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Engaging teachers as leaders for school improvement

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on 30 April 2014

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Transcript of Engaging teachers as leaders for school improvement

Engaging teachers as leaders for
school improvement

Previous experiences in action research
2009 Leading Australia’s School Project -
Melbourne University- building school leadership.

2011 Ontario Canada-
Leading Educators Around the Planet (LEAP)-
Quality systems and sustainable leadership.

We face a rapidly changing education system...

Change has been rapid in both structure and policy
School autonomy has been increased extensively
Expectations and accountability for the learning outcomes for students is exceptionally high

Research questions
1. What school-based practices enable teachers as leaders?

2. What management devices have enabled teacher leadership?

3. What professional learning strategies support teacher
leadership capacity?

4. What leadership preparation is conducted to support future school leaders?

5. What evidence demonstrates improved pedagogical practices?

6. What are the implications for current leaders in schools?

Research methodology
Reviewed current literature

Sourced outstanding schools in England

Conducted interviews with academics, lecturers, personnel, headteachers and teaching staff across England

London, Essex, Warwick, Nottingham, Bristol and Surrey

Data collected through observations, interviews and focus groups
What school-based practices enable teachers as leaders?
• A Professor from The University of Nottingham commented that a “leadership density model with multiple leaders is becoming more common and provided relationships are good, has tremendous power for leadership”.

• A Headteacher, from a large High School in Bristol (1,700 students, 180 teaching staff) suggested “there is a shift from hierarchical leadership to building leadership from the classroom teacher up, establishing a culture where it’s not about position or authority but what each brings at a point in time”.

• A Professor from the University of Cambridge commented that “organisations which encourage initiative of leaders, promotes ‘master teachers’...leaders of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment are highly effective but (the process) needs to be formalised”.

• Partnerships across schools facilitated leadership development. A lecturer from the University of Worcester commented that“bringing together like-minded people to connect with high quality research and giving leaders time to think for the sole purpose to improve student outcomes...honesty, change and trust are the core values for effective collaboration.”

The use of external facilitators from the universities supported these networks in several of the schools visited.

The use of research was embedded into professional learning by sharing research, establishing learning and partnership plus with action research teams working across groups of schools.

• Observations in all schools clearly indicated teachers need to be engaged and informed by research, and encouraging enquiry is a positive step forward.

• Significant leadership opportunities are provided through the universities and the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

• Post graduate and master programs, partnership programs with school networks and leadership for learning outreach programs.

• All staff had their own professional plans and individual programs were identified. In most schools Governors set aside funds for staff to gain masters and considered high investment in professional learning.

What leadership preparation is conducted to support future school leaders?
What evidence demonstrates improved pedagogical practices?
• Research by Sammons et.al., (2011) in English schools 2006-2009 reveal both direct and indirect effects of the leadership on a range of school and classroom processes that in turn predicted changes (improvements) in school’s academic performance.

• Each of the schools visited focused heavily on the development of leadership with an emphasis on teaching and learning.

• All schools demonstrated a significant improvement in school results evident in data demonstrated through literacy and numeracy results and as identified by Ofsted inspection results.

• In some cases this improvement was from failing to outstanding.

The journey begins...

new models of management structures
greater autonomy
increased expectations
high levels of accountability

School leadership is highly documented from all corners of the world
• In highly successful schools every member of staff had a leadership brief specific to their aptitude and experience.
• Leadership was almost layered
• Staff supported and encouraged by an executive teacher or colleague in a mentor or coaching role to promote confidence and competence.
• A leadership ethos was embedded across the school and this culture was highly valued
• Performance management was shaped around the teacher’s leadership contribution.

Now more
than ever, school leaders
need to make decisions,
prioritise and strategically
plan for a system of
leadership to address these
widespread changes.
This research investigates leadership systems used by highly successful schools in England which demonstrate a significant improvement in student learning.

Oxford...Strathford, Nottingham...
Bristol, Portsmouth & Surrey
What management devices have enabled teacher leadership?
• Management systems were clearly identified
• Executive teams carefully structured with a focus on expertise
• Structuring time for executives in team teaching situations
• Training staff in middle leadership
• Establishing networks at various levels of leadership to plan and discuss issues
• Utilizing local authority expertise to support leadership opportunity
• Creative use of collaborations across schools.

A Professor from The University of Nottingham noted the importance of identifying the talent and nurturing the skills required as people often lack the confidence to take on leadership. He said that “The need to move back to allow heads to lead learning and paraprofessionals to run administrative areas needs to be addressed”.

• Executive Headteachers appointed directors to run the administrative positions which allowed the head to concentrate on teaching and learning.

• Establishing a professional learning community and developing links with the university was a management model observed at Medowbrook Primary, The Castle High School and Guildford Grove Primary.

• All heads indicated the importance of a facilitator to lead the collaborative learning community and school improvement.

• A Professor from London University, worked closely with these schools on this leadership project which included the empowerment of the executive teachers to be the leaders of research.
What professional learning strategies support teacher leadership capacity?
• Professional learning is the key to the development of leadership by matching people to needs, building deep connections, establishing a professional learning schedule, and engaging staff in learning to support leadership capacity.
• Strategies included engaging action research, working in triads, mentoring, coaching and team teaching.

• A Professor from the University of Cambridge acknowledged that “the two most important aspects of leadership is efficacy and esteem, people do not necessarily have the confidence to lead and coaching best supports this preparation”.

• The development of triad groups allowed staff to collaborate through lesson observations; they encouraged risk taking and supported high levels of trust. This strategy accommodated mentoring and in most cases was considered a richer experience for staff and non-oppositional by utilising a combination of support people.
• Previously aspiring headteachers were required to complete the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) through the National College for Teaching and Leadership in Nottingham. This controlled the standards but now optional
• Deterrents: high accountability, limited numbers of middle managers seeking headship & huge pressures from Ofsted.
• Middle managers were encouraged to complete a Masters Degree
• Aspiring middle managers to complete a MPQH middle leaders program through the National College for Teaching and Leadership.
• Succession planning was developed internally to encourage and develop leaders to take on new positions.
• Mentoring was clearly a powerful tool at all levels of leadership
• Outstanding schools are encouraged to allow aspirant or newly appointed heads to spend a block of time in another school for coaching purposes.
• The Helena Romanes High School- headteacher was asked to support a new secondary head. The process ensured all new heads and those who only achieved satisfactory in their inspection were provided with additional support.
What are the implications for current leaders in schools?
A Professor from Nottingham University acknowledged that “there is now a greater focus on what leadership is about, a greater sense of what leadership is and a greater sense of criticism of heads that focus on process rather than purpose. Leadership in the future requires systematic preparation for headship; internationally qualifications need to be a requirement for headships. Building sustainability by succession planning will assist the challenges of the position which have caused issues for people willing to take up leadership as heads”.
Comments from teaching staff at The Castle High School on ‘enabling teachers as leaders’ included:
“Given the confidence that I could do it helped me to decide that I could take the next step.”
“The ethos at The Castle enabled classroom teachers to contribute to change.”
“I benefited from knowing the bigger picture and now able to apply this knowledge at class level and when supporting as a year head.”
“I was valued, respected, encouraged, supported and given opportunities. It is these challenges that motivates and keeps people going

Implications for leadership
• School systems are rapidly changing and far more complex with: greater responsibility, higher accountability and increased autonomy.
• New changes bring new challenges and leadership is important in all aspects of change and development.

• Distributing leadership across schools builds a new leadership capacity; it involves investing in the leadership of others and building leadership for the future, it maximises the potential.

• As demonstrated in effective schools in England this requires a change in process and practices, and a cultural shift to identify the talent, nurture, plan, and structure leadership support.

• As indicated by a professor from Oxford University, effective heads lead and manage improvement through ‘layered leadership’ strategies within and across improvement phases.
Clearly the headteacher and executive team are instrumental in structuring opportunities and monitoring the practices for distributed leadership to ensure a sustainable cultural shift.

• Evidence shows that there are positive associations between the increased distribution of leadership roles and responsibilities and the continuing improvement of pupil outcomes.

• The implications for engaging teachers as leaders for school improvement is best summed up in the statement by a Professor from Cambridge University “Teachers as leaders allow teachers to be highly creative, enterprising and influential."

As a result of this research the recommendations for schools are:

. Evaluate current school leadership structures aligned to 21st century systems
. Identify, prioritise and document school leadership using research-based evidence to plan new practices
. Systemise the layering of leadership across the school by identifying, nurturing and developing individual leadership skills
. Establish schools as centres for teacher learning by engaging internal, external and online professional development opportunities in leadership
. Empower teachers by engaging their leadership of professional learning within the school and learning community
. Encourage action research to collaborate, problem solve and engage school leadership
. Create opportunities for mentoring through pairing and triads
. Link professional plans to national teaching standards, review, monitor and evaluate
. Professor Peter Gronn
. Professor Tony Bush
. Professor Pamela Sammons
. Professor Louise Stoll
. Professor Kathryn Riley
. Dr Tom Whittingham
. Althea Bawden
. Graham Lancaster
. Pat Davies
. Janette Quinn
. Simon Knight
. Terri Higgins
. Dr Peter Kent
. Rebecca Meredith
. Jon Barr
. Melanie Warnes
. Elizabeth Corlett

Jennifer Parke
Principal Edgeworth PS
2012-2013 State Leadership Fellowship
Hunter/Central Coast
Similarities to NSW system...
Full transcript