Leadership in Sandhurst schools is inspired by the Catholic story and serves the mission of Catholic schooling.

In the context of school improvement, leadership may be considered, described, evaluated and validated according to how fully it is able to:

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Shape culture

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Shared vision

Leaders build a school culture based on a shared vision and an ambitious sense of purpose. This requires the school community to imagine the needs of students in the future and let go of any self-limiting assumptions.

Senge (2004) describes three steps in how such a complex process occurs:

sensing (observing and becoming one with the world), presencing (retreating and reflecting, allowing inner knowing to emerge), and realising (acting swiftly, with a natural flair).

This vision guides planning and impacts on the quality of learning and teaching outcomes for students and their families.

Effective Catholic school leaders articulate the shared vision and values of the school in ways that people can understand. They initiate and pursue relationships with others to further the learning opportunities for students and enhance the expertise and capacity of the school community.

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Catholic identity

The Catholic identity of each school begins with a vision of full engagement with human potential inspired by the Catholic story.

Effective Catholic school leaders witness to the belief that every student can grow to wholeness and abundance of body, mind and spirit.

They understand how to bring into harmony elements of faith, life and culture so that students, families/carers and staff experience a school that is inclusive, life-giving, sacramental, faithful and just.

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Collaborative school cultures

Leaders build collaborative school cultures, in which the underlying norms, values, beliefs, and assumptions reinforce and support high levels of collegiality, teamwork, and dialogue about practice.

Collaborative school cultures are characterized by teachers and staff who regularly engage in professional dialogue with colleagues; share knowledge and expertise; and collaborate to discover the best ways to improve learning outcomes for all students.

‘Collaborative ministry does not happen automatically or easily. It demands attention to both process and structures. Among the processes that facilitate collaborative ministry (leadership) are: the formulation of a clear, realistic and shared vision; a mechanism for the identification and union of gifts; the articulation of beliefs; the clarification of roles; the development of requisite skills; the deepening of a collaborative spirituality; and the empowerment of a group to implement the collaborative vision.’ 


Collaborative cultures foster

In collaborative cultures, teachers and others lead each other and work together to develop and foster:

  • knowledge of their students
  • confidence in meeting their needs
  • high performing teams
  • ongoing professional learning including, opportunities to learn from each other through observation, dialogue and feedback
  • opportunities for shared leadership.

Collaborative school cultures foster practices that support success in the following ways: 

  • the teacher and staff receive respect and consideration
  • ‘broad agreement on educational values’ exists, but colleagues accept the natural disagreements that foster new dialogue 
  • these schools are ‘places of hard work, of strong and common commitment, dedication, of collective responsibility, and of a special sense of pride in the institution’ 
  • disagreements are openly voiced as purpose and practice are discussed
  • uncertainty, mistakes and failure are not ‘protected and defended’ but are openly shared, discussed, and examined to support growth and development
  • students show improved achievement.


‘What characterizes cultures of collaboration are not formal organization, meetings or bureaucratic procedures. Nor are cultures of collaboration mounted for specific projects and events. Rather, they consist of pervasive qualities, attitudes, and behaviours that run through staff relationships on a moment-by-moment, day-to-day basis. Help, support, trust and openness are at the heart of these relationships. Beneath that there is a commitment to valuing people as individuals and valuing the groups to which they belong.’