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School Leadership in the 21st Century

Andreas Schleicher, Keynote ICS 2013

Andreas Schleicher

on 4 July 2013

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Transcript of School Leadership in the 21st Century

21st Century School Leadership
As more countries grant greater autonomy to schools in designing curricula and managing resources, the role of the school leader has grown far beyond that of administrator. Developing school leaders requires clearly defining their responsibilities, providing access to appropriate professional development throughout their careers, and acknowledging their pivotal role in improving school and student performance by offering the kinds of work environment that will attract the best candidates.
Frequent issues raised by principals
Supporting, evaluating and developing teacher quality
Vision for results and equity
Goal-setting, assessment and accountability

resource management
beyond school walls

What school leaders in PISA say about their involvement in school matters
21st Century School Leadership
Key lessons for making leadership development ongoing, career-staged and seamless
Poor work-life balance
Not knowing how to prioritise or delegate their work
Increase in administrative burden competing with leadership responsibilities
School leaders continually challenge staff
...How do we know that?...
...Could we test another way of doing it?...
...What do we know about how people in other schools do it?...
Distributed leadership
Inefficiencies through self-selection to fill enrolments
Initial training
Leadership programmes leading to a specialised qualification
Programmes offered in partnership with universities, local authorities or universities
Inservice training
In most countries teacher evaluation involves school leaders and other senior school staff, form rigour and consequences vary greatly

Purposes tend to be evenly distributed among formative evaluation, performance appraisal, professional development planning and career development
School-based professional development activities involving the entire staff or significant groups of teachers are becoming more common, while teacher-initiated personal development is becoming less so.

Most countries now link professional development to the developmental priorities of the school and co-ordinate in-service training in the school accordingly.

School managers and, in some cases, local school authorities play an important role in planning professional-development activities.
School leaders also played a key role in integrating external and internal accountability systems by supporting their teaching staff in aligning instruction with agreed learning goals and performance standards

To evaluate school performance, two-thirds of OECD countries have regulations that require lower secondary schools to be inspected regularly where leaders are held accountable for their use of public funding and for the structures and processes they establish
PISA shows that, on average now 84% of students are enrolled in schools that have full autonomy in deciding how their budgets are spent, and 57% are in schools that are fully autonomous in formulating their budgets
School leaders develop networks and share their tasks with vice-principals or co-principals, deputy principals, assistant principals, vocational/technical department heads, workshop managers and/or co-coordinators and teachers with special duties. Leadership structures or more informal ad hoc groups based on expertise and current needs are formed to encourage a distribution of responsibilities
Building on commitment, not compliance
Strengthen school leaders’ capacity for adapting the curriculum to local needs
Training for school leaders in teacher monitoring and evaluation
Enhancing role of school leaders in teacher professional development so that it is relevant to the local school context
Encourage school leaders to promote teamwork among teachers
Provide school leaders with discretion to set the school’s strategic direction and develop school plans in line with national curriculum standards but also responsive to local needs

Promoting “data-wise” leadership through support and training opportunities for school leaders

Encourage school leaders to distribute assessment and accountability tasks to people within schools capable of using data to design appropriate improvement strategies
Professionalised recruitment
Recruit managers and leaders with different backgrounds and expertise for certain functions within leadership teams

Plan for leadership succession by proactively identifying potential leaders and encouraging them to develop their leadership practices, offer training programmes for aspiring leaders, establish contact between young teachers and current leaders, include leadership topics in initial teacher training

Provide more elements to evaluate candidates such as competency profiles or leadership frameworks and put less weight on seniority.

Provide guidelines and training for those on recruitment panels and encourage the use of recruitment tools to assess a wider range of knowledge, skills and competences.

Encourage involvement of school leaders in professional organisations which provide a forum for dialogue, knowledge sharing and dissemination of best practice both among professionals and between professionals and policy makers.
Encourage leadership initial training by: fostering collaboration between national and local governments to define national programmes and develop incentives to ensure participation of school leaders; including school leadership topics in teacher training and setting up preparatory qualifications or “taster courses” to select, screen and prepare future school leaders

Organise induction programmes that combine theoretical and practical knowledge as well as self-study and are coherent with the broader development framework

Ensure in-service training to cover need and context by: designing in-service programmes that reflect prior learning opportunities for school leadership; and providing periodic in-service training and setting up networks (virtual or real) for principals and leadership teams to update their skills or inform them of new developments

Develop institutions of school leadership to raise awareness, improve knowledge and provision of leadership development opportunities in countries without such institutions
In Ceará, Brazil’s second poorest state, school leaders have learned to use data to drive strategies for improving student achievement
One of school leaders’ new roles is to work with other schools and other school leaders, collaborating and developing relationships of interdependence and trust. System leaders care about and work for the success of other schools as well as their own. Crucially they are willing to shoulder system leadership roles because they believe that in order to change the larger system you have to engage with it in a meaningful way.

This requires: in-school capacity to sustain high levels of student learning; between-school capability (the “glue” that is necessary for schools to work together effectively); mediating organisations to work flexibly with schools to help build in-school capacity along with the skills necessary for effective collaboration; critical mass to move system leadership beyond the practice of a small number of elite leaders; cultural consensus across the system to give school leaders the space, legitimacy and encouragement to engage in collaborative activities.
In Shanghai, the Empowered Administration initiative pairs retired school leaders and teachers with struggling schools to provide administrative and pedagogical guidance
Ontario's leadership strategy
'New Leaders' develops school leaders and designs leadership policies and practices for school systems across the United States
- Attracts high quality candidates
- Selects carefully
- Trains for what matters most
In Singapore young teachers are continuously assessed for their leadership potential and are given opportunities to develop their leadership capacity
Denmark has introduced a 'taster' course for aspiring leaders
Training institutions in the Netherlands offer orientation course with different career pathways for teachers
Scotland's mandatory induction programme combines shapes initial school-leadership practices and builds networks through which leaders can share their experience
Norway has introduced a two-year programme to develop instructional leadership skills for principals
% of principals who report doing this frequently or very frequently
Difference between maximum teacher and principal salaries
Japan has established graduate schools with teacher-training programs that are also for school leaders
In Austria principals are appointed provisionally. In order to remain in their posts, they must complete a course in management training within four years of their appointment. The two-year program includes basic training modules and self-study.
Denmark’s performance-appraisal system it is defined by a results-based contract
In Slovenia, underperformance is reflected in salary adjustments
Australia's National Professional Standard for Principals
In some Finnish municipalities, school leaders spend one-third of their time as district leaders
They also have significant responsibilities in teacher education
21st Century School Leadership
21st century learning environments
Demanding to every student without overloading
Acutely sensitive to individual differences
Ensure learning is social and collaborative
Make learning central, encourage engagement,
Be the place where students come to understand themselves
PISA shows that, on average now 84% of students are enrolled in schools that have full autonomy in deciding how their budgets are spent, and 57% are in schools that are fully autonomous in formulating their budgets
School leaders develop networks and share their tasks with vice-principals or co-principals, deputy principals, assistant principals, vocational/technical department heads, workshop managers and/or co-coordinators and teachers with special duties. Leadership structures or more informal ad hoc groups based on expertise and current needs are formed to encourage a distribution of responsibilities
Continual assessment with formative feedback
Promote connections across subjects and activities and beyond school
Understanding learning to improve teaching
Fostering demand-sensitive and relevant learning involving employers
Compared to purely government-designed curricula taught in exclusively school-based systems, learning in the workplace offers important advantages
Fostering lifelong skills-oriented learning instead of qualifications-focused education upfront in life course
Given the uncertainties that accompany change, education stakeholders tend to value the status quo. Systems need to become better at communicating and building support for change.
Email: Andreas.Schleicher@OECD.org
Thank you!
Find out more about our work at:
...and remember: Without data, you are just another person with an opinion
In conclusion
Successful reforms tend to involve significant investment in staff development, or clustering reforms to build up support for them in related institutions.
Teacher engagement also requires consistent, co-ordinate efforts to persuade those affected of the need for reform and, in particular, to communicate the costs of non-reform. This may be particularly challenging when the opportunity costs of maintaining the status quo are less apparent than the costs of change.
Policy makers need to build consensus on the aims of education reform and actively engage stakeholders, especially teachers, in formulating and implementing policy responses.
Some reforms capitalize on external pressures or crises as part of building a compelling case for change.
All political players and stakeholders need to develop more realistic expectations about the pace and nature of reforms to improve outcomes.
Reforms need to be backed by sustainable financing.
There is some shift away from reform initiatives per se towards building self-adjusting systems with rich feedback at all levels, incentives to react, and tools to strengthen capacities to deliver better outcomes.
Investment is needed in change-management skills
Evidence needs to feed back to institutions along with tools with which they can use the information
Making reforms work
Getting reforms implemented
Teachers need to be active agents, not just in the
implementation of reforms, but also in their design
Reform must be underpinned by solid research and analysis
Dialogue can involve conversations both within
national professional bodies and among local groups of professionals
Conflict between unions and reform has best been avoided not where unions are weak but where they are strong and co-operate with reform
The better a country’s education system performs, the more likely that country is working constructively with its unions and treating its teachers as trusted professional partners
Governments and unions need to develop their research capacities.
There is need for better links between union researchers and their counterparts in ministries and those in independent research institutes and universities.
The kind of things that are easy to test and teach
are disappearing fastest
Source: Autor, Levy Murnane
Learning a place



Bureaucratic look-upwards


Public vs. private

Delivered wisdom



Culture as obstacle

Learning an activity


Informed profession

Devolved-look outwards


Public with private

User-generated wisdom

Embracing diversity


Culture as capital

Andreas Schleicher
Cairns 2013
Teachers need to be well-versed in the subjects they teach in order to be adept at using different methods and, if necessary, changing their approaches to optimize learning
Teachers need a rich repertoire of teaching strategies, the ability to combine approaches, and the knowledge of how and when to use certain methods and strategies.
Teachers need to have a deep understanding of how learning happens, and and strengthen student initiative and create skills
Teachers need to be able to work in highly collaborative ways, working with other teachers and professionals or para-professionals within the same organization, or with others in other organizations, in networks of professional communities and in different partnership arrangements, including, for some, mentoring teachers
Teachers need the space to design, lead, manage and plan learning environments in collaboration with others
Teachers need opportunities to reflect on their practices in order to learn from their experience
The strategies used should include direct, whole-group teaching, guided discovery, group work, and the facilitation of self-study and individual discovery.
Many Japanese students still struggle with open-ended tasks requiring students to creatively integrate knowledge...
Teachers need to acquire strong technology skills and skills to use technology as effective teaching tools, both to optimize the use of digital resources in their teaching and to use information-management systems to track student learning
Singapore’s Future Schools, encourage innovation and enterprise in teaching practice and flexible learning environments with special emphasis on using technology
In Singapore, teachers are encouraged to be lifelong learners and are part of professional learning communities in which teachers can learn from each other and improve their practice
In Finland, teachers’ time is matched to students’ needs – and this isn’t always class time
Sweden introduced curriculum-embedded assessments that avoid the pitfalls of teacher-designed assessments. The are available 'on demand' and designed, administered and scored locally
The Le@rning Federation is a major digital content project for schools in New Zealand and Australia
Finland’s highly-educated teaching workforce receives a solid base of education theory and is able to apply that to their practice as student teachers, with the support of mentors and team teachers
...but over the last decade Japan has seen the greatest improvement in PISA in this area among all high-performing nations.
Finland has made teaching one of the most sought-after occupations by raising entry standards and giving teachers a high degree of professional responsibility
School leaders continually challenge staff
...How do we know that?...
...Could we test another way of doing it?...
...What do we know about how people in other schools do it?...
Ontario's leadership strategy
21st century teachers

PISA Learning Outcomes (15-year-olds)
PISA 2006 - 2009
its all about...
Full transcript