Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Who Wants to Step Forward and Lead? Anyone?: Letters

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Who Wants to Step Forward and Lead? Anyone?: Letters

Article excerpt

Recent letters about the deepening problems generated by the pressure placed on school leaders reflect the long-term lack of psychological awareness among politicians and policymakers of leadership and accountability in our schools.

The continuing lack of suitable candidates for school leadership posts remains no surprise while principals are being asked to put their careers on the line each time they are visited by England's schools inspectorate Ofsted. This debate would benefit from insights from depth psychology, as there are powerful unconscious influences at work here.

Principals have increasingly come to embody our aspirations for successful lives and our hopes for a happier society, as they supposedly have the power and authority to realise these by raising levels of achievement and guiding students into more mature, compassionate and responsible ways of operating. In this sense we project on to principals a kind of "ideal parent" figure, so when they "let us down" by not being "good enough" - as measured by an inspection - we cannot bear this and they have to be replaced by someone else who can, perhaps, become the idealised school leader we are looking for. …

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