THIS is a blog of what I am hoping to experience in 2016 from leaders of education.
As I start 2016 I have been offered a month’s work teaching A-level Business Studies at a school with a very good reputation. I am looking forward to this experience and will take as much from it as possible as I search for my next permanent position in education, whatever that may be. I have learnt that it is important to take something from every experience in life. To learn new things about myself and to learn new things that will make me better at what I do.
Above all else I want to gain permanent employment in a school or college who treasure their best resource – the teachers! That is one thing that I have previously learnt. I would love to be able to work for leaders who have high expectations of their employee’s and who do everything they can to support their development. In my opinion, a leader should have even higher expectations of themselves than they do of their staff. They should set the level of expectation by how they act themselves and to provide consistency within the approach. If I gain a leadership role, this is how I will lead.
I have just read an Ofsted S5 report written about a school that has recently had an inspection visit. The school received a ‘good’ for the ‘Effectiveness of leadership and management category’. Of course this judgement is made up from many different pieces of evidence that would be collected, analysed and evaluated. What made me feel very disappointed was that it stated that since the last inspection over half the staff present at the previous inspection have left the school. This statement was made in the context of the school being given the good leadership and management grade… and it came across as a positive! Again, don’t get me wrong, this is only one small part of the evidence base, but for me this is not what good leadership is. In my opinion it does not promote any sort of consistency or provide positive motivation for staff who remain or may be tempted to apply for roles at the school?
Thinking a little further and if we make the assumption that 10% of staff may have gone through natural wastage; another 10% say, for people who could not/would not work within a given structure. Finally throw in another 10% for those who may have taken promotions at other schools. These statistics feel very generous but that still leaves 20% of the 50% that have left the school unaccounted for. ‘Good’ leadership for me would have been to reduce this high turnover. Good leadership would find ways to support and encourage staff to be better, more consistent and encourage teachers to want to stay. For me that would be good leadership and a leadership approach that I would like to work within. It also raises the question about whether this is now the way in education? To positively promote the simple approach to getting rid of staff rather than to lead more effectively by helping people to be better?
Co-coincidently I have just started reading Alex Ferguson’s recently released book titled ‘Leading’. In the book he talks about developing skills in teamwork, discipline, resilience and motivation but one leadership stance sticks in my mind – ‘My Job was to make everyone understand that the impossible was possible‘. For me, this means that a leader supports their staff to be better at what they do, help improve their skills and to enhance their motivation towards the job that they are doing. I would like to think that it is better to keep and develop staff rather than lose them?
THIS would surely be a more positive aspect to respond to when reporting on a ‘good’ leadership and management judgement?
THIS is also a leadership approach that I would like to work within when I gain my next permanent educational role in 2016!