Chapter 5. School leaders in the Czech Republic1

This chapter presents a profile of school leaders in the Czech Republic and describes current approaches to recruitment, qualification requirements, remuneration, work load, professional development and career structure. It considers the strengths and challenges inherent in the current system and makes policy recommendations designed to improve the management and development of school leaders.

  

Context and features

Profile

Age and Gender

According to data from the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2013, Czech school principals in lower secondary education are on average one year younger than their counterparts in other countries, and the proportion of older school principals aged 60 or above is also comparatively low (Table 5.1).2 Most Czech school principals are in the age bracket of 50-59 year-olds (44.6%), but also a relatively large share of principals is aged 40-49 (38.8%, compared to a TALIS average of 29.7%) (OECD, 2014).

Table 5.1. Profile of Czech school principals in international comparison, lower secondary education, TALIS 2013

Czech Republic

Poland

Slovak Republic

TALIS average

Aged 60 years + (%)

10.3

6.8

17.4

17.1

Aged under 40 years (%)

6.3

6.4

9.7

7.2

Mean age

50.3 years

49.9 years

52.5 years

51.5 years

Females (%)

48.4

66.6

60.0

49.9

ISCED 5A qualification (%)

91.8

99.2

98.1

92.7

ISCED 6 qualification (%)

8.2

0.8

1.9

3.3

Full-time employed and teaching (%)

97.6

71.4

91.3

35.4

Full-time employed, but not teaching (%)

x

20.3

5.0

62.4

Part-time employed and teaching (%)

2.4

6.8

3.7

3.4

Average years of work experience as a principal

9.7 years

11.2 years

11 years

8.9 years

x: not applicable.

Source: OECD (2014), TALIS 2013 Results: An International Perspective on Teaching and Learning, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264196261-en, Tables 3.8, 3.8c, 3.9c, 3.12 and 3.13.

Nevertheless, national administrative data reveal that the school leadership profession has been ageing steadily (Figure 5.1). On average, school principals in Czech lower secondary schools have about ten years of experience in their role (OECD, 2014).

Slightly less than two out of three school principals in Czech schools are women. However, this differs greatly across levels of education: while almost all school principals in kindergartens are women, except for age-integrated institutions, there are more men among principals in basic and secondary schools (MŠMT, forthcoming). The proportion of female principals in lower secondary schools according to the TALIS sample is comparable to many other countries taking part in the survey, but lower than in other Central-Eastern European countries (see Table 5.1, OECD, 2014).

Figure 5.1. Trend in the age distribution of school principals, 2006 and 2013, and age distribution of school principals by gender, 2013, secondary schools
picture

Source: MŠMT (forthcoming), OECD Review of Policies to Improve the Effectiveness of Resource Use in Schools National Background Report: Czech Republic, Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Prague.

Distributed leadership

Leadership is often distributed, but the nature of the leadership team depends on the size of the school. Smaller schools typically have one deputy; large schools have two or more deputies who focus on specific areas, such as the curriculum, human resources, strategic planning and data management. Larger schools also often have other administrative personnel, such as accountants, who support school principals in their work (Halász, 2009). It is up to school principals themselves to appoint their deputies and to decide which responsibilities to delegate, but principals always bear full responsibility for the management and operation of their school (MŠMT, forthcoming).

School principals can, furthermore, get guidance from the school’s pedagogical council (pedagogická rada) and the school’s co-ordinator of the School Educational Programme (SEP). Pedagogical Councils are made up of teachers at the school, debate all fundamental curricular documents and the assessment of the educational activities of the school, and provide advice on curriculum development and the school strategy. Co-ordinators of SEPs give advice on the development of local curricula which should be in line with national Framework Education Programmes (FEPs) and reflect the students’ current needs at the school.

Teachers can take on further leadership roles through specialist functions (e.g. school psychologists, education counsellors, prevention co-ordinators, co-ordinators of environmental education, ICT co-ordinators, and leaders of subject commissions) (NLQ Hildesheim, 2011; Sláviková et al., 2009). Teachers that take on such leadership responsibilities can be remunerated through classification in a higher salary grade or through the system of personal allowances and bonuses (also see Chapter 4).3 The National Institute for Further Education (NIDV) has been developing a teacher career system (kariérní system) (also see Chapter 4). The new career system, which at the time of the OECD review visit was planned to be fully implemented in 2018, will also enable teachers to take on different roles, particularly related to mentoring and peer support, but also other areas, such as ICT, SEPs, educational counselling, and school self-evaluation (Eurypedia, 2015; NIDV, 2015).4

Employment

Appointment, training and dismissal

School principals of public schools established by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (Ministerstvo školství, mládeže a tělovýchovy or MŠMT), the regions or the municipalities are employed and appointed by their school founder.5 Following a change in legislation to the Education Act (Act No. 561/2004, Paragraph 166) in 2012, school principals are appointed for a period of six years. It is at the discretion of school founders to initiate a selection process and school founders can decide not to do so, but to renew a school principal’s appointment automatically by a further six years in that case. Both the Czech School Inspectorate (ČŠI) and the school council (školská rada) can, however, ask the school founder by a specified deadline to initiate an appointment and selection process. Legal regulations (Act on Education Staff No. 563/2004 and Decree No. 54/2005) specify certain elements of the selection and appointment process, such as the composition of the selection panel. School founders are advised to rely on the selection panel’s judgement about the most qualified candidate, but they are not bound by the selection panel’s suggestion and can take their own decision about the final appointment. Based on an Amendment to the Education Act in May 2015 (Act No. 561/2004, Paragraph 166, metodika novela ŠZ 82-2015), school principals will be granted permanent instead of fixed-term contracts in the future, but the concept of six-year mandates and the appointment process as described will remain in place.6

Candidates for principal positions must meet certain eligibility criteria set out by law:

  • Candidates must meet the requirements for pursuing the post of a pedagogical worker.

  • Candidates must have practical experience with a direct pedagogical activity, with an activity for which knowledge of the same or similar character is necessary, with an executive activity or with an activity in the field of research and development. The duration of practical experience required depends on the level of education of the school a candidate is applying for. In kindergartens, three years of experience are required; in basic schools, candidates need four years of experience; in secondary schools, five years.

Once principals are appointed to their position, they are required to take a course in school management and leadership within the first two years of their appointment. Principals holding a tertiary degree in the accredited school management programme are exempt from this requirement, as are principals who have participated in a tertiary lifelong learning programme on school organisation and management. Besides this obligation for initial training, there are no further requirements for school principals to undertake professional development.

School principals in public schools established by the ministry (MŠMT), the regions or the municipalities can only be dismissed by their school founder in certain cases stipulated by law. According to the Education Act, the following circumstances can lead to dismissal

  • failure to meet the requirements for the position or failure to acquire the relevant knowledge in education management

  • the gross violation or non-fulfilment of legal obligations identified in most cases by the school founder, Czech School Inspectorate or the school council or other supervisory bodies

  • and organisational changes which result in the discontinuation of the principal position (Eurypedia, 2015; MŠMT, forthcoming).

Remuneration and working time

School principals receive a basic salary (“tariff salary”) and personal allowances and bonuses. In public schools established by the ministry (MŠMT), the regions or the municipalities, school principals’ remuneration is governed by the same regulations that provide the framework for the employment of teachers and other educational staff in schools (also see Chapter 4). The specific level of remuneration, such as the grade in the salary scale and the amount of allowances and bonuses, is set by the school founder responsible for the employment and appointment of the school principal.

As educational staff, the basic salary of principals is set according to the teacher salary scale. The salary scale has 11 grades (4-14) and 5 steps within each grade. When deciding about a principal’s basic salary level, the school founder takes into account the principal’s responsibilities set out in the provisions of their contract of service and the relevant qualification requirements. Principals of basic schools and secondary schools are typically given salary grades 11-13. The Labour Code also stipulates the range of the personal allowances, typically from 15% to 60% of the highest salary step of a school principal’s salary category. In exceptional cases, personal allowances can reach up to 100% (Eurydice, 2014; Eurypedia, 2015; MŠMT, forthcoming).

In public basic and secondary schools, the minimum annual gross statutory salaries are reported to be CZK 244 200 (EUR 8 896) and the maximum statutory salaries to be CZK 325 200 (EUR 11 847).7 However, the average actual salaries are reported to be considerably higher for all levels of the education system, and in particular for secondary schools (see Table 5.2). This difference most likely stems from the influence of personal allowances and bonuses on principals’ salaries.

Table 5.2. Annual gross salaries of full-time fully qualified school principals in public schools, 2013

Basic statutory salary

Average actual salary

Minimum

Maximum

CZK

EUR

CZK

EUR

CZK

EUR

Kindergarten

180 000

6 557

279 000

10 194

388 040

14 136

Basic school (primary and lower secondary)

244 200

8 896

325 200

11 847

481 395

17 537

Secondary school (upper secondary)

244 200

8 896

325 200

11 847

524 823

19 119

Note: Data on average actual salaries are from the national information system of salaries (Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic). The data concerned are provided within the statistical survey by public schools and school facilities twice a year. There is a change in data collection methodology: due to the implementation of classification CZ-ISCO, it is not possible to divide salaries of school principals and deputy principals.

Source: Eurydice (2014), Teachers’ and School Heads’ Salaries and Allowances in Europe, 2013/14, http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/facts_and_figures/salaries.pdf.

While school principals’ remuneration is not competitive relative to teachers and to GDP when comparing statutory salaries, the job of a school principal does seem to be attractive when average actual salaries are the basis for comparison (see Annex 5.A1). The average actual salaries of principals are about 1.5 times the average actual salaries of teachers in basic schools, and 1.6 times the average actual salaries of teachers in secondary schools. The average actual salaries of principals in basic education are 123.5% of GDP, the average actual salaries of principals in secondary schools are 134.6% of GDP (Eurypedia, 2015). Interestingly, salaries differ between male and female school principals in both basic and secondary schools. In basic schools, female principals earn on average CZK 2 939 per month less than their male peers, a difference of 7% (CZK 39 410 average monthly salary in 2013, compared to CZK 42 349). In secondary schools, the salary difference is smaller and amounts to CZK 1 167, that is 2.6% (CZK 44 070 average monthly salary in 2013, compared to CZK 45 237) (MŠMT, forthcoming).

School principals’ working hours are set by the Labour Code at 40 hours per week, as for teachers and for most other employees. The responsibilities and the general workload are set by the Education Act, Act on Education Staff, and in more detail by the government regulation on the extent of educational activity of education staff and the work rules for employees of schools and school facilities (Eurypedia, 2015).

Plans for the development of a career system for school leaders

As part of the process of developing a teacher career system (see Chapter 4), the National Institute for Further Education (NIDV) has also developed a proposal for a career system for school principals (kariérní systém pro ředitele). The process was completed by a working group between January and March 2015 and is intended to serve as a starting point for a broader discussion about the development of such a career system for school principals. The proposal is built around the following key ideas: school principals should be pedagogical leaders; candidates interested in school leadership should be well prepared for their future role and receive adequate support from the beginning of their career; school principals should be selected through a national system that facilitates the transparent evaluation of interested candidates; the introduction of a formative appraisal at the end of an induction period and changes to the appraisal of school principals throughout their career; the introduction of standards that principals should meet during their appointment; links with the new teacher career system and a strong role of principals for supporting teachers’ professional development; opportunities for mentoring, coaching and mutual learning among school principals and opportunities for system leadership; and the systematic involvement of school principals in school evaluations. The proposal suggests the introduction of four career stages: stages 0, 1, 2 and 3. Teachers at stage 2 of the teacher career who are interested in school leadership would start in career stage 0 and move to stage 1 with appointment to a school principal position. Stage 1 would provide a two-year induction phase followed by a post-induction phase, after which school principals would move tostage 2, the basic level of school leadership. Exceptional school leaders could move to a system leader role in stage 3. A set of professional school leadership standards would serve as the basis for the proposed school leadership career system (NIDV, 2015).8

Tasks and responsibilities

In international comparison, Czech schools enjoy a high level of autonomy and decision-making responsibility (Figure 5.2) – although decisions must be taken within a central framework (Chapter 2, Table 2.1). This is the result of a process of decentralisation in 2001 which saw the transfer of many responsibilities from the central level to the level of the regions and municipalities as well as to the school level (MŠMT, forthcoming; NLQ Hildesheim, 2011; Sláviková et al., 2009). Since 2003, all Czech schools are independent legal entities (although these can take different forms – see Chapter 2) which supports greater autonomy for school principals for financial management and human resource management. The majority of public schools are a “subsidised organisation” or a “school legal entity”, which means they hold full responsibility for the quality of education, school management and administration, school budget and finances, human resource management and community relations. However, the level of autonomy may be limited in practice. For example, schools may not be able to use their autonomy to allocate personal allowances and bonuses to reward teachers considering limited financial leeway or the need to build a financial reserve in case of an unexpected decrease in school funding.

Figure 5.2. School autonomy, Education at a Glance, 2011
Percentage of decisions taken at each level of government in public lower secondary education
picture

Note: Countries are ranked in descending order of the percentage of decisions taken at the school level.

Source: OECD (2012a), Education at a Glance 2012: OECD Indicators, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/eag-2012-en.

For the overall organisation and operation of schools, school principals are responsible for issuing regulations that apply to their particular school and for ensuring that their school’s provision of education complies with the Education Act. School principals manage the process of developing the School Educational Programme (SEP), that is the educational courses and content offered at the school, and for ensuring that it is in line with the Framework Education Programme (FEP), the national curricular document. School principals prepare their school’s annual report and analyse the school’s economic activity as required by the ministry (MŠMT). Furthermore, school principals are responsible for creating the conditions so that the ČŠI can carry out its external school evaluations, for following up on these evaluations, and for co-operating in the implementation of other ministry (MŠMT) programmes for the evaluation of the performance of the education system.

As part of their responsibilities for human resource management, school principals are responsible for the recruitment of their staff. They also have authority over certain organisational aspects of teachers’ working conditions: in terms of teaching hours, they can ask teachers to take on direct pedagogical tasks that go beyond their regular teaching time up to a limit of four hours per week; in terms of remuneration, they can decide which work experience should be recognised for the determination of a teacher’s basic salary level within the general rules set out in the respective ministerial order, and since 2012, they can decide to determine the basic salary level on other criteria than the number of years of work experience, such as performance, as well as the salary step within the salary grade. In addition, school principals can allocate individual allowances and bonuses to teachers for high performance or additional work.9 The level and criteria for these personal allowances and bonuses is not defined by law, but fully within the discretion of the principal. Besides teacher recruitment and teachers’ working conditions, school principals are responsible for ensuring that teachers and pedagogical staff can participate in professional development, and for observing and appraising their teachers. School principals, furthermore, decide about the use and recruitment of school psychologists, pedagogue’s assistants, and education advisors, and they can seek the assistance of the ČŠI in case of learning difficulties.

As far as students are concerned, school principals decide on the rights and duties of compulsory school attendance, on the placement of children in early childhood education and care, on admissions criteria, aptitude tests and entrance examinations, on the admission to secondary and higher vocational schools and to conservatoires, on the format of final and school-leaving examinations, the recognition of prior educational experience and qualifications, the expulsion of students, the change of a branch of study or apprenticeship, the reduction or exemption from fees for early childhood education and care,10 the award or withdrawal of scholarships, the amount of the financial contribution for school catering, and the provision of free textbooks for disadvantaged students in secondary schools. School principals also ensure that parents and students receive information about the school and students’ performance.

In addition to their management and leadership responsibilities, Czech school principals are also required to teach. The number of hours of direct teaching per week depends on the level of education, the type of education provided and the number of classes in the school. For school principals of basic schools, the teaching load ranges from 8 to 16 hours in schools providing primary education only, from 5 to 8 hours in schools providing lower secondary education only or both primary and lower secondary education, and from 4 to 16 hours in basic schools providing special needs education. In secondary schools, principals teach between 2 and 6 hours a week. For deputy principals, the number of teaching hours goes from 7 to 11 hours in basic school, and from 4 to 14 hours in secondary school. Teaching duties do not necessarily mean direct teaching, but can be made up of work performed (e.g. educational childcare staff or school psychologist) (Eurypedia, 2015; MŠMT, forthcoming; NLQ Hildesheim, 2011; Sláviková et al., 2009).

Personnel evaluation and quality assurance

School principals of public schools are accountable to the founder of their school – the ministry (MŠMT), regions or municipalities – as well as their school council in the performance of their responsibilities. School founders can evaluate schools and the performance of school principals at their own discretion, for example when it comes to the reappointment of school principals, to inform decisions about personal allowances and bonuses, or in the case of complaints (Eurypedia, 2015; OECD, 2013b; Santiago et al., 2012; MŠMT, forthcoming).

School principals in the Czech Republic must meet some requirements for regular compliancy reporting. They are required to prepare an annual report on their school’s activities, submit it to the school council, and, with the school council’s approval, pass it on to the school founder and publish it. Following an amendment to the Education Act, school self-evaluation reports are no longer a legal requirement, but school annual reports should make reference to a school’s self-evaluation and external school evaluations may check the quality of self-evaluation processes. Beyond such requirements, schools have been encouraged to evaluate themselves through other means, such as the availability of self-evaluation tools and guidelines developed as part of the “Road to Quality Improvement” project.11 In addition to the annual report, school principals are required to report on the school’s financial management and economic activity (Eurypedia, 2015; MŠMT, forthcoming).

There are also external school evaluations. All schools that are included in the school registry are systematically evaluated by the ČŠI irrespective of their school founder. The inspectorate carries out its evaluation activities according to a long-term conceptual plan of evaluation activities (currently the Conceptual Objectives of Inspection Activities for the Period 2014-20), a plan of main objectives set for the school year (Plan of Principal Assignments) and central criteria (Criteria for the Evaluation of the Conditions, Course and Results of Education and School Services).12 Both the annual plan of main objectives and the central criteria need to be approved by the ministry (MŠMT). The ČŠI does not appraise individual staff at schools, but evaluates principals and teachers as part of the overall school evaluation. As part of the 12 evaluation criteria for 2014/15, evaluations are supposed to also assess “school management”. At the end of the inspection, the inspectorate publishes a public report on the results of the evaluation. The inspection cycle recently changed from three to six years to coincide with the six-year appointment period of school principals introduced in 2012. In addition, the inspectorate carries out other controlling activities, such as public-legal audits of the economical, functional and effective use of financial means spent on schools and checks of compliance with legal regulations related to the provision of education, including health and safety regulations (Eurypedia, 2015; MŠMT, forthcoming). Following the 2015 amendment to the School Act, the ČŠI also plays a role in monitoring the inclusion of Roma children in mainstream education. In the school year 2013/14, the ČŠI evaluated 742 out of 4 095 schools in basic education,and 98 gymnasia, 124 secondary vocational schools, 20 secondary schools providing both vocational and general education, and 3 conservatoires (out of 1.331 secondary schools) (ČŠI, 2014).

Networks and collaboration

In the Czech Republic, there are no central networks for the collaboration of schools and principals, but some school founders have made efforts to connect their schools and to facilitate a sharing of knowledge and experiences among their schools. Professional associations provide an informal opportunity for collaboration. Since 2005, basic schools can co-operate through the Association of Principals at Basic Schools. This association focuses on the representation of the interests of its members towards the MŠMT and other government institutions and on the exchange with universities about the training of principals, but it also provides training workshops and seminars that offer principals the opportunity to exchange experiences. Membership in this association is optional. At the secondary level, there is no such general professional association, but there are individual associations for schools within a region, with a similar vocational orientation, or with a specific background (e.g. Association of Secondary Schools of the Olomuc region, Association of Technical Colleges, Association of Secondary Schools for Hairdressers and Beauticians, Association of Private Schools) (MŠMT, forthcoming).

Strengths

Legislation specifies clear procedures for the appointment and contract renewal of school principals

While school founders are responsible for the recruitment of their school principals, they need to follow the central requirements set by the ministry (MŠMT) (Eurypedia, 2015). Accordingly, school founders are required to publicly announce the vacancy, which ensures a certain level of transparency. School founders are then responsible for appointing the members of the selection panel which consists of two members chosen by the founder, one member chosen by the director of the regional office, one expert in the field of public administration, organisation and management in education (e.g. a principal from another school), one member of the pedagogical staff at the school for which the candidate is applying, one member of the ČŠI, and one member of the school council. The founder or the panel can invite additional external experts. The panel assesses whether candidates are suitable for the post on the basis of their application. Candidates who fulfil the application requirements are then invited for a structured interview of up to 60 minutes, and may have a further interview with external experts and/or have to sit a written examination. The assessment can also include a knowledge test and may require candidates to set out their vision and strategy for the school they wish to work at. The selection panel then votes on the candidates and the candidate with the most votes is recommended to the school founder (IIE, 2011; NLQ Hildesheim, 2011; Sláviková et al., 2009). The involvement of pedagogical staff from the school that is concerned and the school council gives local stakeholders the opportunity to represent the interests of the school community. At the same time, involvement of a school inspector and an expert in the field of school management as well as the possibility for the panel to seek the advice of further external experts provides additional objectivity and brings in expertiseand professionalism.

Even though school principals are employed on open-ended contracts, their appointment is valid for a period of six years only after which the school founder, the ČŠI or the school council can initiate an open recruitment in case they wish to replace a school principal. If none of these stakeholders intervenes, the contract can be renewed for a further six-year term without an appointment process. This provides stability for schools, but also provides an opportunity to periodically reassess, recognise and acknowledge well-performing principals, and to provide incentives for continuous development and improvement. It also reflects developments in other countries that have been moving from lifetime appointments to renewable fixed-term contracts (Pont et al., 2008). Considering the risk of “political” appointments through school founders, it is positive that both the ČŠI and the school council can theoretically intervene and prevent an automatic renewal in the case of concerns, even if the review team gained the impression that this is very rare in practice (more on this below).

Specialised training exists, school principals are required to undertake it, and it is theoretically open to deputy principals and teachers as well

Like other Central-Eastern European countries, the Czech Republic requires school principals to undertake specific training within a certain timeframe after their initial appointment. Principals who do not fulfil this requirement must be dismissed by their school founder. Having such a pre-requisite for initial school leadership training can contribute to greater professionalisation of the role of school principals as well as greater satisfaction of principals in their jobs (Pont et al., 2008). Training is, furthermore, open to deputy principals as well as teachers interested in school leadership. This can build the leadership capacity of schools and ensure a sustainable supply of qualified candidates.

There are essentially two training courses in the Czech Republic: basic and compulsory training (“Study for School Principals”) and optional in-service training (“Training for Managerial Staff”).13 Apart from these two courses which are defined by law, there are many other opportunities for professional development offered by a number of in-service training institutions, including professional associations and private providers. The Plzen region, for example, has established a specialised institution that offers professional development and lifelong learning for pedagogical staff, such as sources, seminars and lectures (www.kcvjs.cz). This institution also provides school leadership training and the opportunity for school principals to gain the necessary qualification requirement (Eurypedia, 2015; Schratz et al., 2013; NLQ Hildesheim, 2011; Halász, 2009; Sláviková et al., 2009).

In TALIS 2013, 90.3% of principals of lower secondary schools reported having completed a school administration or school leadership training programme or course, compared to 84.8% on average in participating countries. The nature of the compulsory training requirement in the Czech Republic is reflected in the TALIS 2013 data: 52.7% reported they had undertaken such training after taking up their position (compared to 37.5% on average) (OECD, 2014, Table 3.10).

School principals can delegate responsibilities to other managerial and administrative staff in their school, such as deputy principals and school accountants, as well as to teachers

Considering school principals’ high level of responsibility as the head of their legal entity in most public schools, it is positive that they can rely on administrative and pedagogical support. As research, furthermore, suggests, the distribution of leadership, including to teachers and within teams, can contribute to greater overall leadership capacity, help foster change, and sustain that improvement over time, even if it creates its own challenges at the same time (e.g. the management and organisation of distributed arrangements) (Louis et al., 2010; Mulford, 2008; Pont et al., 2008).

Depending on the size of the school, principals can count on the support of one or more deputy principals. While small schools visited as part of the country review had one deputy principal, larger schools had three to eight deputy principals, including one statutory deputy who replaces the principal in his or her absence. In the Czech Republic it is up to the school principal to decide which tasks to delegate as long as it complies with legislation, such as the Education Act, the Labour Code and the Work Catalogue. In some schools visited as part of the review visit, deputy principals took on primarily responsibilities for administrative tasks, such as student admission, student records, maturita examinations, class schedules, the scheduling of substitute teachers, the organisation of school events, the collaboration with out-of-school centres, and facility management for example. In other schools, and particularly large schools, deputy principals also seemed to take on more human resources related and pedagogical leadership tasks, such as teacher feedback and appraisal and the management of teacher professional development. Where appropriate, deputy principals take on the responsibility for a particular type or level of education offered in the school as the review team learned. One basic school visited during the review, for example, had one deputy principal for primary education and one deputy principal for lower secondary education, another school providing basic and vocational upper secondary education had one deputy for basic education, two deputies for the theoretical part of secondary education and two deputies for the practical part of secondary education. In addition to their school leadership and teaching responsibilities, deputy principals may take on further roles, such as special needs education or counselling roles.

While deputy principals may take on tasks related to the school budget in some schools, many schools also employ clerks and accountants with a specialised background in business studies and accounting. These provide invaluable support for schools to meet their responsibility for their own budgeting and accounting. School accountants deal with issues such as the level of the budget, operating finance, petty cash, invoices, bank accounts, utilities, rental agreements, accident reporting, insurance, and the maintenance of school equipment.

In addition, school principals benefit from the support of teachers for pedagogical tasks, such as curriculum development and teacher management. Schools may have pedagogical councils and SEP co-ordinators that provide support for the curriculum and for student assessment. However, these roles were not highlighted in school visits during the review and thus it remained unclear how much pedagogical councils and SEP co-ordinators explore issues of learning and teaching versus more routine and administrative subject-related matters. Specialist teachers provide further support in specific areas, such as special needs education, prevention of risky behaviour, environmental education, and ICT; and the role of heads of subject commissions can include providing support for teachers of students in specific subject areas (e.g. through classroom observations and peer feedback, or through involvement in the selection of teachers).

There are legally defined vertical and horizontal accountability mechanisms for school principals

In terms of vertical accountability, schools and school principals can be held accountable both by their school founder as well as central authorities. School principals must submit annual reports on the school’s activities to their school founder after they have been approved by the school council, and report on their financial management.14 Annual reports must then be published at an accessible place in the school, thus creating some transparency and horizontal accountability.

External school evaluations provide further vertical accountability. Schools are evaluated through regular school inspections by the ČŠI (also see Chapter 2). In these evaluations, “school management” is typically one of the central evaluation criteria that are set on an annual basis, and many further evaluation criteria and related requirements concern school principals’ tasks and responsibilities. School evaluations can lead to recommendations for changes and improvements as well as summative consequences, including individual fines and proposals for the removal of a school principal or for the erasure of a school from the school registry.15 In addition, schools and school principals may also be evaluated by their school founder, but these evaluations typically only focus on the auditing of school budgets (more on this below) (Eurypedia, 2015; MŠMT, forthcoming; Santiago et al., 2012).

In terms of horizontal accountability, all schools are required to have a school council to be established by the school founder and to be made up to one-third each by representatives of the school founder, parents and school staff. Members are elected every three years. Principals are excluded from membership, but can attend school council meetings in an advisory role, and are required to participate if needed and to provide any documentation deemed necessary. School councils must meet at least twice a year. By law, the school council should approve the school’s annual report, discuss a draft budget, comment on the economic report and submit proposals for the improvement of management practices; comment on proposals of SEPs and their implementation; approve rules for student assessment; approve school rules (scholarship rules in secondary schools); participate in the development of the school development goals; discuss inspection reports by the ČŠI; and send notices to the school principal, school founder or state administration bodies, including the proposal for the removal of the school principal, if necessary (Eurypedia, 2015; MŠMT, forthcoming; NLQ Hildesheim, 2011; Sláviková et al., 2009).

Challenges

Legislation does not promote school principals’ role as pedagogical leaders

School principals have a large range of responsibilities and are not conceived as pedagogical leaders

In the vast majority of public schools in the Czech Republic, school principals are the authorised body of highly autonomous schools and as such hold a large array of legal responsibilities. As a result, school principals in the Czech Republic have to cope with a large amount of administrative and managerial tasks as various stakeholders stressed during interviews. At the same time, school autonomy is confined through central frameworks and legal regulations that schools need to comply with and adapt to. As Hálasz (2009) pointed out, constantly changing legal regulations add further stress to the life of school principals in the Czech Republic. Data from TALIS 2013 substantiate the review team’s impressions of a large administrative workload. According to this survey, principals in lower secondary education spend, on average, half of their time (50.2%) on administrative and leadership tasks and meetings,16 one of the highest values among participating countries (41.3% on average) (see Figure 5.3). While Czech school principals can delegate some administrative tasks, they still spend a large amount of time on other administrative tasks. Only one in five principals (20.3%) reported to “often” or “very often” resolve problems with the lesson timetable in the school (TALIS average: 46.9%), but almost all principals (94.1%) reported to “often” or “very often” check for mistakes and errors in school administrative procedures and reports (TALIS average: 60.9%) (OECD, 2014, Tables 3.1and 3.2). In addition, similar to principals in other Central-Eastern Europeancountries, Czech school principals are still considered as teachers and as such hold considerable teaching responsibilities, particularly in basic schools. According to TALIS 2013, almost all lower secondary school principals working full-time reported that they had teaching obligations, while this was only the case for every third principal on average in participating countries (see Table 5.1). Differences in teaching load requirements between basic schools that offer primary and lower secondary education and general secondary schools that also offer lower secondary education may, furthermore, create inequities. The general role overload can create difficulties for principals to fulfil all of their responsibilities effectively and can create a large amount of stress, particularly in small schools that have less administrative support and that place a higher teaching load on school principals than is the case in larger schools.

Figure 5.3. Principals’ working time, TALIS 2013
Average proportion of time lower secondary education principals report spending on the following activities
picture

Note: Countries are ranked in descending order of proportion of time spent on administrative and leadership tasks and meetings.

1. Including human resource/personnel issues, regulations, reports, school budget, preparing timetables and class composition, strategic planning, leadership and management activities, responding to requests from district, regional, state, or national education officials.

2. Including developing curriculum, teaching, classroom observations, student evaluation, mentoring teachers, teacher professional development.

3. Including counselling and conversations outside structured learning activities.

4. Including formal and informal interactions.

5. Not a member of the OECD.

Source: OECD (2014), TALIS 2013 Results: An International Perspective on Teaching and Learning, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264196261-en.

On the other side of the coin, there seems to be significant scope to develop the pedagogical leadership of Czech school principals which can make a big difference to the quality of teaching and learning (Day et al., 2009; Leithwood et al., 2004; Louis et al., 2010). While school principals provide some pedagogical leadership, e.g. through occasional classroom visits, and while further pedagogical leadership is provided by other school staff as pointed out above, pedagogical leadership did not seem to be school principals’ main role. Pedagogical leadership practices seemed to still be relatively rare and of limited impact. School principals seemed to be little involved in the development of a collaborative school culture and in the professional learning of teachers, as elaborated in Chapter 4. There also appeared to be room for principals to make more and better use of tools such as school development planning, which seems to be mainly related to the implementation of School Educational Programmes (SEPs), to set and evaluate school goals and objectives, and to involve teachers in this process. School self-evaluation has been encouraged recently, e.g. through school inspections and the availability of guidelines and tools, but the potential of school self-evaluations does not seem to have been fully recognised yet in schools and also does not always involve the whole school community. And as highlighted in Chapter 4 and a previous OECD study in the Czech Republic (Santiago et al., 2012), teacher appraisal seems to be widely accepted and practiced, but the quality and practicality of feedback also seems often to be limited. Similarly, data from international surveys suggest that while some pedagogical leadership is practiced inCzech schools, it could be strengthened. According to TALIS 2013, lower secondary principals spend only about one-fifth of their time on curriculum and teaching-related tasks (around the TALIS average).17 The reported frequency with which principals engaged in further pedagogical leadership tasks related to teacher management was also only around the TALIS average (Table 3.2; see Figure 5.4). However, in particular, Czech lower secondary principals reported very low engagement and time for interactions with students, parents and the community (OECD, 2014, Table 3.1), which is also an essential part of pedagogical leadership.18

Figure 5.4. Principals’ leadership, TALIS 2013
Percentage of lower secondary education principals who report having engaged “often” or “very often” in the following leadership activities during the 12 months prior to the survey
picture

Note: Countries are ranked in descending order of frequency with which principals observe instruction in the classroom.

Source: OECD (2014), TALIS 2013 Results: An International Perspective on Teaching and Learning, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264196261-en.

School founders and the Czech School Inspectorate do not provide effective support for school principals and do not focus on principals’ role as pedagogical leaders, but on legal compliance and budget discipline

While schools have assumed a large amount of new responsibilities over the past 15 years, school principals did not receive adequate support to prepare them for their new role (MŠMT, forthcoming). As the review team noted during its country visit, school principals still lack support structures that would provide guidance and feedback for improvement. In theory, school founders should support and supervise school principals once they are in their position, but in practice school founders often take little interest in the educational processes in their schools. The representatives of most school founders stated that the supervision of school principals and feedback on educational processes is the task of the ČŠI. Support by school founders is, therefore, limited and does not happen on a systematic, but rather on an ad hoc basis, and seems to focus more on administrative and managerial rather than pedagogical aspects.19 School principals and school founders meet during the school year, but these meetings seem to focus on the financial needs of schools and the school budget, material conditions at the school, the working conditions of school staff, and school annual reports. Similarly, school founders do evaluate their school principals, often to determine personal allowances and bonuses, but these evaluations typically also only focus on schools’ financial management and budget discipline without consideration to the quality of education. Aspects that are examined include, for example, the correctness, transparency, completeness and clarity of bookkeeping, observation of budget discipline, effective and economical use of the means provided, and the observation of generally binding legal regulations. Evaluations by school founders do also not provide any feedback on areas for improvement or professional development (MŠMT, forthcoming;Eurypedia, 2015; Schratz et al., 2013; Santiago et al., 2012).

The ČŠI has the potential of providing some supportive role for schools through its school evaluations (also see Chapter 2). While the review team noted a desire for cultural change among the leadership of the inspectorate to focus more on school development and improvement, current school evaluations still tend to lack a focus on the quality of education in schools. Instead, school evaluations still focus mainly on compliance with legal requirements and regulations (Santiago et al., 2012). A sample of school evaluation reports available to the review team provided a brief description of the different inspection criteria and aspects of the school’s processes (e.g. school climate and teamwork, impressions from classroom observations, extracurricular activities, collaboration with the school council), but did not offer a large amount of critical and practical feedback for improvement.20 The review team also gained the impression that school evaluations did not yet lead to changes in school practices and that school evaluation reports did not lead to discussions in the school community (e.g. with teachers and the school council) on what could be improved. Furthermore, while inspections evaluate “school management” as one of the evaluation criteria, and while various other criteria relate to school principals’ responsibilities, whole-school evaluations do not provide sufficient individualised feedback for school principals. The inspection cycle of six years makes it difficult for school evaluations to provide useful feedback during a school principal’s appointment period.

The initial training and professional development of principals and other school leadership staff could be improved

Considering that a teaching background alone does not guarantee the competencies required for leading a school (Pont et al., 2008), it is a strong point that school principals in the Czech Republic are required to undertake specialised training and that school staff interested in moving up to a school leadership role are free to participate in leadership training before taking up such a role. Allowing school principals to only undertake training once they are on the job theoretically provides greater flexibility for teachers to move into school leadership roles and can be beneficial in case of a shortage of candidates (Halász, 2009). Induction programmes may also reduce the cost of providing widespread training for anyone interested in leadership training and target the training to the specific needs of new principals (Pont et al., 2008). However, the review team also noted several challenges with the Czech approach to initial training, which was also identified as an area for improvement by the ČŠI (2014) and TALIS 2013 data (OECD, 2014).

New school principals will inevitably be faced with many challenges in their new job and go through a significant learning curve at the beginning of their career. Taking up such a demanding role without preparation adds an additional challenge to the first stage of a school principal’s career. Prior training could help ease school principals’ transition into their new role by providing useful theoretical knowledge and practical experience before assuming the leadership position. It could also help reduce the stress and pressure that new principals might face when having to cope with the new demands of their role and having to undertake compulsory functional training at the same time. In addition, the performance in school leadership training could provide useful information for the selection panel in the recruitment and appointment process. A further concern is related to the content of the current school leader training course. Basic compulsory training seeks to familiarise participants with the basics operational management and administration as well as fiscal and legal issues so they can take responsibility for a school in accordance with the legal requirements. Pedagogical issues only take up a small part of the training. For example, in TALIS 2013, 30.9% of lower secondary principal reported that instructional leadership was not included in their formal education (TALIS average: 22.2%) (OECD, 2014, Figure 3.6). While initial training needs to cover a range of content considering school principals’ scope of responsibilities in the Czech Republic, including legal and budgetary aspects, it could devote more time and attention to the development of pedagogical leadership (Schratz et al., 2013; Halász, 2009; Sláviková et al., 2009).

Regarding professional development, different providers, including tertiary institutions and private organisations, offer a number of short-term courses, workshops and seminars on specific topics and current issues (Sláviková et al., 2009; NLQ Hildesheim, 2011). However, after completion of compulsory school leadership training, there are no requirements or incentives for school principals to engage in ongoing professional development. According to TALIS 2013, not all school principals participate in professional development and those who do, do so for less time (see Table 5.3). When asked about barriers to participation in professional development, about one in five lower secondary principals agreed or strongly agreed that they lacked incentives (20.0%) and that it was too expensive (20.5%); about one‐third of principals agreed or strongly agreed that professional development conflicted with their work schedule (OECD, 2014, Table 3.15). This fits well with the review team’s concerns about school principals’ high workload and level of responsibilities. There are also no processes that ensure that professional development of school principals meets their needs and the needs of their school. School principals do not receive any guidance on professional development needs from their school founders or the ČŠI. Concerning the quality of programmes, the review team could not obtain any information on principal satisfaction or about any monitoring procedures or standards of good practice that could ensure a minimum level of quality across providers (Pont et al., 2008).

Table 5.3. Principals’ participation in professional development, lower secondary education, TALIS 2013
Participation rates, types and average number of days of professional development reported to be undertaken by lower secondary education principals in the 12 months prior to the surve

No participation in any professional development

Participation in a professional network, mentoring or research activity

Participation in courses, conferences or observation visits

Participation in other types of professional development

(%)

(%)

Average number of days

(%)

Average number of days

(%)

Average number of days

Czech Republic

13.4

28.1

11.8

82.2

 9.0

33.7

 7.1

Poland

 0.7

31.2

14.5

95.6

 9.1

51.2

 8.0

Slovak Republic

16.4

63.6

10.1

62.2

 7.8

28.4

 6.2

TALIS average

 9.5

51.1

20.2

83.4

12.6

33.5

10.4

Source: OECD (2014), TALIS 2013 Results: An International Perspective on Teaching and Learning, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264196261-en, Table 3.14.

Pedagogical leadership is often delegated to deputy principals and middle leaders such as heads of subject commissions in the Czech Republic. However, not all deputy principals and middle leaders may be well prepared for their role. While some specialisations among teachers require further qualifications and training (e.g. SEP co-ordinators, ICT co-ordinators, co-ordinators of special education needs, and co-ordinators of environmental education) (Eurypedia, 2015), the review team is not aware of such a requirement for deputy principals and heads of subject commissions. The ČŠI also identified this as one area of improvement and suggested in its latest annual report to “focus on the further education of deputy school principals, methodologists, subject commission leaders and other persons whom principals usually authorise to execute a part of their powers in the area of management of pedagogical processes” (ČŠI, 2014).

Concerns about decisions on school principal appointment, allowances and dismissal

Legislation in the Czech Republic provides some flexibility for school founders to influence school principals’ remuneration, particularly through personal allowances and bonuses. In theory, this provides the possibility to provide incentives and to reward principals for high performance within budgetary limits (also see Chapter 3). The evidence on performance-based rewards is scarce. If such systems are in place, however, the remuneration process should be fair, based on transparent and objective criteria, carried out by competent evaluators and take the specific context into account (Pont et al., 2008). Personnel appraisal that leads to summative consequences can otherwise negatively affect the school environment as well as individual motivation (Pashiardis and Brauckmann, 2008). Considering such concerns, the review team noted various challenges in the allocation of personal allowances and bonuses in the Czech Republic which seem to have a considerable impact on remuneration (see above and Annex 5.A1).

Most importantly, the allocation of personal allowances and bonuses did not seem to be based on transparent and objective processes and criteria which can lead to a lack of fairness. Personal allowances and bonuses typically depend on processes that are determined by school founders themselves and that are not always clearly defined or openly communicated. School principals in schools visited as part of the review were often not aware of the range of the personal allowances and bonuses allocated within their region or municipality. Furthermore, as decisions about individual performance-based rewards are in the hands of school founders, and as there is no national framework or criteria of good practice, the nature of this process differs across the country. This risks that not all principals are treated equally irrespective of their place of work. As school founders tend to take no interest in the pedagogical leadership of school principals, decisions about individual rewards are, furthermore, based on a limited set of criteria, such as budget discipline, instead of an appraisal process that evaluates all of school principals’ responsibilities.

The principal appointment and dismissal processes could also be improved. Central regulations for the appointment of school principals which school founders need to follow provide a sound basis for the recruitment of qualified candidates. However, decisions of the selection committee constitute a recommendation only and school founders are free to ignore the proposal of the selection panel. This bears the risk for “political” appointments by school founders. When it comes to the reappointment of a school principal, in theory, both the ČŠI and the school council can intervene to prevent the contract renewal of a school principal in the case of concerns. In practice, however, this mechanism depends on sound school evaluations through the inspectorate and a competent and knowledgeable school council. Considering the review team’s impressions that school evaluations are only beginning to focus on the quality of education and that school councils often seem to lack capacity, this mechanism may not be very effective. Some stakeholders also raised concerns that the circumstances specified by law that can lead to dismissal, that is mainly the gross violation of non-fulfilment of legal obligations, are very limited and that it can be difficult to remove principals from office in practice.

There is no planning for the future supply of school principals

Neither the ministry (MŠMT) nor school founders pay attention to the attractiveness of principal positions and to leadership succession. There are no systematic data on the number of applicants and the distribution of applicants across different schools (e.g. levels of education, school types, disadvantaged schools or schools in urban/rural areas). The lack of succession planning does not seem to be a particular concern at the moment as there seem to be sufficient candidates – one school founder reported seven to ten candidates in current appointment proceedings, for example – but may be so in the future as both the teacher as well as the school principal workforce are ageing (see Chapter 4 and Table 5.1). Data from TALIS 2013, furthermore, indicate some concerns about the working conditions of principals which can have an impact on the attractiveness of the profession. While a large majority of lower secondary school principals reported to be all in all satisfied with their job, a relatively large share of principals did not believe that the advantages of the profession clearly outweigh the disadvantages.21

There is limited collaboration, exchange and learning among school principals

School principals in the Czech Republic have some opportunities to learn from each other and to take on responsibility for the development of the wider education system. Compulsory school leadership training offers leadership staff an informal chance to network (Sláviková et al., 2009) and professional associations offer further opportunities for exchange through workshops and meetings. Some school founders may also seek to foster collaboration among their schools. For instance, Prague 7, one of the administrative districts of Prague and the school founder of public kindergartens and basic schools within the district, has developed an online platform (www.jaknaskoly.cz) for schools to share information among each other as well as parents and the general public. The district also organises roundtables among teachers and school leaders and meetings among the educational staff of all schools before the school year to discuss past achievements and future objectives (MŠMT, forthcoming).

However, exchange between schools and principals is not supported on a systematic basis and seems to be rare. For TALIS 2013, only slightly more than one in four lower secondary principals (28.1%) reported to have engaged in a professional network, mentoring or research activities in the 12 months prior to the survey, compared to about one in two principals on average across countries taking part in TALIS 2013 (51.1%). The Czech Republic had one of the lowest proportions of principals reporting such an involvement among TALIS 2013 countries. Similarly, only slightly more than one in three lower secondary principals (37.2%) reported to have often or very often collaborated with principals from other schools during that time (TALIS average: 62.1%) (OECD, 2014, Tables 3.14and 3.2). Opportunities for school principals to contribute to the development of the broader education system are also relatively limited. School principals can apply for school inspector positions with the ČŠI or take part in school evaluations as part of a body of experts which also includes school principals, but school inspector positions are not attractive financially as some stakeholders pointed out during the review visit.

School councils do not play a role in school development

School councils enable the school community, including teachers, parents and students, to participate in the management of their school and to hold their school leadership accountable (also see Chapter 2) (Pont et al., 2008). The law requires all schools to establish a school council and sets some requirements for the operation of school councils, such as membership, frequency of meetings and tasks and responsibilities. However, PISA 2012 data suggest that community involvement in local school governance is low. According to these data, only 4.9% of 15-year-olds were in a school whose principal reported that students’ parents participated in local school government, compared to an OECD average of 10.8% (OECD, 2013a, Table IV.4.17). The review team also gained the impression that where the school community and parents participate in local school governance, the capacity to have an impact on school improvement (e.g. through critical feedback) was rather limited. Various school councils reported little involvement in processes such as school development planning and external and internal school evaluations. Also, school councils did not always seem aware of their right to prevent the contract renewal of school principals or suggest their dismissal, and the school council’s involvement in the selection of their school principal seemed weak. Students can also play a critical role to determine how schools and classrooms can be improved (Pekrul and Levin, 2007; Rudduck, 2007; Smyth, 2007). However, student involvement through student bodies or representatives also seemed relatively limited, even if two schools reported the collection of student feedback through questionnaires, for example.

Policy recommendations

The high level of school autonomy and the legal status of schools give school principals a key role in the Czech education system as the managers of relatively autonomous entities. The effective management of the school leadership profession is, therefore, essential to ensure that this function is exercised by qualified individuals. School leaders need to be well selected, adequately prepared for their role and developed throughout their career, have the support they need to do their job and be held accountable for their responsibilities. The Czech Republic has paid some attention to the development of school leadership (e.g. through the White Paper,22 the use of European Structural Funds and the implementation of the Education for Competitiveness Operational Programme between 2007 and 2013,23 and participation in various international projects24) (Hálasz, 2009). Current initiatives such as Strategy 202025 and the proposal for a new career structure for school principals illustrate some continued awareness of the importance of school leadership. Furthermore, the Czech Republic has already implemented some concrete measures that provide conditions for good leadership in schools. These include standardised procedures for the recruitment of principals, requirements for initial training, the possibility to distribute leadership responsibilities, feedback from external school evaluations, and the possibility for the school community to participate in school management.

However, like previous studies (e.g. Schratz et al., 2013; Santiago et al., 2012) the review team also noted the urgent need to further professionalise school leaders in the Czech Republic. While school leaders enjoy a considerable level of autonomy – an important precondition for school leaders to influence teaching and learning (Halász, 2009; Pont et al., 2008) – they do not use their autonomy to this end through pedagogical leadership. The most important task ahead is the greater recognition that school principals can play a significant role for teaching and learning through pedagogical leadership, that school principals’ workload needs to be more manageable to exercise this function, and that school principals require adequate support to grow into this role. For this to happen, it is essential that central actors in the Czech education system, such as school founders, assume responsibility for the development of their school leaders, that existing support structures and tools, such as training and school evaluations, are used more effectively in practice and focus on the role of school principals as pedagogical leaders, and that new structures that facilitate the development of pedagogical leadership, such as opportunities for peer networks and system leadership, are put in place.

Considering the general impact school leaders can have on teaching and learning through their influence on teachers (Louis et al., 2010; Day et al., 2009) and the particular role of school principals in the Czech education system it is crucial that these challenges are addressed. Strategy 2020 and the proposal for the development of a school leadership career point into the right direction. The development of the school leadership profession will also be key for the implementation of Strategy 2020 itself and the realisation of its strategic priorities. For instance, Strategy 2020 aims to make the education system more equitable through steps such as creating better links between schools and out-of-school education, by encouraging schools to integrate further education, and to better collaborate with educational guidance and counselling services; and to develop the teaching force through the introduction of a new teacher career system, more meaningful feedback and appraisal, mentoring and the sharing of good practices, and career development opportunities. School principals will be crucial to make these initiatives work. As school leaders constitute a small, but potent group of actors in the education system, school leadership development constitutes a highly cost-effective measure for improving education (Hálasz, 2009; Louis et al., 2010).

Create a vision for and support pedagogical leadership in the Czech education system

Implement professional school leadership standards to clearly communicate the pedagogical role of school leaders

While various paradigms of effective school leadership have emerged through time, research has recently stressed the importance of pedagogical leadership for teaching and learning, even if more administrative and management-oriented leadership practices may be required under certain circumstances (OECD, 2013c; Krüger and Scheerens, 2010; Louis et al., 2010; Day et al., 2009; Pont et al., 2008). In the Czech Republic, the importance of pedagogical leadership has not been fully recognised, the legal and administrative tradition of school leadership is still visible, and the content of current legislation and school leadership training courses continue to focus on this legal and administrative role. Furthermore, legislation and school leadership training only specify duties and tasks and fields of studies and do not provide a specification of the competencies required to be an effective school leader. There is, then, little guidance for school leaders to interpret their role, to know what is expected of them, and to self-evaluate themselves against those expectations. It also means there is no framework for the effective management of the school leadership profession that would guide the selection and recruitment, development and training, and evaluation and appraisal on the basis of a vision of pedagogical leadership (Halász, 2009).

The implementation of professional standards for school leaders would help communicate this key function of school leaders (OECD, 2013b). Professional standards would be useful to a range of actors and ensure that all initiatives are directed towards the development of pedagogical leadership: individual school leaders could use them for self-evaluations; teachers could use them to understand the role of their manager; trainers of school leaders could use them to monitor the progress of their students; training institutions could use them for developing, evaluating and improving their programmes; school founders could use them for selection, recruitment, appraisal and development; and policymakers could use them for decision making (Schratz et al., 2013). In the implementation of such professional standards, the Czech Republic could build on previous initiatives such as the school leadership project realised within the framework of the Central European Cooperation for Education (CECE) and the school leadership standards (“Central5”) that resulted from this project (Schratz et al., 2013; Schratz et al., 2010; Schratz et al., 2009)26 as well as the current work on the development of a school leadership career undertaken by the National Institute for Further Education (NIDV).

Ease the administrative and managerial workload of school leaders and consider a reduction of school leaders’ teaching responsibilities

However, it is also important to recognise that the wide range of tasks and responsibilities that school leaders are often expected to fulfil also bears a risk of placing too high expectation on school leaders (OECD, 2013b; Pont et al., 2008). Strengthening the pedagogical role of school principals, therefore, also requires a reflection on how school principals can be better relieved from administrative and managerial tasks. Considering that school principals already often have support from deputies, teacher leaders and accountants, it would be useful to investigate how school principals distribute their tasks and if they require further guidance on how best to do so. Since deputy principals and teacher leaders also fulfil important pedagogical leadership functions, it would also be worth examining if more administrative and secretarial staff is needed or if certain administrative and managerial functions could be fulfilled more effectively by school founders themselves. School principals in the Czech Republic have a dual role as school leaders and teachers. Teaching responsibilities can be positive for school principals as teaching allows school principals to remain close to classroom reality. However, considering the large workload of school principals, it would be worth to consider if the teaching load of school principals could be reduced or if school principals could be allowed to manage their teaching responsibilities more flexibly, particularly in small basic schools where the teaching load is especially high. A European project on school leadership suggested that school leaders’ teaching role should be reduced to enable school principals to effectively fulfil their function which is increasing in complexity (NLQ Hildesheim, 2011). In light of demographic changes and the need to consolidate the school offer (also see Chapter 2),it could also be worth considering alternative approaches to the leadership of schools (e.g. common leadership of a group of small schools, a shared pool of administrative staff for a group of schools) (Schratz et al., 2013), even though the evidence on such approaches is very scarce.

Provide more support for school leaders and improve the training and preparation of school leaders

School leaders also require the capacity to be pedagogical leaders and to manage their teachers effectively. The Czech Republic already provides school leadership training, but the review team identified several areas for improvement.

First, the development of the school leadership profession is not yet seen from a perspective of lifelong learning, but focuses resources on the development of recently appointed principals through an induction process. Similar to the international school leadership project realised within the framework of the Central European Cooperation for Education (CECE) (Schratz et al., 2013; Halász, 2009), the review team recommends to reconsider the current approach and to develop a leadership continuum that reflects school leaders’ needs at different stages of their career. This should entail opportunities for aspiring and emerging school principals, mandatory training prior to appointment, an induction phase and opportunities for ongoing development. In particular, the introduction of a requirement to undertake training before assuming a leadership role would ensure that school principals have the knowledge and competencies needed to fulfil their role and that only qualified individual assume a leadership role. It would also provide useful information for the recruitment process. Considering the apparently large number of applicants for school leadership positions, it seems feasible in the Czech context to introduce such a more rigorous pre-training requirement. The length of the practical part of training would have to be increased. Professional development should be provided periodically to give school principals the opportunity to further develop their competencies and to learn about new practices. A requirement for regular participation and guidance on professional development needs from school founders and the school inspectorate (see below) could strengthen school principals’ learning throughout their career. As TALIS 2013 data suggest, one of the greatest barriers of school principals for participation in professional development is their high workload, which provides an additional argument for finding waysto ease principals’ workload and distribute their tasks more effectively.

Second, while the review team could not obtain much information about the quality of the current training offer, it seems that training could also be improved. Training should focus more on the development of pedagogical leadership to help principals interpret their role as pedagogical leaders. As an OECD project on school leadership highlighted, school leadership training should focus on competencies in areas that contribute to improving teaching and learning, such as strategies for supporting, evaluating and developing teacher quality; goal setting, assessment and accountability; strategic financial and human resource management; and system leadership (Pont et al., 2008). School leaders influence the quality of teaching and learning through the management of their teachers. Human resource management should therefore be an important part of training. School leaders should learn about aspects such as how to facilitate professional learning as part of everyday teaching practice, how to build a collaborative culture so teachers learn from each other and address their day-to-day challenges together, and how to give meaningful feedback (more on this in Chapter 4). This will also be essential to facilitate the implementation of the new teacher career system. In terms of teaching methods, training programmes should emphasise approaches such as action-research, coaching, mentoring and peer learning. Both the implementation of professional school leadership standards that could be the basis for the accreditation of training programmes and the further education of trainers on these programmes could help improve the quality of school leader training (Schratz et al., 2013).

Third, considering the role of distributed leadership in Czech schools, stakeholders should pay greater attention to the development of deputy principals, middle leaders and teacher leaders, such as heads of subject commissions (e.g. through the introduction of training requirements or a review of current development opportunities). This has also already been pointed out by the Czech school inspectorate (ČŠI, 2014). The development of distributed leadership could be based on a broader strategy to foster potential school leaders (e.g. through taster courses that help teachers and potential school leaders to self-evaluate their interest and strengths and weaknesses, or through teacher education courses that cover school leadership issues) (Pont et al., 2008). The new teacher career system could play a promising role in the development of future school leaders. In addition, it could be useful to put in place a monitoring system of the number of applicants for school principal positions for different levels of education and school types to identify potential shortages, and to implement actions to ensure sustainable leadership succession.

Fourth, the ČŠI and school founders should provide adequate support to schools and school principals to develop their practice (e.g. through feedback on professional development needs, support for school development planning and self-evaluation, the use of annual reports as strategic documents) and move beyond school principals’ administrative and managerial role to focus on their pedagogical function (also see Chapter 2).

Promote greater objectivity in appointment, appraisal and remuneration decisions and ensure these processes support the development of good school leadership

Appointment and dismissal

The recruitment process of school principals entails a number of positive elements that provide the basis for the selection of qualified candidates. However, there is room for improvement to ensure that the best candidates are selected. Fair and transparent selection procedures are also key to encourage motivated individuals to apply.

There are various arguments for school founders to hold ultimate responsibility for the final selection of school principals (see Pont et al., 2008 for an overview of country practices). School founders are the employer of principals and should therefore take responsibility for the management of their human resources. The power to select who leads their schools gives school founders the possibility to match their human resource policy with their educational strategy. And a recruitment process through regional and municipal authorities provides the opportunity to tailor the recruitment process to local needs. While there can be capacity concerns and high administrative costs to carry out a rigorous selection process when local authorities are responsible for this process, the involvement of the school inspectorate and a representative of the regional education office in the Czech Republic should ensure some minimum standard, particularly in small municipalities. However, considering the risk of political appointments, greater checks and balances should be in place. Greater objectivity could be achieved in a number of ways. The judgement of the selection panel could receive greater weight, for example, by introducing a requirement that the school founder has to choose its final candidate from a shortlist of x number of top candidates presented by the selection panel. The ministry (MŠMT) could also introduce a clearer and more transparent set of national selection criteria, which could be based on the new professional school leadership standards (see above). The development of national guidelines for quality in recruitment procedures and training opportunities for regional and municipal authorities could also improve the recruitment process. A further way to increase the objectivity of recruitment lies in strengthening the role of school councils in the process, which would also have the potential to empower school councils andstrengthen their overall role for horizontal accountability and school improvement. The MŠMT could pilot to give school councils (possibly together with the School Inspectorate) a role in auditing the recruitment decisions of school founders. And school councils could get some further influence in the recruitment process through the definition of local selection criteria or a local competency profile that supplements national selection criteria. In Victoria, Australia, for example, school councils or committees add a community criterion to a list of five central selection criteria, and in Chile, school boards define a competency profile that then serves as a reference for a central recruitment process through national authorities.

Considering concerns about the possibility to dismiss principals that do not fulfil their role, school founders should take greater responsibility for the management of their human resources. The capacity of the Czech School Inspectorate and school councils should also be strengthened so that they are able to fulfil their role for vertical and horizontal accountability (see further below).

Appraisal

While the evidence base on school leader appraisal is still rather limited, some recent research suggests that appraisal, depending on the way it is designed and implemented, can help to improve school leaders’ practices and behaviours, and to focus on their role as pedagogical leaders (OECD, 2013b; Radinger, 2014). School founders should, therefore, be encouraged and supported to develop appraisal processes that go beyond legal compliance and budgetary discipline as is currently the case. Appraisal could, then, become a tool to manage the school leadership profession and to communicate that school principals are responsible for the quality of teaching and learning in their school. As appraisal processes can increase school principals’ workload and stress levels, it is important that school principals experience appraisal as a meaningful exercise that helps them improve their practice (OECD, 2013b; Radinger, 2014).

To improve current school leader appraisal processes, the Czech Republic could introduce a national framework that school founders need to implement. Such a national framework would ensure that appraisal meets essential criteria of personnel evaluation, such as validity, reliability, accuracy, utility and fairness, and that appraisal follows best practices (see Box 5.1). It would also address concerns about the objectivity and transparency of appraisal which is essential considering the current link between evaluations and personal allowances and bonuses. Considering the importance of context for successful school leadership, a central framework should leave sufficient scope to adjust procedures to local, school and individual circumstances. The national appraisal framework should reflect a number of further aspects so it becomes a useful process. First, appraisal should go beyond informing employment-related decisions and include a strong formative dimension, possibly in combination with summative purposes. In the Czech Republic, for example, appraisal could be organised annually as a formative process, it could inform remuneration decisions periodically (e.g. every three years), and inform the contract renewal process every six years. To function as a formative process, appraisal itself should provide useful feedback (e.g. through the regular interaction between evaluators and school principals) and feed into decisions about principals’ professional development (e.g. through the preparation of an individual development plan). Including professional development activities as one aspect and criterion of appraisal provides a further possibility to strengthen ties between appraisal and professional development. Second, individual appraisal procedures should be linked with external school evaluations to communicate consistent feedback. And third, as all other employment-related processes, appraisal should draw on a set of national school leadership standards as a reference point for the definition of individual objectives or the selection of appraisal aspects and criteria (OECD, 2013b; Radinger, 2014).

Box 5.1. OECD recommendations on procedures for school leader appraisal
  1. Promote the appraisal of pedagogical leadership together with scope for local adaptation

A focus on pedagogical leadership is essential to encourage school leaders to take direct responsibility for the quality of learning and teaching in their school. However, a focus on pedagogical leadership in appraisal must:

  • Be manageable and relevant: local selection of criteria in line with central guidance that emphasise the importance of pedagogical leadership; focus on priority areas relevant to a particular school and the leadership required in that context; promote individual as well as school needs, e.g. through the mandatory use of a range of reference standards and documents, such as individual job descriptions and school development plans; recognise that successful school leadership requires choices on time investment and management and administration-oriented tasks may at times be equally important as pedagogical leadership tasks.

  • Recognise the need for and promote professional development: ensuring access to high-quality, targeted and relevant professional development opportunities to develop pedagogical leadership; embedding appraisal for pedagogical leadership within a comprehensive leadership development framework; providing an opportunity for feedback and identifying areas for school leader’s development.

  1. Promote the appraisal of school leaders’ competencies for monitoring, evaluation and assessment

School leaders play a key role for the effectiveness of evaluation and assessment, particularly for teacher appraisal and school evaluation. Therefore, school leader appraisal should address their ability to:

  • Manage internal teacher appraisal processes, e.g. through evaluating school leaders’ competencies to manage staff; to authentically evaluate teaching and learning; to understand, observe and recognise good teaching; and to give developmental feedback to teachers.

  • Lead the school’s self-evaluation processes, e.g. ensuring their school’s collaboration during external evaluations, and communicating external evaluation results to their school community.

It should also lead to opportunities to improve these competencies. For example, with professional development in how to observe classrooms and interview teachers; how to analyse data; how to use school evaluation results; how to develop school improvement plans; how to involve teachers, students and parents in school self-evaluation.

  1. Promote shared leadership via school leader appraisal

The OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education underlined the role that school leader appraisal could play in promoting a more effective sharing of management responsibilities. School leader appraisal could consider how leadership responsibilities are shared within the school and beyond the school by:

  • Examining the ways in which school leaders foster distributed leadership in their schools (e.g. school leaders’ competencies for building structural capacity, school leaders’ efforts to create opportunities for teacher leadership, school leaders’ ability to enhance their teaching staff’s capacity to lead, school leaders’ ability to foster succession planning).

  • Providing feedback on the arrangements of distributed leadership. It may help inform professional development and wider support structures. It may also provide an opportunity to provide feedback to school leaders on their efforts to enhance teacher leadership in their schools.

  • Reflecting the growing importance of leadership tasks beyond school borders as a way of sharing expertise for system-wide improvement.

  1. Promote the use of multiple instruments and sources of evidence

Research has increasingly stressed the benefits of using multiple tools to form a fair, valid and reliable picture of a school leader’s performance from a comprehensive perspective. Limited research has provided some insights into the benefits of different tools and the caution needed when using others:

  • The use of school leader portfolios, if embedded within wider support structures, may ensure a school leader’s views are adequately represented in the appraisal process and help strengthen the formative dimension of appraisal.

  • The use of stakeholder surveys requires an awareness among evaluators of the politics that appraisal may involve. Teachers’ views may add most value to an appraisal process considering their close insights into a school’s daily routine.

  • Given the wide range of factors that influence student outcomes within and outside schools, and persistent evidence that the impact of school leaders on student learning is mainly indirect and mediated through others, holding school leaders directly accountable for improved student test scores or the value-added by the teachers in their school faces serious challenges and risks.

Source: OECD (2013b), Synergies for Better Learning: An International Perspective on Evaluation and Assessment, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264190658-en.

While it is essential to improve the design of appraisal, it is equally important to ensure that appraisal is effectively implemented and that evaluators and school principals have the capacity to do so. Czech policy makers should, therefore, also pay attention to the development of evaluators’ and school principals’ competencies in this area. Possible measures to promote and develop appraisal-related skills among evaluators include funding for evaluators’ training and professional development, the piloting of newly developed appraisal systems before implementation, opportunities for on-site formal training sessions for evaluators and the development of online platforms for ongoing discussion (OECD, 2013b; Schratz et al., 2013).

Remuneration

The implementation of a sound national appraisal framework would also help address concerns about the allocation of personal allowances and bonuses. As an OECD Review of Evaluation and Assessment Frameworks and an OECD project on Improving School Leadership pointed out, systems that link salaries and benefits to performance need to ensure that principals perceive the process as fair (OECD, 2013b; Pont et al., 2008). Considering the limited and mixed evidence of the impact of such payments (Pont et al., 2008), however, it could be worth considering an evaluation of the impact of personal allowances and bonuses in the Czech Republic.

Provide platforms for school leaders to exchange experiences and to learn from each other

School leadership can be a lonely role and school principals can face feelings of professional isolation. It is, therefore, essential that school principals have sufficient sources of external feedback and support. This is particularly the case for new school principals and for school principals in challenging contexts. Opportunities for school principals to learn from each other and to share good practices with school principals from other schools can provide such a source of feedback. Furthermore, peer learning and collaboration can be instrumental in spreading promising practices and in improving teaching and learning across an education system (OECD, 2013b; OECD, 2012b; OECD/SSAT, 2008; Pont et al., 2008).

While there are some opportunities for networking through professional associations, there is a lot of potential to further facilitate peer learning and collaboration between schools and school principals. As other countries have demonstrated, various models can be used to promote peer learning and collaboration. Coaching programmes that pair new and experienced school principals can be one way to increase support and to facilitate school principals’ start in their new role. Formal or informal school networks that build on individual school leaders’ commitment, that involve regular and constructive communication, and that are supported through the educational administration can foster improvement over time at a larger scale (OECD, 2012b). The Flemish Community of Belgium provides an interesting example of school collaboration and networking (see Box 5.2). Considering its knowledge of the broader education system, the Czech school inspectorate could play a leading role in the facilitation of school exchange and networking. Personnel appraisal that involves peer-evaluators and school self-evaluation that involves critical friends can also provide opportunities for school leaders to learn from each other as long as school leaders are prepared and trained for such roles (OECD, 2013c). Other countries have sought to spread new ideas and approaches through the creation of system leadership roles (e.g. leadership of a federation of schools or consultant leadership roles). Such roles also provide career development opportunities for school leaders and can help make school leadership more attractive, also for long-serving school leaders (OECD/SSAT, 2008; Pont et al., 2008). Denmark provides a recent example for the development of such system leadership roles (see Box 5.2).

Box 5.2. School networks and system leadership roles: school associations in the Flemish Community of Belgium and a national body of learning consultants in Denmark

Flemish Community of Belgium

In 1999, the authorities of the Flemish Community of Belgium launched a policy to encourage school collaboration through the establishment of “school associations” (scholengemeenschappen) in secondary education. From 2003, school associations were also introduced in the primary sector. School associations are collaborative partnerships between schools in the same geographical area. On average, school associations comprise between six and twelve schools. In 2010, the vast majority of schools (96.7%) belonged to a school community, and most of the schools that have not joined a school community provided special needs education. The key goal of this initiative is to strengthen schools’ organisational and leadership capacities through increased co-operation. In secondary education, the policy also aims to improve the co-operation of schools in the supply of study options, career guidance and efficient use of resources. Joining a school association is voluntary, but the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training provides incentives for schools to join an association by attributing resources to the association, and granting more organisational flexibility in the case of secondary schools. School associations receive a package of points for the management and support staff in their schools, which are then redistributed among the individual schools in the community based on a repartition system agreed between the schools forming the community. In elementary education, some of these points may be used to appoint a co-ordinating director of the school community, and in secondary education, the school community can retain up to 10% of the points to ensure its own functioning.

Source: Nusche, D. et al. (2015), OECD Reviews of School Resources: Flemish Community of Belgium 2015, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264247598-en.

Denmark

The Danish Ministry of Education has introduced a national body of 80 learning consultants in 2014 to provide support to municipalities and schools for quality development, to spread good practices, and to facilitate school networking and peer-learning. Both schools and municipalities can ask for the support of a learning consultant and schools can also work together in groups with a learning consultant. Learning consultants work in teams and analyse the challenges a school faces based on school data and information on student performance. They then develop a school development plan, a strategy for change management, and indicators for monitoring and evaluation. Learning consultants collaborate with a ministerial research centre to learn about the latest evidence and to feed into the knowledge available in the research centre. They also collaborate with teacher training institutions to develop links between theory and practice. Learning consultants have diverse backgrounds, from teaching and school leadership to local administration in a municipality. They receive training and capacity building for their role and meet on a monthly basis to learn about new methods and evidence and to reflect about their experiences and challenges. Learning consultants can work in different arrangements. For example, learning consultants can work for two days a week in their learning consultant role at the ministry and for three days a week in the field. Learning consultants are typically hired for two years after which they return to a school or municipality. This allows the ministry to adjust the number and profile of learning consultants depending on the demand and also helps spread knowledge more widely across the system. Some municipalities in Denmark, such as Copenhagen, have developed and implemented their own systems of learning consultants to facilitate leadership and specialist advice to schools from practitioners with high credibility.

Source: Nusche D. et al. (forthcoming), OECD Reviews of School Resources: Denmark 2016, OECD Publishing, Paris.

Promote the role of the school council for school development

As specified in legislation, school councils have a role to play in a number of important areas, such as the selection of school principals, the review of annual reports and school development planning. However, in practice, school councils often play a limited role in local school governance and lack the capacity for contributing to the development of their school. The ministry (MŠMT) and school founders should, therefore, foster great awareness of the important role that school councils can play for school development (e.g. by highlighting good practices and through guidelines and advice) and offer training and capacity building for members of school boards. In the Slovak Republic, for example, district school offices offer targeted training to school boards to make them familiar with their role in the school leader selection process. In addition some district school boards bring together the chairs of all school boards in the district on an annual basis to facilitate learning and an exchange of experience (Santiago et al., 2016a). In Estonia, similarly, some municipalities actively promote the role of school boards and offer training to school board members. In Tartu, for example, members of boards of trustees participate in periodic training and Tallinn gathers feedback from parents on the role of boards of trustees as part of the city’s quality assurance scheme. In addition, Tallinn organises an annual competition to nominate “the best board of trustees of the year” (Santiago et al., 2016b).

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Annex 5.A1. Data for Chapter 5
Figure 5.A1.1. Relative attractiveness of school principal remuneration
Ratio of school leader and maximum teacher salaries to the minimum annual statutory salary for teachers, 2013/14
picture

Note: Countries are presented in ascending order of ratio of minimum school leader salary to minimum teacher salary.

Minimum salaries are based on the lowest salary across levels of education. Maximum salaries are based on the highest salary across levels of education

Source: Calculated from data in Eurydice (2014), Teachers’ and School Heads’ Salaries and Allowances in Europe, 2013/14, http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/facts_and_figures/salaries.pdf.

Figure 5.A1.2. Ratio of actual average principal salaries to actual average teacher salaries, 2013/14
picture

Notes: Countries are ranked in ascending order of the ratio of actual average principal salaries to teacher salaries in lower secondary education.

1. No data for upper secondary education available.

2. Data for upper secondary education refer to lycées only; and no data for primary education available.

3. Data for upper secondary education refer to teachers with Laurea/master’s degree only.

4. Data refer to 2012/2013.

Source: Calculated from data in Eurydice (2014), Teachers’ and School Heads’ Salaries and Allowances in Europe, 2013/14, http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/facts_and_figures/salaries.pdf.

Figure 5.A1.3. School leader salaries as a percentage of GDP per capita, 2013/14
picture

Notes: Countries are presented in ascending order of minimum annual gross statutory salary.

1. GDP data are for 2012.

2. GDP data are for 2011.

3. Data on average actual salaries not available.

4. Data on minimum salary not available.

Source: Calculated from data in Eurydice database and Eurydice (2014), Teachers’ and School Heads’ Salaries and Allowances in Europe, 2013/14, http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/facts_and_figures/salaries.pdf.

Notes

← 1. The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

← 2. Lower secondary education (ISCED 2) comprises Years 6 to 9 in the Czech school system and can thus be offered in basic schools, general secondary schools (gymnasia) and conservatoires (specialised arts institutions).

← 3. For the leadership of other employees, the allowance specified by law ranges from 5% to 50% of the highest salary step in the given grade depending on the level of leadership, for class teachers or heads of department at conservatoires and basic art schools, the personal allowance ranges from CZK 400 to CZK 1 000 monthly (Eurypedia, 2015).

← 4. For further information (in Czech), see www.nidv.cz/cs/projekty/projekty-esf/karierni-system.ep and www.karieraucitelu.cz.

← 5. The employment, appointment and dismissal of school principals of schools established by other founders (i.e. church and private schools) is not regulated by school legal regulations, but governed by general legal regulations. The leadership of denominational or private schools is performed by an authorised body, by a member of the authorised body or another person employed by the school who fulfils certain conditions related to requirements for exercising the function of educational staff and to work experience in education, or a different entity or a person in a labour-law relationship to the school fulfilling these conditions. Principals of denominational or private schools are not required by lawto undertake school management training. Employment is always based on an employment contract (Eurypedia, 2015; MŠMT, forthcoming).

← 6. For further information (in Czech), see www.msmt.cz/dokumenty/konsolidovany-text-skolskeho-zakona?lang=1.

← 7. The gross annual statutory salary is the amount paid by the employer in a year. It includes the basic statutory salary together with general increases to salary scales, the 13th month and holiday-pay (where applicable) excluding the employers’ social security and pension contributions. This salary does not include other salary allowances or financial benefits (related, for example, to further qualifications, merit, overtime, additional responsibilities, geographical location, the obligation to teach classes in challenging circumstances, or accommodation, health or travel costs). The minimum salary is the gross salary received by principals at the start of their career. The maximum salary is the basic gross salary received by school principals on retirement or after a certain number of years of service. The maximum salary includes increases related solely to length of service and/or age (Eurydice, 2014).

← 8. For further information, also see www.nidv.cz/cs/projekty/projekty-esf/karierni-system.ep/322_1629-klicova-aktivita-1-%E2%80%93--standard-pro-reditele/1.

← 9. Such individual allowances and bonuses are different to a number of personal allowances for certain additional defined by law (e.g. for class teachers, teachers exposed to a high risk of injury, multi-grade teaching, and the performance of specialised roles, such as co-ordination of the School Educational Programme (SEP), ICT co-ordination, co-ordination of environmental education, etc.).

← 10. Education in public institutions is free of charge for parents. Only the participation in early childhood education and care can incur costs for parents with the exception of the last year of early childhood education and care. School principals determine the amount of fees and fees may vary from year to year. The level of tuition fees is restricted by law and it must not exceed 50% of the real average monthly non-investment expenditures of the legal person running a nursery school for the education of a child in early education and care centre. Such expenditures do not include salaries, compensations for salaries, wages, compensations for wages, bonuses for readiness for work, bonuses for work performed based on contracts for work performed out of the employment relationship, severance pays, social security premiums, contributions to state employment policy, general health insurance premiums, allocations to the Cultural and Social Need Fund, other payments resulting from labour law relations, necessary increase in the costs associated with the education of children with disabilities, costs of teaching aids, costs for the further education of pedagogical workers and costs for activities directly associated with the development of schools and quality of education, for the coverage of which the financial means from the state budget were used.

← 11. For further information (in Czech), see www.nuov.cz/ae?lchan=1&lred=1.

← 12. The Plan of Principal Assignments of the Czech School Inspectorate for the School Year 2014/15 is available here: www.csicr.cz/getattachment/b34b0931-2ef6-4b9a-8bc5-7f1645650339; the Criteria for the Evaluation of Conditions, Course and Results of Education for the School Year 2014/15 are available here: www.csicr.cz/getattachment/d778c2e9-1cd5-484f-b889-5557e728f458.

← 13. The “Study for School Principals” course entails at least 100 hours of contact time as defined by ministerial regulations and is based on the key professional competences of managerial staff at schools as well as on the specification of responsibilities following from the provisions of the Education Act. It covers four modules: basic law; labour law; school financing; and the organisation of the educational process. Training entails three days of practical experience at another school as well as self-study and is completed with a final examination. At the end of the course, participants receive a certificate. This training is provided by the National Institute for Further Education (NIDV), the national organisation offering professional development for teachers, and other approved in‐service training centres. The NIDV operates with 13 regional training centres and school leadership training is, therefore, easily accessible across the Czech Republic. Participation in “Training for Managerial Staff” alsomeets the further qualification requirement. Alternatively, this programme provides an opportunity for further professional development of school principals who have already undertaken basic and compulsory training to strengthen professional competencies and to gain a better knowledge of school management issues. This course of at least 350 contact hours covers the theory and practice of school management, the application of legislation in schools, economic and financial management, educational process management, and personnel management. It is completed with the defence of a thesis and final examination and leads to further qualifications, such as a master’s degree. This programme is typically offered at tertiary institutions (Sláviková et al., 2009).

← 14. Past annual reports of schools visited as part of the review visit were between 15 and 50 pages in length and covered a number of areas: basic information about the school: e.g. school name and location, school leadership team, school vision and focus, fields of education offered, changes in the school registry, school council, school website; school staff: e.g. number, age, qualifications and professional development of teaching staff, information about teaching assistants and non-teaching staff; students: e.g. number of students and number of classes, average class size and student-teacher ratio, results in examinations, admission to further education, students with a migrant or ethnic minority background, special needs students, gifted students; educational processes: e.g. School Educational Programme, educational guidance and counselling, prevention of risky behaviour, language training and support, environmental education, multicultural education, student competitions and extracurricular activities; Activities and presentation of the school in the public: collaboration with parents and other school partners,participation in national and international programmes, after-school activities and clubs, use of school facilities during school holidays; Results from external evaluations: e.g. summaries of ČŠI inspections, financial audits, compliance with hygiene standards; school budget and financial information (Eurypedia, 2015).

← 15. The inspectorate can communicate the performance of individual teachers in case of concerns to school principals who are entitled to take relevant labour law measures; the inspectorate can ask schools to take measures to address concerns identified during the evaluation (e.g. poor performance of teachers and principals) and the inspectorate can charge schools a penalty of up to CZK 50 000; the inspectorate can ask the school founder for the removal of a principal from office or for the announcement of an appointment process of a new principal, but the final decision lies with the school founder; the inspectorate can submit a proposal for the erasure of a school from the school registry, i.e. for the termination of school operations. In the school year 2013/14, the inspectorate submitted one proposal for the erasure of a school from the school registry. In the school year 2012/13, no proposal was made (MŠMT, forthcoming; ČŠI, 2014; ČŠI, 2013).

← 16. This includes human resource/personnel issues, regulations, reports, school budget, preparing timetables and class composition, strategic planning, leadership and management activities, and responding to requests from district, regional, state, or national education officials.

← 17. This includes developing curriculum, teaching, classroom observations, student evaluation, mentoring teachers, and teacher professional development.

← 18. Lower secondary school principals reported to spend only 10.3% of their time on student interaction (14.9%), 8.4% of their time on parents or guardian interactions (TALIS average: 11.2%), and 4.9% of their time with local and regional community, business and industry (TALIS average: 7.1%). Only 54.7% of lower secondary principals reported to have “often” or “very often” provided parents or guardians with information on the school and student performance (TALIS average: 65.8%) (OECD, 2014, Tables 3.1and 3.2).

← 19. The region of Pardubice, for example, provides some support in resource management through its staff and legal experts as well as an online platform (school portal: www.klickevzdelani.cz). The regional authorities also provide some unified administrative services, such as a common insurance, common services related to telecommunications and ICT, monitoring of energy efficiency, etc. (MŠMT, forthcoming).

← 20. One of the reports, for example, concluded that “school activities are in line with the requirements for inclusion in the school registry. The school complies with the principles and objectives of the Education Act, respecting the principle of equal access to education. School Educational Programmes are in line with the relevant Framework Education Programmes and the school successfully meets and achieves the desired outcomes. In the area of evaluation, the school follows the set rules and regularly monitors and evaluates the overall success of children and students. The schoolcreates the conditions for the healthy development of children and students, and ensures their health and safety. The school evaluates health and safety risks including bullying and adopts measures to minimise health and safety risks.”

← 21. Percentage of lower secondary school principals reporting to “agree” or to “strongly agree” with the statement that “All in all, I am satisfied with my job” (Czech Republic: 94.7%; TALIS average: 95.7%); percentage of lower secondary school principals reporting to “disagree” or to “strongly disagree” with the statement that “The advantages of the profession clearly outweigh the disadvantages” (Czech Republic: 28.8%; TALIS average: 19.7%) (OECD, 2014, Table 3.26 web).

← 22. The National Programme for the Development of Education (“White Paper”) published in 2001 related the realisation of its objectives directly to the capacities of school leaders (Hálasz, 2009; Slaviková et al., 2009).

← 23. For example, ESF funds were used to finance the “Successful Headteacher” project (www.nidv.cz/en/projects/esf-projects/national-project-successful-headteacher.ep).

← 24. The Czech Republic has participated in a three-tage project on school leadership realised within the framework of collaboration between five countries (Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia) in form of the Central European Cooperation for Education(CECE), under co-ordination of the Tempus Public Foundation, and with support of the Hungarian Ministry of Education and the European Commission.

← 25. Strategy 2020, for instance, envisages the development of the school leadership profession through the development of professional school leadership standards, a new approach to the selection and appraisal of school principals, and changes to the initial training and professional development of school principals.

← 26. Based on the results of a three-year project, partners from Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia sought to develop a cross-border competency framework for school leaders based on the expectations of key stakeholders such as school leaders, teachers, trainers of leaders, educational experts and policy-makers. The Central5 – the Central European Competency Framework for School Leaders – defines the knowledge, skills and attitudes a school leader is expected to possess. It encompasses five domains: i) Leading and managing learning and teaching; ii) Leading and managing change; iii) Leading and managing self, iv) Leading and managing others, and v) Leading and managing the institution (Schratz et al., 2013).