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estyn.gov.uk Best practice in leadership development in schools June 2015 The purpose of Estyn is to inspect quality and standards in education and training in Wales. Estyn is responsible for inspecting:
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estyn.gov.uk Best practice in leadership development in schools June 2015 The purpose of Estyn is to inspect quality and standards in education and training in Wales. Estyn is responsible for inspecting: nursery schools and settings that are maintained by, or receive funding from, local authorities; primary schools; secondary schools; special schools; pupil referral units; independent schools; further education; independent specialist colleges; adult community learning; local authority education services for children and young people; teacher education and training; Welsh for adults; work-based learning; and learning in the justice sector. Estyn also: provides advice on quality and standards in education and training in Wales to the National Assembly for Wales and others; and makes public good practice based on inspection evidence. Every possible care has been taken to ensure that the information in this document is accurate at the time of going to press. Any enquiries or comments regarding this document/publication should be addressed to: Publication Section Estyn Anchor Court Keen Road Cardiff CF24 5JW or by to This and other Estyn publications are available on our website: Crown Copyright 2015: This report may be re-used free of charge in any format or medium provided that it is re-used accurately and not used in a misleading context. The material must be acknowledged as Crown copyright and the title of the document/publication specified. Contents Page Introduction 1 Background 1 Main findings 4 Recommendations 6 1 Establishing a professional learning culture 7 2 Identifying leadership potential, distributed leadership and succession planning Identifying and developing potential leaders Succession planning 3 Using performance management and the leadership standards to identify professional learning opportunities Performance management Use of the leadership standards 4 Professional development and leadership opportunities for staff at all levels Senior leaders Middle leaders Class teachers Learning support assistants and other support staff The changing pattern of support for professional learning 33 Appendix 1: The importance of strong strategic leadership Appendix 2: Checklist of possible opportunities to demonstrate leadership potential Appendix 3: Evidence base 40 The remit author and survey team 42 Introduction This thematic survey report is published in response to a request for advice from the Welsh Government in the Ministerial remit letter to Estyn for It reports on effective leadership development within schools and focuses on how effective school leaders try to create a leadership development culture and build leadership capacity. Case studies of best practice are included. The report is intended for the Welsh Government, headteachers and staff in schools, local authorities and educational consortia. The report is based on evidence from school inspections and from visits to a representative sample of schools that demonstrate elements of good or excellent leadership. See Appendices for further details of the evidence base. Background The Chief Inspector s Annual Report for reports that Inspection findings have shown, time and again over the past five years, that there is a link between the quality of leadership and the quality of outcomes for learners (Estyn, 2015, p.15). Almost 90% of the schools inspected within that period that gained an excellent judgement for standards also gained an excellent judgement for leadership. Excellent schools are led by headteachers who provide strong strategic leadership. Less successful schools improve when leaders introduce more effective leadership strategies. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report Improving Schools in Wales: An OECD Perspective published in 2014 and The Future Delivery of Education Services in Wales (Hill, 2013) highlighted concerns about the quality of leadership and management in a significant number of schools in Wales. The concerns raised in these reports included: lack of succession planning the limited number of well-tailored professional development opportunities for senior and middle leaders, and teachers the low number of schools identified through Estyn inspections as having excellent practice in leadership and planning for improvement Welsh Government policies Qualified for Life an educational improvement plan for 3-19 year-olds in Wales (Welsh Government, 2014) describes strategic objectives for education in Wales to 2020, including: Leaders of education at every level working together in a self-improving system providing mutual support and challenge to raise standards in all schools (p.5) 1 Improving Schools (Welsh Government, 2012) describes an ambition to implement a national structure for education (3 16 year olds) and highlights the importance of good leadership: The most effective school systems emphasise the importance of good leadership at all levels and the best leaders have a very strong focus on leading improvements in learning and teaching and supporting their staff to improve their own skills (p.26). The plan sets out three key priorities to build leadership capacity: supporting leadership development providing a more coherent and stretching programme of professional development for school leaders strengthening school governance ensuring that governing bodies have the skills they need to be effective enabling local authorities and school governing bodies to take forward structural options such as federation where this would strengthen schools and support good governance improving the performance management of headteachers setting high expectations for leadership roles through new standards The plan states that, following consultation with stakeholders, the Welsh Government has developed a practice, review and development process, which is an integrated system of professional standards, continuing professional development and performance management (p.19). The aim is to develop a robust approach to professional development with all practitioners (teachers and support staff), regularly participating in collaborative activities such as coaching and mentoring, and professional learning communities to focus on improving their learning and teaching in partnership with colleagues. In 2011, the Welsh Government published Revised professional standards for education practitioners in Wales. This document explains the purpose of the professional standards to set clear expectations at each stage of a practitioner s career and to help them identify how they need to develop professionally to progress in their career. The overall purpose of the professional standards is to raise standards of teaching and to improve learner outcomes throughout Wales. The professional standards articulate the understandings, knowledge and values that our teachers, leaders and Higher Level Teaching Assistants must demonstrate. They provide a framework to enable practitioners to identify their performance management objectives and to choose the most appropriate professional development activities, (p.1). A key feature of the current professional standards is that all practitioners are able to use the leadership standards to help them identify and develop leadership skills relevant to their stage of development in their career and to their roles and responsibilities. 2 There are six key themes for the Leadership Standards. These are: creating strategic direction leading learning and teaching developing and working with others managing the school securing accountability strengthening the community focus The themes are underpinned by 66 indicators in total. Following the publication of the Hill report, The future of education services in Wales in 2013, the Welsh Government formed the National Leadership Development Board (NLDB). The NLDB is made up of education professionals who focus on creating a co-ordinated national strategy to develop leadership in Wales. The work of the NLDB is in its early stages. 3 Main findings 1 In successful schools, staff at different levels show strong leadership behaviours as classroom practitioners, departmental leaders, leaders of whole-school initiatives, and as senior managers ( distributed leadership ). These schools develop the leadership skills of all their staff as part of their professional and career development. 2 In schools where there is a strong culture of professional learning, staff work as a team to ensure that pupils achieve well. An important part of this culture is clear communication between leaders and all members of staff to ensure that there is a common understanding and an agreed language about learning and professional development. 3 Succession planning at all levels is often a significant strength in schools with a strong professional learning culture. In these schools, senior leaders evaluate the school s staffing situation and try to predict potential future vacancies. This is particularly important at senior and middle leadership level and allows posts to be filled internally if necessary when vacancies arise. One effective strategy is to arrange for experienced staff to transfer their knowledge to less experienced staff before they retire or change jobs, for example through shadowing and mentoring. 4 The most successful school leaders employ strategies for identifying and nurturing the leadership potential of all their staff, particularly early in their careers, and for supporting them to develop the skills they need to become the school leaders of the future. These leaders undertake detailed analyses of the knowledge, skills and attributes required for each leadership role within their school. They use this information to identify staff with leadership potential. 5 Where schools are not successful in developing a strong leadership culture, headteachers do not focus well enough on improving the quality of teaching and do not provide appropriate professional development activities to help staff build on their existing skills and knowledge. Many local authorities and regional consortia have often been too slow in identifying this as a weakness in schools and have not provided effective guidance to headteachers to help them improve in these important areas. 6 The more effective schools have performance management procedures in place where senior leaders have objectives that relate specifically to developing staff as potential leaders. In these schools, the governors challenge leaders and hold them to account on leadership development. 7 Almost all the senior leaders in the schools visited know about and understand the leadership standards. However, less than half use the standards regularly to evaluate their own leadership skills or as a focus for the leadership development of others. Only a very few senior leaders use the individual leadership review to evaluate their own leadership skills. In the few schools that use them, the leadership standards form the basis for effective leadership development and performance management. 4 8 The revised standards clarify the expectations for higher level teaching assistants (HLTAs) and teachers, but they do not explicitly identify the steps that teachers and HLTAs need to take to develop professionally, make good progress in their career and become the potential leaders of the future. 9 Successful senior leaders ensure that they provide staff with appropriate learning opportunities and training to support their career development. Many provide a package of professional learning activities that includes specific activities to develop leadership skills. This works well when the package is planned carefully to meet individuals developmental needs. The training package usually consists of a menu of in-school professional development opportunities and some external training. 10 Leaders in the effective schools visited use expertise from both within their schools and from other schools to enhance professional learning for staff. They encourage their staff to take advantage of internal acting or temporary leadership posts and to take up secondments elsewhere to enhance their leadership experience. 11 There has not been enough support at a national and local level to develop the leadership skills of aspiring and experienced senior leaders. There are too few opportunities for aspiring and experienced school leaders to develop their skills in key areas such as improving teaching, implementing new initiatives, challenging underperformance, and understanding human resources issues. 12 In a very few schools, headteachers new to post have been mentored well by an experienced, effective headteacher within the local authority. However, this is not always the case nationally. In a few local authorities, headteachers, often in challenging schools are not supported well enough. 13 There is a particular shortage of training provision for leaders through the medium of Welsh. 5 Recommendations School leaders should: R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 develop a strong culture of professional learning for all staff at all levels in their school improve succession planning and the transfer of corporate knowledge identify the leadership potential of staff early and support their career development ensure that performance management structures pay proper attention to developing potential future leaders use the leadership standards as the basis for evaluating their own leadership skills and for developing staff as future leaders Local authorities and regional consortia should: R6 R7 R8 R9 provide guidance for experienced school leaders on developing their staff as future leaders provide opportunities for senior leaders to develop their skills in key areas such as challenging underperformance, deploying strategies to improve teaching, and implementing new initiatives provide or source effective Welsh and English medium training for leaders at all levels promote the use of the leadership standards and the individual leadership review to all school leaders Welsh Government should: R10 implement a strategy for the development of leadership skills for aspiring and experienced senior leaders R11 include the development of leadership skills as a strand in the professional standards for Higher Level Teaching Assistants, teachers and middle leaders 6 1 Establishing a professional learning culture 14 Nearly all of the schools visited have confident senior leaders who have established a culture where professional learning is valued. In these schools, senior leaders value professional learning and have a clear vision for developing the potential of all staff. There are appropriate job descriptions, which ensure that staff understand fully their role and their contribution to securing high standards of achievement for pupils. Staff at all levels are clear about to whom they are accountable and to which members of staff they are accountable. Leaders communicate high expectations and provide appropriate opportunities for all members of staff to receive suitable training to fulfil their responsibilities. This has a positive effect on standards at all levels. 15 In the schools where there is a strong culture of professional learning, nearly all members of staff work collaboratively as a team to ensure that pupils achieve well. Clear communication between leaders and all members of staff ensures that there is a common language about learning. Nearly all hold a range of regular meetings involving senior leaders, middle leaders and other members of staff and have professional dialogue about successful teaching and learning, improving standards and the quality and effect of leadership at all levels. Many hold daily briefing meetings and confirm arrangements using s and staff bulletins. This ensures that staff are well informed, share a common understanding about important matters and work well as a team. 16 Many schools make suitable use of in-service training (INSET) days to encourage staff to engage in professional dialogue and learn more about teaching and learning. This enables these schools to promote consistency in high quality teaching and learning throughout the school. 17 School leaders at Herbert Thompson Primary School in Cardiff have adopted a collaborative, open and inclusive approach to leadership that has contributed to high standards of pupil achievement. Case study 1: Herbert Thompson Primary Context Herbert Thompson Primary School serves the Ely area of Cardiff. The majority of pupils are of white ethnic backgrounds. Seventeen per cent of pupils speak English as an additional language and no pupils speak Welsh as a first language. Around 51% of pupils are eligible for free school meals, which is significantly higher than the average for the local authority and Wales. The school identifies around 44% of pupils as having additional learning needs, including a few who have statements of special educational needs. Strategy Respecting staff, and developing their skills as leaders, to ensure successful distributed leadership and appropriate succession planning. 7 Action A wider management structure has been established with a clear focus on improving the skills of all staff to develop their capacity as leaders of learning through: taking the time to establish a close whole school community with high levels of trust and motivation Ensuring a clear focus on skills, aspiration and positive values through: investing in staff wellbeing through daily leadership contact in morning briefing sessions and access to counselling, weekly exercise classes and a healthy eating staffroom investing in pupil wellbeing through regular morning sessions, which include circle time and sharing breakfast and family news Each leader has clear responsibilities for specific areas of learning and they contribute to strategic improvement planning through: weekly senior leadership meetings, which focus improving on outcomes for pupils, provision and leadership using first hand evidence, for example through scrutiny of pupils work communicating decisions and action points to all staff providing a wide range of training opportunities to develop staff leadership potential, including opportunities to share their skills with others in school and beyond analysing pupil progress at specific points of the year to assess progress, plan ways forward and set targets to ensure that all pupils achieve their potential holding mini learning reviews with learning support assistants that track the data from interventions to ensure that no pupil is left behind Ensuring an open and honest culture, where staff are keen to develop and learn from each other, including: the Coaching Triplets initiative, where a teacher takes their turn to teach while another two observe, before discussing how successful the lesson was, allows teachers to work closely with their peers to improve leadership and teaching skills providing all teachers with training on effective lesson observations and filming learning and teaching in classrooms in order to reflect on this both independently and within groups ensuring planned training sessions to focus on developing excellence in the classroom using both in-house expertise and external providers to ensure up-to-date staff skills Impact Nearly all pupils make very good progress from low staring points. Standards are consistently high and are above local and national averages when compared with 8 those of similar schools. The quality of teaching is consistently high across the school and all members of staff are motivated to work effectively as a team. Pupils and staff have high levels of wellbeing and there is a very caring, inclusive and happy ethos. Staff feel valued, are highly skilled and develop well professionally. Sharing best practice The school has shared this best practice through an on-site Leading Learning and Teaching Conference, attended by colleagues from across the consortium. The conference
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