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Meeting the challenge: Growing tomorrow's school leaders

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Meeting the challenge: Growing tomorrow's school leaders
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   Meeting the Challenge: Growing Tomorrow’s School Leaders A practical guide for school leaders www.ncsl.org.uk  © National College for School Leadership 2004   C  O N T E N T  S   1 Rationale2Think Piece: Building Leadership Capacity – Helping Leaders Learn by Professor John West-Burnham 4Reflection: Headteachers and distributed leadership10 Challenges and Responsibilities12Article: Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders by Frank Hartle 17 Six Steps20 Overview231. Create a culture for growth262. Benchmark current practice323. Define the leadership qualities required384. Identify the leadership talent pool445. Assess individual talent486. Grow leadership talent54 Assessing Opportunities67Three National Systems School remodelling69Fast Track70Advanced skills teachers71 References72Acknowledgments73 Authors Jane Creasy Assistant Director, NCSL Peter Smith NCSL, Research Associate Professor John West-Burnham NCSL Consultant Iain Barnes NCSL Research Programme Co-ordinator  2 These statements offer a clear insight into two contrasting, butequally valid reasons for this booklet, which aims to take a seriouslook at the issue ofgrowing tomorrow’s leaders.Education is not alone in facing what some call a ‘demographictime bomb’. Studies in the private sector, as well as education,have presented some stark and strikingly similar figures – thatbetween 40 per cent and 50 per cent ofsector leaders will beretiring within the next 10 years. In response to this, manybusinesses are now putting into place systematic successionplanning programmes to replace departing leaders.But what about schools? Ifso many school leaders will be leavingthe profession during such a concentrated period, how do wesecure a sustainable future by developing sufficient school leadersto take their place?And is that the only reason for taking this issue seriously? Thestatement from Senge above suggests clearly that, whatever thedemographic challenge, there are powerful reasons why today’sschool leaders and governing bodies should treat the developmentofothers, the ‘growth’ offuture leaders, as an important part oftheir responsibility. As Michael Fullan (2001) has said: “What is needed for sustainable performance is leadership at many levels ofthe organisation. Ultimately, your leadership in a cultureofchange will be judged as effective or ineffective not by who youare as a leader but by what leadership you produce in others.”  How has this guide come about? This guide argues that the task ofdeveloping others and ‘growing’tomorrow’s leaders is not just desirable as a philosophicalrequirement, but a key responsibility to be shared across thesystem. It is recognised that this will involve headteachers andsenior leaders ofindividual institutions and their governors. But itis also the responsibility ofnational and regional bodies such as theDfES, NCSL and local education authorities to take a lead in this.Growing and retaining leadership talent may appear to be aparadox: iftalent is developed it becomes more ‘marketable’and therefore more at risk. But ifall schools accept that they arecontributing to a national pool ofleadership talent, then there ismuch that could be done at school level to grow leadership talent.We are responsible not only to the pupils in our schools but also tothe local community and to the education system as a whole.  Rationale R A T I   O N A L E  One ofthe most significant events in the life ofa school is a change in its leadership.Yet few things in education succeed less than leadership succession. (Hargreaves et al, 2003, p.1)  A learning organisation is an organisation that is continually expanding its capacity tocreate its future. (Senge, 1990, p.14) ‘‘‘‘       ‘      ‘      ‘      ‘  3 “All schools have a responsibility for the system, and in five to10 years’time we will need many more leaders as large sectors of our leadership community retire. Schools need to act now to helpreplace that shortfall in years to come.”  HeadteacherAt the same time, the development ofschool leaders holds manyevident benefits for schools themselves. Headteachers from someofthose schools in which there is substantial investment ingrowing leaders state that these include: • the establishment ofa culture oflearning that encompassesall staffand ‘echoes’ onto the learning experiences that wedevelop for students • a sense ofmovement and change amongst staffthat bringsnew ideas and a spirit ofenterprise in colleagues ofwhateverlevel ofexperience • energised atmosphere and a knock-on effect ofsuccess andachievement throughout the school • a reputation for enhancing careers which makes it easier toattract and retain staffGrowing tomorrow’s leaders impacts positively upon schoolsas well as the education system – it can be viewed as a crucialdimension within the sphere ofeducational leadership. How to use the guide This guide brings together findings from two studies, as well asthe NCSL seminars on the theme, to present some practical stepsas to how schools can attend to the development offuture leadersin a systematic way, as part oftheir everyday work. Through acombination offocused activities and debate, school leaders willbe able to review current practice and plan to introduce strategiesfor development.The exercises contained in this guide are designed for use byschool leaders with their leadership teams and, potentially,governors. It is acknowledged, however, that this approach willvary from school to school depending on size and individualcontext. They lend themselves therefore to more flexible use anddo not need to be taken in order. Having read the substance ofthe guide, school leaders can plot their way through the exercisesas they see most appropriate. R A T I   O N A L E 
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