Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The Teaching Profession Is Capable of Leading Itself

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The Teaching Profession Is Capable of Leading Itself

Article excerpt

Ordinary heads key to new Foundation for Leadership in Education, says Sir Michael Barber

Grassroots, bottom-up ideas from classroom practitioners have been playing an ever-increasing role in England's schools over the past decade. Everywhere you look - from researchEd to TeachMeets and educators setting up their own schools - teachers are doing it for themselves.

Now, a new organisation is aiming to harness the same chalkface enthusiasm to transform school leadership.

Sir Michael Barber has been appointed the independent chair of the Foundation for Leadership in Education, it was revealed today, and he believes that ordinary headteachers will be the key to its success.

The former Downing Street education adviser told TES in an exclusive interview that he was "inspired to be involved in creating something that is irreversibly owned and led by the profession itself".

"Rather than the government providing leadership development and consulting the profession, this will turn it on its head," Sir Michael - who is also the chief education adviser to Pearson - said.

"The profession will lead and fund leadership development and consult government on what it thinks. If you listen to the prime minister or Nicky Morgan - or before Nicky Morgan, Michael Gove - all of them have said that they want the system to be led by the teaching profession itself, for schools to take the way forward," he added.

Making great leaders

The foundation is being set up by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the National Governors' Association (NGA) and the NAHT headteachers' union to help nurture and develop school leaders. It will set and oversee new standards for leadership in education at each level, quality-assure training courses, and pinpoint and share research on effective practice.

Malcolm Trobe, ASCL interim general secretary, said: "This is about the profession stepping forward and taking the education system to the next level. It is about school leaders taking ownership of leadership development and professional standards and making sure that their successors have the best possible preparation, to help ensure that there is a ready supply of great leaders."

There have been many attempts to develop leaders before, ranging from the National College for School Leadership to the Future Leaders scheme - aimed at challenging schools - and the much reduced, no longer compulsory National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH - see data, above).

But Sir Michael said: "The truth is we don't have the mix that we want now. What are we doing to make sure the job is attractive? …

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