The Pruning Principle Program

A flexible program that you can fit around your work, wherever you are in the world.

Practical, live-streamed workshops designed for making progress that day

Quick and effective tools and frameworks

What if the answer to inducing positive change in our teams, schools and systems lies in doing less?

Educators, leaders, schools and systems are overloaded and exhausted. Our calendars and improvement plans are overloaded, and many of us are ready to explore a better way of pursuing sustainable improvement.

The Pruning Principle Program is a highly practical 4-week short course for educational leaders and their teams who want to find a pathway to calm and meaningful progress. During the program, you will learn practical strategies and apply actionable tools you can immediately use with your broader staff. A committed community will support you to be creative and courageous in your pursuit of doing less to achieve more.

FORMAT:  2 Online Workshops (streamed live) & 2 group momentum sessions

DURATION:  4 Weeks

TIME:  5 Hours

START DATE: Tuesday, 6 August 2024 (AEST)

COST:  $399 AUD* *plus GST for Australian residents

20% off for each additional team member from the same organisation

Learning Outcomes

The Pruning Principle Program will focus you and your team on the most essential elements of your role and improvement strategy.

❤️ Embrace the Pruning Principle: Achieve more by doing less through strategic subtraction.

✂️ Implement the Pruning Cycle: Apply the 3-Phase Educational Pruning Cycle in your role.

🚀 Identify Pruning Opportunities: Spot commitments and programs that need pruning.

🛠️ Apply Pruning Tools: Enhance collective decision-making with the effective use of pruning tools.

🧑 Manage Subtractive Change: Master the human side of subtractive change management.

🥼 Conduct Pruning Experiments: Plan and execute pruning experiments to monitor the benefits.

Who Is It For?

We’ve designed this program especially for Directors, Principals, DPs, APs, Heads of Department, Head Teachers, Learning Specialists, Instructional Leaders, and Teacher Leaders.

Workshop Schedule


Our program includes two live-streamed digital workshop sessions led by Dr Simon Breakspear. These run for 2 hours each (for a total of 4 hours of live workshop time over the course).

You’re also invited to join two optional 30 minute Momentum Sessions.

These sessions are recorded and made available within 24 hours after the live stream, just in case you need to catch up at a time that works for you.

Topic: Foundations of Pruning

Tuesday, 6 August
9:30 AM – 11:30 AM (AEST)
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Topic: Pruning in Action

Tuesday, 3 September
9:30 AM – 11:30 AM (AEST)
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Course Design


Two dynamic and highly practical 2-hour live-streamed workshops with Dr Simon Breakspear


Momentum Calls

Opt into a short 30-minute group call with one of our facilitators to help you apply our methods to your unique context (optional)

Online Curriculum

Access to a comprehensive online video curriculum for a full 12 months, to provide a deep understanding of our core methodology and tools


Downloadable tools and templates to use with your team


Access to full recordings of all live-streamed sessions so that you can catch up or reengage at a time that works best for you


Receive a digital certificate of completion at the end of the program and submission of an application acitivity.


Join our private Strategic Schools Alumni LinkedIn community to enable sustained leadership practice change and support beyond the program.

Register Now

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Receive a 20% discount for each additional team member from the same organisation.
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About Simon Breakspear

Program Instructor

Simon is a researcher, advisor and speaker on educational leadership, policy and change. Simon develops frameworks and tools that make evidence-based ideas actionable and easy to understand. Over the last decade his capability building work has given him the opportunity to work with over 100,000 educators across more than 10 countries.

Simon is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at UNSW. He serves as an advisor to the NSW Department of Education and sits on an expert steering committee for the Australia Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). Simon received his BPsych (Hons) from UNSW, his MSc in Comparative and International Education from the University of Oxford and his PhD in Education from the University of Cambridge. Simon began his work in education as a high school teacher.

Enrol as a team

This program is designed specifically for leaders and their teams at all levels of education.

Educational pruning is best pursued in a highly collaborative manner, which is why we believe that learning is better together. Take a course as a team and develop new mindsets, a shared understanding and practical approaches you can apply together. Throughout the program, teams benefit from deeper discussions that are directly applicable to their priority improvement strategies and initiatives.

Participating teams often include Directors, Principals, DPs, APs, Heads of Department, Head Teachers, Learning Specialists, Instructional Leaders and Teacher Leaders.


Can I do this program on my own?

Yes of course! Every cohort has at least 20-30% of participants who join on their own. Whilst we strongly advocate for the benefit of team learning, you can still experience a rich learning program engaging on your own.

How much time will this take?

The minimum engagement required to understand our core practices and tools is about 5 hours over four weeks. This involves 2 x 2-hour live zoom workshop sessions (or watching recordings) and 1 hour of applying the tools (through our optional tutorials or your own application in context). We will never pressure you during the program. Do what you can, with the time that you have, and we will be there every step of the way to help you gain as much benefit as possible.

What happens if I miss a session?

We totally understand how busy and unpredictable school life can be. All of our faculty have worked in schools, and spend time with educators every week. All of our live sessions and tutorials are recorded and made available within 24 hours of delivery. So never feel pressured or stressed about missing a session or needing to rush out to do with an unexpected incident. We are with you every step of the way with flexible approaches for you to engage with the content when you have the time and cognitive bandwidth. Remember you will have access to our full online digital curriculum and can dip in and out of the content and recorded sessions for 12 months.

Will this help my team move forward together?

The simple resounding answer we hear from Alumni who have engaged their entire leadership team in our other programs is YES! We have worked with team sizes from 2 to 18. Turn up with your team and let our faculty help to work alongside you to move the needle. Sometimes teams just need to hear the same core messages from someone outside the organisation. Our experts and faculty can do exactly that.

What time zone do the live sessions run in, and are they recorded?

Our workshops are streamed from Sydney, Australia, and are in the AEST or AEDT time zone (depending on Daylight Savings). You may not be able to make both of the workshops, so we record each session so that you can engage in your own time with the content that is most relevant to you.

What do I need to complete in order to receive a certificate?

You will need to attend or catch up on the live recordings for each of the live sessions and demonstrate your understanding and application of the simple tools. We will build your capability to understand these tools in the workshops, and you will be supported to apply these tools during tutorial sessions.

How long will I have access to the course materials?

You will have access to all course materials for one year. The workbooks, tools and slides are all downloadable. So you’ll have access to these materials for as long as you like. If we make updates or upgrades to our tools or frameworks, we will send them out to you as part of our Alumni community.

What happens once I complete the 4 week course?

You will join our global Alumni community and have access to our private LinkedIn Group.

Still wondering if this course is right for you?

Please reach out to our team, and we can help explore whether our work is likely to be a good fit for you and your team. Email us at