaching, funded by the Department. Priority should be given to ensuring school boards at their initial meetings
fully understand their responsibilities and relationship to the principal, P&C and staff. Consideration should also be given to using the new technologies, such as DVDs and videos for training and development purposes. Consideration could also be given to extending the same coaching to the P&C committees in consultation with the P&C Council.
3.4. The Department improves the extent and nature of feedback given to school boards on their annual board reports to the Department. This feedback can also be given through before the annual meeting to make the improvements quicker and for the best use of the coming opportunities. This feedback can be given in the meeting with the individual meeting with each school so that the improvement will be effective according to the objectives of the project.