System Leadership and School Improvement

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How do we find the next generation of teachers to step up to leadership?

In a high-stakes accountability system, how do we nurture the next generation of school leaders and reduce a football-manager-syndrome culture. This is a question I have been asking England’s inspection watchdog for a number of years …

Macro accountability …

Headteachers (at least that’s what they called themselves a decade ago) used to settle their disputes with the local authority, or with parents and colleagues within their school. Local councillors used to treat their schools with care and tackle others that didn’t toe the line, yet naming and shaming was unheard of. Politicians today, insist that all parents have a ‘good school’ on their doorstep, yet send their children to anything but the local state school.

Meso accountability …

‘Success’ has always been measured against the current culture, not an absolute of what teachers and school leaders are capable of. Over time then, as the goalposts have changed, what used to be deemed as successful is now labelled ‘requires improvement’.

Sticking with it, because a poor proxy needs refining, is a terrible reason to persist in behaviours that cause harm, which restrict experienced teachers from wanting to ‘step up’ and take on the helm of ‘headteacher’.

Micro accountability …

If Ofsted continues to grade schools and measure what was before and what lies ahead, our schools end up in a mindless-loop of evaluation, rather than genuine school improvement. It’s no wonder more teachers left the profession last year than the number who entered.

I have no intention of applying for headship until this changes and will continue to speak about lack of genuine system leadership from those who curate at a macro level. You know where I am if you wish to engage …

Inspired by Seth Godin.

@TeacherToolkit

In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account in which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated for '500 Most Influential People in Britain' in The Sunday Times as one of the most influential in the field of education - he remains the only classroom teacher to feature to this day ... Sharing online as @TeacherToolkit, he rebuilt this website (c2008) into what you are now reading, as one of the 'most influential blogs on education in the UK', winning the number one spot at the UK Blog Awards (2018). Today, he is currently a PGCE tutor and is researching 'social media and its influence on education policy' for his EdD at Cambridge University. In 1993, he started teaching and is an experienced school leader working in some of the toughest schools in London. He is also a former Teaching Awards winner for 'Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, London' (2004) and has written several books on teaching (2013-2018). Read more...

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