Leadership at All Levels 'Key to Creating Successful Schools'

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 11, 2015 | Go to article overview

Leadership at All Levels 'Key to Creating Successful Schools'


Byline: Gareth Evans Education Editor gareth.evans@walesonline.co.uk

DEVELOPING strong leadership in all staff is key to creating successful schools, according to Wales' education watchdog.

Estyn said it is important for schools to support all their staff, including those at the beginning of their careers, to develop their leadership potential.

Inspectors said succession planning was a strength of top-performing schools, with experienced staff being required to transfer their knowledge to less experienced teachers before they retire or change jobs. But where schools are not successful in developing a strong leadership culture, Estyn said head teachers do not focus well enough on improving the quality of teaching and do not provide appropriate professional development to help staff build on their existing skills and knowledge.

It said many local authorities and regional consortia had often been too slow in identifying this as a weakness in schools and have not provided effective guidance to head teachers to help them improve.

Estyn also called out the Welsh Government for failing to provide enough support at a national level to develop the leadership skills of aspiring and experienced senior leaders. In his report, lead inspector Huw Watkins said: "There are too few opportunities for aspiring and experienced school leaders to develop their skills in key areas such as improving teaching, implementing new initiatives, challenging underperformance and understanding human resources issues.

"In a very few schools, head teachers new to post have been mentored well by an experienced, effective head teacher within the local authority. However, this is not always the case nationally.

"In a few local authorities, head teachers, often in challenging schools, are not supported well enough."

Estyn said there was a particular shortage of training provision for leaders through the medium of Welsh although, increasingly, schools were distributing leadership roles among staff at all levels.

It said the best school leaders involve their senior leadership team in a range of activities in preparation for headship, encouraging staff to play an active, strategic role in leading aspects of the school.

Mr Watkins said: "In schools where there is a strong culture of professional learning, staff work as a team to ensure that pupils achieve well. …

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