If we acknowledge the validity of the Leithwood et al statement “school leadership is second only to classroom teaching as an influence on pupil learning.” And that the aim of any school is to improve teaching and learning, then supporting teachers has to be the key leadership behaviour. It is the view of school and middle leaders that it is the skill to coach and develop others that has the biggest impact on school improvement. I am hoping the NPQML will guide to be a better coach focused on the development of those teams I am responsible for. I have been attempting to do this by running training programmes for staff. By looking at the McKinsey review of Adult learning and leadership development I may not have implemented this as effectively as I could have done. For example the agenda is set by me linked to my subject develop plan (ICT) not building learning around strategic projects or encouraging a peer community to develop. So a target to ensure improvement would be to create and sustain a collaborative culture. This could be done effectively through a mentoring system, role modeling expected behaviours or engaging teams in self reflection and analysis of the impact of their work. It would be very interesting to attempt a collaboration of staff teams across a number of local schools to share ideas and good practice. From the study it seems research into the impact of school leadership is increasing and there are multiple initiatives in the early stages of implementation. If the idea on an international scale is to “develop the best” through formal training of school managers and leaders then surely a formalization of the in school development of learners would have a similar positive impact. This is the theory behind appraisals and performance management but often the CPD available is piecemeal and driven by a teachers interests rather than from a strategic level. At least this is my experience, I have pushed for and been supported on numerous courses and professional development opportunities both linked to my leadership and curriculum. I can only think of 1 occasion where this has been pushed by a senior leader to meet an identified school need. To motivate and develop the school teams maybe a focus on planned and intergrated CPD linked to the SIP would have a huge positive impact; but at a relatively high cost in terms of cost of courses, cover required, disruption to classes etc. This would enable a more devolved system of leadership with leaders present at every level of the school hierarchy each responsible for and hopefully passionate about a specific area.
Thoughts on Developing Teams: NPQML