It’s like coming home with a poor school report and the admonishment ‘must try harder’

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29 January 2016 by Mark Wright
One of AMiE's goals is to highlight what effective leadership looks like, to help raise the standard of leadership and management practice.

We believe that the profession itself is able to be honest about its shortcomings, and displays a readiness to address such issues - and you can read about how to work towards that here.

Part of mature leadership is being open to challenge in order to help identify and rectify shortcomings. In this respect, unions can be best placed to gather evidence on what is and what is not working well and provide the feedback necessary to help build leadership effectiveness.

However, the often adversarial attitude between some unions and employers can mean the appetite for listening to what unions have to say is not always what it should be.

It is unfortunate if the extensive learning available in this way remains unconnected to leadership development - particularly as the profession is increasingly under fire when it comes to leadership standards.

In his end of year Ofsted report, Sir Michael Wilshaw berates leaders in education - treating them like recalcitrant schoolchildren who 'must try harder'. This is a disappointing departure from Mr Wilshaw's stated ambition to "do more to nurture leadership" (scroll down to the end for his views on school leadership).

It is perhaps true that one area where we must work better together and ‘try harder’ is in the leadership and management of change. Not least as the funding issues bedevilling education are prompting a wave of organisational restructuring.  Such restructuring already accounts for the majority of AMiE’s casework - and this will only increase.

All too often we see familiar mistakes made as part of this process, sometimes subtle, sometimes glaring but all carrying with them significant consequences: extra financial costs (intolerable in the current climate), additional workload, stressed staff, or even a further restructure to address problems from the initial attempt.

To help mitigate this risk, AMiE has launched its latest publication ‘Restructuring in colleges, schools and academies: handling change with care’.

Based on research in the sector as well as lessons from casework learning, the publication offers rich insights into how to develop the right mind-set when approaching a restructure.  Most importantly, it provides a range of practical advice on what needs to be done in order to help ensure that the restructure process is effective and doesn’t lead to lasting harm for the organisation.

Reading it may not guarantee you a gold star from headteacher Wilshaw, but will go a long way towards helping you get change right the first time.

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