School leadership and management with a focus on transformative practice: Course materials for a new national programme

Maryla Bialobrzeska reports on Saide’s work commissioned by the Basic Education (DBE) to develop the practice-based course materials for the professional qualification the Advanced Diploma in School Leadership and Management (Adv. Dip: SLM).

Saide produced course materials for an exciting national initiative in the professional development of practising and aspirant school principals. 

There is much documented evidence that high quality leadership makes a significant difference to school improvement and learning outcomes. The Policy on the South African Standard for Principalship (DBE: 2015) describes five key roles of school principals and highlights important aspects of professionalism and expertise required in such positions. These form the basis of the new NQF level 7 qualification. 

Saide submitted the final course materials for review and quality assurance in 2019. The DBE appointed Professor Herman J van Vuuren, Deputy Dean of Education, North West University, to lead the external review team. A very positive report tabling the review findings was presented at a meeting held at the DBE in August 2019. Present at this occasion were the representatives of all the higher education institutions that are interested in offering this new qualification.

In summarising the findings, the review task team report states:
The end product is evidence of a tailor-made South African school leadership and management programme developed by knowledgeable, experienced and informed education experts (practitioners and theorists).  ''Made by us, for us!

A number of universities started offering the Adv. Dip: SLM in 2020 and the first cohort of students is expected to graduate at the end of this year. The Adv. Dip: SLM course materials can be obtained from the DBE, Education Management and Governance Development Directorate, the official sponsor of this programme. A MS Word version of the course materials has also been made available for free download on the OER Africa website.

Click here for more information on the approach used to design and develop of the Adv. Dip: SLM course materials; nature of content; and brief overview of the planned implementation process.


[1] The term ‘mainstream’ is used in the Ministerial Committee Report, Christie, P., Butler, D., Potterton, M., 2007 Schools that Work. Pretoria Department of Education.