What makes great school leadership? Great leadership improves the ethos, culture and systems of the school Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid.
William Ernest Henley, Invictus, 1875 1995 Rugby World Cup, South Africa ‘We weren’t the most talented, but we had the most grit, determination, team spirit, fitness, and support.’ MANDELA: Tell me, Francois, what is your philosophy on leadership? PIENAAR: By example. MANDELA: That is right. Invictus, 2010 When Nelson Mandela emerged from prison after 27 years, many of South Africa’s four million whites feared they would be driven into the sea. How do schools succeed against the odds? Ethos and Leadership ‘Football’s a simple game.
You play for 90 minutes and then the Germans win’. Gary Lineker, after losing in the 1990 World Cup on penalties. It was an extraordinary scoreline, against all betting odds. After two games Barcelona, the team touted by many as the world’s best team ever, were routed 7-0 by Bayern. Three decades of research into school effectiveness and school improvement have asked two questions: what makes a school effective, and how can schools improve their effectiveness? Leadership and ethos emerge as the non-negotiable priorities of school improvement. Beyond teacher quality. What Should We Look for in Senior Leaders? This post was prompted by #SLTchat which has started to become part of my Sunday evening preparation for the week ahead. It gets my mind back on the job and allows me to pick up a whole number of ideas through rapid fire responses to key questions of the day.
About three to four years ago I changed both the information requested about colleagues applying for a leadership role and the style of the response. The reference request is built around a document called “Rush to the Top” from Hay Group – it is well worth a read. Raising The Bar. Raising the Bar: Ambition and Technique From my perspective, a number of recent discussions and policy initiatives have missed the target when it comes to tackling the issue of educational under-performance in our schools. Even where I agree with the diagnosis, the prescribed medicine doesn’t seem to match. At classroom level, where it counts, there are a number of reasons why ‘raising the bar’ might appear to be required in some lessons in some schools: The curriculum standards are too limiting: this could be the curriculum framework determined by an exam board or the National Curriculum.
I find the ‘dumbing down’ argument extremely simplistic and partial but there are certainly situations where we could be raising the bar. The ‘enacted’ curriculum is too limiting (to borrow from Joe Kirby via Michael Gove ) : this might be a shallow interpretation of a text or topic or a mis-judgement about age-relevance. Behaviour is poor. Teaching and Learning ‘Market Place’ CPD. A key strand of our ‘research-engaged’ philosophy and practice is that all KEGS teachers are involved in a Teaching and Learning Workshop throughout the year.
This is in addition to the CPD that takes place through departmental meetings, individual CPD courses and the routine practice of ‘reflect and refine’. We are looking to explore new innovations and ideas. The workshop groups meet on six specified occasions across the year plus any time in between that is planned spontaneously. Some are within departments; some are inter-departmental. Some people work in pairs, others in larger groups. Last year we asked for a definite link with formative assessment but this year, it was wide open. In May we held the annual event we call the ‘Carousel’ which provides an opportunity for teachers to share their work to-date with each other.
Behaviour Management: A Bill Rogers Top 10. Behaviour Management Strategies from Bill Rogers Without doubt the greatest personal challenge I’ve faced as a teacher was moving from the Sixth Form college in Wigan where I started teaching, to Holland Park School in London in my mid-20s.
Having established the idea in my mind that I was a pretty good teacher, it was a massive shock to discover that in my new context, I was a novice. It was humbling. Exciting times for Teaching? Is it just me or is there a growing sense of purpose in the profession at the moment, a feeling of a few things coming together at once?
Recent blog-reading and what-not seems to suggest a happy alignment of factors which are converging to create particular momentum, such as: - teacher engagement with convincing, relevant research into the workings of the brain - (if you haven't read Daniel Willingham yet, probably best that you stop here, get on your bike, get to Waterstones, spend an afternoon with Why Students Don't Like School? , then come back to us) - Wilshaw's (admittedly debated and yet to be enacted) statements that teachers should be allowed autonomy of approach as professionals, and the restriction of top-down centralised directive-driven leadership at national level - the increasing use of twitter and social media to get professionals talking to one another, as seen through the increasing numbers of startlingly useful blogs, debates, TeachMeets, Pedagoos etc.