Agile or Fragile? There really is only one choice for schools.

To be able to move quickly and think and understand swiftly in a world when things are changing…

To be able to move quickly and think and understand swiftly in a world when things are changing so rapidly is the new reality for schools. Schools have one of two choices in the current landscape – be agile or fragile. The second isn’t an option.

So, what does agility look like in a school community that is a complex ecosystem and involves many students, staff, parents, old scholars and future families? And, why is it important for our girls at St Hilda’s to see agility in action, particularly across strategy, operations and technology?

Preparing for the unexpected and making decisions amongst a sea, of sometimes conflicting information, is our new reality. Schools are not alone in this experience. Making courageous decisions and clearing potential roadblocks has been key for all organisations to thrive. Having a shared purpose is key. Our purpose is to deliver the best experiences we can for our girls at St Hilda’s in a time of uncertainty.

So, what are our girls subconsciously observing as we go about reimagining our learning platforms, events, opportunities, and school activities? They are seeing St Hilda’s truly working differently and adapting constantly. They are seeing staff collaborate and being persistent in exploring all options available to deliver on experiences and events.

Importantly, our girls are engaging with staff to come up with solutions to challenges rather than sitting back and waiting for someone else to sort it out. Student agency and voice is at its peak. This term we have reimagined meetings, gatherings, rehearsals, training schedules, balls, dinner dances, performances, camps, campus tours and even Arts Fest.

However, agility doesn’t happen by chance. Decisions are intentional, discussed, debated and put through a rigorous analysis. Earlier this week I was speaking to a few of our Year 11 girls, who were thanking me for the Senior Leadership Team and their Wellbeing Teachers efforts at reimagining their Year 11 Dinner Dance – three times in the space of two weeks! I shared with them our decision-making process. This process is applied to every event and engagement that requires us to be agile. It includes identifying the purpose of the decision to be made, gathering relevant information, identify some alternatives (thank you girls for your superb brain power!), weighting up the evidence and feedback, considering all alternatives, making a final decision, reviewing our decision and then reviewing the decision against the most recent guidelines (that are often changing throughout the decision-making process!).

Our girls play a value part, now and in the future, in developing creative approaches to deal with complexity, uncertainty and changes. There is no better time for our girls to see this in action, and learn from this, than now.


Fiona Johnston