Primary School Leadership in Context: Leading Small, Medium, and Large Sized Schools

By Geoff Southworth | Go to book overview

7

Developing leaders and leadership

The focus of this chapter could easily form another book. Leadership development is a large topic covering many areas, and there is a considerable body of research, both national and international to draw upon to fully understand the issues, as we learned during our work at the National College for School Leadership. Given the range and depth of knowledge I could draw upon, I am going to try to keep the discussion relatively brief and focused on the issues already addressed or touched upon in the previous chapters. Therefore this chapter is far from being a comprehensive treatment of the field.

The chapter is organised into three main sections. In the first I discuss what the research into small, medium-sized and large primary schools implies for developing leaders of these different school sizes. To do this, I shall focus on three groups of leaders: heads, deputies and subject leaders or coordinators. The second section looks at learning-centred leadership. Here I elaborate a little more on the idea introduced in Chapter 5 before discussing what it implies for leadership development in schools. The third section looks at developing leadership in schools, and the focus here is essentially upon building leadership capacity within schools.


Developing leaders

In the previous chapters I reported that heads and deputies generally believed they had learned most about leading schools by doing it. This viewpoint has a long tradition, though whether it will continue is open to question. Very few of the heads included in the three studies reported in this book had undertaken the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) programme and only a handful had completed the Leadership Programme for Serving Heads (LPSH). When research has examined the impact of these programmes and others the NCSL is piloting, alongside those courses higher education and LEAs provide, we might begin to see how the power of on-the-job learning is augmented by them. Then many more leaders than at present should be better placed to explain whether and how on-the-job learning is enhanced by out-of-school learning activities.

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