See also the Modern Governor unit on Succession Planning for Headteachers and Governors, within the School Recruitment Practices module, available free if your school has signed up with Modern Governor’s online training programme.
August 2011: Developing Leadership
Research carried out by the National College (NCSL) explores the development of leaders in and for schools at the leading edge of change. The work is described as timely, owing to the government’s commitment in its 2010 white paper to “support strong and confident leadership for every school” and to “continue with successful leadership development programmes”. It also reflects extensive international evidence that leadership is second only to the quality of teaching in its effect on pupil progress and achievement.
Download document: Prepared to lead – How-schools-grow-education-leaders NCSL 2011
1. The biggest contribution to school leadership development lies in providing rich and varied opportunities to lead, innovate and take responsibility, and the encouragement and trust to accept a measure of risk and enable new and aspiring leaders to demonstrate their aptitude for leadership.
2. These opportunities are inevitably more numerous and diverse in school partnerships, federations and chains than in discrete schools, especially where staff are appointed to the group of schools rather than to a single institution. That said, some free-standing schools with connections to other schools have also developed innovative ways of providing a diverse experience.
3. The lower staff turnover reported in many high-performing federations, trusts and chains is attributed largely to the opportunities available for professional and career development within the organisation.
4. A professional apprenticeship approach to leadership development is a particularly effective way of familiarising and inducting leaders into more demanding roles, at all levels up to and including executive headship. This can contribute powerfully to succession planning and training new headteachers.
5. The best school leaders provide strong leadership role models and share their expertise through effective coaching and mentoring.
6. Direct or indirect leadership of learning and improvement of teaching top the agenda of senior leaders in highly effective schools and school partnerships.
7. Success in leadership development has different forms, ranging from highly stratified programmes of leadership training and development to the creation of more organic cultures in which everyone, staff and students alike, is expected to be a leader and is given the support and encouragement to be one.
8. Head of school or operational headship positions, mentored and supervised by an executive head, encourage those with headship potential to gain experience and confidence in a supportive environment and may attract more teachers to headship.
9. As the capacity of many local authorities to provide opportunities for leadership development is likely to decrease, there will be an increasing need for headteachers to promote inter-school partnerships, particularly built around national teaching schools.
10. There is a case for a greater emphasis on developing skills for the leadership of learning.
11. The attention that a head or principal gives to the development of school staff as teachers and leaders, with a focus on student learning, is an important indicator of the effectiveness of the school and its leadership.
12. The National College continues to have an important but changing role, particularly in providing: a high-level staff college for school and system leaders; a source of expertise, research and best practice in school leadership; and support and quality assurance for effective leadership and management development programmes – mainly delivered locally. It has played an important part in the designation, development and deployment of system leaders for school leadership and improvement. This takes on a new dimension with the designation of teaching schools. It is in a good position to offer a suite of modular programmes, linked to postgraduate qualifications, for leaders throughout their careers.
October 2010: This is information provided by the National College (previously known as The National College for School Leadership)
Succession Planning – key themes for School Governors (2010)
In other professions, and in the private sector, it’s considered important to pinpoint future leaders and nurture them early in their careers. In the past this has not been a priority for schools, who may have good policies on professional development for teachers, but lacked policies focused on leadership succession.
Developing new leaders, encouraging the cautious or reluctant, spotting potential even before the individuals themselves are aware of it; these things will be critical in future leadership development. And young teachers won’t be keen to wait 20 years – the average apprenticeship of heads in the past – to get their hands on the top job.
As part of its local solutions succession planning strategy, National College has piloted schemes around the country aimed at bringing on new talent.
– Schools joining forces to devise their own in-house leadership training programmes for middle leaders. Programmes are developed and led by existing headteachers, ensuring their credibility.
– Job swaps between schools for a period to give individuals experience of leadership roles in different types of school.
– Deputies and assistant heads seconded to neighbouring schools to help tackle a specific area – curriculum development or ICT strategy, for example. The other school gets an injection of expertise while the individual gains more leadership experience, which he or she will bring back into their own school.
– Local authority or diocesan-led projects offering leadership training to staff from several schools.
Here are some issues to think about:
– How do you currently identify talent in your school? Is there a structured system? How do you support talented individuals once identified?
– What opportunities are there for potential leaders to experience leadership situations – in your own school and others?
– What opportunities are there for deputies and assistant heads to gain experience of working with the governing body?
– Can succession planning – a strategy to identify and develop talented leaders – be incorporated into performance management for your headteacher?
– What guidance is available in your school for middle leaders about progression to headship?
– How prepared are you to enter into agreements with other schools – work shadowing arrangements, temporary job swaps between deputies or assistant heads, secondments - in order to give aspiring leaders more experience?
– What advice and support can your local authority or diocesan body give?
National College Succession Planning: key themes for school governors 2010