Tag Archives: Operational Strategic Plan

The practical implementation of a strategic plan to alleviate management stress levels in schools

Title: The practical implementation of a strategic plan to alleviate management stress levels in schools

First author: Professor Anna-Marie (A.M.F.) Pelser

iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8401-3893

Research Professor, North-West University, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences- Entity Director – GIFT, Mafikeng Campus.

Corresponding author: Professor A.M.F. Pelser: HED (Home Economics, PU for CHE), B Com (UNISA), B Com Hons (PU for CHE), M Com (Industrial Psychology, NWU), PhD (Education Management, NWU)

e-mail: anna.pelser@nwu.ac.za or ampelser@hotmail.com

Co-author: Dr. A.S Pelser (Faan)

iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0384-5901

Senior lecturer, North-West University, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

BCom (PU for CHE), BCom Hons (PU for CHE), MCom (University of Venda). PhD (Management, NWU)

Ensovoort, volume 41 (2020), number 10: 2

Abstract

This article focuses on the implementation of a strategic plan to alleviate the stress levels of management in schools. Strategic planning is an organizational management activity that is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, and strengthen operations. Such planning helps ensure that employees and other stakeholders work toward common goals, agree on intended outcomes and results, and assess and adjust the organization’s direction in response to a changing environment. No school can operate successfully without a proper strategic plan. An empirical study and interviews with seven employees from different ranks in the Department of Basic Education helped assess what the causes of stress in schools are and how such stress can be relieved. The researcher used purposive sampling to collect information about related concepts, including the nature and place of strategies in schools, and elements of strategies and imperatives for implementing a proper strategic plan in the management of schools. The researcher then drafted a basic strategic plan to assist with the management of schools. The end result of such a strategic plan should emphasise the vision, goals, and objectives and provide an action plan for maximising the effectiveness of management in schools. The fact that stress must be managed both proactively and reactively at school level by those in managerial positions such as school principals, is consistently emphasised. An action plan satisfies this need as it provides an effective and properly developed implementable strategic plan for school operations. The end result of this will help lower the stress levels of all teaching staff at schools.

Keywords: Strategy, Strategic planning, Action plan, Management strategy, Strategic thinking, Administrative Strategic Plan, Operational Strategic Plan

1. Introduction

A properly drafted and implemented strategic plan helps prevent stress. Such plans determine school system procedures. All activities will revolve around the strategic plan. Unfortunately, stress plays an integral role in the lives of many teachers. Although a certain amount of manageable stress may lead to better ways in dealing with problems at school, the opposite is also true and distress may lead to a lack of motivation of teachers as well as them exerting less effort. Some teachers even view this phenomenon as unavoidable and unmanageable (Naidoo, Botha, & Bisschoff, 2013). It is seen as being closely linked to environmental and psychological factors with a compelling effect on teacher happiness and health. Their performance is affected (Alexandrache, 2014). Further research has, however, indicated that stress can and must be managed (Van Wyk & Moeng, 2014). School principals and other managerial staff have a key role to play in this regard. They can organise, plan and implement new policies in such a way that teachers are not subjected to unnecessary stress (Van Wyk & Marumoloa, 2012). At the same time, managers must provide instructional guidance and communicate the school’s vision and aims clearly to all teachers. Enough time must be allowed for the implementing of new policies and new policies must also be extremely clear to avoid misunderstandings and ensure compliance. Teachers who participate in policy and procedure development are more likely to take ownership of their roles in implementing such policies and procedures.

An evaluative and integrative literature investigation was conducted to create a strategy for the implementation of stress management in schools. A theoretical framework was created to investigate the idea of strategy formulation in education and the main elements of strategies, including shared vision, strategic participation, staff motivation, capacity development, and shared values. Stress management is essential for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that it is related to different theoretical suppositions and work stressors. Stress management can be addressed by discussing interaction as an essential element of stress management and highlighting the integrated nature of stress management strategies. The strategic plan was developed with the aim to implement it practically.

An action plan should be determined and implemented as part of a school’s strategic plan. The strategic plan should include the vision, goals, and objectives of the school and emphasise an action plan for minimising the stress levels of the teaching staff.

2. Strategy formulation in education

The process of strategy formulation in education can be explained from different perspectives (Tseng, 2010; Dell, 1998; Davies, 2010). In the following explanation, an attempt is made to provide a comprehensive depiction based on the work of Nickols (2011). Sub and interdependent sections of strategic thinking are strategic management, strategy formulation, strategic planning and strategic deployment (action planning).

According to Bhalla, Lampel, Henderson and Watkins (2009), strategic management represents the realisation of strategic thinking in practice. It was originally viewed as a hybrid discipline influenced by both sociology and economics. A management strategy is normally formulated within the context of strategic management which takes place when there is strategic thinking (Obembe, 2010). The participation of the parent component in the form of the (SGB), the school management team (SMT), and the learner component (LRC) is a prerequisite for the development of a school’s strategic plan. The School Governing Body is responsible for the management of the school and takes ownership of the resources of the school. They produce the strategic plan to be implemented in the school.

Strategic management can be defined as the management of an organization’s resources to achieve its goals and objectives. Strategic management involves setting objectives, analysing the competitive environment, analysing the internal organization, evaluating strategies, and making sure that the strategies are rolled out across the organization (Anon, 2014). Tseng (2010) paraphrased strategic management as actions directed towards the overall organisation objectives, including multiple stakeholders in decision-making, requiring the incorporation of short and long term perspectives, and involving the recognition of trade-offs between effectiveness and efficiency. Based on this view, strategic management is therefore a broad concept that includes the critical aspects of strategic thinking and policy formulation, as well as strategy formulation and action plan design.

Eacott (2010) emphasised that a strategy is temporal and should always be seen as work in progress that is situated in a particular context. Originally a military concept, strategy is further linked with mechanistic structures of the strategic planning approach (Davies, 2010). It can thus be connected with the notion of conducting business in a planned, organised and systematic way and a problem-solving tool for managers (Eacott, 2010).

Strategic planning usually covers a period of three years (Van der Westhuizen et al., 2010). Strategic planning ordinarily involves long-term changes and affects schools significantly. The aim of strategic planning is to guide activities in a particular direction and create a new direction (Van Niekerk & Van Niekerk, 2006).

In an educational context, the function and uses of a strategy involve building and understanding the major strategic development framework in the school while at the same time creating structures and processes that engage individuals within the school in dialogues and conversations about that strategic direction. (Davies, 2010). Educationists often talk about managing strategically or managing in terms of a strategy.

In schools, a strategy is usually designed in an attempt to determine particular actions to be executed for the achievement of specific objectives. Strategy thus involves an action plan that spells out the behaviours (actions) of different role players in one or more areas of the school (Shapiro, 2010).

3. Elements of strategies

The identification of elements or characteristics of strategies is closely linked to aspects that were already discussed in the previous section on strategy formulation in education. For Van Niekerk and Van Niekerk (2006) the main elements of a strategy are envisioning, value management, communication, training and development, and empowerment. Van der Vyfer (2011) indicated the existence and involvement of aims, action steps, stakeholders and evaluation criteria as elements that should form part of a strategy. Davies (2010) discussed how different individuals in the school should engage with each other to enhance strategic capability. He said that this engagement could be seen to consist of three elements, namely strategic conversation, strategic participation, and strategic motivation (Davies, 2010).

Here we further outline he main elements of a strategy. These include the setting of a Mission and a Vision Statement, a Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis, strategic participation, staff motivation, capacity development, and shared values.

Mission Statements help define an organization’s purpose and primary objectives. These statements explain why a business exists. Mission statements are short, clear, and powerful. The goal of the organisation is clarified by means of a winning idea. The wining idea forms the core goal of the business strategy (Anon, 2012).

After the mission statement has been determined, it is time to formulate the vision statement. The vision statement flows from the mission statement. The vision statement should be distilled into values. What are the core values of the school and how will the school give expression to these values?

For a vision to be shared, there must be a deliberate relationship between the parts and the whole of the entire organisation. A shared vision helps staff members be aware of the expectations of the school. Their individual roles are clearly defined (Wilkening, 2015). The vision of the school must be communicated clearly and frequently and must be put into practice daily.

SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis as a management tool that assists management to determine the core goal and the management thereof (Anon, 2012; Berry, 1996). A SWOT analysis is helpful in developing a strong business strategy because it considers all the strengths and weaknesses of the business. The opportunities and threats that the business faces in the marketplace are also considered. Strengths and weaknesses are internal to the company, while opportunities and threats are external.

Strengths

The drawing up of a strategy starts with a SWOT analysis that assesses a changing environment and looks at ways to respond proactively. First of all, the strengths (S in SWOT analysis) must be determined. The questions asked to determine the strengths of the school include What does the school do well? In other words, in which aspects does the school excel, and what makes the school special? What internal resources are available? How readily are the resources available, and can they be used and reused? How long will these resources last? Does the school have certain advantages over other schools and which advantages does the school have? Which other positive aspects, internal to the school does the school have, that adds value or offers a competitive advantage?

Weaknesses (internal, negative factors)

This is the “W” of the SWOT analysis. Here one looks at the aspects that places a school at a competitive disadvantage. Which areas in the school system need improvement to accomplish the objectives set? In which area or areas are the school lacking? Here lacking refers to a lack of expertise and access to skills or technology. Are schools ready to adapt to the new changes brought about as part of the fourth industrial revolution? The school system and its resources are heavily affected. One negative factor can also be the limited resources of a school. Schools in rural areas suffer due to a lack of resources. The location in which the school is situated can pose a resource-related threat or advantage.

Opportunities

The factors under this heading make for an advantage to a school. Opportunities form the “O” in SWOT analysis. Which attractive factors are present in a school that make the school prosper? What does the school have to offer that puts the school on the map? Are there any opportunities in the market or the environment that the school can benefit from? Does the community view the school in a positive or negative light? An investigation must be done to determine if there was recent labour market growth or other changes in the market that would help create an opportunity.

Threats

The factors in this section cause difficulty for the school. These are external factors beyond the control of the school that place the school at risk. Who are the school’s existing or potential competitors? What factors beyond its control could place the school at risk? These factors must be mentioned and the percentage of risk must be assessed. An unfavourable trend or development may lead to deteriorating student numbers. What can be done to combat an unfavourable trend or development? Conditions that threaten marketing efforts must be investigated to determine the influence that such conditions may have an marketing efforts.

Strategic participation relates to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 2012). Strategic participation indicates joint consultation with all the stakeholders in decision-making, goal setting, and commitment to collective objectives (Chance, 2010). Strategic participation can also be used to enhance decisions and establish a clear idea of where participants want an organisation to go. It can also help promote commitment to participate and cooperate in team activities (Rowley, Lujan & Dolence, 1997).

Staff Motivation can be paraphrased as an encouragement, energy or an inspiration that drives an individual or staff member to respond or act. It is also viewed as the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action; as well as the reason for the action. Therefore, motivation has a bearing on the psychological processes that persuade, urge, convince, or stimulate individuals to act the way they do (Anon., 2015). According to Schunk, Pintrich and Meece (2014), motivation causes goal-directed activity to result in improved performance.

Capacity development is the process by which individuals, organisations and societies obtain, strengthen and maintain the capabilities to set and achieve development objectives. Capacity development can be viewed from three perspectives (Schuller 2015). Firstly, it can be viewed from an individual perspective, which assumes that skills and knowledge is vested in individuals. Secondly, capacity development can be viewed from an organisational perspective. Internal policies, systems and strategies enable an organisation to operate and achieve its goals. Thirdly and lastly, it can be seen as an enabling environment, which considers the wider society within which individuals and organisations function (Schuller 2015).

4. Imperatives of stress management in education

Relatedness with work stressors

Some teachers suffer from physical and mental health conditions that affect their capacity to perform their daily tasks optimally (Lussier, 2008). The term stress management is thus sometimes used in relation to the ways in which individual teachers are supposed to cope or handle these personal stressors. This article, however, emphasises work-related stressors or so-called organisational stressors as imperatives or key elements of the phenomenon of stress management.

Stress management is mainly seen as a way of assisting teachers who experience change at work that often involves the introduction of new teaching or assessment methods (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2007). Ngidi and Sibaya (2002:27) also identified a range of issues faced by South African teachers on a daily basis, including time pressures, poor working conditions, educational changes, administrative problems, and pupil misbehaviour.

Interaction as essential element

The management of stress in schools is based on the notion that body and mind interact with stressful stimuli in the environment and that there are consequences to such interactions (Martin, Cheung, Knowles, Kyrios, Littlefield, Overmier & Prieto, 2011). A stressed teacher should enter into a negotiated relationship with someone like a principal, who can help reframe his or her perception of the stressful situation. By communicating and clarifying the nature of stressors in this way, a teacher who suffers from stress and a school principal can investigate the significance of possible remedies for stressors. Good communication between teachers and their superiors may therefore be an important element in the stress management process.

Integrated nature

Stress management interventions can be loose-standing activities or be integrated into a training course or programme on motivation, communication, time management, conflict resolution, and shared decision-making (Steyn & Van Niekerk, 2012). The integrated nature of stress management is also evident from the fact that it manifests as both proactive and reactive. Specific proactive steps can be taken by introducing programmes aimed at stress prevention. Such programmes may include team teaching, regular feedback, workload division, and just being aware of stress indicators such as teacher absenteeism, missed deadlines, and careless mistakes (Naidoo, 2012). Reactive stress involves corrective measures or the application of traditional management actions, such as good leadership in places or situations where stress levels are very high.

Methodology

Research approach

This study utilised a qualitative research method to collect data from participants that were involved or should have been involved in the strategic plan or planning of the school. Structured in-depth interviews schedules were utilised.

Sample

Seven participants were purposively selected from the Department of Basic Education. Some of these participants were still employed at schools, while some where employed at the district office. Some of them had already retired due to stress. A total of 26 schools from the Mahikeng area were visited and quantitative data were successfully collected from 354 participants. From these quantitative data, a total of seven participants were purposively selected. All these participants had experience of the operational methods used in schools. All the participants also dealt with stress in their own way and could contribute to an action plan for managing stress in schools. These participants were aware of burning issues that required attention to be able to draft a successful strategic plan for a school.

Ethical considerations

All ethical considerations from the North West University and the Department of Basic Education were adhered to. Participation was voluntary and informed consent was given prior to each interview. Participants also signed a consent form and anonymity and confidentiality were upheld. Participants were informed that they could withdraw at any point without any consequences. Participation was voluntary. Information was kept confidential and saved in coded files.

Data collection

Data were collected by means of an unstructured interview schedule. Each individual interview schedule consisted of eight open-ended questions and each interview took approximately three quarters of an hour. Further in-depth questions were asked if necessary. The interview continued until the researcher felt that there were enough data and the researcher was satisfied that the necessary answers were given. The interviews were audio-recorded using a digital recorder, and coded and stored for later use.

Data analysis

Saved data was transcribed verbatim by the interviewer. A basic coding frame was set up by the researcher and data were analysed according to the coding frame. Common descriptive themes were identified. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Coding was done and themes were created. These themes were used as the basis for the subsequent analysis. The themes were categorised. Care was taken not to generalise results. The participants’ body language during the interview was also considered.

5. Findings

Action plan for the implementation of stress management strategies in schools

An action plan consists of a number of stages or activities that must be performed well for a strategy to thrive. The three major elements of such a plan are specific tasks — what will be done and by whom, time horizon — when will it be done, and resource allocation — what specific funds are available for specific activities. (Anon., 2015). Cummings (2014) discussed an action plan as a tool to create an effective school and among other things, mentioned aspects such as high expectations for staff and learners, a safe and orderly climate, frequent assessments, parental involvement, focused sustained professional development, and the embracing of excellence.

According to Sage (2015:2), strategic objectives is one of the fundamental building blocks of a strategic plan. These should be long-term and aligned with the organisation’s mission and vision. An organisation prioritises objectives through a thorough analysis of work-related practices such as a SWOT analysis.

The researcher proposes an action plan based on the research which is discussed below. As mentioned in the introduction of this article, the strategic planning of the school should always include an action plan that will help minimise the stress levels of the teachers. This should be done at the end of every year, for a three-year period starting the following year.

Figure 2: A proposed strategic or action plan

As the diagram above shows, the researcher proposed that the strategic plan should be sub-divided into an operational strategic plan and an administrative strategic plan.

  • Operational strategic plan

The operational plan consists of a needs assessment for operating efficiently and effectively helping teachers alleviate their stress levels.

  • Administrative strategic plan

This is a supportive function to the operational strategic plan and therefore the link between the administrative and operational functions. The operational strategic plan cannot be efficient without a proper functional administrative strategic plan. The principal is the accounting officer responsible for the implementation of the administrative strategic plans.

Operational strategic plan
  • Vision of operational plan

The main vision of an operational plan is to deliver quality education.

  • Mission of operational plan

The mission of an operational plan is to develop a well-operated school with structures in place, such as a strategic plan where every role player knows what is expected of them. Trained teachers are to deliver quality teaching and learning. Learners must be prepared well for tertiary education and equipped for the labour market. The stress of teaching staff must be alleviated. Teachers with lower stress levels tend to be more at ease in adapting to changes.

Operational strategic plan — SWOT analysis
  • Strengths

The feedback received from respondents during THE interviews revealed the following strengths: Respondent A noted: “Some principals show good leadership and try to manage problems at school. These principals are open and allow teachers to discuss their problems with principals. This makes teachers feel that they are not alone in this situation and that the principal is not just a manager, but a good leader that assists his teachers. Some principals follow an open-door policy which makes them more approachable”. This correlates with Van Niekerk and Van Niekerk (2006) who stated that the key elements of a plan are visioning, value management, communication, training and growth, and empowerment. Teachers want to be empowered, and they want to be included in decision-making. They want their voice to be heard.

Regular communication also helps meet this need of teachers. Respondent E replied: “Teachers make use of the existence of a buddy system whereby teachers assist one another with problems, as this alleviates the burden of stress on teachers. Teachers share ideas in alleviating one another’s stress and speak out on existing problems and how every person handles his or her stress problems. Kreitner and Kinicki (2007) mention that stress management is seen primarily as a way of helping teachers who encounter change at work by incorporating new methods of teaching or evaluation. Some of the teachers alleviate stress by getting involved in exercises, while others write problems down in a book and address these situations one by one. Respondent A mentioned that she has started smoking, and feels that doing so will help alleviate her stress. Respondent B mentioned that some Departmental Heads are very efficient and effective. They render exceptional support to their teachers and call regular meetings to get solutions to problems. They also brainstorm to solve problems. Naidoo (2012) emphasised that re-active stress relates to corrective steps or the execution of conventional management activities such as offering effective leadership when stress rates are very high. Naidoo said that management actions can help alleviate teacher stress.

  • Weaknesses

The feedback received from respondents during interviews revealed the following weaknesses. Respondent C said that “overcrowded classrooms inhibit a teacher’s movements as there is no space for the teacher to move and reach learners at the back of the classroom”. This respondent further states that “by not being able to go to the learners at the back of the class the teacher does not know if learners are busy with the work presented in class or another teacher’s homework, copying of another’s work takes place and learners are engaged with other work than the work presented. The teacher also does not know which learner is a slow learner as the teacher cannot see everybody’s progress in class”. Van Wyk (2008:143) also believes that overcrowded classrooms are a contributing factor to poor learning conditions due to the lack of space, fresh air and high levels of noise, all of which may lead to a lack of attention and even stress among learners.

Respondent B mentioned that teachers render good inputs but receive no outputs from learners and this causes stress for teachers. This respondent was also worried about too many young teachers in the system. These teachers are not willing to learn something or follow the example of the more knowledgeable teachers in the system. The many vacant posts at the school and the time it takes to fill a position increases teacher workload. Taylor (2020) states that the South African education system is significantly underperforming given the money invested in education. Different forms of accountability within the school system may help to raise learning rates and narrow the enormous learning gap between middle-class children and poor families. For Respondent G the most stressing matter was the weak leadership of the principal and school management team.

Respondent B said the following: “Bullying principals and school management team members make it difficult to work in such a school environment. Teachers should empower themselves, and become knowledgeable on subject information as teachers are not teaching subjects which they majored in”. Respondent G states: “of all absentees, the principals are of the most staff members absent, and they have ample time to be involved with their own business”. Masuko (2018) mentioned that the South African Union of Educators (EUSA) were overwhelmed by allegations against “abusive” school administrators, and that they were investigating cases of teachers who had resigned from their jobs due to bullying or were suspended for minor offenses or were considering leaving the profession. Masuko (2018) further mentioned that such bullying was a cause of stress for educators.

Respondent F states the following: “In general teachers are lazy, they can’t set exam papers and have no work ethics”. She also mentioned the fact that there is no induction programme and said that there is huge corruption with the selling of positions. She feels that teachers are not well trained, and that education colleges should be brought back. There is also no acknowledgement of teacher achievements and the learner-discipline problems are just escalating. In her view no special provision was made in mathematics for learners taking technical subjects and there is a lack of support from the Department of Education and the School Governing Body. Mazambane (2015) concurs with respondent F and says that teachers are too lazy to do extra work. They want to take the easy way out. They refuse to go the extra mile. He gave the example of a decision being taken by government that Mandarin must be offered and then the teachers refused to be trained. They considered it too much work and extra work.

Corruption surrounding textbooks and excessive administration paperwork caused stress for both teachers as well as departmental heads. Nepotism where only friends and family were appointed in important managerial positions caused stress. Respondent D further mentioned that you cannot run a school without a proper strategic plan in place. African News Agency (ANA) (2016) reported that in 2015 the Corruption Watch site had ample reports on corruption in schools. According to ANA (2016), “The bulk of these reports finger principals as the main culprits involved in corruption activities. This is a consistent trend across all schools, including Section 20 and private schools, with the majority of reports emanating from Section 21 schools.” ANA (2016) further stated that “At least 259 of the cases implicated principals in financial mismanagement, 152 in theft of school funds, 78 in tender corruption, 36 in employment corruption and 19 cases for theft of goods, including theft of food provided as part of the government feeding schemes”. It is difficult for schools to survive when principals are involved in corruption.

  • Opportunities

The respondents did not mention any opportunities in the interviews. They were all extremely stressed and felt that they are at a dead end. They did not feel like anything could be done to change the system.

  • Threats

The respondents mentioned a number of threats. The respondents all reflected on the excessive number of teachers that resigned. They felt that the Department of Basic Education should look into this problem and find out why teachers resign.

Administrative strategic plan
  • Vision of administrative strategic plan

Enough resources available to support the operational plan.

  • Mission of administrative strategic plan

To determine the necessary resources to support the operational plan, ensure proper budgeting and appropriate management of the budget, including ensuring sufficient venues, teaching aids, well-trained support staff, accountancy programs, and equipment.

Administrative strategic plan — SWOT analysis
  • Strengths

The respondents mentioned strengths. Only 12% of the schools had efficient budgeting control.

  • Weaknesses

Respondents felt that administration staff are not well-trained to perform accountancy duties and some of the administration staff do not have a job description. They also never received any training. Most of the schools do not have enough support staff. Several schools have no accounting system and the few that do have one, have one that is inefficient. There is little or no control over income and expenditure.

Other weaknesses mentioned included corruption, not enough and very unhygienic bathrooms, the absence of a recreation or staff room, and insufficient sport facilities. A a lack of furniture, equipment for teaching and learning, and textbooks were also mentioned, as were wrong textbooks bought.

Most of the respondents complained about a lack of work ethics among support staff and no leadership over support staff.

  • Opportunities

The respondents did not mention any opportunities in the interviews.

  • Threats

The respondents mentioned the threat of no administrative function support system and a failing operational strategic plan.

Action plan by the researcher

The researcher is using the information acquired from the participants to draft a basic action and strategic plan for the operation of a school.

  • Action plan or operational strategic plan for the effective operation of a school

All the role players in a school should be involved in setting a strategic plan that determines the vision and mission.

  • Strengths

All the weaknesses mentioned at schools should be converted to strengthening activities in the strategic plan. They should be addressed for a well-functioning school to alleviate the stress levels of teachers. To fulfil this mission, special attention should be placed on certain aspects of the strategic plan and the execution thereof. This function is delegated to the accounting officer. The following aspects in the action plan need to be addressed to ensure quality teaching and the alleviation of teacher stress levels:

    • Management of overcrowded classrooms.
    • Addressing vacant posts.
    • Capacity building should help develop effective and efficient leadership of the principal and the school management team.
    •  Motivation models for teachers to do further studies and empower themselves.     Teachers can re-enroll at university.
    • Capacity building for teachers to become more knowledgeable on subjects. Attending extra courses.
    • Ensuring that teachers are teaching subjects that they majored in.    
    • Assisting departmental heads at the schools to assist teachers in producing good quality exam papers.
    • Proper induction program for new teachers to the school.
    • Work ethics always be intact and implemented.
    • Programmes to acknowledge teacher achievements.
    • Addressing learner-discipline problems in schools.
    • The principal appointing one responsible person to liaise with the Department of Education and vice versa.
    • Strong relationship with local community and the School Governing Body.
    • An approved strategic plan in place before the commencement of the new year.
    • New methodologies, training educators and helping them discover innovative strategies for improving the educational process.
    • Awakening curiosity and new discoveries and stimulating new experiences through digital culture, building new skills and contributing to the development of children and adolescents.
  •  Weaknesses

It is important for the principal of the school (accounting officer) to recognise the weaknesses that are still found in the school and accordingly manage the weaknesses pro-actively, as well as to alleviate teacher stress. Weaknesses should be mentioned in the strategic plan.

  • Opportunities
    • Assistance from SGB to manage school effectively and efficiently and support the school principal accounting officer.
    • Allowing the school to request sponsorships and donations from external         organisations, for the supplementation of resources for high quality teaching and learning.
    • Allowing for training of management.
    • e-Learning tools that facilitate opportunities for remote, self-paced learning.
  • Threats
    • Being aware of the potential competitors.

Action plan or strategic plan for the administration of a school

All the role players in a school should be involved in setting a strategic plan for determining the vision and mission.

  • Strengths

To fulfil this mission, special attention is placed on certain aspects in the strategic plan and the execution thereof, and this function is delegated to the accounting officer. The following aspects in the action plan need to be addressed to ensure the delivery of quality teaching and alleviate the stress teachers:

    • Accounting system in place to manage the budget and creation of financial statements.
    • Proper cash management.
    • External audits at the end of every year.
    • A policy for the recovery of outstanding school fees.
    • Catering for the employment of support staff.
    • Policies for learner and staff-transport facilities.
    • A policy for technological advancement.
    • All teaching and learning equipment provided.
    • A policy for culture, academic and sport requirements.
  • Weaknesses
    • It is important for the accounting officer to recognise the weaknesses that are still present in the school and be able to manage them accordingly to alleviate the stress of teachers. Weaknesses are mentioned in the strategic plan.
  • Opportunities
    • Assistance from the SGB to manage the school effectively and efficiently and support the accounting officer.
    •  A policy for training and capacity building of administrative support staff through external organisations.
    • Allowing the school to request sponsorships and donations from external     organisations, for the supplementation of resources for high-quality teaching and learning.
  • Threats
    • Knowing the potential competitors.

6. Closing remarks

The action plan should be managed, and threats should be investigated and managed as well as mentioned in the strategic plan.

The researcher hopes that the action plan proposed above will assist the accounting officer in managing the schools effectively and minimising the stress levels of teachers. Each role player will know what is expected of them, and this will lead to effective management and accomplishing the vision and mission of a school.

Plans can help make the school successful, but the most important aspect of all in this whole programme is ethics. Good ethics in the schools and teachers can set the school on a trajectory to become a successful educational institution.

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