Growing Great Leaders

“ Thank you for such a fulfilling, uplifting and rewarding course. It is by far the best course which I have attended and, unlike others, will have an impact on my practice.  ”

- Rob Griffiths, St Cuthberts College

“ Thanks - I love coming to these days. I have been really engaged and really challenged to rethink how I do things - and I am pleased to say that I feel like I am making positive changes back at school. Thanks for the ideas and the guidance. ”

- Juliet Dickinson, Te Kowhai School

“ The facilitation is great. The facilitator really makes you think critically and engage in the material being presented. She is challenging me to look at my leadership and the actions that I put in place. ”

- Sarah Loomb, Alfriston College

Growing Great Leaders™ Level 1


Growing Great Leaders™ Level 1 covers six modules. Each module is aligned to the student-centred leadership model and is designed to provide both theoretical and practical application for the educational context.

MODULE 1: Student-centred Leadership

This module is the backbone to the course which gives an introduction to the research and the student-centred leadership model.  You will learn about the dimensions and capabilities and understand the link between these and their power to improve student outcomes. 

MODULE 2: Building Relational Trust

Students make more progress in high trust than in low trust schools. We introduce you to the research that supports this claim, tease out what relational trust is in practice and how it is developed through the day-to-day interactions you have with students, staff, parents and the wider community. Without trust, we argue, school improvement is unlikely to be sustained.

MODULE 3: Establishing Goals and Expectations

This module covers the basics of goal setting theory and presents you with the opportunity to analyse the quality of your goals and how well you communicate and embed them into your school’s planning. You will have the opportunity to review and critique your school’s approach to goal setting and begin to develop plans for enhancing this.

MODULE 4: Resourcing Strategically

This module will help you to analyse your effectiveness at embedding your goals into the structures of the school. This module highlights the role systems and procedures play as you work with others to achieve your school’s priority goals. You will be supported as you review how well you use your strategic resources; personnel, time, money and material resources to maximise student outcomes

MODULE 5: Solving Complex Problems

If you feel like you are constantly solving the same problems or need to be more effective at solving the complex problems you are encountering, this module is for you. We explain and illustrate a model of problem solving that will help you overcome the complex challenges that confront you, build the trust of your team and improve the achievement of your school.

MODULE 6: Ensuring Quality Teaching

Module 6 challenges you to think about the way your beliefs, and those of your team influence student outcomes. A series of practical tools will scaffold ongoing work in your own school to enhance the quality of student outcomes in your school.

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2021 Dates


  • 5 August
  • 31 August - postponed due to Alert Level 4 lockdown restrictions.  A new date will be announced in due course.
  • 21 September - postponed due to Alert Level 4 lockdown restrictions.  A new date will be announced in due course.

Times: 9:30am - 3:30pm

Cost: $1450 + GST each (or 10% discount for 3 or more participants)

Venue: Kohia Centre, Faculty of Education and Social Work, 78 Epsom Avenue, Epsom, Auckland

RA-PLD: To access this workshop using Regionally-Allocated PLD hours contact Colin Donald:
Phone: +64 27 886 4678

PLEASE NOTE: These dates may be subject to change; our website will show our current course schedule.

IF you wish to request this course, or discuss future intake dates for 2021 or 2022, please contact Colin Donald:
Phone: +64 27 886 4678

About Growing Great Leaders™

Growing Great Leaders™ offers research-based professional development with direct relevance to your own leadership and school development. Strengthen your practice by learning key leadership skills, and by considering their application to your current leadership challenges. Growing Great Leaders™ turns the research evidence into easily digestible learning experiences for leaders who want both the theoretical base and the practical application of research. The programme offers:

  • Research-based professional development with direct relevance to participants’ own leadership and the development of their organisation.
  • Problem solving opportunities contextualised to each participant’s role and organisation.
  • High quality course materials that include templates you can use later at your school/centre, selected readings and examples of useful artefacts to support your leadership work. You will also receive a high quality Growing Great Leaders™ folder of course materials that you will want to retain as a record of what you have learnt.

We encourage three or more people to attend from each enrolling organisation. Feedback from our workshops suggests that the learning is most valuable and has the greatest impact, when a team of three or more from a school attend together. A 10% discount applies.

Hear what Peninsula Primary in Te Atatū Peninsula, Auckland had to say about how the workshop positively influenced their leadership team.

Growing Great Leaders™ Overview

Dale, Tui and Louise, Tirimoana School

Dale, Tui and Louise from Tirimoana School attended the Growing Great Leaders™ course. They found the opportunity to attend as a team invaluable.

“It allowed us to have a stronger collaborative voice when discussing issues back at school with our principal and other members of SLT. “

“It was an excellent course and has helped me ‘grow’ this year. I would definitely recommend that schools attend as a group. It creates more strength in sharing ideas back at school.“

There were a number of direct acts of leadership that these three educators were able to implement in their school as a result of what they learned.

“In my own practice I have been more mindful of listening to others and working on developing trusting relationships. They require effort and time – they just don’t happen. We took back to our school the idea of sharing the whole school targets. This was implemented into a staff PLG session and discussed in groups.”

Other areas they took back to school included; discussing a ‘call to action’ (making sure each meeting ends with agreed actions) with the principal and DP, as well as implementing a ‘call to action’ at the end of staff meetings; revisiting the staff goals and annual plan and linking appraisal to school goals; as well as utilising the problem solving methodology that is taught as part of Growing Great Leaders™. It was a great reminder about the importance of employing the right staff to school, also.

“We also took little snippets like: finding opportunities to make connections between middle and senior leaders; the importance of inducting staff every year; taking enough time to raise goals i.e. three staff meetings on the same topic” in a row rather than shifting the meeting agenda week by week.

Dale, Tui and Louise would recommend this course to other leadership teams.

Anna Ready and Rob Griffiths, St Cuthbert’s College

What did you enjoy about the Growing Great Leaders™ Course?

The course was both practical and useful: practical in the sense that it considered real life situations and useful in the sense that it gave us a range of techniques to approach our responsibilities. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet teachers in other schools who came with entirely different perspectives and situations on the same issues. It opened your eyes to the world of education outside your own school. It exposed us to the different ways of establishing team dynamics and leading members of your team more effectively in a way that builds relational trust. As a new HOD, the module on resourcing strategically really helped to clarify how to weigh up different priorities while at the same time creating a cohesive staff. Whereas the module on relational trust was particularly well timed because it coincided with changes to our own department structure so we could utilise some of the strategies discussed in the course.

What value did you see in having four from your middle leadership team attend together?

It is the best way to gain benefit from the course because it allows you to discuss examples in a familiar context with your colleagues and gain different perspectives on the same issue. It also allows you to establish a unified voice when it comes to bringing about change. We have grown together as a group of teachers from the same school whose responsibilities do not overlap and so the course has given us a chance to interact on issues, which affect our professional lives.

What have you been able to take from the course and implement back at school level?

Immediately after the Solving Complex Problems module, we utilised the strategies we had been taught in a full staff meeting, with each of us leading a small team through the process using the template to address a common issue. Instead of jumping straight to solutions, it forced us to re-consider the actual problem and its causes. The Strategic Resourcing module gave me the knowledge and confidence to bring about positive staffing changes within my department. The Relational Trust module prepared us effectively for more professional development on this topic but also gave us the tips needed to discuss difficult situations while maintaining each person’s sense of self-worth.

How did you find the delivery of the course?

The pace of delivery was perfect: enough time for conversation but fast enough to remain stimulated. The course was really well structured in the way that it was spread over a period of time and so gave us the chance to reflect and put into practice what we had learned. It meant that we could also share ideas and ask each other for help back at school in between the courses. Colin and Linda were a brilliant combination of practical experience and its theoretical basis. They were an engaging, informative and knowledgeable pair who brought great vitality to the course.

Would you advise other schools to attend Growing Great Leaders™?

We highly recommend this course. It is a rewarding and fulfilling experience, which will broaden your understanding of what it takes to become an effective educational leader.