Independent Education Spring 2019

organisations, by being more inclusive and by encouraging diversity’. There has certainly been progress in this regard, as evidenced by the dramatic increase in the diversity of schools in membership; expanded categories of membership; an aligned set of affinity groups (deputies, marketers, human resource managers); a vibrant corporate associate interface; and the promotion of school diversity through the ISASA toolkit and related workshops. Principle four ‘Promoting partnerships, networking and interdependence while recognising the autonomy of members’ remains a focus today. ISASA is clear that it is not a governing body, and believes the autonomy of schools is one of the strengths of the sector. However, the association has always encouraged members to appreciate that individual school interests are best served by ensuring the well-being of the independent schooling sector as a whole. Principle five The delivery of ‘cost-effective innovations and timeous professional, research and organisational services to members’ constitutes the fifth principle. Through its numerous and high- quality services across policy, advocacy, international contacts, best practice, professional development, vacancies advertising and individual school advice (on request), ISASA’s professional services remain without peer in southern Africa. Principle six ISASA holds that ‘establishing, maintaining and enhancing standards by providing appraisal, assessment and quality assurance procedures for global best practice benchmarks or targets for members’ is essential to the preservation of the sector’s reputation. Out of ISASA, the Independent Quality Assurance Agency (IQAA) was formed. Consequently, IQAA provides appraisal, assessment and quality assurance procedures for best practice. Out of a sound self-assessment instrument, which is comparable to international best practice, ISASA members can confidently declare that they are quality schools. Principle seven Central to the role of ISASA is to continually ‘identify, secure and develop educator and leadership resources for the industry’. Principle seven is addressed through the Leadership Development Programme, interactive conferences and workshops. Principle eight Principle eight outlines the importance of ‘preserving the legitimate interests and expectations of sectors or minorities’. ISASA supports, and continues to attract, a broad range of membership – from faith-based schools to those with alternate philosophical approaches and varied curricula. It also maintains collegial and collaborative relations with affinity groups, such as the deputies, marketers, human resource managers and the corporate associates. Principle nine Over 20 years ago, principle nine sought to safeguard the sustainability of the organisation by ‘providing representative, executive and administrative structures and resources that will ensure achievement of objectives and sustainable growth, both regionally and nationally’. ISASA continues to live this principle through its regional directors and regional committees, adequately staffed ISASA office and the prudent financial management that has resulted in the formation of the ISASA Trust. ISASA’s vision has remained firmly anchored to its proud history and tradition of excellence. It still strives to represent, promote and protect the common interests of the broader membership as the largest and most representative independent schools association in southern Africa, while empowering the independent schooling sector to continue to provide quality education. As we consider what the coming years will bring, we are mindful of the challenges we will need to address if we are to continue to thrive and deliver value to our diverse membership. Our next strategic plan must move ISASA forward to ensure it continues to offer relevant membership and reliable support where schools need it most. We must identify the values and traits we consider integral to addressing the challenges we face. As we undertake this next step, let it be a brave one; a courageous and optimistic stride that requires a stretch to achieve it. And, lest we think we did it all ourselves, let us remember the words of Sir Isaac Newton, who famously said, ‘If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.’ Everything that has been achieved in the past five years has been possible due to the strong vessel we inherited. This strength can be attributed to two main characteristics: quality and values. The success of ISASA can be traced to these factors, which were identified 21 years ago. Inclusiveness to serve a broader public purpose is what safeguards the independence of the sector and our member schools to pursue their distinctive missions. It is said, ‘We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children’. In much the same way, ISASA strives to protect, promote and augment quality independent education for its membership’s future pupils as much as for its current ones. There is a singular way that this can continue: by welcoming those independent schools that are of quality and are aligned with ISASA’s values. Independent Education • Spring 19 11 ‘Our forbearers arrived at three realisations’.