Some of Axium’s senior leaders were invited to spend a week of learning in the Western Cape by a group of partner organisations who form part of the Collaboration Schools family in the Province. It was a privilege to spend time with and learn from inspiring organisations like Education Ally, Common Good, Acorn Education and Bonnievale 418. This reflective blog will share inserts from our colleagues on how they found the trip and the next steps.
The team flew from King Phalo Airport, East London on Monday morning and landed at Cape Town International Airport where they were welcomed by our executive director, Craig Paxton. The week was hectic, with lots of never stop learning, lots of motivated motivators and inspiration to strive for excellence, three of Axium’s values. Here we give you a taste of the experience through members of the visiting team.
Axium, Common Good and PSP teams
“On Tuesday, we visited Acorn Education's Apex High, saw their blended learning lab (a little like Yenzo / Tablet programme) and some awesome coaching using Real-Time Feedback. That afternoon we sat with the Education Ally team who shared their approach to school change, which has some similarities to ours. On Wednesday, we visited Silikamva High School where we saw some great school leaders leading the work at the school, supported by Common Good. Finally, on Thursday, we drove a long way to Bonnievale to visit Jakes Gerwel Technical High School - an amazing community-driven school that is pioneering some interesting Pathways options to ensure ALL children from a community have opportunities after school.” - Craig
“Hi, it's Tutula (Foundation Phase Coach), my favourite part of the trip was observing all school leaders are coaches. How they address the shortage of human resources in schools. How they address the issue of dropout of learners from schools. One of the things I learned was a coach can coach any grade or subject and a coach can assist in instilling the culture in schools as well. I’m excited to apply my learning back in Amajingqi (AJQ) by reporting back to Regional Management Team so that we highlight the high-leverage action and narrow the focus together."
“Hi all! It's Thoko🌻 (ZLE School Development Manager). Cape Town was too exciting in terms of learning and implementation. One of my favourite was the early morning rise heading to different schools and learning their culture, I saw that culture is the lifestyle of these schools. Also, by interacting with School Operating Partners (SOPs) and learning how they support the Schools in School Implementation Plan (SIP) in Zithulele, I will coach my Principal and SMTs in a very outstanding and improved way. Now that I am back, ask me about Collaboration and Mentorship."
Hi, it’s Zodwa Nho here (ZLE Pathways Coordinator). My favourite part of the Cape Town trip was exploring CT on my own, seeing different organisations and meeting different amazing people that have the same hearts and passion as ours. One of the things I learned was that there are many opportunities out there, one mustn't be afraid to reach out to different stakeholders for the betterment of our work and always seek improvement. I am excited to apply my learning back in Zithulele by making use of the contacts I made and sharing them with the team. When you next see me, please ask me about the different institutions of higher learning that I visited and how I think that can benefit our pathways work. Baie Dankie."
“Goeie more alles..my naam is Babalwa Mtumtum (AJQ School Development Manager). My favourite part of being in Cape Town was visiting Apex High and Silikamva. One of the things I learned was the morning routines for both high schools. Also the sharing of roles among the SMT members ie one Deputy responsible for Academics and the other for School Culture. Then training is done by SMT members cascading to staff. All the Monitoring tools and simplified SIP document. I'm excited to apply my learning back at AJQ by MODELLING Routines to my SMTs and staff... And also to re-simplify my SIP for all my schools. When you next see me, please ask me about how the SOPs work in Cape Town, especially by Common Good and Education Ally. I have also noticed that we have some similarities.”
“Hi, it's Mashiya! (Maths Instructional Leader). My favourite part of the Cape Town trip was being able to literally go to more than 2 classes and observing how the coaches do Real-Time-Feedback (RTF) with teachers. One of the other things I learned during this time is to meet and greet the teacher, even if you are not going to observe the lesson, just to keep the relationship and trust going. I am excited to apply my learnings back in Zithulele. When you next see me, please ask me about "How other NGOs out there are collaborating with schools.”
“Hi everyone, it's Jacob "JJ" (Regional Manager) here! my favourite part of the Cape Town trip was interacting with 5 different organisations (3 schools and 2 education based NGOs). One of the things I learned was that it is important to empower schools to do some of the work that we are currently doing for them. This includes, but is not limited to training, and coaching. I am excited to apply my learning back at AmaJingqi by ensuring that our plans will include the empowering of our SMTs in all our schools to be training facilitators and coaches. When you next see me, please ask me about how this approach is working effectively at Apex High School and at Silikamva High School.”
We recognise that for there to be real change in South African education, collaboration and shared learning need to be at the heart of efforts to improve schools and systems. The team left inspired by what they had seen and motivated to implement new learning upon their return.