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Raising standards in the education landscape of change.
From budget cuts and the new Ofsted framework, to a shifting curriculum and increased expectations of pupil progress and achievement, schools and colleges are undergoing massive change.
In high performing schools inspected last year, Sir Michael highlighted that “the most successful leaders took steps to improve the culture in their schools, creating a culture that fostered open and constructive challenge”
“These leaders also sought views on their own performance, modelling the behaviour they wanted to see”
Investors in People in Education
It’s clear that to thrive in this new education landscape, schools need great leaders. And not just at the top. “The traditional model of the head teacher leading alone, supported by only a deputy is a thing of the past,” explains Investors in People practitioner Bob Morrison. “Now, there’s a real need for heads to devolve accountability and develop leaders at all levels.”
If devolved leadership is going to work, everyone needs to be clear on their responsibilities. “For teachers it’s about being people leaders as well as taking the lead on an area of the curriculum,” Bob continues, “and for everyone in a school or college, whatever their role, it’s a matter of understanding the part they play in whole school development.”
In one school Bob works with – which has achieved Investors in People Gold Standard Accreditation – every member of staff is clear on how their objectives link to school targets. The caretaker, for example, understands how achieving his objectives to maintain school facilities leads to more children attending the school’s wrap-around provision.
In our current education landscape, the role of head teachers is changing too, making a new approach to leadership even more important. As local authorities get smaller and the services they used to offer reduce or disappear, heads increasingly have to act as external ambassadors for their school and seek out the advice they need.
“School leadership is about more than managing an organisation,” says Bob. “Heads now need to be out in the network making sure they are up-to-date with current thinking and trends. It’s not unusual for a head to be out of school for a few days at a time looking at best practice or learning the lessons from bad practice, and then facilitating other members of their team to learn from it. It’s becoming a much more strategic role, much more collaborative, and much more about representing the school externally.”
Leading in times of change
It’s only natural for people to feel the challenges and concerns that come with times of change. And schools are no different. Improving communication and helping everyone involved stay focused on the same outcomes can make a big difference. Bob helps school leaders develop vital communication skills, in particular skills such as coaching, to improve the flow of information. Another aspect of his role is helping leaders at all levels have difficult conversations that need to take place, something, from his experience, people often find difficult to do.
Investors in People practitioners like Bob understand the context in which schools work and give them a best practice view drawn from all sectors, not just from within education. They give clear advice on leadership and management, and on how to develop leadership across whole schools, not just for head teachers. In a world where education is high up on the Government’s agenda and there are sure to be more changes to come, many schools and colleges are finding support like this invaluable.