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Geoff Southworth LDS/RTU SUMMER SCHOOL 2008 Leading Learning in Diverse Contexts What we know about effective school leadership and what it means for you.

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Presentation on theme: "Geoff Southworth LDS/RTU SUMMER SCHOOL 2008 Leading Learning in Diverse Contexts What we know about effective school leadership and what it means for you."— Presentation transcript:

1 Geoff Southworth LDS/RTU SUMMER SCHOOL 2008 Leading Learning in Diverse Contexts What we know about effective school leadership and what it means for you and your schools August 2008

2 Geoff Southworth 3 things matter to children and young people’s educational growth 1.parental engagement with learning 2.quality of teaching 3.leadership Only leadership can bring the 3 together Leadership matters

3 Geoff Southworth Seven broad points we now know: 1.Context matters 2.The core tasks of school leaders are clear 3.Learning centred leadership is critical 4.Distributing leadership matters 5.School leadership is hard work and rewarding 6.Leadership in schools are changing 7.Leadership development and succession planning have never been more important

4 Geoff Southworth Effective leaders know & understand their contexts They are ‘contextually literate’ Recognise contexts change all the time - School cultures - Toxins & nutrients - Contexts change over time Context matters [1]

5 Geoff Southworth Almost all successful school leaders draw on the same repertoire of leadership practices It is in the ways leaders apply these leadership practices – not the practices themselves – which demonstrate responsiveness to, rather than dictation by the contexts in which they work Context matters [2]

6 Geoff Southworth 1.Does this analysis of context make sense to you? 2.What are your contexts like? 3.How do you know and understand your contexts? Reflections & questions

7 Geoff Southworth 1.Build a vision and set direction 2.Understand and develop people 3.Redesign the organisation 4.Manage teaching and learning The core tasks are clear

8 Geoff Southworth A compelling vision ‘To lead’ means having a sense of direction Vision & a sense of direction

9 Geoff Southworth If you do not know where you are going, every road will lead nowhere. (Henry Kissinger) Vision & a sense of direction

10 Geoff Southworth Both matter: Management is essentially about ensuring things work smoothly Leadership is about going somewhere They work in combination: Too much management = running smoothly on the spot Too much leadership = running all the time and all over the place Leadership & Management

11 Geoff Southworth You manage things; you lead people (Grace Murray Hopper) Leadership & Management

12 Geoff Southworth For children, parents and the community And for staff Followership rests on a compelling vision It persuades us all to come along with the Leader You have to be able and prepared to articulate the vision –to persuade; to remind colleagues Compelling Vision

13 Geoff Southworth “Work is about daily meaning as well as daily bread; for recognition as well as cash; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying… we have the right to ask of work that it includes meaning, recognition, astonishment and life” (Studs Terkel) Compelling Vision (2)

14 Geoff Southworth Leaders make meaning, provide recognition and acknowledge all with whom they work. The tests of a vision are : Is it shared? Is it adopted JFK on a visit to NASA Compelling Vision (3)

15 Geoff Southworth 1. What is your vision for the school? (statement or key words) 2.How does that vision reflect your school’s context? 3.Where in the school might I find out what the vision is if you were not there? 4.How well do others know and understand the vision? Reflections & questions

16 Geoff Southworth The core work What distinguishes school leadership from other forms of leadership [3] Learning-centred leadership is critical

17 Geoff Southworth School leadership has a greater influence on schools and pupils when it is widely distributed. Some patterns of leadership distribution are more effective than others. Laissez faire forms of distribution not as effective as more co-ordinated patterns [4] Distributing leadership matters

18 Geoff Southworth One of the barriers to distributed leadership is how leadership distribution is viewed by principals and teachers. If it is viewed as delegation then it is likely to be met with resistance by teachers not wanting to undertake more work. If principals and heads equate distributed leadership with an erosion of their power it will be perceived as threatening and therefore unlikely to happen. Alma Harris, 2008 Distributing leadership matters

19 Geoff Southworth Too few people will be interested in becoming leaders and too many talented staff will burn out if we persist in the hero model of leadership – authoritative in every situation, knowledgeable in every field, accountable for every action: polished, and perfect… This model is deeply rooted in our culture and many job holders conspire themselves to perpetuate it – gaining secret short term satisfaction from sacrifice, troubleshooting, being in demand, even martyrdom. (HayGroup, 2007) Distributing leadership matters

20 Geoff Southworth 3 other things: None of us is as smart as all of us. The lone ranger is dead. Warren Bennis Transformational power = leaders as ‘transformers’ Upping the voltage of others Making the school much more powerful Team-based leadership: Is your team a high performing team? Distributing leadership matters

21 Geoff Southworth 1.On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you score the distribution of leadership in your school? 2.What is the sum total of leadership effectiveness and impact in your school? Reflections & questions

22 Geoff Southworth Complex, accountable & relentless No end to the work It is ‘greedy’ work Look after yourselves Seek support Track the rewards –pupil progress & achievements –staff development & growth Enjoy the challenges Don’t forget to look back and see how far you have come School leadership is hard work and rewarding

23 Geoff Southworth It’s tough, it’s a challenge, but because of the difference we make to children’s lives – day in and day out – it has to be the very best job in the world. (Headteacher 2007) School leadership is hard work and rewarding

24 Geoff Southworth New forms are emerging in England & other countries Many leaders working beyond their own schools New leaders – school business managers Team-based leadership Leadership in schools is changing

25 Geoff Southworth The demographic challenge ‘Churn’ and ‘backwash’ effect Growing tomorrow’s leaders today Identify talent and develop it Leadership development & succession planning have never been more important

26 Geoff Southworth “Talent isn’t fixed unless you believe it is… talent depends on how a person is managed or led.” Pfeffer & Sutton, 2007 Leadership development & succession planning have never been more important

27 Geoff Southworth All of us in this room are here because someone believed in us. The only thing a person needs to be a leader is the opportunity to lead. Create lots of opportunities for others to lead and make sure each and every one of these opportunities is a learning opportunity as well. Leadership development & succession planning have never been more important

28 Geoff Southworth The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers Ralph Nader Leadership development & succession planning have never been more important

29 Geoff Southworth A small handful of personal traits explains a high proportion of variation in leadership effectiveness. The most successful school leaders are open-minded and ready to learn from others. They are flexible rather than dogmatic in their thinking within a system of core values, persistent (e.g. in pursuit of high expectations of staff motivation, commitment, learning and achievement for all), resilient and optimistic. (Leithwood et al, 2006) Leadership skills and qualities are important too

30 Geoff Southworth These can be: Learned and developed Practised and evaluated Looked for when appointing / promoting Leadership traits and qualities

31 Geoff Southworth Leaders make a difference –positive and negative No one wants to follow a cynic Leadership never more needed than at times of change And these are times of change All of you want to bring about changes in your schools Vision, passion, reservoirs of hope, belief Leadership qualities

32 Geoff Southworth

33 “Excellent companies provide two things simultaneously, tough environments and very supportive environments.” (Tom Peters) Staff development, like pupil development, is all about human potential and human potential is the greatest natural resource the world possesses. Push, drive, be resilient, focused and determined, but also remember to: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. (Plato) Some thoughts and reflections

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