Leadership and Management
Unlike the previous framework, leadership and management are moved down to the final, rather than the first spot for judgement. This is an interesting shift of emphasis away from the “heroic leadership” paradigm we have seen for the last 30 or so years. That said, leadership still receives considerable focus. Here are my key takeaways:
Issue 1: Much of the discussion of leadership focuses on the vision for curriculum. Leaders are held accountable for setting the values and policies which lead to a high quality education. As such this is directly connected to the “quality of education” element.
The implication here is that the leadership of a school needs to be setting the framework in which curricular excellence can thrive. Christine Counsell has written some excellent blogs on this. It is notable that this focus mean SLT are no longer prescribing pedagogy but creating the policies to enable high quality education. This might be a very big shift for schools where centrally directed pedagogy decisions have dominated. On this theme, I think James Woodcock’s blog on subject sensitive senior leadership is excellent, as is Nick Dennis’ post on engaging subject leads in curriculum planning.
Issue 2: There is a large focus on senior leaders developing the subject and pedagogical knowledge as well.
In terms of subject and pedagogical development I think it will be important for senior leaders to engage with subject associations and explore the possibilities of joint working to develop subject expertise in regions. In history for example, both the Schools History Project and Yorkshire History Forum offer excellent subject development for schools in and around Leeds (and nationally for the SHP), but few schools engage. There are also implications for the provision of appropriate support and training for new staff and trainees. For too long the ITE provision in schools has been quite patchy. Senior leaders will now have direct responsibility for ensuring high quality, subject specific training is being supported in school. Again, links with local HEI education departments may be helpful here.
Issue 3: There is a significant thread related to workload throughout the two main elements of the framework. Senior leaders are held responsible for taking account of staff pressures and managing workload in a realistic and constructive way. This is hugely important as the adage in schools when I trained to teach was that good was never good enough. Increasing accountability demands overburdened teachers with little discernible effect.
The key takeaway here is that policy decisions can no longer be a case of keeping adding new things on. Senior leadership teams will need to consider the efficacy of what they are doing and whether it sits coherently with their whole school approach. The days of fortnightly triple lock marking were already numbered, but this makes it clear. If your school has not reviewed the workload impact of its policies and their effectiveness since 2014, then now is the time to do so. The Key provide a useful flowchart for deciding whether a new policy is necessary, and I really like James Woodcock’s version too.
Issue 4: There is a much publicised paragraph about not “off-rolling” or “gaming”.
I don’t think this needs much exploration here, but may be a challenge in some contexts.
Issue 5: There are also sections on engagement with parents and governors, and to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to protect staff and students.
Much of this is not new.