Every School a Great School: Realizing the Potential of System Leadership

Every School a Great School: Realizing the Potential of System Leadership

Every School a Great School: Realizing the Potential of System Leadership

Every School a Great School: Realizing the Potential of System Leadership

Synopsis

'Every school a great school' is not just a slogan, but an aspiration for the next stage of education reform, in which each student has the opportunity to reach their full potential. The book argues that, for 'every school a great school' to become a reality, requires a move from individual school improvement efforts and short term objectives to a sustainable system-wide response that seeks to re-establish a balance between national prescription and schools leading reform. Achieving this goal requires strategies that not only continue to raise standards, but also build capacity within the system. David Hopkins identifies four key educational 'drivers' that, if pursued, have the potential to deliver 'every school a great school': Personalised learning Professionalised teaching Networking and innovation Intelligent accountability The author believes that it is the responsibility of system leaders to mould the four drivers to fit individual school contexts. It is this leadership that enables systemic reform to be generic in terms of overall strategy and specific in adapting to individual and particular situations. Every School a Great School is inspirational reading for head teachers, senior leaders and managers, researchers, lecturers and those with a passionate interest in improving education for all.

Excerpt

By background and temperament, I am a school improvement activist. Over the past 30 years or so I have self-consciously located myself at the intersection of practice, research and policy. It is here that I felt I could best contribute to the process of educational reform. Reflecting on this time, one of the initiatives I am most proud of is the work I did with the Improving the Quality of Education for All (IQEA) school improvement project, in which we collaborated with hundreds of schools in England and elsewhere in developing a model of school improvement and a programme of support. the iqea approach aims to enhance student outcomes through focusing on the teaching–learning process as well as strengthening the school's capacity for managing change. More recently, however, I have found myself as a national policymaker, concerned not only with regional networks of schools, but also with part-responsibility for transforming a whole system. These two sets of experiences have convinced me that not only should every school be a great school, but also that this is now a reasonable, realizable and socially just goal for any mature educational system. This is the argument I pursue in the current volume.

It has been some time since I have, metaphorically, put pen to paper. That is explained simply – as a civil servant it was inappropriate for me to voice personal opinions in print. Having served a parliamentary term as chief adviser to three Secretaries of State – Estelle Morris, Charles Clarke and Ruth Kelly – I have now returned to an international role in educational leadership, where hopefully I can use this relatively unique experience to inform practice, policy and research in education. So, the personal purpose in writing this book is to give myself the opportunity to reflect on the dynamics of school improvement and change in light of my recent experiences.

As always, writing, even of the academic variety, is an exercise in biography. I have never made a secret of this and it is the same in this book. At one level, it represents an interpretation of my time in government, what I tried to achieve and what I learned. But it is no 'kiss and tell'. I was fortunate in middle . . .

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