Leading Schools in Times of Change

Leading Schools in Times of Change

Leading Schools in Times of Change

Leading Schools in Times of Change

Synopsis

Leadership of schools in changing times is fraught with opportunities and challenges. Leaders are expected to manage competing interests, to create conditions which form the foundation for lifelong learning, to sustain the motivation and morale of staff and to raise achievement levels of all students. Yet to date, there are few texts which examine how this is done successfully. This book seeks to meet this need. It considers effective leadership and management of schools from the perspectives of headteachers, teachers, students, ancillaries, governors and parents in a variety of reputationally good schools of different phases, locations and size. Through a mixture of participants' accounts and analysis of leadership theory, this highly readable book reveals a number of characteristics of headteachers who are both effective and successful: the centrality of personal values, people-centred leadership and the ability to manage tensions and dilemmas. The authors propose a post-transformational theory that reflects the complexity of leadership behaviour in the twenty-first century, suggesting that reliance upon rational, managerialist theory as the basis for training is inappropriate for the values-led contingency model that represents successful school leadership.

Excerpt

In a climate of educational policy that tends to promote a mechanistic, rationalistic view of leadership, this book provides a refreshing and rigorous, evidence-based view of the challenges, joys and headaches of being a successful headteacher at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The 'values-led contingency' model which it identifies confirms that the role of the head is intricately complex and depends upon balancing the demands of external pressures, internal priorities and personal and professional needs. Just as there are ways in which some pupils learn best—but not all pupils, and not all of the time—so there are ways in which schools can be led—but not one way. Key to successful leadership, however, is getting the values right and having the right values in order to manage the tensions and dilemmas with which leaders must live.

One of the common threads that emerges from the research upon which this book is based is the need for heads to be ‘ahead of the game’, aware of the tugs and pulls within and without the school organization, and be able to act on that information. Perhaps that defines one of the essential differences between leadership and management. Management without leadership may well be more tolerant of organizational or personal imperfections. Having skills of leadership can transform weaknesses . . .

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