Treacle Consulting


The change approach needed to create a shift in the way principals lead schools; this was an opportunity for the EDConnect to generate significant change and trigger a ripple effect of accumulated positive outcomes.

Shared Services (EDConnect) for the NSW Department Education sought to work more closely with schools (its customers) to build capability, improve use of data in operational decision-making, and actively create a shift in principals’ mindset on the strategic importance of operational leadership. 

The small start came when a decision was made to meet a request by a principal’s association to make EDConnect performance data more transparent to schools.  In effect, to publish the response times and outcomes on the solutions offered by EDConnect.  Rather than simply answering this question, the EDConnect leadership asked ‘what other data do principals and schools need’ in order to think more strategically about operations.

Project purpose:

–  To provide school leaders with easily digestible data to enable faster and more effective decisions on school operations.

–  To support schools in improving thinking about operations more strategically,

–  To support improved operational processes and work practices in schools

–  To provide visibility and transparency of EDConnect’s delivery of its services to its customers

An innovative collaboration and coaching approach was used across 2200 schools, starting with codesigned data dashboards and then a radical shift in learning and support for all principals in NSW schools. Group and individual coaching engaged and motivated busy principals, creating the necessary mindset shift and addressing the unique issues of each school. 

Understanding customer needs: A human-centred design approach provided valuable insights that were incorporated into the project from the beginning to end, shaping each stage of the project.

Co-Design Development approach: Co-design workshops were used at every stage of the project to ensure customer needs were fully understand and incorporated and that solutions delivered against these needs. An iterative process of design, prototype, test and learn ensured customer focus as well as enhancing connection and trust between teams.

Cross-functional Virtual Support Team: The design and creation of a cross-functional team of internal experts brought about a shift from being largely a reactive support model to being proactive, with more differentiated customer support

Coaching Based Learning Program: The innovative and highly effective coaching based approach to delivery was a stark shift from traditional approaches to delivery the in the Department. Coaching enabled the flexibility to tailor each session to the unique goals and priorities of the principals, as well as one-to-one time to explore more deeply school specific issues and learning, a supportive environment and a closer connection and relationship with EDConnect. Group Coaching enabled the project to be scaled quickly and successfully across the 2200 schools and ensured the changes were embedded into school operations.


Deploying the reports using coaching has been a centrepiece of the program and recognises that principals can achieve positive and measurable change in behaviour when provided with the right tools and support to do so”

Carmel Senese, Director Shared Services

The Outcome

The best recent change in the Department”, Deputy Secretary

EDConnect improved solutions for schools enabling school principals to make better operational decisions for the benefit of their school and students. A by-product of this success was EDConnect team capabilities growing, school work practices improving and consequently, the brand and vital partnership of EDConnect and schools being enhanced. 

Initial feedback measures have been extremely positive:

93% overall satisfaction with the coaching approach.

91%  – How likely are you to recommend the session to a colleague?

89% – The coaching approach made it easy for me to learn how operational data insights can help my school