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Transcript - Evolve: New Principals

​Latham Burns: I'm Latham Burns. I'm the Principal of Abbotsford Primary School and I have undertaken the Bastow Evolve course for the past 18 months. 

Peter de Wacht: Hi I'm Peter de Wacht. I'm the Principal of Bayswater West Primary School and we've been part of the Evolve program.

Latham: As part of the Evolve course, participants are required to have a coach and I was very fortunate to be paired up with Peter. Peter was someone who I didn't actually know and that was at my request because I wanted someone who was different to me, who didn't know my background or my experiences and I felt coming from that objective point of view he'd be able to challenge me a lot more and also question my thinking, and I think the relationship has been highly successful in that respect because I have been challenged, somewhat uncomfortable at times but in a really good way and I have really valued that partnership with someone who has a very similar philosophy and holds very strong values like I do. 

Peter: Early on in the piece we were focusing on the technical side of his professional practice but that lasted for a short amount of time as we moved to more of a vision-based approach so we were looking at how can he take his community from where it was to become an even better community of learners. So, watching him grow that vision over time, supporting him, acting as a reflective mirror so that he could take on those challenges, was the most exciting part of the project.

Latham: The course has helped me develop myself as a leader. I hadn't been a principal before so that's why I undertook course. It enabled me to form connections with people outside of my network and to build on my capacity through interactions with them, and also teach me some of the essential parts of the role of a principal particularly around the vision-building aspect, the focus on teaching and learning, and also some of the technical aspects as well. 

Peter: I think the mentoring process for a new principal is vital. Having someone that has been in the role for a little while and can talk about their experiences, help you to think about your own, is incredibly important. The issues that a principal faces on a daily basis are vast and it's important that you've got someone that's walking alongside you helping you to grow, helping you to evolve, so that you can become the best professional you can be.

Latham: I would strongly recommend the Evolve course to all new principals. It enables them to really reflect on their practice, it enables them to form connections with other colleagues and it's a lot of fun.

Peter: I'd absolutely recommend the course it's one which is beneficial to both the new principal and the principal that's been in the role for a while. What it does is it takes your skills and builds on them. What it does is it makes you think about who you are as a principal and how you can help others within the system, so yes absolutely I'd get behind the course anytime.