London Festival of Education- What makes an exceptional leader in education?


London Festival of Education
Saturday 28th February 2015

Leadership Debate -What makes an exceptional leader in education?
Blog post by Cheryl Pennington

Quotes from the debate on leadership:

Outstanding leaders develop others and create space for them to grow and thrive.’

‘Truly inspirational leaders bring together groups of like minded people who can achieve great things.’

Speaker 1
Educational Leaders should have:
1) A clear vision, which includes audacious expectations for their staff and students.
2) Explicit determination to build high trust, high expectations and accountability in their organisations.
3) A strategy for how to solve problems and maximise the impact of teaching, learning and assessment on student outcomes.

They should have a deep emotional understanding of learning: talent spot and recruit the best teachers to their college. Then nurture and develop them. Have a vision and know how; what is it that is going to be successful?

Leaders need to exemplify standards and say thank-you.

Speaker 2
1) Have a brave and courageous approach for innovation.
2) Model the 5 R’s of leadership: resilience, relationships, resourcefulness, risk taking, reflection.
3) Have integrity, and make difficult decisions in the context of  fairness, transparency and trust.

Consider alternative models of leadership, co-leadership, succession strategy, retain impactful leaders for longer in the best job in the world – that is education.

‘You will not grow great leaders through micro-management, you will need an approach that encompasses trust and coaching’.

To ensure students deserve and receive the best learning experience, develop staff skills and give them opportunities. If they don’t believe and have alignment to the vision, the college will never be as good as it potentially could be.

To help prioritise the most impactful actions you can take as a leader to improve the experience for students, put priorities on post it notes and discuss them. Prioritise on the following basis:

*Some things can go on the back burner
*Some things can be delegated

Keep up to date with Ofsted to buy freedom so you have things in place and ready and take the pressure off when you are inspected

Run your college as a liberator; introduce a review process for teachers built around professional development and career planning. Build trust with teachers so they want to stay and develop as it takes 3 to 5 years to really develop exceptional teachers. Strip away bureaucracy that gets in the way of development of staff.

When interviewing for a new leader to the college, ask what they have enabled their teams to do, how have they mobilised staff? Focus on how they have developed others rather than just themselves.

When things don’t work, do a post mortem about all the things that went wrong and then avoid them. Think big and longer about the future.

‘Be brave and dare to lead greatly!’


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