I have read so many brilliant blog posts since I wrote my last column, that this week I intend to take a leaf out of Andrew Old’s book and fit in as many recommendations as I can!
Using the example of volunteering at a shelter for the homeless at Christmas, this blogger talks about the power of removing barriers and trying to establish trust rather than stepping up tight controls. What she learnt returned to her poignantly when, later in her life, she was called upon to assert the rights of a parent with an autistic child, and face barriers of a different order.
Steve Keating argues that leaders never stop developing, and what we did yesterday is of far less significance than what we will do tomorrow. I have always felt that successful leadership focused on getting relationships and communication right, but this post made me reflect on the crucial importance, too, of the actions we take.
The recent report into effective school leadership, and the role our predispositions might play in this, caused quite a stir last month. In this post, Andy Buck explains how elements of the report, specifically the connections between leadership style and subject specialism, have led to his questioning some of his assumptions about how we might focus our energies in the preparation of future school leaders.
I found this an interesting example of the way in which we respond when research findings do not sit comfortably with our established beliefs.
I was unable to be at #TLT in Southampton this year, but reading this post from one of the contributors, Chris Hildrew, felt like the next best thing. He reflects on his experience as a leader, and the connection between the roles of teacher and leader. The post is full of sound advice and useful references.
Michael Pain reflects on teacher recruitment and retention, and the strategies that can be used to ensure our schools are full of talented and committed educators. He comments specifically on the expectations of the millennials, the proportion of our current workforce born after 1982, and how, whichever career they embark on, opportunities for leadership development, mentoring and personal/professional balance are likely to be important to them. He goes on to discuss the implications for the education sector, with specific suggestions of strategies that schools can usefully adopt.
Steve Adcock contests that our current fixation with marginal gains and trying to do myriad new things a little better may mean that we are losing our sense of what really leads to significant and sustainable growth in schools. Although innovation is appealing, we need to guard against piecemeal, disconnected efforts that do not strengthen and consolidate our education system. He suggests that we need to focus on the basics and invest in the infrastructure that will enable us to support sustainable school improvement.
I shall let this beautifully written piece from Sue Cowley about the power and importance of oracy, fittingly, speak for itself: “Listening to children talk about their take on the world is a great way to remind yourself what education is actually about. Give children something that they’re interested in to talk about, and someone who is interested in what they’re saying to listen to them.”