Successful school leadership in a complex landscape

24 Feb 2018


by Annie Grant

In the fourth session of the 2017/18 Aspiring Leaders course, Prue Barnes-Kemp, Executive Headteacher of the Opossum Federation challenged participants to think about the nature of ‘inclusive leadership’, and what it takes to be an inclusive school leader in an education system that increasingly demands a collaborative approach. ‘The days of headteachers running one school in isolation are gone,’ Prue told the group.

Over the course of the day, Prue encouraged participants to confront and reflect on some fundamental issues of leadership, and offered them some guiding principles to help them to succeed in their future roles as headteachers.

They are summarised below:

  • Get your own house in order first
  • Know yourself
  • Be clear about your moral purpose
  • Develop policies specific to your setting
  • Lead with pedagogical integrity – know how children learn best and pursue that, don’t be seduced by fleeting fads
  • Enter partnerships with your eyes open
  • Know why you are entering into partnership and what you expect to get out of it
  • Make sure the partnership supports your moral purpose and helps you achieve your school improvement priorities
  • Don’t be marginalised
  • Build an organisational culture that supports inclusive leadership
  • Invest in relationships and staff well-being
  • Make sure professional development is relevant and personalised
  • Ask three questions in response to requests for training – How will it benefit you? How will it benefit pupils? How will it benefit the school?
  • Build a learning community that is informed by and engaged in research

4. Look after yourself

  • Work on emotional resilience
  • Manage your time
  • Build up a professional support network

‘Anyone can write a school development plan,’ says Prue. ‘It’s things like building relationships and leading organisational change that are hard and no-one can really tell you exactly how to do that.’

‘You need to be clear,’ she continues. ‘It will be different for different people, but you need to think it through. You need to know where to position yourself.’

For more information about Aspiring Leaders 18/19 and to register, click here.

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