Report focuses on importance of  system leaders for a self- improving school system


Recent research by the NCSL studied system leadership development and school-to-school support, particularly the leadership skills required for these roles and the level of interest in them. In this report, Educational Consultant Robert Hill comments on some of the key lessons learnt from this research and its relevance to the schools white paper agenda. System Leaders are those who work beyond their own school to support others across the system.  Hill finds that improving school to school support starts from a strong base. There is varying understanding of different system leadership roles. School leaders are motivated to undertake system leadership roles by a strong sense of moral purpose. Becoming a professional partner is a good way into system leadership. There are substantial levels of interest in taking on the more demanding system leadership roles.  Experience of being a Headteacher, communication, presentation, interpersonal skills and strategic thinking ability are seen as the most important skills to fulfil system leadership responsibility. Once these Heads take on a broader role they are likely to sustain that commitment and the role of the National College in support of these leaders was said to be valued.  The main factors inhibiting school leaders taking on broader roles are fear that it will detract from their role as Head and a lack of experience.  Hill concludes that given the positive experience of existing system leaders it would make sense to use them to champion the broader system leadership roles and address concerns and reservations. And to ensure development support is available to school leaders to encourage and equip them to take on broader responsibilities including providing opportunities for them to observe   and be mentored by other system leaders. Obstacles include the reluctance of some governors to allow their heads to take on these executive roles and a lack of executive heads positions in their area. The aim is to establish a ‘self- improving school system’ but this requires a critical mass of school leaders who are willing and able to take  system leadership roles



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