Chapter 7



7.3.1Legislative and Policy Framework


  • South African Schools Act 84 of 1996, Section 18 [SASA]
  • Employment of Educators Act 76 of 1998 [EEA]



  • Guidelines relating to the elections of Governing Bodies of Public Schools [NG EGB]
  • Guide to Drug Testing in South African Schools [NG DT]
  • Personnel Administration Measures [PAM]



  • Eastern Cape Schools Education Act [Reference B1 EC ED ACT]
  • Eastern Cape Schools Education Amendment Act [Reference B1 EC ED ACT AMENDED]



  • NC Administrative Calendar for School Management Teams [Reference B7 NC MCAL]



  • Western Cape Provincial Schools Education Act [Reference B9 WCPS ED ACT]



  • Notice 1059 of 1997: Guidelines for the Establishment, Election and Functions of Student Representative Councils  [Reference B9 1059/1997]



  • WCED Institutional Development and Co-ordination Minute 002/2009 – ending of School Day during the End-of-year Assessment and / or Examination Period [Reference B9 0002/2009]

7.3.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Management

The South African Schools Act determines that the professional management of a public school must be undertaken by the principal under the authority of the Head of Department.  He / she is expected to form a School Management Team (SMT) made up of senior level staff. See also Reference List C [PRINCIPALS]

  1. The Management Functions of the Principal
    It is the task of the principal, together with the SMT, to put into practice the policies that are agreed upon by the SGB.  Thus, their management functions will include Planning, Scheduling, Organising, Delegating, Communicating, Controlling and Quality assurance.

    • Financial Management
      SASA as amended by the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill No. 15 of 2011 in Section 16A(i) states that the principal must take all reasonable steps to prevent any financial mismanagement or maladministration by any staff member or by the Governing Body of the school (see 6.1.2(d)).
    • Planning
      In a school setup we can distinguish between two types of planning.  Planning that focuses on the day-to-day operations of the school is called operational planning while planning that is concerned with the future of the school is called development planning.

      • Typical operational planning actions are:
        • daily planning by the principal;
        • planning for each term;
        • things that should be done before schools close at the end of the last term;
        • planning for the first week of the new academic year;
        • class actions for the first school day; and
        • curriculum planning for the new academic year.
    • Scheduling / timetabling
      Timetabling includes the following planning actions:

      • the instructional offerings of the school; and
      • planning the master timetable and time allocations:
        • subject groupings and combinations;
        • forming class groups;
        • working out the number of periods per subject and per grade;
        • allocating subjects / learning areas to educators;
        • drawing up a subject allocating grid;
        • information for developing the master timetable, like number of periods per subject per grade, number of periods per day, etc;
        • plotting the timetable; and
        • communicating the timetable.
    • Organising
      • Organisational structures
      • Professional management structures
        • the Principal; and
        • the School Governing Body:
          • executive committee; and
          • finance committee; etc.
      • The School Management Team
        • Principal;
        • Deputy-Principal; and
        • Heads of Department
      • Learner structures
        • Learner representative council
          • sports committee;
          • cultural committee; and
          • scholar patrol; etc.
      • Parent structures:
        • fundraising committee; and
        • facilities committee; etc.
    • Delegating
      • Principles underlying delegation
        • Person to whom delegated should have potential to perform the task.
        • The task to be delegated should be in line with the position held by the person.
        • Delegated task not to be delegated to someone else.
        • There should be deadlines.
        • The delegated person may co-opt.
        • Assistance and guidance should be given.
        • Regular feedback should be given to principal.
        • Some tasks not to be delegated. (interviews with officials, financial matters, etc.)
      • Tasks that can be delegated
        • timetable;
        • inventories;
        • tuckshop;
        • grade co-ordinator;
        • learning area / subject co-ordinator;
        • cultural activities;
        • co- and extra-curricular activities;
        • co-ordination of Representative Council of Learners (RCL); and
        • stores; etc.
    • Communicating
      • Meetings (See Reference C MINUTE KEEPING)
      • Communication with the SGB
        • weekly contact with the Chairperson; and
        • sound interpersonal relations with the members of the SGB
      • Communication with the Educators
        • SMT meetings;
        • staff interviews;
        • staff meetings; and
        • formal correspondence
      • Communication with the Learners
        • assemblies; and
        • individual interviews with learners
      • Communication with the non-teaching staff
        • regular formal and informal communication
      • Communication with the Parents
      • Communication with the Department of Education
        • open channels with the District Office; and
        • all communication via District Director
      • Communication with the Teacher Unions
        • communication with different unions; and
        • site stewards
      • Communication with other stakeholders:
        • communication with sponsors, NGOs, tertiary institutions, etc.
  2. Efficient and responsible Management and use of Time
    • (Also see “The management functions of the Principal” above)
    • Key principles of time management for principals. (Source: How do you spend your time? – Melissa Raffoni, Harvard Business Review)
      Essentially managing time, like any other problem, requires mastering the principles of analysing, prioritising and organising.

      • Analysing
        The key to good time management is to understand how you are currently using and wasting your time.  Take a look at your previous week’s calendar:  What did you spend your time and efforts on?  Perhaps it shows that you tend to get stuck on small, administrative issues, while important tasks are neglected?  Where did you lose precious hours as a result of distractions, or interruptions?
        Another handy way to study your use of time is to keep a time log of your week and to write down what you do during every 30 minutes of the workday.
        You may be surprised to note that you spend valuable hours of your day on your e-mail, or finishing tasks that are not necessarily the most important.  Look closely at this log – does the amount of time you spend on a certain task, match the importance thereof?
      • Prioritising
        One of the simplest ways to manage your time at work is to make a list of all your responsibilities and deadlines.  Try to differentiate between what is important and what is not, what is urgent and what can wait for later.  What needs to be done today?After you have made a list of tasks, in order of their importance, it will be helpful to assign a time frame to each item, accordingly.  Don’t allocate two hours to doing your admin when you know that you still have to finish that agenda before 12:00.
        When you make your list, carefully estimate the time each task will take, and box it into your calendar.  This discipline will not only help you finish your list, but it will also improve your ability to estimate time and manage the expectations of those around you.
        Be realistic when you map the time frames for the different tasks. Don’t give yourself too little time to finish a vital project, just because you would like to get a few more things done today. You will only set yourself up for failure.
        Be sure to tick off your tasks as you proceed through the day. Even if it is something small, the completion of each task will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment.A big part of learning to prioritise is knowing when to say “no”. This does not necessarily apply to your boss, but it does mean that you have the right to say no to requests from your co-workers if you are already up to your ears in your own work.
      • Organising
        Let’s face it, it is hard to be productive when your desk and inbox are a mess. An ordered working environment is very conducive to good time management.
        Start by clearing your desk and your e-mail by the end of every day, so that you can start the next on a clean slate. Also use this time, say 30 minutes, to do your filing for the day, so that you don’t have to search high and low for that important invoice tomorrow.
        E-mail is a great waste of time. Schedule one or two periods during the day when you scan and answer important mails.  Keep it out of sight otherwise, or you will constantly be interrupted by messages from friends and co-workers. Aim for a clean inbox policy – there are few things as annoying as that irritating message saying “your mailbox is over its size limit”.
        Give yourself permission to focus on your work, and only your work. Plug out the phone if needs be, put on earphones to prevent colleagues from bothering you if you have an important deadline.
      • Team time management for principals and SMTs
        • Team time management has the potential to answer many school-related problems. However, a principal should have the ability to adjust his / her management style to match new conditions.  Otherwise, there may be serious time management problems.
        • An SMT is composed of educators assembled for a common purpose by co-ordinating the activities of SMT members who assist each other in performing the tasks needed to reach the goals of the school. Teams and groups differ in one fundamental way.  A group’s performance is a function of what its members do as individuals while a team’s performance includes both individual results and synergy.  The concept of synergy is that when two things are put together, their value is more than the sum of both.
        • Team time management is somewhat different from individual time management. It emphasises the school’s rhythm and effectiveness which centres on groups of educators working together instead of performing as individuals.  This is not to diminish the importance of the individual, but rather to enlarge the individual’s perception.  Its aim is to use everyone’s time to the best advantage.  Teamwork involves gathering certain educators with different abilities and skills to achieve a common goal.  For effectiveness, the greater concern is not just for individual time but also for team time management.
        • For an SMT to be truly effective in time management, it needs a good leader who can communicate and co-ordinate actions, as well as good teammates who are dependable and skilful. Poor communication will seriously influence the effectiveness of a school.  It is also time-consuming.  For effective team time management, communication means the free flow of exchange of ideas, information, instructions and reaction that result in common understanding.  Providing feedback and careful listening will increase effective communications, which are necessary for team time management.
        • SMTs are assembled to perform specific tasks. Before planning begins, the principal should ensure that every team member knows exactly what the task is and why it is necessary.  Every member of the SMT should be involved in the planning process.  Planning involves describing the task and scheduling its timely completion.  A task plan should be simple, but states clearly its purpose, intended results, deadlines, key activities, milestones and schedule.  Adequate planning can reduce difficult and time-consuming problems.
        • SMTs must meet frequently to discuss progress toward reaching goals. However, sometimes SMT members can agree that there are too many meetings, often with the wrong people and poorly run.  Also, many lasted too long and few things were followed up.  For good time management, making sure certain meetings are conducted efficiently is a necessity.  To improve meeting productivity, principals should consider these suggestions.
          • Prepare and hand out an agenda.
          • Restrict agenda items to fit time available for discussion.
          • Make sure that meetings follow the agenda.
          • Ask participants to prepare ahead of time.
          • Good meetings do not just happen, they need to be planned and implemented carefully.
        • Personality differences among SMT members may cause conflicts, and this will influence performance of tasks. Rather than evade the potential conflicts among team members, one should learn to appreciate each other’s strengths and differences, and, thereby, work more effectively as a team.  Each individual in a team must recognise the importance of skills over the interpersonal relationships because people can almost always learn to work with others more smoothly and compatibly.
        • Teams, like SMTs, that deal with unstructured problems have the greatest need for creativity. If teammates lack creativity, this may show up as a scheduling problem.  The principal should foster a climate of creativity.
        • Here are some suggestions:
          • Encourage free expression of ideas. An SMT member should be permitted to express any ideas.
          • Accept and value all types of ideas. School leaders need to show that they are receptive to opposing ideas.
          • Assist in developing ideas. A member may have difficulty refining or summarising his / her ideas.
          • Encourage shy people. Some people may feel uncomfortable openly discussing their ideas.  Leaders should encourage these members to work on their ideas on their own and offer the conclusion at a later meeting.
          • Recognise the value of worthy ideas. A word of encouragement is important to the originator of the ideas.
        • The SMT or school may encounter resistance from fellow educators or parents fighting for the maintenance of the status quo. When this happens, effectiveness of SMT management will be influenced.
        • To smooth out the resistance to change, leaders should undertake the following procedures.
        • Reinforce and legitimise the SMTs need to ask questions.
        • Assert the role and value of natural resistance.
        • Recognise the positive effects of team confrontation and struggle.
        • It is not easy to delegate adequately. When the school leader delegates tasks, he / she must be careful not to assign work to people lacking the skills required.  The principal must also not retain to himself tasks that can be performed by other SMT members.  Any form of delegation error may adversely affect performance and scheduling.
        • Team time management plays an important role in a school’s success. However, achieving effective team time management does not come easy, it comes with a lot of challenges.  In order to achieve the desired performance, these barriers must be overcome.  Since every school is different, the recommendations must be modified in order to fit the individual school.  The key determinants of success in school marketing depend not only on technology and capitalisation, but also are largely dependent on synergy which is created within its teamwork.
  3. School Functions and Dignitaries
    • Invitations to dignitaries
      The determining factor in deciding whether to invite dignitaries and whom should be the importance of the function.

      • Guidelines on whom to invite
        • The Circuit Manager: This person is the most senior person in his / her circuit and the official representative of the District Director and, therefore, it is primarily his / her task and privilege to attend functions which concern schools within his / her circuit.
        • District Directors: These people usually officiate as representatives at functions with a wider zone which extends beyond the bounds of one circuit, but which is still within a particular district.
        • Head Office Officials: Invitations to the Member of the Executive Council:  Education (MEC), the Head of Department (HoD), Superintendent-General, etc., should be limited to special occasions such as the laying of foundation stones, opening of new schools or the inauguration of additions to buildings.
      • Procedures for invitations
        • Before making any arrangements for the invitation of departmental dignitaries to a school function, the principal should discuss the matter with his Circuit Manager and present him / her with a preliminary programme.
        • Invitations to District Directors to officiate at functions should be submitted via the Circuit Manager.
        • Invitations to Head Office Officials to officiate at school functions should be submitted via the District Director to the HoD.
      • Programmes
        • A complete programme of the function should accompany the invitation in every instance.
        • High-ranking officials should be called upon to speak early in the programme when officiating at a school function.
      • Foundation stones and commemorative plaques
        • Invitations to unveil a commemorative plaque or lay a foundation stone should reach the Department at least six months before the date on which the ceremony will take place.
      • Departmental representation at funerals
        • If requested to do so by the next of kin, a representative of the Department can be invited to pay a tribute at the funeral. The following merely serve as guidelines on persons who might officially represent the Department:
          • pupils: The Principal; and
          • staff (professional, administrative and domestic) at school: The Circuit Manager or District Director.
  4. School Organisation and Outsiders
    • Principals and school staff should guard against efforts by outside bodies to use schools as cheap advertising agencies for commercial gain.
    • Schools should not create the impression that schools offer a concentration of people who are ideally placed for advertising and fundraising purposes.
    • Distribution of printed matter or other promotion or propaganda materials
      • SMTs should critically evaluate any pamphlets or other publications before allowing such materials to be distributed.
      • Schools should also appeal to parents and learners to bring to their attention such literature which may be distributed directly outside the school grounds. The SMT should evaluate these materials and give the necessary guidance to educators, parents and learners.
      • Principals should bring pornographic pamphlets or publications which incite violence or racism and undermine the Constitution to the District Education Co-ordinator’s attention.
      • Principals should refuse all applications for the distribution of samples and handbills aimed at advertising goods to parents through their children.
      • Principals can consider the use of book covers, timetables, calendars, labels, educational charts and other useful articles by learners distributed by commercial firms.
    • Recruiting and career guidance
      • Parents should give their permission before outsiders address learners on career matters. If such a person wants to address the whole class, the SGB may decide.  If the person plans to address individual learners or small groups, written permission is required from parents.
      • Learners may attend career exhibitions at their own schools or elsewhere if the District Office has granted approval. Other career exhibitions may be attended only after school hours.
    • Recitals, films, performances
      • The SMT should decide on applications for the presentation of recitals, performances and film shows for remuneration. The SMT should use its own discretion on the educational value of such performances.  These functions may not take place during school hours.
    • Tests by outside bodies concerning employment
      • Principals are not obliged to refer learners or parents to outside bodies to undergo suitability tests for employment. Learners are not permitted to visit outside institutions for such tests during school hours.
    • Visits by people from other provinces or from abroad
      • Applications by people from other provinces or from abroad for permission to visit schools should be referred to the Department.
      • Such people should be required to submit proof of their identity, as well as a letter of recommendation.
    • Agencies
      • Schools may not act as agents during school hours.
      • No person wishing to trade in any article during school hours should be allowed on the school premises.
    • South African Police Services (SAPS) – Child Protection Unit
      • In building a contented school community, it is of the utmost importance that organisations which work for the good of children should not only know about each other but, more importantly, should work together.
      • Child protection units have been established by the SAPS. One of the functions of these units is, amongst other things, to instruct parents and children on how to avoid being molested, and what to do before, during and after such an incident.
      • To enable the SAPS to provide this service, the Department has given approval for principals, in collaboration with their Governing Bodies, to make opportunities available for the SAPS Child Protection Unit concerned to discuss such matters with parents and pupils.
      • It must be stressed that the value of these talks lies in involving parents and pupils. Parent evenings are suitable times for inviting the police to such discussions.  Principals may include these occasions in the year programme.
      • Principals should liaise with their local SAPS station commanders on this matter.
  5. School Outreach Programmes
    • School outreach programmes can take a number of forms including, but not limited to, formal academic instruction, technical assistance, community-based projects and evaluation studies.
    • Ideally, it should be a two-way process through which the active exchange of information with external audiences occurs in a relationship of reciprocal partnership.
    • In essence, any educational institution that purports to be a provider of outreach activity or community service through “civic-minded” principles enshrined in its mission, values and goals has to be a provider of lifelong learning. It has to reach out to its diverse stakeholders, identifying problems and challenges, engaging its intellectual resources and delivering teaching and research responses to improve the quality of life of our region and country.
    • There are many definitions of outreach, but those outlined below seem to capture most of the components of an “integrated” model – that which captures the meaning of mutual beneficence.
      • Campus Compact in the United States, defines outreach as:
      • “A teaching method that combines community service with academic instruction as it focuses on critical, reflective thinking and civic responsibility.  Service learning programmes involve students in organised community service that addresses local needs, while developing their academic skills, sense of civic responsibility, and commitment to community.”
      • Ohio State University defines outreach / engagement as:
        “A meaningful and mutually beneficial collaboration with partners in education, business, public and social service…  It represents that aspect of teaching that enables learning beyond the campus walls, that aspect of research that makes what we discover useful beyond the academic community, that aspect of service that directly benefits the public.”
    • From what is said above, it is clear that outreach is not only a one-way give-or-take traffic. Outreach or “Twinning” should rather be or become a mutual beneficial partnership.
    • Examples of such partnerships are:
      • Businesses
        • Businesses can be encouraged to be a school partner and their support will be publicly acknowledged at functions and in newsletters. Businesses can sponsor prizes for school events.
      • How does one get the support of a business?
        • The answer is simple. Ask!  Parents who work at or own a business are excellent starting points on the partnership quest.  They can open the door to the initial business contact person.
      • Former students
        Long-established schools have an advantage in this regard.  They sometimes have a mailing list going back many decades of former students.  These alumni can be approached for help.  High schools in particular use this form of partnership.  There are schools that have alumni trusts which have accumulated a great deal of money.  The funds are used for building projects, bursaries and scholarships.
      • Individual parents
        A school benefits from using the talents and expertise of parents.  There are parents able to assist with drama, speech and sports coaching.  Some parents are keen to help with the teaching of reading, especially in the lower grades.  Accountants, builders, electricians, engineers, human resource officers, lawyers, plumbers and the like have so much to give to a school.  Dentists, doctors and optometrists can offer their services to learners from poor homes.  At the start of the year a school could, for example, send a questionnaire to parents titled, “Sure, I can help!”  They’re encouraged to offer their services in a wide range of school activities.  An amazing amount of untapped talent is available in the community.  Parents have much to give and normally are most willing to do so.
      • Loyalty card partnerships
        Increasingly, loyalty card programmes are appearing on the market.  The principle is that a school receives a certain percentage of sales when the card is used at partner stores.  Schools that don’t have parents able to buy at the partner stores could be eligible for ‘nominated school’ status.  This means that card users nominate that the money accrued from their cards go to these schools.  There’s no charge to the school in starting or maintaining the programme.
      • Parent teams
        Teams of parents can take on projects.  These teams are usually found in the Parent or Parent-Teacher Association (PTA).  They can run fundraising projects.   Parent teams assist in activities such as Sports Days and stage productions.  Class- or homeroom parents can form a team.  They appoint a Class Mom or Dad.  That person co-ordinates activities for the other parents.  The team could, for example, decide to repaint the classroom or do general maintenance work.  Parent teams create a spirit of friendship and goodwill.
      • Religious groups
        A number of religious denominations run holiday camps.  A school allows them to use its facilities.  In return, these groups can make donations or help the school in kind by supporting the families of poor children.  At an educational level, the learners can acquire religious respect by visiting places such as churches, mosques, synagogues and temples.
      • Service organisations
        • The Lions, Round Table, Rotary, Salvation Army and other service organisations do much invaluable community work. They can be asked to help with projects.  Service organisations sometimes sponsor poor learners (for example, buying sports equipment or paying a learner’s fee for an educational tour).
      • Senior citizens
        • Many senior citizens enjoy helping young people. Local Old Age homes are good starting points.
      • Twinning schools
        • Twinning is common amongst and between previously advantaged and disadvantaged schools. Resources and professional expertise are shared.  The learners take part in activities such as sports days and pupil exchanges.
      • Youth groups
        • Many young people don’t have enough worthwhile activities once the home-time bell rings. Organisations such as the Scouts and Voortrekkers assist at school events.  In exchange, they could be allowed to use school facilities for their own activities.  In so doing, these groups often enrol new members and keep them happily occupied outside school. (Linda Madison:  Home-School-Community Partnerships, 2000)
  6. The School and its Physical Environment
    “First impressions are lasting impressions”.  This saying is also very applicable when a visitor enters the school premises.  An “area conducive to learning” does not refer only to the formal learning spaces like classrooms, laboratories, workshops, etc., but also to the immediate school ground area surrounding these physical facilities.

    • The School Environment Audit (Acknowledgement: The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism)
      An environmental audit is the process of monitoring and measuring the use of resources.  It reveals where resources are being managed in a way that meets accepted standards, and where they are being managed in a way that does not.  Once an environmental audit has been completed the school can initiate an Environmental Management Plan (EMP).  The EMP is developed in response to the environmental audit.  When an audit finds that resources are being managed in a way that does not meet accepted standards, it is important to develop a plan to overcome specific environmental problems.

      • How to go about an environmental audit
        A good way to go about an environmental audit is to establish environmental action teams who will carry out various parts of the audit.

        • Elect an environmental committee to initiate and oversee environmental activities. Ideally, the committee should include teachers, students and parents.
        • Form action teams to carry out environmental activities. Action teams could, for example, comprise students from one class who tackle a particular environmental area of concern.
        • Each action team should elect an auditor who will be responsible for collating the data collected by team members.
      • Steps for performing an environmental audit
        • Step 1: Choose an environmental area of concern, e.g. water or energy use, waste materials or conserving the natural environment.
        • Step 2: Conduct an environmental audit, e.g. gather information on how much water is being wasted or how much litter is being created in what areas and at what times.
        • Step 3: Using the information from your audit, identify specific areas needing improvement.
        • Step 4: Develop an environmental plan to achieve improvements.
        • Step 5: Implement your environmental management plan.
        • Step 6: Evaluate the environmental management plan and identify areas for further improvement.
      • Activities for an environmental audit
        The production of forms of energy such as electricity consumes precious resources and causes pollution.  It is therefore important to use energy wisely.

        • Make a list of all the activities at school that use energy.
        • Try to identify the source of energy used for each activity and the environmental consequences of the use of these energy sources (e.g. fossil fuels, hydro-electric power, electricity or solar power).
        • Obtain copies of the school’s electricity bills and work out how much electricity is used per person in the school. Find out why the electricity bill varies at different times of the year.  The same process can be undertaken for water.
      • Wise use of materials
        By using materials wisely at school you can reduce resource usage, reduce pressure on landfills and disposal costs and earn income from the sale of recyclable materials.

        • Survey all the rubbish bins in your school and record how much rubbish each contains. Do this at different times of the week and day and try to work out why your results could be different.
        • Select a full bin and empty its contents onto a plastic sheet. Separate rubbish into categories of paper, glass, metal, wood, cartons, plastics, chemicals and compostable
        • Calculate how much of the rubbish could be recycled and minimised.
        • Find out where you can recycle goods in your area and initiate a recycling campaign in your school.
      • Caring for plants and animals
        Plants and animals are an essential part of the natural environment.  They provide a beauty we can all appreciate and are important in maintaining the natural processes vital for human survival.

        • Identify areas on your school grounds where plants grow. Find out which plants are indigenous, which are exotic and which are weeds.
        • Decide which parts of your school grounds could be made more attractive by planting plants.
        • Find out which indigenous plants are suited to the area and make arrangements to create a garden with indigenous plants.
        • List the types of birds or other animals that visit your school grounds and try to find ways to lure more birds, e.g. by installing bird feeders or bird baths.
        • These are just a few suggested activities.  You will be able to think of many other ideas.
      • Where to get information:
        The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
        Private Bag X447
  7. Decision making
    • Warren Bennis (1987, p. 1) states in On Becoming a Leader: “Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing.”  Wilkinson & Cave (1989, p. 115) define decision-making as “the process in which, after examining a problem or a need, an individual or a group incorporates information and values in proposing various solutions”.
    • Decision-making is an essential part of being human and principals are in the business of making decisions.
    • Decision-making is a very powerful activity that determines how well the school will achieve its mission over time.
    • Decisions can be grouped into three types according to the frequency at which certain types of decisions are taken.
      Figure Types of Decisions


      • Operational Decisions
        This type of decision refers to decisions needed to ensure the effective and efficient operation of a school.  It involves all those decisions that affect the day-to-day running of the school like scheduling classes, substitute teachers, ordering and approving the purchasing of supplies and goods approved in the school’s budget.  These decisions depend on adequate information that is readily available and the decision needed has numerous similar examples on which the decision could be based.
      • Tactical Decisions
        Tactical decisions are aimed at ensuring that resources are allocated to where they are needed in terms of the plans developed for the school.  The information needed for this type of decision is often readily available, detailed and well-structured, but requires discretion on the part of the principal to allocate resources wisely.  Previous examples of similar decisions are not readily available and the decision to be taken may even be unique, thus, setting a precedent on which future decisions will be based.
      • Strategic Decisions
        This type of decision is linked to the planning function of the principal.  Strategic decisions always involve some risk.  The information on which strategic decisions are based is not always fully available and often less accurate (e.g. the uncertainty about the enrolment for the next year), and are often based on predictions of future needs and developments.  Strategic decisions are future-orientated and many of the sources of information needed are external to the school.
    • The decision-making process
      The decision-making process can be illustrated by using the acronym POISED.  Poised also resembles the idea of being ready for action and the idea that action should follow all decisions.

      Figure The Decision-making Process POISED


  8. Functions and Responsibilities of Principals
    • It is the job of the principal to ensure that the:
      • school is managed satisfactorily and in compliance with applicable legislation, regulations and personnel administration measures as prescribed; and
      • education of the learners is promoted in a proper manner and in accordance with approved policies.
    • Core duties and responsibilities of the principal:
      • General/Administrative
        He/She is responsible for the professional management of the school.
        He/She must:

        • provide instructions for timetabling, admission and placement of learners;
        • implement the budget and make the best use of the funds available for the benefit of the learners;
        • preserve the history of the school by keeping the school journal up to date;
        • make regular inspections of the school and hostel to check on equipment and discipline; and
        • make sure that all circulars are discussed with the staff and filed properly.
      • Personnel
        The principal is responsible to provide his staff with:

        • professional leadership;
        • guidance, supervision and professional advice;
        • equitable workloads;
        • development through appraisal processes and training programmes; and
        • proper implementation of efficient forms of evaluation / assessment.
      • Teaching
        Teach the number of hours relevant to the post level or according to the needs of the school and to assess and record the attainment of the learners taught.
      • Extra- and co-curricular
        Where possible, serve on committees and promote and encourage learners’ voluntary participation in sports, educational and cultural activities.
      • Interaction with stakeholders
        The principal must serve on the SGB and provide assistance to them in terms of SASA and participate in community activities in connection with educational and community matters.
      • Communication
        By co-operating with the staff and SGB, the principal must maintain an efficient and smooth running school.
        He/She must:

        • liaise with the Circuit/Regional Office concerning administration, staffing, accounting, purchase of equipment, research and updating of statistics on educators and learners; and also liaise with structures regarding school curricula and curriculum development;
        • arrange interviews with parents concerning learners’ progress and conduct;
        • co-operate with the SGB with regard to all aspects as specified in SASA and also liaise with other relevant Government Departments;
        • co-operate with universities, colleges and other agencies in relation to learners’ records and performance as well as INSET;
        • participate in departmental and professional committees; and
        • maintain contact with sports, social, cultural and community organisations.
  9. Delegation of Powers (See Paragraph above: (a) The Management Functions of the Principal)
  10. Alcohol and Dangerous Objects on School Premises
    All schools are declared drug-free and dangerous object-free zones.

    • No person may:
      • allow any dangerous object in public school premises;
      • carry any dangerous object in the public school premises;
      • store any dangerous object in the public school premises except in officially designated places identified by the principal;
      • possess illegal drugs on public school premises;
      • enter public school premises while under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol;
      • cause any form of violence or disturbance which can negatively impact on any school activity;
      • wittingly condone, connive, hide, abet, encourage possession of dangerous objects;
      • refuse, fail, neglect to report the sighting or presence of any dangerous objects to the departmental authorities or police as soon as possible; and
      • directly or indirectly cause any harm to anyone who exposes another person who makes an attempt to frustrate the prevention of the dangerous objects and activities.
    • A police official, or in his absence, the principal or delegate may without warrant:
      • search any public school premises if she / he has a reasonable suspicion that a dangerous object or illegal drugs may be present in the public school premises;
      • search any person present on the public school premises; and
      • seize any dangerous object or illegal drugs present on public school premises or on the person.
    • No educator, parent or learner, and no other person may possess or use:
      • alcohol;
      • illegal drugs;
      • any illegal substance; or
      • dangerous objects, during any school activity.
  11. Year-end Tasks
    The last weeks of the year are normally experienced as a hectic time in schools.  During this time educators and learners are under stress because of the final exams and management is busy with planning for the next year.  Drawing up timetables for moderation, checking mark schedules, promotion of learners (in-depth discussions in the cases of repeaters and border-line cases), completion of mark books, mark schedules, reports and cumulative report cards must be dealt with.

    • At the end of the fourth term, the following tasks must be attended to:
      • drawing up and processing the examination statistics;
      • evaluation of aspects of the past year such as the changing of classes, the system of learner leaders, school functions, extra-curricular activities and the development of the staff;
      • finalisation of enrolments for the following year;
      • discussion and finalisation of subject choices; and
      • finalisation of work allocation and timetables for the following year.
    • The last staff meeting at the end of the term has a two-fold purpose: On the one hand one has to reflect on the term that has elapsed and on the other hand, one has to plan for the term ahead.  Items for such a meeting could include the following:
      • celebrating successes of teachers and learners;
      • critical analysing of setbacks, shortcomings of the previous terms, including the reasons underlying the above, and how these will be remedied;
      • giving recognition to the special contributions of educators;
      • celebrating successes in extra-curricular activities;
      • comparing curricular achievements attained per subject and grade with the project objective to assess the level of attainment and to solicit constructive suggestions for further improvement; and
      • acknowledging the contribution of each individual educator


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