Improving School Leadership, Volume 1

Policy and Practice

image of Improving School Leadership, Volume 1

As countries strive to reform education systems and improve student results, school leadership is high on education policy agendas. But in many countries, the men and women who run schools are overburdened, underpaid and near retirement. And few people are lining up for their jobs. Based on an OECD study of school leadership practices and policies around the world, and offering a unique cross country perspective, this book identifies four policy levers and a range of policy options to help governments improve school leadership now and build sustainable leadership for the future.

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Developing skills for effective school leadership

This chapter analyses appropriate options for developing the leadership skills required to lead schools today and in the future – as another policy for professionalising school leadership. While school leadership development has become a reality across OECD countries in the past 10 to 15 years, there is still a need for more coherent approaches to leadership development. Most principals come from a teaching background, which does not normally lead to the skills required to deal with the broadened roles of leadership for teaching and learning, for resource management, for setting goals and measuring progress and for leading and collaborating beyond school borders. The evidence shows that leadership development can contribute to shape the performance of leaders. Most countries have developed a wide range of programmes and options that target different stages of school leadership, from initial pre-service training through induction programmes to in-service provision. Leadership development is broader than specific programmes of activity or intervention and can be done through a combination of formal and informal processes throughout the stages and contexts of leadership practice. This requires sequential provision to respond to the different stages of leadership careers as well as coherence between the different institutions offering leadership development. Best suited to this end are methods and content that include mentoring/coaching, workbased and experiential learning, peer support and networking and formal leadership learning programmes.

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