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THE BI-MONTHLY MAGAZINE OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR ALL SCHOOL LEADERS
A SPECIAL EDITION TO MARK
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
SAVING THE PLANET
01_cover_AT.indd 1 23/2/12 08:07:31
2 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011
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LFO.03.12.002.indd 2 16/2/12 15:51:06
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ●LEADERSHIP FOCUS 3
FAIRER REPRESENTATION GROUP EDITORIAL
EDITORIAL & ASSOCIATION ENQUIRIES
NAHT, 1 Heath Square,
Boltro Road, Haywards Heath,
West Sussex RH16 1BL
Tel: 01444 472 472
Editor: Robert Sanders
Editorial board: Russell Hobby,
Steve Iredale, Mike Welsh,
Chris Harrison and Robert Sanders
Leadership Focus is published by Redactive
Publishing Limited on behalf of the NAHT
redactive publishing limited
17 Britton Street, London EC1M 5TP
Tel: 020 7880 6200
Managing editor: Steve Smethurst
Assistant editors: Rebecca Grant
and Sarah Campbell
News and features reporter: Hollie Ewers
Designer: Adrian Taylor
Senior picture editor: Claire Echavarry
Production manager: Jane Easterman
Cover illustration: J Howard Miller
Printed by: Wyndeham Heron
Advertisement sales: Edward Taylor
Sales director: Jason Grant
Member of the Audit Bureau of
Circulation: 27,210 (July 2010-June 2011)
© Copyright 2012 NAHT
All rights reserved; no part of this publication may
be copied or reproduced, stored in a retrieval system
or transmitted in any form or by any means
electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or
otherwise without the prior written permission
of the publishers. While every care has been taken
in the compilation of this publication, neither the
publisher nor the NAHT can accept responsibility
for any inaccuracies or changes since compilation,
or for consequential loss arising from such changes
or inaccuracies, or for any other loss, direct or
consequential, arising in connection with information
in this publication. Acceptance of advertisements
does not imply recommendation by the publishers.
The views herein are not necessarily those
of the publisher, the editor or the NAHT.
Welcome to a very special edition of
Leadership Focus with a distinctly female
flavour. There’s even a female guest editor
this issue, in fact there are several of us,
and we’re all members of the fairer representation group
on the NAHT’s National Executive. Our aim is to ensure
that women and other under-represented groups are
encouraged to take a more active role in your Association.
This edition is also linked to International Women’s Day
(IWD), which takes place on 8 March. It’s a global
celebration of the economic, political and social
achievements of women past, present and future.
The theme for IWD this year is ‘Connecting girls,
inspiring futures’ (see page 22 for more details).
Many of us in school leadership will have seen
significant changes in attitudes to women in our lifetimes,
including greater equality in legal rights, access to a
wider range of careers and an ever-increasing number
of impressive female role models in many walks of life.
But have we achieved real equality? It would seem not,
as Susan Young discovers on page 50.
Despite great improvements since the days of our 1940s
cover star, Rosie the riveter, women are still not equally
represented in the boardroom, in politics or even on the
NAHT’s own National Executive (see page 30).
And what about the younger generation? As school
leaders we have a unique opportunity to inspire thousands
of young minds. With this in mind, who do the girls in
your school look up to? What are their aspirations?
Unfortunately, far too many seem to be impressed with
the cult of celebrity and the invidious influence of media
messages about body image. This is something we cover in
our interview with equalities minister Lynne Featherstone
on page 26. She argues that we need to do more to
‘feminise the workplace’ to take advantage of the different
ways in which men and women think – and to encourage
more women to speak up with their ideas.
This edition also contains stories of ordinary women
who are achieving great things, both internationally
(see page 32) and locally (see pages 36 and 40). But we
want to encourage all school leaders to make a difference,
to think globally and to act locally.
• We want you to enjoy, and be inspired by,
this special edition of LF. Let us know
what you think. You can follow us on
Twitter (@LFmagNAHT) or you
can email us with your thoughts at
The fairer representation group
‘Despite great improvements, women
are still not equally represented in
the boardroom, in politics or even
on the NAHT’s own National Executive’
03 Editorial 2.indd 3 24/2/12 09:50:31
4 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2012
6 OFSTED RAISES THE BAR
‘Satisfactory’ schools are no longer good enough – and
neither are some 5,000 head teachers, according to
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the ‘super head’ turned Ofsted chief.
6 NEW YEAR HONOURS
Head teacher and NAHT Past President Dr Chris Howard
is among those recognised for services to education.
7 FORCED ACADEMIES NOT THE ANSWER
The Government’s plan to force struggling schools to
become academies will not provide an improvement
‘magic bullet’, said General Secretary Russell Hobby.
8 MEMBER SERVICES
The NAHT’s legal eagles can help members facing hearings
about conduct, competence, employment and injury.
9 VOCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS
More than 3,000 vocational qualiﬁcations that used to
count as equivalent to GCSEs will not be included in
performance league tables published from the start of
2015, the Government has announced.
9 ASSESSMENT REFORM UPDATE
Spelling, punctuation and grammar are the big focus of the
assessment reform debate at the moment as the Association
waits to hear the Department for Education’s latest plans.
10 PENSIONS TALKS CONTINUE
Government and unions, including the NAHT, are ﬁnally
nearing agreement on proposed changes to teachers’ pensions,
but questions about contribution rates still need to be
resolved and may prove tricky, the General Secretary said.
11 EDUCATION CONFERENCES
Phonics, funding and the Schools Financial Value Standard are
just three of the topics up for debate at the NAHT’s annual
education conferences, to be held in London and Manchester.
COVER STORY PAGE
International Women’s Day
is 101 years old in 2012 but
women across the globe
are still fighting for equal
rights and equal treatment.
04-05 Contents 2.indd 4 23/2/12 14:07:39
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ●LEADERSHIP FOCUS 5
26 PUSHING BACK
Lynne Featherstone, the Equalities Minister, talks about the
importance of challenging sexist language in the playground.
30 JUST DO IT
Joining the National Executive is a great development
opportunity and a chance for women to have their say.
32 IT’S A WOMAN’S WORLD
Female head teachers from as far aﬁeld as Nigeria, Cambodia,
China and Malta share their experiences of school leadership.
36 BACK ON TRACK
Rebecca Grant learns more about how specialist programmes
are helping troubled girls to re-engage with learning.
40 FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD
A woman-led scheme in Burnley is helping children learn
more about healthy eating – with impressive results.
46 PURCHASING MASTERCLASS
Ten top tips on how to improve your buying power.
15 RUSSELL HOBBY’S COLUMN
What our schools can learn from those in Finland – and
what we should be proud of in our own classrooms.
17 RONA TUTT’S COLUMN
It’s as easy as ABCJXUYQ: the NAHT Past President
talks us through the alphabet soup of education acronyms.
18 STRANGE BUT TRUE
This issue we learn how elocution lessons can improve
spelling and why it might be time to ban the school run.
20 HEADS UP
Three female school leaders take LF’s big question
challenge by telling us about their favourite biscuits,
best excuse, and the greatest challenge... their top joke.
22 BEHIND THE HEADLINES
The themes of International Women’s Day. See cover feature.
48 WHAT’S NEW?
All the latest books and educational resources.
50 AND FINALLY: SUSAN YOUNG
Women still face a number of barriers on their way to the
top, according to research seen by our regular columnist.
04-05 Contents 2.indd 5 23/2/12 14:07:52
New Ofsted chief says category
does not inspire school leaders
to make improvements
‘Satisfactory’ schools are not good
enough – and neither are at least
5,000 head teachers.
That’s the hard-hitting message
from Sir Michael Wilshaw, the former
Hackney head teacher who took over
at Ofsted in January.
He has announced that the
inspectorate’s ‘satisfactory’ rating
would be replaced with ‘requires
improvement’, and added that the
expectations of outstanding schools
would also be increased.
Sir Michael, who has said that Clint
Eastwood’s characters in Westerns
are a model for school leadership,
told a conference in London: “Quite
simply, I believe we need radical
improvements to the education system
in this country. My view is that we
have tolerated mediocrity for far too
long – it has settled into the system.”
And in an interview with The
Sunday Times he said that head
teachers in more than 5,000 schools
were not up to scratch. He told
the newspaper that he wanted ‘less
tolerance of poor leadership’ and said
that poverty should not be used as an
excuse for low grades.
He said that some heads allow
teachers to coast and blamed poor
leadership – including heads failing
to enforce rules around good
behaviour for children – for the
number of teachers who quit the
profession shortly after qualifying,
the newspaper reported.
NAHT General Secretary Russell
Hobby said that Sir Michael’s
criticism of head teachers was unlikely
to inspire the desired improvement.
“At a time of massive cuts to
teachers’ income and constant
criticism, I find it astonishing to claim
that poor leadership is driving people
from the profession,” he said. “It’s
a huge step from the aspiration that
every school should be good to the
inference that 5,000 heads are failing.”
Sir Michael’s statements had a
populist tone that would probably play
well with the public but would simply
make head teachers feel the profession
was undervalued, Russell added.
“It is not going to help them to
improve their schools. It will make
them want to keep their heads down
and not take any of the risks that are a
necessary part of improving things.
“If you want to be kind you could
say that his comments were designed
to put a rocket up people with the
hope that they would change, but I do
not believe it will have that effect.”
The General Secretary also raised
concerns about the institution
of no-notice inspections and the
ParentView website, but agreed that
plans to require schools to have
outstanding teaching in order to be
rated ‘outstanding’ made sense.
Satisfactory is not good enough
6 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ●MARCH/APRIL 2012
Sir Michael: “We have tolerated
mediocrity for far too long.”
NEW YEAR HONOURS FOR NAHT MEMBERS
Former NAHT President Dr Chris Howard is one of a number of school leaders
who have been honoured in the 2012 New Year Honours list. The 59-year-old
Caerphilly head, who began teaching in 1977, received an OBE. Sylvia Morris, the
‘superhead’ who turned around the Cathedral School of St Saviour and St Mary
Overy in Southwark, has been made a dame. Dame Sylvia, a former member of
the NAHT who retired at the end of 2011, told the BBC: “I thought I was doing
an ordinary job but I am really thrilled that people have recognised the work
that I have done.” Other school leaders honoured included Paul Doherty,
Trinity Catholic High; June Foster, Moorside Community Primary; William Mann,
St Hilary School; Lynn Slinger, Forest Way Special School; Janette Steel,
Chelsea Community Hospital School; and Ann Picton, Clytha Primary School.
06-07 News 2.indd 6 23/2/12 14:08:18
Forcing struggling schools
to become academies will
not solve anything and may
actually derail improvements
that are already underway,
NAHT General Secretary
Russell Hobby said.
“If a school has been
underperforming for a long
time there may be a need
to get tough in order to get
that school to do something
different, but that does not
necessarily mean becoming
an academy,” he said.
mean that 200 of England’s
face being converted into
academies. In some cases the
Government is pushing for
the change in the face of
strong community resistance;
Michael Gove, the Education
Secretary, has accused
opponents of academies of
being ‘happy with failure’.
A spokeswoman for the
DfE told the BBC: “We
have been clear that we
consider academy status to
be the best way to improve
schools that are consistently
“Academies have already
turned around hundreds
of struggling secondary
schools across the country
and are improving their
results at twice the national
average rate. We can’t just
stand by and do nothing
when schools are sub-
standard year after year.”
Yet in some cases the
information being used to
decide which schools face
a compulsory change is
incorrect or out of date, the
General Secretary said.
“We are putting together
a toolkit for heads whose
schools are threatened with
forced conversion,” he said.
“The first step is to demand
to see the data being used to
drive the decision, because
we have found that in some
cases it is not accurate.
“For example, in a number
of cases those pushing for
conversion are using data
from 2005-2010 without
paying any regard to much
better reports from 2011.
“Next, find out who
is driving it – on some
occasions it seems to be
the local authority.
“Finally, and crucially, you
need to come up with a
credible alternative. It’s no
good simply saying ‘I don’t
want to change’, because
that suggests you haven’t
grasped the situation, and
it will encourage people
However, if schools can
demonstrate that they have a
strong plan in place – better
yet, one that is beginning to
show results – they will be
in a much better position
to resist pressure to make
See www.naht.org.uk for guidance
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ●LEADERSHIP FOCUS 7
SHOPPING FOR GOVERNORS
Schools could find it easier to recruit new governors
thanks to an online tool created by the School
Governors’ One Stop Shop. The charity works with
schools and local authorities across England to help
them to build links with potential governors. Over
the past two years it has placed more than 3,500
volunteers. Janet Scott, its operations director, said:
“We currently have highly skilled and enthusiastic
volunteers ready to go; schools simply need to
register to take advantage. We want to help schools
find their ideal governors and the more information
and contact we receive from a school regarding its
vacancies, the better we can help them.”
WHERE TO EDUCATE NEXT?
Channel 4 has shown the public how it’s done in
Essex: now it wants to educate the public about
school life elsewhere in the UK. Television company
Twofour Broadcast, which was behind the acclaimed
Educating Essex series, is now looking for a school
to star in the follow-up. It plans to use the same
shooting technique of fixing cameras to the walls,
allowing for unobtrusive filming. Vic Goddard, head
teacher of Passmores Academy, the school featured
in the original series, said that she would be happy
to talk to any heads considering putting their school
forward. For more information email vicky.mitchell@
twofour.co.uk or call 020 7438 1861.
BUY MORE PHONICS KIT, MINISTER SAYS
Nick Gibb, the schools minister, criticised schools
and local authorities for not using the Government’s
offer of match funding to buy phonics schemes and
training from a catalogue of products it approved.
“The match-funding scheme, which runs until March
2013, is a chance for schools to gain extra funding
to improve reading standards, so I am naturally
concerned at the number of areas where few schools
have not yet taken the opportunity to do so,” the
minister told the TES.
MAKE LEADERSHIP FOCUS YOUR MAGAZINE
The LF team would love to hear from you. Why not
tell us about the exciting work you’re doing in your
schools and allow us to banish all the doom and gloom.
The best submissions (and photographs) will find their
way into print. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWS IN BRIEF
a silver bullet
‘Heads faced with
should develop a
06-07 News 2.indd 7 23/2/12 14:08:26
NAHT solicitors have helped
hundreds of members with legal
advice and representation
The GTCE will close at the end
of March and its responsibility for
dealing with allegations of professional
misconduct will be transferred to the
Teaching Agency (TA).
Fortunately NAHT members
will continue to be able to get legal
support on this and other legal
issues from the Association’s legal
department, said Simon Thomas,
a senior solicitor in the team.
“Our job is to help members in
connection with any legal issues that
arise out of their employment. That
includes employment law, personal
injury claims for accidents at work
and criminal injuries claims, which
might arise if a member was assaulted
by a student or a parent, for example.”
But one of their larger areas of
work over the last decade – and one
in which Simon and his colleagues
have been very successful – is
supporting head teachers facing a
hearing at the GTCE. Since 2000,
when it was set up, the Association
has helped some 180 members who
were referred to the council; in the
majority of cases the result was that
the member had no case to answer.
“For example we had one case where,
after a four-day hearing in which
allegations of serious professional
incompetence were made against a
member by witnesses from a local
authority inspector and school
governors, the GTCE found that
there was no case to answer.
“In some other cases the allegations
are proved but we are able to limit the
sanction. We have had a number of
successful cases where there has been
no sanction at all, and others where
there was only a reprimand, which
does not affect the individual’s ability
to carry on teaching.”
The two strongest sanctions –
suspension, which is a temporary
ban that can be lifted after two years,
and prohibition, which is permanent
– are applied only rarely.
The new TA-led regime will see
some changes in the way in which
cases are handled. For example,
employers can now use their
discretion when deciding whether or
not to refer cases to the TA, rather
than being obligated to do so.
Two more important differences are
that the TA will not deal with issues
of professional competence, which
is now treated as purely an issue for
employers; and that the only sanction
available to it will be prohibition, not
reprimand or suspension.
How to get help
• Members who need to access
NAHT advice and support can call
030 0303 0333, email info@naht.
org.uk or visit www.naht.org.uk
The helpline is open 8am to 6pm
Monday to Thursday and until 5pm
on Fridays; during the holidays this
is cut back slightly to 9am-5pm.
• Any calls where your employment
is at risk are immediately forwarded
to the relevant regional officer.
• Please ensure that you have your
NAHT membership number to hand
when you call.
Legal eagles swoop in to help
Y NAHT has helped 180 members
with their GTCE hearings.
8 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ●MARCH/APRIL 2012
SUCCESSFUL TRACK RECORD FOR NAHT’S LEGAL TEAM
Since 2006 the NAHT’s legal department has represented 126 members in
connection with allegations brought before the General Teaching Council.
Of the 118 cases that have been concluded so far, 75 resulted in no case to answer
while in another three no disciplinary order was imposed. Of those remaining
– 34% of the total – 15 resulted in reprimands, 18 in conditional registration
orders, four in suspensions and three in prohibitions, one of which is currently
under appeal. Some of their more notable cases have seen one member awarded
£110,000 for a back injury that means she may never be able to work as a head
teacher again, while another is likely to receive around £93,000 in compensation
after an employment tribunal found that he had been dismissed unfairly.
08-09 News_SS 2.indd 8 23/2/12 14:06:46
More than 3,000 vocational
qualifications will no longer count
as equivalent to GCSEs in secondary
school performance tables, the
Government announced at the
end of January.
At the moment there are 3,175
‘equivalent qualifications’, some of
which are worth four, five or six
GCSEs, but only 125 of these will
be included in performance tables
published from the start of 2015.
The Department for Education
hopes that the move, which follows
Professor Alison Wolf ’s 2011 review of
vocational education, will stop schools
entering young people for subjects
that boost league table results without
improving students’ opportunities.
Education Secretary Michael Gove
said: “The changes we are making will
take time but will transform the lives
of young people.
“For too long the system has been
devalued by attempts to pretend
that all qualifications are intrinsically
the same. Young people have taken
courses that have led nowhere.”
Some of the slashed qualifications
were overrated and it made sense to
change things, said Russell Hobby,
the NAHT’s General Secretary. “But
this is not true of all of them and does
not mean that all vocational courses
should be worth only one GCSE.”
He also accused the DfE of taking a
‘populist’ approach to the changes by
highlighting that courses such as horse
husbandry would be affected. “I don’t
think that there would have been
many people enrolled on that course
anyway,” he said.
The changes will not make much
of a difference to performance tables,
either, he said. “When you take out
the vocational equivalent courses
you only get a very small change in
GCSE score – something like 6 per
cent overall. However, academies may
be more affected by the decision and
may drop further than this, as they
tend to use more GCSE equivalents.”
Only 70 equivalent qualifications
will count towards the five A*-C
measure in tables published from
2015, while another 55 will be
included in the performance table
but not the five A*-C measure.
The DfE said: “Teachers will still
be able to use their professional
judgment to offer the qualifications
they believe are right for their
pupils, but only those meeting the
Department’s rigorous requirements
will count in performance tables.”
Marking time waiting for practical answers
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ●LEADERSHIP FOCUS 9
Crackdown on ‘equivalent’ GCSEs
Spelling, punctuation and
grammar are the big focus of
the assessment reform debate
at the moment as schools
wait to hear the Department
for Education’s latest plans.
“We are waiting for them
to tell us what they are up
to,” said Russell Hobby, the
NAHT’s General Secretary.
“From our point of view,
the teacher-assessed written
component needs to occupy
the bulk of any marking
scheme. However, the fact
that writing is teacher
assessed and reading will
be tested externally raises
practical questions about
how the grade for the first
will be blended with the
score for the second.”
At last year’s annual
conference, NAHT members
agreed to suspend industrial
action over assessment as
a gesture of good faith in
light of the Government’s
agreement to commission a
full independent review of
the current system at KS2.
However, it made
clear that it expected the
Government to engage
in meaningful, transparent
discussions once the review
The motion also reserved
the right to consult
the membership about
further action should the
Government fail to deliver
a fairer system of assessment
Horse husbandry: possibly
not the most popular course.
08-09 News_SS 2.indd 9 23/2/12 14:06:52
Progress on pension talks but
contribution rates are still a
sticking point, NAHT says
The Government and unions
were finally nearing agreement
on proposed changes to teachers’
pensions as Leadership Focus went
to press but questions remained
about contribution rates.
While positive negotiations had
been underway since the public
sector’s day of action in November
last year, school leaders were
determined to withhold judgment
until the deal was complete.
“There are still some outstanding
issues – for example, we need more
clarity around contribution rates
and how they will go up in 2015
when we enter the next regime –
but we are reaching the end of the
negotiation process,” said NAHT
General Secretary Russell Hobby.
The contribution issue is
particularly relevant to heads as a
tiered contribution system linked
to earnings would mean that many
would end up paying more. “For a
number of members this would mean
a significant increase,” he said.
This particular issue is likely to
take months to resolve, the General
Secretary said, adding: “And I am
not vastly optimistic, either.”
The Government also needed to
be aware of the risk that newly-
qualified teachers and other relatively
low earners will choose to opt out
of the system. This has risks for the
scheme as a whole, because having
fewer people contribute will affect
its financial viability, and for
individuals, who will be jeopardising
their future financial security.
“If people have no spare money
they can’t not pay their mortgage
or their student loan or other bills,
so it may be pension contributions
that are seen as expendable – it’s
entirely understandable,” he said.
“But in a sense if people do that they
are borrowing from their future.”
• A judicial review of the
Government’s decision to switch
inflation increases from the RPI
to the CPI has failed, but the
campaign against the change
continued as LF went to press.
Pension talks near resolution
‘Tiered pension contributions linked to earnings would
mean many members would pay significantly more’
10 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ●MARCH/APRIL 2012
‘OFFER HEADS A CARROT’
Ofsted head Sir Michael Wilshaw
should spend more time offering
carrots and a bit less bashing away at
head teachers with his ‘5,000 head
teachers are not up to the job’ stick,
says Susan Young. “Sir Michael is
effectively saying that a quarter of
school leaders aren’t good enough,”
she writes. “If he wants to move
the goalposts on what is or isn’t
satisfactory, that’s his prerogative.
I’m just not sure that this is the way
to manage people effectively.
“If I were a head whose rating was
‘satisfactory’ I suspect I’d be feeling
more demotivated than determined in
the aftermath of those comments.”
MORE WOMEN PLEASE
The world needs another two million
teachers by 2015, according to the
Unesco Institute for Statistics (UIS), and
a lot of them need to be women. This
is especially the case in Africa, where
only 42 per cent of teachers are female,
says World Education Blog. In countries
such as Benin, Chad, Liberia and Togo
this drops to less than 20 per cent.
“Why is it so important?” the author
asks. “As the UIS emphasises in its
release, countries with high proportions
of female teachers in primary education
are more likely to have high enrolment
rates for girls in secondary education.”
GETTING RID OF DINOSAURS
Cross-curricular learning throws up
some wacky facts, says Lesley Ito, an
English teacher based in Japan, on the
Teaching Village blog. “One thing I have
learned is that ‘common knowledge’ is
always changing and some of the facts
I learned as a child in school turned
out to be no longer true,” she says. For
example, brontosauruses never existed,
and female pirates are only sexy in films
– in real life they dressed as men.
THE BEST OF THE BLOGS
10-11 News_AT 2.indd 10 23/2/12 14:06:12
Behaviour management for the
very young, sixth-form funding and
how to turn your school into
a learning environment for teachers
as well as pupils are some of the
topics on offer at this year’s NAHT
‘Leading your learning
environment: meeting the
challenge ahead’ will be held at
the Midland Hotel in Manchester on
19 October and again at the Senate
House in London on 16 November.
Organisers said that the events will
provide school leaders with a variety
of practical, innovative ideas and tools
that will help to energise, enthuse and
inspire their teams.
“We have worked hard to provide
an exciting, thought-provoking event
which provides an effective balance
between keynote speakers and
practitioners,” said incoming NAHT
President Steve Iredale.
“We were determined to create
a programme that would appeal to
colleagues working in all sectors. Those
who attend will not only have first-class
CPD opportunities, but will leave with
some practical strategies they can take
back to school to enhance the learning
of their children.”
It also offers a range of networking
and collaboration opportunities as
well as thought-provoking speakers
and topical workshops that are led
by knowledgeable, experienced
practitioners, he said.
Speakers include the incoming
President; Russell Hobby, the NAHT’s
General Secretary; and Tim Rylands,
who has more than 25 years’ classroom
experience in the UK and West Africa.
Workshop options include sessions
called ‘From philosophy to practice’;
‘the Schools Financial Value Standard’;
‘transformative leadership’; and
‘managing children’s emotions’.
A ‘Sauce for the Goose’ workshop will
also help schools prepare for the new
Ofsted framework and the emphasis
on aligning continuing professional
development and school improvement.
Another workshop has been
tailored particularly for school
business managers. It will outline
the qualifications available from the
National College and explain how
SBMs can become more efficient in
the current economic climate.
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ●LEADERSHIP FOCUS 11
EDUCATION CONFERENCE: MEETING THE CHALLENGE AHEAD
NAHT Education Conferences offer a wide range of practical workshops.
• Managing ASD in your learning environment. This session will review the
underlying features of the autism spectrum and focus on the need for strategies
to be customised for each individual.
• Something on your mind? Troubled children have a diminished capacity to learn;
this workshop will help delegates learn about the importance of mental-health
training for staff and a holistic approach to emotional wellbeing.
• Building a co-operative alternative. Understand the co-operative model for
trust schools and converter academies by attending this session.
The conference is £230 for members and £285 for non-members for the full day
(£160/£195 for a half day) but discounts are available if you book before 1 June.
To book, or for more information, please email email@example.com
It’s time to learn something new
The School Self Evaluation Tracker (SSET) has
been developed specifically to give all schools a
flexible self-improvement tool that complements
the new Ofsted Inspection Framework, allowing
them to evaluate and plan effectively for the future.
The SSET is available in two packages: Starter (£99 + VAT) and Standard (£249 + VAT).
For more information, please call 01245 213144 or visit www.nfer.ac.uk/sset3
The SSET is offered in collaboration with Target Tracker.
10-11 News_AT 2.indd 11 23/2/12 14:06:19
CHARITY OF THE YEAR SHELTERBOX
12 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ●MARCH/APRIL 2012
ShelterBox, the NAHT’s charity
of the year, is helping schools
to teach children about disasters
and world events
It’s easy to tell children how ShelterBox
operates: the disaster-relief charity
provides immediate aid to people in
affected areas by supplying them with
boxes containing an emergency shelter,
tools and cooking equipment.
This was one of the main reasons
why the NAHT made ShelterBox its
charity of the year. The Association
hopes that its support will get 10 per
cent of UK schools sponsoring one of
the £590 boxes by the end of the year.
But providing financial assistance to
a good cause is not the only reason
for NAHT members to get behind
ShelterBox this year. The charity also
provides teachers with an ideal way to
help pupils understand world events.
Through its Young ShelterBox
initiative, teachers can access a wealth
of resources – from images and articles
to media clips – that can be used in
lessons. The resources were compiled
by Claire White and Heather White
from Cornwall-based consultancy
Azook, and are available online at
Claire says that because children are
more exposed to stories of worldwide
events, it’s never been more important
to address these in the classroom.
“Children need a means to explore
how they feel about what they see
on television,” she says. “ShelterBox
is doing amazing work providing the
means for people affected by disasters
to survive, and in doing that work
we’ve had the privilege to accumulate
information about disasters around
“We’ve got access to documentation
of the effects on landscapes and
communities – the images, the data
– and that really puts the charity into
YOUNG SHELTERBOX CHALLENGES
Claire White, who helped to design the resources, explains how they can
be used to teach a range of different age groups.
We’ve tried to select resources that are quite gentle, so we start looking at why
people might raise money to help others. We provide some images that aren’t
of disasters at all. We also have musical activities. For example, they explore
what an earthquake is through sound. Children can also do some hands-on
activities like biscuit baking.
For this key stage we want them to use their writing skills to explore why a
shelter is important. For example, they can do poetry, which shows empathy for
people affected by disasters. There are practical activities too. They can build
their own shelters and test whether they will provide a safe and secure home.
This level has a much more distinct approach. The pupils are challenged to
become an emergency response team. They have to examine the resources
and decide if it’s the right time to send help. There are also a lot of geography
tasks to the challenge, such as deciding the best place on the landscape to
set up tents. They also have to plan their own emergency response mission,
which requires good teamwork and decision-making skills.
a unique position to share those
resources with teachers and learners.”
Teachers are free to use the resources
in any way they wish but Claire and
Heather have also created a series
of challenges to provide some extra
inspiration. Each Young ShelterBox
challenge has been designed to meet
the needs of the different Key Stages,
and can be adapted for specific class
activities or whole school projects.
“We wanted to construct something
that gave teachers choices,” says Claire.
“Some schools use the resources as
a project for a themed week. Others
might want to use them weekly as part
of their circle time activity at primary
level, or in a PSHE session. It really is
a free for all, and hopefully as we add
more resources and layer activities in,
it will give children more and more
interesting ways of learning.”
12 shelterbox 2.indd 12 23/2/12 14:43:42
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ●LEADERSHIP FOCUS 13
MEMBER BENEFITS: NAHT’S SELECTED PARTNERS
Online staff recruitment
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MESSAGE FROM A SCHOOL PARTNER
MESSAGE FROM A MEMBER PARTNER
Kirkland Rowell Surveys has
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With the prospect of no-notice
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View website enabling parents to
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school and potentially trigger
inspections, it is more important
than ever that school leadership
teams monitor and respond to the
changing needs of their stakeholders.
Our surveys deliver high-quality
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Self-evaluation surveys add value
Quality healthcare cover for less
The NAHT is committed to
negotiating a wide range of
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If you have any comments on
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baseline for your self-evaluation
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Reports now include an evidence
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We provide a managed service,
from an initial planning meeting, to:
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reports with Osfted and Parent View
sections clearly highlighted.
Further support is also available.
Call us today for more information
on 0191 270 8270.
CS Healthcare is the preferred
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As a mutual it is able to keep
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13 Partners 2.indd 13 24/2/12 13:24:32
14 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011
However you put it,
it’s a whole lot of free car insurance
We’re offering 15 weeks’ worth of free cover to new customers who buy online and
have at least four years’ no claim discount on their existing car insurance policy*.
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LFO.03.12.014.indd 14 16/2/12 15:55:56
Teachers are respected; good results can be achieved with
good morale; high-stakes accountability was absent;
parents took responsibility; and schools were not blamed
for all of society’s woes. But before you book your flight,
it is worth reflecting on some
more unexpected findings.
There is selection at 16 and
children are steered into either
strongly vocational or academic
tracks. They use lots of internal
tests; children sit at single desks
in rows, where they work
mostly from text books, which
didn’t appear to be marked
regularly. They focused on basic
skills and knowledge.
The British teachers in the
party were convinced that our
lessons have more pace and
focus, and consequently more progress, than many of
the lessons they observed. As one asked: “What exactly
do these PISA tests measure?”
We were left wondering whether we could aspire to
‘UK classrooms in Finnish schools’, or whether that was
an impossible blend – that Finnish corridors, with their
softly-walking, responsible students in Ikea-style
surroundings, can only lead to Finnish classrooms.
Yet schools can create cultures independent of the
communities they serve. And school leaders
can – and do – ensure that their
staff feel respected and valued
whatever is said about them in the
It is hard to go against
the grain, but not
impossible. The UK
teachers on the visit left
determined to apply
what they could from
the Finnish culture.
The best of both
worlds could be
is NAHT General
e don’t talk about Finland any more.
The country was once widely
praised for a school system that
achieved both excellence and equal
outcomes, regularly coming near the
top of the PISA rankings. Then it
became clear that Finland achieved its results in ways
that were not always entirely compatible with UK
For instance, students don’t sit external exams until
the end of their schooling, there are no league tables
and – you’ll like this one – they abolished most of their
inspection regime 30 years ago. Finland was too
different to be useful and it ceased to be an exemplar
for the education debate in the UK, to be replaced by
more helpful models like Singapore.
Yet Finland still comes near the top of PISA and we
are still exhorted to look to international evidence for
what works, so I hooked up with a Comenius
(britishcouncil.org/comenius.htm) project visit to
Finland, along with teachers from the UK, Spain, Italy
and Belgium. We visited a range of schools in Turku,
Finland’s second city, including preschool (for children
aged six and seven), primary and secondary. Clearly this
is a limited sample, but the Finnish education system
that we saw seemed happy, relaxed and optimistic.
Mature and independent
But there are some significant differences: children start
primary school late compared with the UK. They also
take themselves to and from school, and often spend
significant amounts of time alone at home.
The child’s progress is considered to be the family’s
prime responsibility. Consequently, there is a sense of
maturity, independence and responsibility in even
Timetables are leisurely and flexible, the school day is
relatively short and the summer holiday is long. Health
and safety, even safeguarding, do not seem to be as high
on the agenda.There are no league tables populated by
test results. We were told that the only time a school is
inspected is when there are concerns raised about
teacher wellbeing. When we mentioned no-notice
inspections, the head of the primary burst out laughing.
Another little thing: children wore no shoes inside
the school building; it had a surprisingly calming effect.
For British teachers, Finland can seem like Nirvana.
Following in Finnish steps
no shoes inside
had a surprisingly
The General Secretary takes a trip to see where the UK fears to tread
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 15
15 RH column 2.indd 15 23/2/12 14:44:18
16 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011
To discuss your requirements or to place an order, please call:
0845 602 1937 and quote GLA458
In light of the New Ofsted Framework, GL Assessment is
offering NAHT members an exclusive 5% discount on all
primary reading tests*
From January 2012, Ofsted will place a huge emphasis on pupils’
achievement in early reading and literacy.
Unveiling the new framework last September, the then chief inspector, Miriam Rosen,
explained, “An important aspect of this framework is the priority given to pupils’ achievement
in early reading and literacy. Teaching children effectively to read so that they attain the
expected standards by age seven is a core duty for primary schools. Otherwise we know
children will struggle at secondary school and later in life. Inspectors will give this area of
school life the highest priority, including hearing pupils read.”
In light of this, GL Assessment is delighted to offer NAHT members an exclusive 5%
discount on all of our primary reading tests.
Look out for the following key
New! Diagnostic Test of Word
Reading Processes – a phonological
reading assessment designed to benchmark
and test pupils’ foundation skills in word reading
processes, thus providing diagnostic
information to guide intervention.
New Group Reading Test (NGRT) –
an ideal screening/monitoring test for groups
of children, NGRT enables an assessment of
reading and comprehension in a single test.
York Assessment of Reading for
Comprehension Primary (YARC
Primary) – an ideal follow-up to NGRT,
YARC Primary enables the in-depth individual
assessment of a pupil’s decoding and
Putting reading in the spotlight
*The exclusive 5% discount applies to
NAHT members only, who have not
previously purchased the primary
reading assessments outlined in the
offer. Please see terms and conditions
for further details.
to view a full listing of the
products included in this offer
LFO.03.12.016.indd 16 20/2/12 12:06:11
executive agencies do not
come into being until April,
you are now ahead of the
game. Furthermore, next time
someone complains to you
that people in education have
their own language, you will
be able to explain that it is
really quite simple and that,
although Becta, GTCE, TDA
and the rest have disappeared,
they are being replaced by
EFA, STA and TA.
You also could go on to
elucidate that the OCC is being strengthened in the
wake of John Dunford’s Review of the Office of the
Children’s Commissioner, as is Ofqual, which has
been busy sorting out MM (Mickey Mouse) courses
from the EBacc, and that LSN is not to be confused
with NSN, while we wait to see whether the former
SSAT will become known as TSN.
Meanwhile, with Ofsted led by a new HMCI
and operating to yet another framework, we know
that inspectors can drop in at any time without an
ETA – this last one is just to prove that education
is not the only one using abbreviations.
What about the NAHT?
Finally, our Association remains the NAHT,
despite efforts from time to time to change it to
NASL (National Association of School Leaders).
And so far, members in Northern Ireland
have not insisted that, in deference to their
own terminology, the word ‘principal’ appears
somewhere in our title.
But perhaps this should wait until
an imminent shortage of heads is
solved by all schools becoming
federated, in which case we
could become the National
Association of Principals
and Heads Of Futuristic
known as NAPHOFF.
Rona Tutt is a retired
head teacher and a Past
President of the NAHT
hen the Coalition Government
came to power, Michael Gove
wasted little time in removing all
traces of the Department for
Children, Schools and Families
(DCSF) and transforming the
ministry into the more succinct Department for
Education (DfE). That was a relatively easy change
to come to terms with, but keeping up with all
the other names and their associated abbreviations
or acronyms, is a job in itself.
For example, the word ‘network’ is gaining
in popularity and so it is advisable to know the
difference between the following: the Schools
Network (formerly SSAT) supports both state
schools and independent state schools. The New
Schools Network (NSN) nurtures the development
of free schools; and the Local Schools Network
(LSN) safeguards the interests of schools that wish
to remain wholly within the state system.
Soon after coming to power, the Government
also decided to stamp out waste by culling
quangos (quasi-autonomous non-governmental
organisations). Indeed, they aren’t even called
quangos any more, but ‘arm’s length bodies’ (ALBs).
So, with varying degrees of regret or relief,
we have seen the following sink without trace:
Becta, CWDC, GTCE, PfS, QCDA, SSSNB,
TDA, Teachers TV, and YPLA, the latter having
hardly been around for long enough for us to
remember what the initials even stood for.
Although all these are disappearing, some of their
functions are being taken over by new organisations
– not quangos, or even ALBs, but ‘executive
agencies of the DfE’. The Education and Funding
Agency (EFA) will incorporate the functions of
PfS and YPLA. The Standards and Testing Agency
(STA) takes over the functions of QCDA, and
the Teaching Agency (TA) absorbs the work of
CWDC, GTCE and TDA.
But don’t confuse it with Teaching Assistants
(also TA). And don’t forget the National College for
School Leadership (NCSL), often referred to as the
National College, and, at one time the NCLSCS.
So, we lose some quangos and gain some
executive agencies. But, as Shakespeare taught us
(roughly speaking), a quango by any other name
will smell as sweet. And as three out of the four
It’s as easy as ABCJXUYQ
by a new HMCI
and operating a
drop in without
Speaking the language of education requires a PhD in Alphabet Studies
17 RT column 2.indd 17 23/2/12 14:44:38
THINGS WE’VE LEARNED
KEEPING SMALL FRY OCCUPIED
Devon children are fishermen’s friends
Not content with the usual trick of growing cress in eggshells, a school in Devon
has turned to growing salmon. Pupils at Bickleigh-on-Exe Primary School will look
after salmon eggs and oversee the hatching of the fry before releasing them into the
River Exe. Experts from the River Project and the Heart of Exmoor scheme
advised them how to be good salmon carers and introduced them to other
wildlife in and around the river.
18 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ●MARCH/APRIL 2012
Although the Essex
accent is well-loved
thanks to celebrities like
Jamie Oliver and the cast of
The Only Way Is Essex, it is
not entirely helpful when
learning to spell.
Teachers at Cherry Tree
Primary School in Basildon
realised that pupils were
writing words and phrases
phonetically; for example
‘think’ became ‘fink’ and
‘we was’ replaced ‘we were’.
Their solution? Elocution
lessons. The idea is not to get
them to lose their
school says, but
to boost pupils’
CHILD HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Time to ban the school run
Children who walk, cycle or even catch public
transport to school are much more active than
those who are driven – even at weekends.
Youngsters who travel to school by car spend
just over an hour each weekday doing some
form of moderate or vigorous physical activity, say
researchers from St George’s, University of London.
Those who cycled or walked did an average of
seven minutes more, while those who used public
transport managed an extra 11 minutes, according
to the study of more than 2,000 English primary
school children aged between nine and 10.
The relatively high levels of activity among
children who took public transport may at least
partly reflect the amount of walking done to get to
and from bus stops or train stations, the researchers say.
However, children in this group were also more active at the
weekend, suggesting that there may be other factors at play
– and that it may be time to consider banning the school run.
The researchers also found that there were differences
associated with ethnic background. White European children
were more likely to walk or cycle to school, while black African-
Caribbean children tended to catch public transport. Children
with a South Asian background, however, tended to live closer
to the schools that they attended, and were likely to be driven
there by car, the researchers discovered.
18-19 strange but true 2.indd 18 23/2/12 14:45:04
Since the last LF, we’ve learned
that there’s something fishy in
Devon, that shouting out answers
isn’t all bad and that failure is ok
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ●LEADERSHIP FOCUS 19
IT’S THE QUIET ONES YOU HAVE TO WATCH
Disruptive behaviour in
the class can be positive
Children who shout out answers in class may
be nearly nine months ahead of their quieter
classmates when it comes to reading and maths,
according to a study by Durham University.
Researchers at the university’s Centre for
Education and Monitoring found that pupils
described by teachers as likely to blurt out answers
before a question was completed tended to be
more engaged in lessons.
“We’re not suggesting that classrooms become
free-for-all shouting matches, but if this positive
learning relationship can be harnessed it could help
teachers and learners,” said Professor Peter Tymms,
the study’s lead author.
Researchers analysed primary school teachers’
ratings for more than 12,000 four and five-year-
old pupils at the end of the
children’s first year in school.
The results were gathered from
the performance indicators in
primary schools (Pips).
As part of the Pips assessment,
teachers were asked to rate
pupils’ behaviour in class
in relation to the following
• Blurts out answers before
questions have been completed.
• Has difficulty awaiting turn.
• Interrupts or intrudes on
others; for example, pushes into
conversations or games.
Researchers found that the
‘blurts out answers early’ option
on the teachers’ rating scale was
closely and positively linked to
Failure can be difficult
enough at the best
of times but young
people who are used to
succeeding can find it
decided that her
would benefit from the chance to find out more
about failure – and how to overcome it. So, in
February, she launched ‘Failure Week’.
What was in Failure Week?
• Assemblies focusing on the subject of failure,
with examples of successful people who have
‘failed’ along the way.
• Activities that helped to assess how students
feel about failure.
• Conversations about the merits of failure,
including tutors’ personal experience of it and
how they overcame it.
• Explorations of the negative side of ‘not
failing’: the importance of having a go and
• Encouraging parents to discuss any
‘failures’ they have had with their
daughters and what they learned.
“My message to girls is that it
is better to lead a life replete with
disappointment than one where you
constantly wonder ‘if only’,” Heather said.
e chance to find out more
18-19 strange but true 2.indd 19 23/2/12 14:45:10
20 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2012
Three school leaders take
up the Leadership Focus
challenge to describe
their leadership style
and then tell us a joke
If you would like to take the LF questionnaire,
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT TYPE OF PERSON ARE YOU?
In five words: Passionate, driven, caring, meticulous
What’s top of your to-do list? Relentless attention
to standards in teaching, learning and wellbeing.
Favourite biscuit? Fig roll.
Top holiday destination? Phuket, Thailand.
What wouldn’t you do for £1m? Humiliate a child.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES
The celebrity I’d most like
to have as a teacher at my
school is the Dalai Lama for his
unshakeable adherence to his values
despite the injustices heaped on
him and his people. My staff,
my pupils and I could learn
the art of true leadership by
following his example.
As a child, I wanted to grow up
to be exactly who I am today.
I am living my dream, with nothing left out.
The best excuse I’ve heard is ‘I couldn’t do me homework
Miss, because my mum’s got thrush!’
I went into teaching because school was the place where
I always felt inspired, safe and most at home.
My most embarrassing moment as a
teacher was when my husband sent
a barbershop quartet to school on
Valentine’s Day to serenade me.
If I’ve learned one thing, it’s listen
and then listen some more, don’t try to
solve every problem, sometimes simply
acknowledging there is a problem is
I shouldn’t be telling you this,
but I keep a spare pair
of slippers in my office
which I wear to walk
around the school
when the staff have
Tell us your best joke This
is not one of my strengths. ‘How many
elephants can you get in a hammerfor?
What’s a hammerfor? Banging in nails.’
This is our family joke.
Sandye Place Academy,
I always felt
20_21 Questionnaire 2.indd 20 23/2/12 14:45:40
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 21
WHAT TYPE OF PERSON ARE YOU?
In five words: Sociable, compassionate, motivated, focused,
What’s top of your to-do list? Clearing out the study.
Favourite biscuit? My mum’s Christmas shortbread.
Top holiday destination? France – bread, cheese, wine
What wouldn’t you
do for £1m?
A bush-tucker trial
in the jungle.
Who would play you
in the film of your life?
COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES
The celebrity I’d most like to have as a teacher at my
school is Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. She would be
really inspiring, teaching the children that they can succeed
no matter what barriers they face. Bear Grylls would make
learning fun and exciting but would be a health and safety
nightmare for me and the leadership team.
As a child, I wanted to grow up to be the manager of my
dad’s shoe shop. When I realised that A-level Economics
was just beyond me, my other option of teaching kicked in.
I still love shoes and I still can’t believe that someone put
me in charge of the school budget!
The best excuse I’ve heard is ‘I can’t come to school
today, I’m too cold.’
I went into teaching because I have always loved
children. I’ve been babysitting since I was six. Children’s
enthusiasm is infectious. I love seeing that moment
when something just clicks and they ‘get it’. This is still
the best part of my job.
My most embarrassing moment as a teacher was
in my first job. The staff all wore school sweatshirts.
One day there was a substitute teacher in the next
class and I went in to say hi and told her to shout if
she needed anything and she gave me a strange look.
At break time when I filled up my cup in the staffroom
before playground duty she commented to another
teacher that the school was very liberal allowing the
pupils to make tea in the staffroom.
If I’ve learned one thing, it’s to put people first, show
empathy and listen rather than talk.
I shouldn’t be telling you this, but sometimes I love
to sit down with a cup of tea and watch an episode
of The Waltons.
Tell us your best joke Venison – dear isn’t it?
WHAT TYPE OF PERSON ARE YOU?
In five words: Straight talking strategist with sparkle.
What’s top of your to-do list? Clearing my desk at school.
Favourite biscuit? Fox’s Viennese Chocolate Melts.
Top holiday destination? The Loire region of France.
What wouldn’t you do for £1m? Paint the Severn Bridge.
Who would play you in the film of your life? Meryl Streep.
COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES
The celebrity I’d most like to have as a teacher at my
school is Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. I’ve heard her
speak on several occasions and always feel inspired. She is
wonderfully motivational, fantastically inspirational and
would be a brilliant role model for all pupils as she makes
you believe anything is possible. She’s also Welsh!
As a child, I wanted to grow up to be an air hostess called
Jackie. Why? I have no idea! It just seemed so glamorous
travelling to different countries and not even having to pay.
I didn’t really take the work element of it into account.
The best excuse I’ve heard was when I worked in a pre-
school assessment unit. One of the three-year-olds kept
coming in without her glasses. When I asked her
mother why, I was told: “She’s not wearing them
’cos I can’t find them. I’ve been decorating and
I might have wallpapered over them.”
I went into teaching because after being
persuaded that I didn’t really want to
be an air hostess called Jackie I was
influenced by the fact that my family
have been producing teachers since
Victorian times. It’s the family business.
My most embarrassing moment was
role playing in the Wendy house with
my class of pre-schoolers and enjoying
the cup of tea (pretend) they had made
me when I realised I was entertaining
all my colleagues.
If I’ve learned one thing, it’s always give
yourself the chance to take a step back before
I shouldn’t be telling you this, but we don’t have time
to run the tuck shop and read newspapers anymore.
Tell us your best joke The doctor calls into his local pub each
night and Dick the barman always makes him a daiquari
with an almond in it. One evening Dick is in a panic because
he has run out of almonds so he decides to use a hickory nut
instead. The doctor comes in and Dick makes him his drink.
After taking a sip the doctor asks: “Is this an almond daiquari,
Dick?” “No, it’s a hickory daiquari, doc.”
Hill Croft School, Newtownabbey,
20_21 Questionnaire 2.indd 21 23/2/12 14:45:48
22 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2012
BEHIND THE HEADLINES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
he fight for
rights was at its
more than a century ago, a time
that sparked the inception of
International Women’s Day
(IWD). While the situation in
many countries has changed
for the better since the first
IWD in 1911, the global struggle
for females to have access to
education, let alone equal pay
in the workplace, is ongoing.
IWD is marked annually on
8 March by events worldwide to
celebrate the economic, social and
political achievements of women
and inspire them to continue
Thursday 8 March is
the 101st International
Women’s Day, yet
the battle for equality
is still being fought,
reports Joy Persaud
The expert in
DR JENNY PARKES
Senior lecturer in education,
gender and international
development, Institute of Education
“It is hugely important to have
events such as IWD and for
women around the world to talk
to each other and to connect.
Speaking as someone who works
in education, we see plenty of
girls in this country doing really
well – and we need to celebrate
But we need IWD almost
for the opposite reason – that
there are also huge inequalities.
progressing. The day has been
deemed an official holiday in
dozens of countries – and ones
as diverse as Russia, Uganda and
Vietnam – at which time many
men show their appreciation of
their wives, mothers, girlfriends
and colleagues by buying small
gifts or flowers.
While some school leaders in
the UK may choose to hold an
event or discussion about IWD,
which this year has the theme
‘connecting girls, inspiring futures’,
others prefer to ensure that the
objectives become an inherent
part of policy and practice.
We spoke to four women
who are passionate about girls’
education to discover how they
view the issues raised by IWD.
Issue 53 March/April 2012 £5
THE BI-MONTHLY MAGAZINE OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR ALL SCHOOL LEADERS
A SPECIAL EDITION TO MARK
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
SAVING THE PLANET
22-25 BTH New Lesley 2.indd 22 23/2/12 16:11:21
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 23
are still influenced
by the nonsense
stereotypes of boys,
girls, men and women
CONTINUED ON PAGE 24 ➧
in education. Yet there are issues
around resources and violence,
and the quality of learning is
very poor. There is progress in
terms of access to school but
we are still a long way from
providing equality of education
for girls and helping them to
achieve their potential.
All children, whether they
are girls or boys, need to have
a high quality of education.
Usually, what makes a really
good education for a girl is the
same as what makes a really good
education for a boy.
Having said that, education
needs to be responsive to the
particular needs and experiences
that girls and boys may face.
Sometimes they may be different
in certain circumstances, or in
To give an example from UK
schools and the work I have done
on risk and violence, I found
it more effective to work with
single-sex groups when discussing
In a school where they have
found that no, or few, girls are
opting for science and technology,
or that very few boys are opting
for language or art, it’s worth
thinking about why that might be
and also what can be done about
it. Streaming or single-sex classes
might work in certain contexts.
Obviously, we are still
influenced by the nonsense
stereotypes of girls, boys, men
and women, and they create
particular pressures on young
people growing up in the UK
and elsewhere around the world.
There is a lot of work that
schools can do to help young
people to reflect on their
identities and hopefully challenge
these stereotypes, and there’s a
role for the institutions in how
the management profile of that
school can contribute to that
change as well.
When you think about it, in
this country and much of the
world, women’s suffrage is less
than 100 years old. It’s not very
long since we got the vote and
there is still a long way to go.
Sometimes I get despondent,
but mostly I think things are
changing. There have been lots
of changes in international and
internal laws and policy, but the
kinds of attitudes and practices we
have are slower to change.”
The kind of inequalities we face
globally are highlighted by the
UN’s Millennium Development
Goals, one of which is for equal
numbers of girls and boys to be
at school by 2015. That hasn’t yet
been achieved in many countries,
often because girls are expected
to marry at an early age and stay
in the household.
We’ve got massive problems
still with adult illiteracy, as
two-thirds of the adults who
are unable to read globally are
women. And, in this country
and elsewhere, we still have the
glass ceiling in employment with
women not getting to the top
jobs that are the best paid.
In the four countries where
I have been working closely
with researchers – India, Kenya,
Ghana and Mozambique – we
have seen there are many more
girls in education and there are
more people talking about girls
22-25 BTH New Lesley 2.indd 23 23/2/12 16:11:39
24 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2012
BEHIND THE HEADLINES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
Co-principal, Ernest Bevin College,
Tooting, South London
“I have worked in an all-girls
school, two co-educational
schools, and now, an all-boys
school with a co-ed sixth-form.
Surprisingly, the girls’ school was
hardest for me personally. It was
very old-fashioned, sometimes not
very receptive to new ideas and
change. There were lots of female
teachers who had been there for a
long time, and it was difficult for
me to fit in as a 21 year old. After
three and a half years, I promised
myself I would never work in a
We need to
weave the themes of
IWD into everything
we do, and promote
students and staff
NAHT head of research and
“For me, IWD acts as a reminder
of how far we’ve come and
how far we still have to go. It’s
important to remember that girls
in certain parts of the world still
do not get the opportunity to go
to school at all.
In Britain, girls achieve highly
at school and yet we still don’t
see those achievements translated
into top earnings or places in the
boardroom. That’s why we need
to weave the themes of IWD into
everything we do and promote
opportunities to female students
and female staff.
Women continue to take on the
majority of domestic work and
childcare within families and that
does provide an additional level of
challenge for some female school
leaders; once in school however,
differences in leadership style or
pedagogy are more to do with
personality type than gender.
It is very disappointing that
women in the school workforce
have to deal with the same old
media stereotypes and accusations
year after year, particularly about
discipline and whether or not
female teachers and leaders can
provide appropriate role models
for boys. We need to value and
respect teachers and school
leaders for their individual
qualities, not their gender.
This year’s IWD theme is about
showing children new possibilities
and alerting them to the range
of futures and careers ahead of
them. How can someone consider
being, say, an archaeologist or a
research chemist if they have no
idea what is involved? You can’t
choose to do something that you
don’t know anything about.
IWD has been going for more
than 100 years, and there is clearly
something about it that people
like and want. The fact that it
is still here today is a testament
to that. I hope that schools will
take advantage of the free on-line
resources available for IWD and
join the celebration.”
22-25 BTH New Lesley 2.indd 24 23/2/12 16:11:50
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 25
Head teacher, Waldegrave School
for Girls, Twickenham, Middlesex
“Events like IWD are helpful.
They are great for raising the
profile of women and give us a
structure, as a school, to address
issues. However, the vast majority
of the challenges that face school
leaders are not gender specific.
The school leadership team
works together to build role
models in school and in the
classroom – teaching, getting
involved, taking part, mentoring,
offering support, being interested,
knowing the students. The needs
of students are both curricular
and pastoral. We are careful to
ensure that the curriculum isn’t
exclusively stereotypically girls’
subjects. A great deal of thought
goes into promoting all subjects so
that girls take a broad and balanced
range of subjects to GCSE level,
and also have entrepreneurial skills,
enterprise education and work-
We take great care to ensure
that policies are developed to
ensure equality of opportunity,
breadth and an absence of any
Many of the challenges when
girls school again. I want to help
women succeed where possible.
I am the only female in a
leadership team of nine, and it
would be good to create more
balance. As a result I’m always
looking out for women who
have leadership potential.
I always try to lead by example
and when female teachers see me
carrying out my role, I hope that
they will realise that they, too,
can succeed in a largely male
senior leadership team.
There are several female teachers
that I would like to see progress
into the leadership team but at
the moment they lack experience.
I wouldn’t want to put anyone in
a position where they are just a
token, or there to tick a box.
They need to have confidence
in the job and the other staff need
to have confidence in them, too.
To do otherwise would be unfair.
In terms of formulating policy
and the way girls and boys are
educating girls are similar to those
for boys, but I always maintain
that the emotional temperature
of an all-girls school is higher
– some things become more
of an issue and some things less.
Examples of things that need
careful handling are friendship
issues, which can also be true
of girl groups in a mixed school,
and girls overworking themselves
– also true of girls in a mixed
setting and not a trait that we see
in all students by any means.
The real positives seen in girls
in single-sex schools are their
willingness to take risks with
their learning and develop as
independent learners alongside
their peers. We see lovely examples
of student leadership and of
students leading their own
In terms of a female role model,
I’ve always been inspired by my
mother. She has a passion for
getting the most out of life. She
was the first in her family to go to
university; she brought up us four
children alongside a teaching
career. She loved, and still loves,
teaching and is forever teaching
children to swim, even at the age
of 71. She is always on the go,
offering support, wisdom, kind
words and actions. She is a
wonderful mother and the best
role model one could wish for.
My husband and father are also
a great inspiration – and they do
tell me that they are in touch
with their feminine sides.”
treated in school, we don’t focus
on gender: we simply focus on
the quality of the teaching. In
four and a half years, we – all of
us, not just the leadership team
– pushed our school from good
to outstanding in our last Ofsted
inspection, in October last year,
an achievement of which we are
I have always
been inspired by
my mother. She
has a passion for
getting the most
out of life
22-25 BTH New Lesley 2.indd 25 23/2/12 16:11:59
Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone is striving
to make up for a lack of ‘pushback’ as she seeks a
more equal society. Interview by Steve Smethurst
chools are key allies of Lynne
Featherstone in her work as Minister
for Equalities. Whether it’s body image,
the sexualisation of children, abusive
relationships in teenage years or sexist
language in playgrounds, she’s keen to
work with schools to make a difference. She is also full
of advice on how women can seize the initiative in
the workplace. As such, the approach of International
Women’s Day (IWD) seemed an opportune time to
quiz her about her role.
As if to emphasise her relationship with schools, the
Liberal Democrat MP followed the LF interview with a
visit to a school in Lambeth to talk about girl gangs. She
also lived up to her reputation as a straight-talker. When
asked what kind of things school children ask her on visits,
she replied: “Well, the one that sticks in my mind was the
one who asked me if [former Liberal Democrat leader]
Charles Kennedy was a drunk. Well, you did ask,” she adds.
She says she told the child that ‘there were some issues’.
“I tend to be very honest. It was also an opportunity to
say all people face challenges in life, especially if they’re
the leader of a political party – and you need to offer
support and help in those circumstances. There’s always
a way to get across a positive message like that, even
though children do tend to focus on personalities.
“But they do also ask about policy issues. I always find
it the most heartening thing to go into schools. Children
are wonderful, so I guess it must mean those who run
schools are pretty good too.”
What are your memories of school?
I remember my primary school head because she stepped
in to make me sit an exam that would get me a scholarship
into an independent girls’ day school trust. It was tricky
because my mum didn’t believe in education – she came
from a very poor background where you were expected to
go out to work to bring money in. Miss Jobson called her
in and said ‘your little girl is very clever, she can do this.’
And I did. But my mum had been forced to leave school
at 15 to become a milliner’s apprentice and she hated it.
INTERVIEW: EQUALITIES MINISTER
26 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2012
She ended up a formidable businesswoman and much
tougher than anyone else I’ve met but she never quite
understood why I needed to stay at school.
Did you always want to become a politician?
I wanted to go on the stage. Luckily I didn’t follow that
path. It was quite a misguided idea. There was a limited
range of options for women then though – for me it was
go to Oxbridge or get married. Neither were high on
my list of priorities. I went travelling, auditioned for
drama school and did a shorthand typing course (at my
mother’s insistence). Eventually I was accepted at
Oxford Polytechnic to study communications and
design – and I was a designer for 20 years.
Speaking as a parent, what’s your view on schools?
I’ve been both encouraged and frustrated. I don’t think
there’s any school that can match a parent’s idea of what
the school should be. I am quite strict as a parent – good
manners, how to behave, do your homework… all very
important. But my children have
emerged as very confident.
School was always encouraging
If you could get
a message to
what would it be?
You can be whatever
you want to be, so
long as you believe
in yourself. Have
confidence in your own
thoughts and ideas. Be a person.
Don’t let life drive you; you have to drive
life. If you’re interested in something, do it.
And inside school and outside, have
conversations, let people hear your voice. If you
don’t speak up, people won’t know what you’re
26-28 interview_new 2.indd 26 23/2/12 16:12:30
thinking. And you might have the best ideas in the world,
but if you don’t put them out there to be agreed and
disagreed with, then they can’t be promoted and no one
will know what’s in your heart.
And a message to women working in education?
I’ve never known any other approach apart from do your
best and work hard. It’s a very traditional approach. But also
don’t get hung up on the fact there are lots of men around
and they don’t necessarily behave how you wish they would.
Focus on your work, be really good at what you do. I started
my own business – no client ever said ‘oh you’re a girl’
– they only ever cared about whether I was good at what
I did. The world – and most industries, are still male-
dominated, but you have to challenge that and have
confidence in yourself. It’s no good attacking men
because they’re in power, just be better than them.
How do you respond to the news that some schools
are setting up ‘self-esteem clubs’ for girls?
This touches on a huge issue. Body confidence is a
Government campaign. There is so much pressure on
young people, especially girls, to conform to one
particular stereotypical ‘perfect’ body, which isn’t
perfect anyway, as it’s probably been
digitally altered. One of the
Government has made
available to schools is
they see in
advertising as it’s
‘You have to have confidence in yourself.
It’s no good attacking men because they
are in power. Just be better than them’
ON PAGE 28 ➧
26-28 interview_new 2.indd 27 23/2/12 16:12:36
INTERVIEW: EQUALITIES MINISTER
not necessarily reality. One of the
exercises for 10- and 11-year-olds
is to bring in pictures of people
they love. They tend to bring in
pictures of their parents, who, of
course, are all shapes, sizes, ages
and colours. The subliminal
message is about what makes you
value people and why you love
them. It’s not just their appearance.
We’re working with the fashion
industry, sport, fitness, beauty…
there’s a whole range of players
and we’re working with them
to take this agenda forward, and
also to push back at their
marketing… Let’s say there’s been
a vacuum of pushback in the past.
People in these industries have
a lot of responsibility to bear. In
fashion, for example, some of the
images have been truly shocking.
But at the All Walks Fashion
Centre for Diversity at the
Edinburgh College of Art, head of
fashion Mal Burkinshaw is teaching fashion students to cut
to a large range of sizes. There are other campaigns too,
and there’s the Coalition commitment to fight against the
commercialisation and sexualisation of children. We’ve also
held a roundtable meeting with key figures in the music
industry about the way women are portrayed in videos.
How important is IWD to all this?
It’s a phenomenal opportunity. Everyone in every walk
of life, in every country can do something on IWD to
raise awareness. I’m also ministerial champion for tackling
violence against women and we have a big campaign
running on teenage abuse, for example. We find in some
teenage peer relationships, there’s a normalisation, an
acceptance of being treated badly. So IWD is hugely
important as it gives us an opportunity to raise issues like this.
Is there a role for schools in this?
I would hope so. In fact, I would encourage every school
to participate. Looking at changing attitudes, I do have
concerns – even from a young age, sexist language is one of
the last big things to be let go. Haringey in London is my
constituency, and I think it’s fair to say that no child at school
could make a racist remark without a teacher pulling them
up. I’m not sure I could say the same about sexist language,
so IWD is a great opportunity for schools to join in.
What do you see as the main challenges for
women in the workplace?
Well, certainly there are challenges. I wear a suit to work.
It’s a dark suit and a white T-shirt – it’s very boring. But, as
a female politician, what I don’t want is anyone to comment
on my appearance. I want them to see what I do and listen
to what I say. That was my choice… but at the same time,
I don’t talk like a man and I don’t
act like one. I won’t join in with
that game. Everyone has to make
their own decision about what
they feel comfortable doing. For
me, wearing a suit makes me feel
invulnerable. I also love it because
it means I don’t have to think
about what to wear every day.
If you do brilliant work, what
you wear becomes less of an issue,
but people pick on things that
they think you’re vulnerable on.
That’s just a lesson in life and it
applies to men just as much as it
does to women.
I think there’s a great argument
for feminising the workplace in
terms of behaviour. Men and
women communicate and listen
in very different ways and I think
workplaces benefit from a huge
diversity of input. You don’t
want ‘group think’. If women
start to act and think like men
then we’re not really diversifying. I think that both genders
are absolutely brilliant, and we need both at every level of
every organisation and company – and in Government.
What do you mean by ‘feminising the workplace’?
This is a very stereotyped, sexist analogy, but as minister
for equalities, I claim that privilege… A male way of raising
an issue is for John to say: “I think X.” Fred will then say:
“I agree with John.” And William will say: “So do I.”
They reinforce each other. They aren’t necessarily making
a new point, they’re just speaking up as that’s how you get
noticed and that’s how you get promoted. Women, typically,
will speak when they have a point, not necessarily to
reinforce each other. I think it would be better if men
didn’t repeat each other’s points, and I think it would be
better if women made more points.
And, finally, who have you met that you’d suggest
as a good young female role model?
I gave this some thought earlier. It’s Sky’s political reporter
Sophy Ridge. I think she’s a fantastic role model for young
women. She’s young, go-getting, thrusting, inquisitive and
has a mind of her own. Even as a Sky reporter there are
probably a lot of things you’re not allowed to say, but she
pushes it and goes after what she wants. I think she’s a
brilliant role model for any young girl at school.
Find out more at:
28 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2012
26-28 interview_new 2.indd 28 23/2/12 16:12:43
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ●LEADERSHIP FOCUS 29
A division of the Granada Learning Group
Do you know what your
stakeholders really think?
Visit us on stand 63 at the NAHT
Annual Conference on 4-6 May 2012
Tel: 0845 602 1937 option 4
pupils and staff as important evidence”
gathered during an inspection. Ofsted will
draw on views from pupils, staff and parents
to inform inspection judgements and parents
could be given the power to trigger a school
inspection by voicing their concerns through
Ofsted’s Parent View website.
Against this backdrop, schools need to be
able to continually monitor and respond to the
changing needs of their stakeholders – and
be able to demonstrate this to Ofsted at the
drop of a hat. This can be achieved with the
minimum of fuss through Kirkland Rowell
Surveys for parents, pupils and staff, which
provide a point-by-point evidence summary to
reflect the new framework. Significantly, they
can also be used to put into true perspective
any poor ratings on Parent View.
Because Kirkland Rowell Surveys have been
designed to get straight to the heart of
parental concerns, only the most important
questions are asked. The surveys are based
on the views of two million parents, with their
responses used to identify the 20 most
important areas to them, as well as all of the
key areas included within Parent View.
This approach ensures that, unlike some of
the other stakeholder surveys available, the
four-page Kirkland Rowell Surveys
questionnaires are not onerous for parents.
Results are weighted against one of over 60
national averages of similar school types,
adding real meaning to your data.
Recommended by the NAHT, Kirkland Rowell
Surveys are already used in over 2,500 UK
schools and discounts are available to
members. Would you like to find out what
your stakeholders really think? Contact us to
find out more.
Many of the changes currently sweeping
through education are transforming the
relationship schools have with parents. In fact,
parental involvement in school life has
become ingrained throughout recent
To name but a few areas, the SEN green
paper emphasised the need for more parental
choice in where and how their children are
educated. The Bew Review of Key Stage 2
assessment called for a wider range of
information to be made available to parents
so that they have a deeper understanding of
how their child is progressing in school. And
the results of the new Year 1 phonics screener
will also be reported back to parents.
However, nowhere is parental involvement
more apparent than the new Ofsted
Ofsted tells us that “inspections will give
greater consideration to the views of parents,
´|ɛ íɢl ǇǨE1
íɡ Ɉ ´ʛ·,ɢ-rɛ'
cʝʦrȿɏ ]ʝɠ ȼcʝɿȵɏ
Janice Howard, Teacher
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LFO.03.12.029.indd 29 16/2/12 16:07:32
30 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2012
ust do it: that’s the message that female
members of the NAHT’s National
Executive have for other women in the
Association. “We need you,” says Bernadette
Hunter, head teacher at William
Shrewsbury School in Staffordshire. “There
aren’t enough women members on the Executive and it is
really important that we ensure that we have more equal
representation, especially as the majority of the profession
are women,” she says. “It is also excellent professional and
personal development, and anyone who gets involved
would find it really rewarding. Plus, you get to meet some
great people who are passionate about education. The
NAHT’s Executive is a very interesting and exciting
experience, and it’s a privilege to be part of a group that is
helping to shape the future direction for schools.”
Kenny Frederick, head at George Green’s School in
London, argues that many women leave the big questions
to others and do not want to put themselves forward as
they don’t want to be seen to compete for positions of
power or influence. “Women must get involved and not
stand on the sidelines shaking their heads. We have to get
inside the institutions to bring about change,” she says.
Indeed, there’s little point complaining about the way
things are if you don’t make an effort to improve them,
adds Angi Gibson from New York Primary School in
North Shields. “If you want to change something you have
to stand up and do it yourself,” she says. “There are a lot
of people with a lot to say who don’t do anything about
it. Joining the National Executive gives you a chance to
actually do something.”
The chance to make a difference can mean meeting
and working with some extremely high-profile people.
Joining the National
Executive is a real
opportunity to have
your voice heard, as
its female members
tell Jane Simpson
There are 45 members on NAHT’s National Executive,
of whom 12 are female. Whenever a vacancy arises in
an electoral district (members are elected for a three-
year term), a letter and nomination form is emailed to
all branch and regional secretaries, with a copy posted
on the NAHT website. Candidates must be proposed
and seconded by at least one branch within the
electoral district in which they work. The completed
form is then sent to HQ. Should there be more than
one application, an election takes place which is
administered by Electoral Reform Services.
Check www.naht.org.uk for updates.
WHY NOT ADD YOUR VOICE
TO THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE?
30-31 National Exec 2.indd 30 23/2/12 16:13:09
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 31
“You are right at the forefront of things,” says Gail Larkin,
the head at Auriol Junior School in Surrey.
“I’ve met ministers of education and secretaries of
state, which means you feel that you can have your say
and make a difference because you are speaking directly
to the people who are making education policy. I’m not
saying that we’ve always been listened to, but at least we
have the chance to have our say.”
And it’s not just politicians who will be listening. Sally
Bates, the head of Wadsworth Fields Primary School in
Nottingham, joined the National Executive in September
last year and thought she would take it relatively easy for
her first term while she learned the ropes. The national
day of action soon changed that.
“All the pensions stuff happened and all of a sudden
I was on national television and radio,” she says. “I felt
that, as a National Executive member, I was there to be a
spokesperson, so I couldn’t say no. It wasn’t the first time
that I have been on television, but it was the first time it
was in an overtly political way. I am pleased that I did it;
although I did not necessarily enjoy it, I am proud of
what we achieved.”
Like Sally, Durham-based Rachel Brannan joined
only last year. In her case she rather stumbled into the
role. “It was something that was suggested to me in a
performance review session with my school leader,
who was at the time a member of the National Executive,”
she says. “She was nearing retirement and had to stand
down, but she was keen on her position being filled by
a young female deputy, and she thought that it would be
good for my professional development.
“I had not actually been a member of the NAHT for
very long and had attended only a handful of local branch
meetings, but I saw it as an interesting opportunity to gain
a better insight into the wider issues surrounding education.
“My experience so far has been very worthwhile. It is an
excellent opportunity to meet fellow professionals, share
experiences and engage in lively conversation… and in
terms of my own career development I have gained a much
better overview of leadership. I feel much more confident
with the knowledge I have gained.”
Rachel also makes an effort to act as a role model for
other women. “It is important to lead by example,” she says.
“Demonstrating a calm and organised personality is really
important, as is showing solidarity with staff and offering a
listening ear in times of need.”
Encouraging other women to consider headship is an
important responsibility, says Gail. She is speaking from
experience: she was happy as a classroom teacher and had
no intention of applying for a leadership role until her head
teacher pushed her to stretch herself.
“I saw what the head and deputy head did and thought
I would never be good enough, but my head teacher was
inspiring and said that I should aspire to headship,” she says.
Sally adds: “It is a shame that so few women decide to
go forward for headship. It’s a great job to do and I really
enjoy it. I think women are sometimes put off because they
see the demands of the job, but it becomes easier if you
network and collaborate with other head teachers.”
Kenny, who describes herself as idealistic and in
possession of strong principles and values, encourages
her colleagues to aspire to leadership positions by
demystifying headship and distributing knowledge, power
and information. “I try to model a style of leadership that
is assertive and not aggressive, and that emphasises that
valuing and developing people at all levels is key.”
‘There are a lot of people with a lot to say who don’t
do anything about it. Joining the National Executive
gives you the chance to actually do something…’
“You are right at the forefront of thi
the head at Auriol Junior School in
“I’ve met ministers of education a
state, which means you feel that you
and make a difference because you a
to the people who are making educa
saying that we’ve always been listene
have the chance to have our say.”
And it’s not just politicians who wi
Bates, the head of Wadsworth Fields P
Nottingham, joined the National Exe
last year and thought she would take
her first term while she learned the r
day of action soon changed that.
“All the pensions stuff happened and
I was on national television and radio,”
h N i l E i b
‘There are a
do a y
gives you t
30-31 National Exec 2.indd 31 23/2/12 16:13:16
Have you ever wondered what life is
like for female head teachers in other
countries? Carly Chynoweth finds out
If Temitayo ‘Tayo’ Olarewaju’s parents had got
their way she’d be an accountant but, after
acceding to their wishes and completing a BSc
in accountancy, she turned her attention to her real love:
educating children. A little over a decade ago she founded
the Delightsome Land School in a ‘pretty upmarket’ area
of Lagos. Now, Tayo is responsible for around 150 children
from babies – the preschool accepts infants from three
months – through to the end of primary school.
One of the differences between Nigeria and the UK is that
Westminster is trying to make it easier for anyone to set up a
school, while the Government in Nigeria is trying to make it
rather less of a free for all, she says. “Here, anyone can more
or less just decide to open a school and do it,” says Tayo, who
is also studying for a Master’s at the University of Leicester
alongside running the school. “The Government is trying to
regulate it but the policy is still developing. In Lagos if you
decide to be regulated by the Government you can, but there
are still people opening up without following the rules.”
The rules include a requirement to have a board of
governors. “In my experience, most people who set up
schools do not think about this, or they just put a couple
of friends or family members on it. Most people still do
not realise the impact that an excellent board of governors
can have on a school.”
She watched the debate following Michael Gove’s
promise to make it easier to sack poor teachers with interest.
This is a
32 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2012
In Nigeria, the problem is not getting rid of bad teachers
so much as finding decent ones to begin with, says Tayo,
who works as a mentor with teachers at local state schools.
“Problems with infrastructure and incessant strikes by
university lecturers have all added up to a poorer quality of
education, which means that the teachers being churned out
are not as good as we would like, but all schools need to find
teachers. So, when they come out of university we have to
train them. And not simply in terms of professional
development; I’m talking about basic training. I have teachers
who have to be put through the basics of grammar.”
Teacher quality is an issue, not simply because it affects
learning, but because teachers should be able to inspire
children to reach higher. “What I am doing now is working
with a couple of non-governmental organisations to give more
training and support to government teachers,” Tayo says.
“Not teachers at private schools – we feel that they should
be able to handle themselves – but those in government
schools. We’re teaching them things like grammar, phonics,
maths and classroom management.”
Head teachers in Malta are dealing with changes
to the way education is structured as well as
all the usual challenges of school leadership.
For example, the Ministry of Education has recommended
eliminating streaming in Years Five and Six and phasing out
the 11-plus in favour of a national exam at the end of Year
32-34 international_NEW 2.indd 32 24/2/12 08:10:27
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 33
CONTINUED ON PAGE 34 ➧
Six, says Maria
head of St Benedict
College SAFI Primary,
an inclusive state school for
children aged three to 11. It also
recommended changing from the
current state secondary system – in which pupils
go to a Junior Lyceum if they pass the entrance exam and an
Area Secondary if they do not – to one where students
attend a local secondary school that has a setting system
instead. “Schools are now organised in networks, mainly
depending on their geographical position in the island,”
Maria said. “All networks consist of primary and secondary
schools, with the exception of special schools that cater for
children and young people with special educational needs.
“Within this context of change, the school network
participant needs to reflect and engage with the way we are
addressing the reform in the local scenario. The public
expects more from schools than ever before, including
greater accountability, improved performance, more input
from parents, safe schools, better school/community relations
and an acceptance and appreciation of diversity with equal
opportunities for all students.”
The biggest challenge facing Erika Galea, deputy head
at St Michael, a private primary school, is clear: “Too much
work in too little time,” she said. “I try to give more
importance to the academic part of my role since I feel it is
ensure a high
quality of teaching and
learning, but there is too
much administration work being
sent in by the Ministry of Education on
a daily basis, which I personally find useless, and
sometimes it takes too much time from the academic part
of my role. Another challenge I face is trying to please all my
teachers, but this is impossible at times since I need to take
unpopular decisions, which not everyone agrees to.”
There’s no such thing as a typical week in a
head teacher’s life, says Jenny Allum of Sydney
Church of England Girls Grammar School, but
if there was you could be sure it would involve plenty of
meetings. “There would be a number of meetings with staff
about a huge variety of issues, from planning meetings and
pedagogy… to talking about an individual student and
their needs. I would meet with some parents about personal
issues concerning their families and their children. I would
usually have one or two meetings outside of the school in
contributing to educational issues or discussions about
educational policy or other matters that affect schools.”
Six, says Maria
head of St Benedict
College SAFI Primary,
an inclusive state school for
children aged three to 11. It also
recommended changing from the
current state secondary system in which pupils
ensure a high
quality of teaching and
learning, but there is too
much administration work being
sent in by the Ministry of Education on
a daily basis which I personally find useless and
32-34 international_NEW 2.indd 33 24/2/12 08:10:35
34 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2012
Jenny became a head
teacher because it was the
job that gave her the most
scope to make a difference.
She says: “I had definite
views about education and
the sort of school I believed
in, and so I wanted to be in
charge to create that vision.
“I have been inspired by
several of the heads I have
worked under and wanted
to emulate them and their
ability to make a real
difference in the education
of young people in their
charge. In addition, I saw
how they could contribute
to state-wide debate on
education and the thinking
of our society, to which
I also aspired.”
One of the ongoing
debates in Australia is around
the issue of autonomy.
“What should be controlled
centrally, what should be left
to the individual school? Accountability to the community
is involved here.
“We talk a great deal about how to attract the best
people into teaching, and how to best maintain standards
and the high quality of teaching. We talk about whether
performance pay might help in this regard, and the Federal
Government is currently debating a proposal to pay
bonuses to the ‘best teachers’. How best to assess and
report student learning, while keeping the pressure on
students down, is another challenge.”
She and her peers are also thinking about ways in which
they can help parents fulfil their familial roles, while still
being respectful of their right to decide how they want to
bring up their children. “I think parents are increasingly less
confident in their role, and often find it difficult to set limits
for their children and manage both the variety and
complexity of issues in our society. Schools seem to have an
increasing role in this area, and getting the line right to help
parents appropriately, with the variety of values which exist
in families of today, is a challenge.”
Bureaucracy and tests are often the least of
Kouen Lat’s concerns at the Save Poor Children
in Asia Organisation (SCAO) school in
Cambodia. A more pressing duty is often to ensure that
children have pens and notebooks. The school also provides
a home, healthcare and food to 17 of its pupils, who also
attend classes at a government school, she says.
“I work at SCAO Monday to Saturday, teaching 18 hours
each week,” says Lat, who first joined SCAO as a live-in
student when she was in Year 11. “Now, as head teacher, one
of my roles is to guide the English-speaking volunteers who
come here to teach.
I coordinate all classes
on different levels and
ensure that students are
receiving free stationery and
learning books regularly.
“Cambodia faces many
Schools in the countryside
are often far away from
and public transportation
doesn’t exist. Students
mostly have to support
teachers due to their low
salaries; as a consequence,
poor families can’t send
their children to school.
And the curriculum in
public schools does not
focus on life-long learning
or analytical and critical
thinking, therefore the
solving skills are barely
developed when young
people finish high school.”
Another of Lat’s challenges at her school, which is
supported by the Scoop Foundation (www.thescoop
foundation.com), is making sure that the students make
progress, even though the school relies on an ever-changing
roster of volunteer teachers. “Sometimes we don’t have
enough teachers and I have to keep my students in one
class,” she says. However, she says that working with
volunteer teachers from around the world also exposes her
to a ‘wonderfully broad range of ideas and approaches’.
Liu Keqin has more than 6,500 pupils under
her care as principal of Zhongguancun No. 3
Elementary School in Beijing, but – as if this
wasn’t enough – she also leads the 1,300-pupil No. 4
Elementary School in the same district.
“The school believes in ‘everyone is the same and just as
important’, and we make sure that students are the centre
of the school,” she says. “I believe that the school should be
filled with love… and each teacher should have a goal of
being inclusive and encouraging students to grow
independently and freely.”
Her biggest challenge, she says, is creating a structure that
motivates teachers to be enthusiastic about their work, and
developing a distinctive curriculum to realise the value of
schooling. “And I believe that the Chinese educational
structure needs to be more creative so that it can release the
energy of education and encourage the variety of those who
are talented,” she says. The Government has recently
published a 10-year strategy for education, she adds.
• With thanks to Dr Changyun Kang, director of the China
Education Centre at the University of Sydney, for translating
Liu Keqin’s answers.
Malta’s Alexia Vella with assistant head Erika Galea
Nigeria’s Tayo Olarewaju Australia’s Jenny Allum
32-34 international_NEW 2.indd 34 24/2/12 08:11:18
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ●LEADERSHIP FOCUS 35
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36-39 troubled_girls copy.indd 36 24/2/12 13:37:09
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 37
For many vulnerable young women, the pathway
to a good education can be rocky. Fortunately,
there are programmes aimed at helping them to
re-engage with learning. Rebecca Grant reports
s 2011 drew to a close, 15-year-old
Amber’s chances of staying in school long
enough to pass her GCSEs were looking
bleak. In the previous 18 months, the
West Kent schoolgirl had been to five
different schools, none of which had been
able to successfully address her disruptive behaviour.
Amber (not her real name) was excluded from one school
after she swore at her class teacher and threw a book at her.
When LF asks her why she acted in this way, she says that
she felt unfairly treated.
“I’d had an argument with the teacher in a lesson the
week before,” she says. “But I’d spoken to her about it and
I thought we’d worked it all out. Then one day when she
was covering a class it was obvious she wasn’t over it because
she picked on me. When she came into the lesson loads of
people were talking, but she heard me laugh, and she sent
me out before I could explain.
“A boy was also sent out of the lesson for acting up,
but when the teacher came out to see us both she said:
‘Right Amber, you’re going into a different class. Then she
said to the boy, in a really smug way: ‘You can come back in.’
I thought it was so unfair and I just lost it.”
At the beginning of this year, Amber was given a final
chance to prove she could turn her life around thanks to
Platform 51, the charity formerly known as YWCA, which
supports vulnerable girls and young women. Its West Kent
centre, based in Tonbridge, runs a programme for girls aged
13 to 15 who have dropped out, or are at risk of dropping
out of the school system. Local schools sponsor places on the
programme, which is called On Track, and girls can go to
classes at the centre either in addition, or as an alternative,
to attending their mainstream school.
“The programme runs for three days a week,” says Von
Dawson, Platform 51’s West Kent centre manager. Some
schools will send pupils here for the full three days and
others will perhaps use us for one or two days, depending
on the needs of the young person who’s being referred.”
Von is quick to point out that the On Track programme
offers something very different to the sort of education
girls would receive at a pupil referral unit or short stay
schools. For one thing, although Platform 51 offers classes
in literacy and numeracy, the programme is not designed
to teach them the curriculum.
“Primarily, the programme is for personal and social
development. It’s for looking at the reasons why they’ve
dropped out of education, or why they are at risk of
dropping out. It’s also about allowing a young person the
time and space to begin working through some of those
issues, with support,” says Von.
There is no typical reason why a girl will completely
disengage with education. Problems with bullying, abusive
relationships or learning difficulties are just a few of the
reasons why young women currently using the centre
truanted or were disruptive in lessons while attending school.
The one thing that they all seem to have in common is a
CONTINUED ON PAGE 38 ➧
36-39 troubled_girls copy.indd 37 24/2/12 13:37:24
38 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2012
lack of self-esteem, says Von. “These girls all have barriers,
whether they’re real or perceived. They feel they’ve been
damaged because their needs haven’t been recognised.
When someone has written themselves off at 13, there
are a lot of layers for us to peel off to make those girls
feel valued again.”
The first step towards peeling back these layers is making
sure the girls come into the On Track programme with a
clean slate. “We start with the belief that, regardless of the
paperwork that comes from the schools, all these girls have
potential rather than problems.”
The fact that the On Track class only has space for a
handful of pupils is part of its success. “In some schools, there
can be an awful lot of cliques. Girls can be very cruel. But we
don’t let that happen here.” Von says. “The group seems to
gel here. The girls seem to accept each other really quickly.”
The classroom at Platform 51 is also very different from
what the girls are used to in their mainstream schools.
Instead of the desks lined up in rows, facing the front, there
are comfy sofas arranged in a circle. The girls are also
allowed to wear their own clothes and jewellery rather than
what a uniform policy dictates.
Marion Seymour, the family intervention team manager at
Hugh Christie Technology College, one of the schools that
sponsors places on the On Track programme, says that it’s this
more flexible approach that makes the programme work.
“The fact that there’s no uniform and it’s a shorter day
really helps,” she says. “They’re treated in a more grown
up way, because they can go out at lunchtime [if they have
parental permission], and a big factor for some of them, I’m
ashamed to say, is that they can go outside for a smoke.”
(Von later explains that the school discourages smoking and
offers all students advice support to give up.)
But although the young women do appreciate the
freedom granted to them by the Platform 51 team, Marion
says that the biggest benefit to the programme is the one-
to-one support that girls are given – something that it’s
not possible to offer within schools.
Amber feels that if she’d been offered more one-to-one
support – which she had been promised at her most recent
school – she would have been able to put her troubles
behind her. “When I started there, I had really bad anger
problems and they promised me I could see somebody
about it. I saw that person once during the whole six weeks
I was there. If you ask me, it’s their fault I got kicked out
of that school because they promised they would help me,
and they didn’t.”
So how can schools ensure that girls like Amber don’t fall
through the gaps? According to Marion, it’s identifying and
tackling the problems before they escalate. “My team is
looking for ways to make earlier interventions, because quite
often the action we’re taking is reactive rather than
proactive. Because we’re working in a secondary school,
there tend to be issues that young people are having to deal
with that started before they came to us.”
Marion advises school leaders to make sure that there are
support networks in place to look out for young girls as
they make the transition into Year Seven.
“Wherever possible, school staff should be working to
build up relationships with pupils and parents from the
minute they enter Year Seven. The transition is so important
in identifying those vulnerable young people – whether
they are boys or girls – and making sure their start in
secondary school is as positive as possible.”
Turning lives around
However, it would be a near-impossible task for schools to
successfully address every young pupil’s behavioural
problems. Stieve Butler, head of education and training for
secure estate at CfBT Education Trust, knows this all too
well. “I used to teach in a mainstream school so I know it
can be quite difficult if, in an average class environment,
you’ve got some pupils who just don’t turn up, or when
they do they’re extremely disruptive,” she says.
Sadly, there are cases when the problems extend further
than persistent truancy and poor behaviour in class. As part
of her work with CfBT, Stieve works with young people
We start from the belief that,
regardless of the paperwork that
comes from the schools, all these
girls have potential, not problems
36-39 troubled_girls copy.indd 38 24/2/12 13:37:37
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 39
Current and former pupils of Platform 51’s On Track
programme reveal what they would change about
school if they were a head teacher
“I’d listen to the students more and find out what
they actually want, said 14-year-old Shana. “I used to
ask for help, but I didn’t always get it.”
Hannah, 17, agrees. “No one would listen to me when
I had a problem, so I didn’t ask for help. Instead I
used to sit in the toilets and cry all the time. It was
only when I went to my lesson and they saw I’d been
crying that they finally did something.”
Abbie, 14, would let pupils wear their own clothes.
“You feel bored and tired in school clothes, and
don’t want to learn.”
Shana would also change the way lessons are taught.
“They need to be more interesting. If a teacher is
just writing a sum on the board and then we have to
copy things, it’s boring. I get bored really easily and
don’t want to do the work.” She’d also make lessons
optional. “I’d have all the same subjects but if you
don’t want to go to maths, you don’t have to. You
can sit in the library instead.”
The On Track group has produced a magazine, called
Be True which is aimed at young women who are at
risk of dropping out of education. To obtain a copy,
GIRLS’ ADVICE FOR SCHOOL LEADERS
who have fallen into a life of crime by their late teens.
She is in charge of the education programme at the
Josephine Butler Unit, a female-only facility in the grounds
of HMP Downview in Surrey. It currently accommodates
16 young women, all aged 17, who have been serving
sentences in juvenile detention centres.
During their time at the Josephine Butler Unit, the young
women will take part in 15 hours’ education each week.
The education programme provided offers a mix of what
Stieve calls more formal education – literacy, numeracy, ICT,
for example – combined with life skills such as careers
advice and healthcare information.
Girls ahead of boys
Stieve, who also works at units for male young offenders,
says that the girls she meets often have an advantage when it
comes to education. The girls tend to be slightly ahead of
the boys in terms of academic achievement.
“We have had a number of girls who managed to get a
few GCSEs before they ended up in trouble. But we do
have the full range, I’m not going to pretend that everyone
who comes in is ready for AS level, that’s far from the truth.
One of the biggest challenges for Stieve and her team is
getting the young women to engage in education. As they are
all aged over 16, many of the girls don’t want to participate.
“Although the regime and their sentences require them
to take part in education, we can’t physically force anyone
to attend a session,” she says. “We have a lot of students
who come to us on remand and they may be released the
next day, so as far as they’re concerned they might as well
sit in their rooms.”
The key to getting these girls to re-engage is providing an
interesting curriculum, says Stieve. “We listen to these young
women and try to make sure their feedback is taken into
account. We then try to offer things that interest them and
are relevant, and also make sure that the teaching methods
are interesting for them.”
There’s an added incentive for the girls to take part in the
education programme – it can help reduce the length of
their sentence. “A lot of decisions about what happens to
these young women will relate to how they performed
during the days in class as well as how they’ve performed in
the evenings with their officers. If somebody misbehaves, or
if they are not applying themselves, we would need to write
that on their records. It’s important that everything is taken
into account and people are discussing what’s going to
happen next and what their future targets are.”
Although where the young women go after leaving the
unit depends on the severity of their sentence – some
young women have long sentences and must transfer to an
adult prison – there have been several success stories that
highlight the difference the education programme can
make to the rehabilitation process.
She cites the example of one young woman who is now
attending college. “Being here gave her the time and space
to think about what she’d been doing, why she’d been doing
it and what the alternatives are. She realised that what she
was learning was more fun than being destructive.”
Seeing young women come to this realisation is one of
the most rewarding aspects for Stieve and her team. “Prisons
aren’t the awful place that people sometimes think they are,”
she says. “Many young people have told me that they’ve
valued being in prison because it has given them time to
think about why they behave in a chaotic manner, and to
think about what they want to do with their future.”
36-39 troubled_girls copy.indd 39 24/2/12 13:37:50
40 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2012
Steve Smethurst meets a pair
of primary heads who are on
an incredible edible journey
here’s a nice chemistry
between Julie Bradley and
Dawn Forshaw (pictured),
who are enthusiastic head
teachers at neighbouring
primary schools in Burnley,
Lancashire. Julie opens the conversation by
explaining: “We go back a long, long way.
We’ve worked together for many years. Dawn
was my deputy at St Leonard’s CE Primary,
but she’s better than me so she had to go!”
“Rubbish!” replies Dawn. “But we have
worked together for a long time, haven’t we?”
Their consensus is that it’s been 15 years, with
Dawn a head teacher in her own right for the
past five at the nearby Wellfield Methodist and
Anglican Church School. In many ways they
are typical school leaders – passionate about
their work and achieving the best outcomes
for their students – but unlike most others,
they are also on a mission to save the world.
They first realised that they had a certain
amount of power and influence when they
joined forces over an early morning exercise
regimen for primary school children more than
10 years ago (see page 43). Now, they are key
players in pop-up farms, an initiative to educate
the next generation about sustainability.
The pop-up farms story began when they
were invited to a Prince of Wales charity event
in Burnley as representatives of the town’s
schools and also of the Futures Learning Trust,
the charitable arm of Burnley Football Club.
One of the speakers was Paul Clarke (see pages
44 and 48), director of sustainable education for
Cambridge Education, who was instrumental
in setting up Incredible Edible, a community
planting scheme in the nearby town of
Todmorden (see page 44).
They didn’t get to speak to Paul on the day
says Julie, but they got their chance last summer
when the Trust staged a global awareness day.
“School children performed a 50-minute
pageant with dance, drama, big masques and
costumes to tell the story of how we, as little
people in Burnley, can have an impact on
saving the planet,” says Julie.
Soon afterwards Paul, who was in attendance,
set up a meeting with the town’s head teachers
and talked to them about sustainability,
especially in relation to energy, food, water and
waste. The school leaders were hooked and,
as a consequence, each school is now carrying
out experiments in these areas. To facilitate
this, Asda has given each one a shed and they
are also being given a solar panel each. “There’s
an expectation that all the schools will use
some of their land to grow food,” says Paul.
As a legacy effect, Paul explains that they are
also asked to plant a fruit tree each. “Across 40
schools, it’s 40 trees – effectively a dispersed
orchard – and the trees will bear fruit for the
next 50 years or so. Planting a tree might
become an annual event at the schools and
eventually it will become a community
orchard. If every school in the country did this
the effects would be massive. In addition, in
Burnley they are planting heritage trees that
are dying out as no one plants them any more.”
Julie’s school in particular serves a deprived
CONTINUED ON PAGE 43 ➧
40-44 Burnley heads copy.indd 40 24/2/12 13:38:13
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 41
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42 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2012
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MARCH/APRIL 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 43
and spices rather than by adding salt.
But is this really the best use of their
time as school leaders? Julie has no
doubts at all. “What we’ve found is that
the rewards increase as we increase the
amount of time we spend on it.
“But other school leaders don’t have
to put in the amount of effort that we
have. It’s just that this is like a lot of
things that we believe in – we do it
because we want to prove a point.
We want to make sure that we have
enough evidence, and enough people
are involved, so that the point is made
and people sit up and listen.”
area, one where parents tend to think
that good food is expensive and
beyond them. Her work on promoting
a healthy diet and sustainable food
precedes Paul’s intervention, but she
is now more enthusiastic than ever.
“At my school, not only did planting
vegetables teach pupils how to grow,
what sort of foods can be grown and
how to cook them, but actually that
they could save some money as well.
“It really was quite a ‘genesis
moment’ for some of the families at
the school. In the past they would
go to the chip shop or down to the
supermarket to buy convenience
foods. Yet the processed foods and
additives were having a negative effect
on the children’s ability to learn and
She adds that the difference healthy
food has made to the progress of her
children and their learning has been
‘just incredible’, particularly those
with syndromes such as dyspraxia,
dyslexia and autism. “We have seen
massive changes in the children and a
lot of their symptoms have disappeared.
When Dawn and I started working at
St Leonard’s it was right at the bottom
of the league tables and attainment was
terrible. Now, we are seeing children
coming from the same families and the
same catchment area, but attainment
has shot up and a big part of that is the
fact that children’s diets are better.”
Dawn says that her school’s planting
isn’t on the same scale as Julie’s. “But
we do have a gardening club and the
children love growing things. And they
produce an amazing amount for a very
small space.” She says that there is often
a presumption that parents will provide
a healthy diet for their children, but it’s
surprising how often convenience
wins over nutrition.
The schools are growing foods
that aren’t available cheaply in the
supermarkets. That means no potatoes
because they take up a lot of space and
can be bought quite cheaply. Instead,
there are products like runner beans,
peas, sweetcorn, radishes, lettuces,
cabbages and cauliflowers, plus lots of
herbs and spices. Even chillies are
grown. The latter are important
because they teach children that the
flavour of food can be improved
during cooking by the use of herbs
Back in January 2001, Burnley head teachers Julie Bradley and Dawn Forshaw
began a quest to improve the quality of sport and PE in schools. They
started by doing aerobics with pupils in the morning, and then put little
bits of activity into the school day. They also put in two hours of ‘quality
curriculum sport’. “It took us four years to convince people nationally that
this was the way to go,” says Julie. “Dawn and I would go up and down the
country talking at sports conferences, talking to schools, saying: ‘You have
got to do this’.” There was also the small matter of ‘getting in the sports
minister’s face’. “I hijacked him on the way to the airport one time and
talked at him for an hour and a half,” says Julie.
But the results of all that hard work can now be seen as there has been a
wave of enthusiasm for school sport initiatives. “We don’t shout about what
we do,” she says. “We do it because we believe in it, and now it’s almost as
if our hard work has been forgotten, because we didn’t patent it or put a
rubber stamp on it. It’s just that we believed in it, so we worked our fingers
to the bone to make sure that everybody knew that this was important.
So the aerobics that we started in 2000 is now called all kinds of different
things as smarter business people than us have put their own moniker on it.
But that’s fine, we’re not in it for the glory. We just want healthier children.”
PURSUING FITNESS AS WELL AS A HEALTHY DIET
CONTINUED ON PAGE 44 ➧
Certainly people are listening in
the Burnley area and awareness is
spreading that we need to produce
more of our own food and cut back
on waste. “We throw so much away,”
says Julie. “We are a nation of chuckers,
and we have got to start rethinking it.
That goes for food waste as well.
Composting teabags, the coffee out
of your coffee machines, whatever we
have got, we can re-use. And pop-up
farms help by taking things that aren’t
biodegradable and turning them into
40-44 Burnley heads copy.indd 43 24/2/12 13:38:39
44 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2012
growing containers. We save energy
at our school too. Children are like
sponges: you can give them good
habits for a lifetime if you convince
them now. It’s got to the stage where
I can be sitting in my office and a
little hand will come around the
corner and turn the light off so I am
sat in the dark.”
Is this indoctrination? “Yes,” says
Julie. “We are indoctrinating, that is
exactly what we are doing. And they
go home and they tell their parents.
Children’s voices are so powerful,
much more powerful than ours. Our
planet is just so precious, if we want
humanity to carry on, every single
person in every town in every country
of the world has got to do their bit and
not think ‘this concerns people
Dawn agrees. “For how many years
have various governments been
trying to change the way we do it?
It has to come from the next
generation spreading the message to
the current generation.”
Rather more controversially, Julie
wonders about the curriculum. “Are
we teaching children the right things?
Does it matter if we can teach them
quadratic equations? What percentage
of children grow up to use quadratic
equations in their adult life? Most don’t.
“Will quadratic equations save the
world? I don’t think they will. So
when people say, this doesn’t concern
us as teachers, as schools, and that we
shouldn’t be doing this, they are so
The pair have both heard that it’s not
their job to teach children how to
grow food, nor is it to teach children
about sustainability. Julie has a succinct
response: “It bloody well is!”
Dawn explains why. “The statistics
for Burnley are still shocking, heart
disease is at alarming rates, and we
have had all sorts of initiatives around
exercise and healthy eating and it is
just not getting through, but this will
The way it gets through is by
teaching English and maths skills
through the subject of sustainable
living. The emotional attachment the
children have to it aids their learning
too – and both schools have seen
academic results climb steadily.
Another positive to come out of it
has been the use of apprentices. As
school staff can’t be around at
weekends and during the holidays,
Burnley FC has managed to obtain
funding to employ apprentices for the
schools. These people will be aged
16-18 and not in education,
employment or training. They will
work towards an NVQ, which could
then lead to a job in horticulture.
Who knows where the plans will
lead? One of the things the Burnley
heads are looking at is the possibility
of creating a vineyard in the town.
The gift of a polytunnel will give
them the opportunity to grow grapes.
“We want to produce claret,” says
Julie. “Burnley FC’s colours are claret
and blue, so we want a Burnley
claret.” And that’s an aspiration that
many school leaders would want to
raise a glass to.
The Pennine town of
Todmorden has a grand plan
to become self-sufficient in
vegetables within 10 years.
Already its verges and areas
of common land have been
commandeered by ‘guerilla
gardeners’ who have planted
vegetables that, once grown, are
free for anyone to take. Even
some graveyards are being used
as vegetable patches.
“The 10-year target is nonsense,
frankly,” admits Paul Clarke, one
of the founding members of
Incredible Edible Todmorden
(IET). “The point of growing in the
streets is to make people think
about where food comes from
and what we eat. Local food is
perfectly possible. But it is hard
to orchestrate a community.”
Paul says that the work of IET
has put the idea of growing food
in the community on the map in
the UK, but there’s no way he
can claim it is original. “We
certainly didn’t invent gardening,
which seems to be how it’s
interpreted,” he says. “Nor is it
harking back to old times.
It’s trying to think forward about
the systems and structures that
we need in our society during
a period that’s likely to be
Paul has been instrumental
in involving schools in nearby
Burnley (see main feature) in
his plans, saying: “The school
community operates in parallel,
with lots of innovations
around sustainability, energy,
food, water and waste. What’s
interesting is that once you have
a network, you can do metrics
as it’s farming on a wide scale.
It’s a big urban experiment
– and it’s being replicated
around the world.”
For more information:
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
People say this
doesn’t concern us
as schools, and that
we shouldn’t be
doing it – they are
40-44 Burnley heads copy.indd 44 24/2/12 13:38:49
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46 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2012
Ban impulse buys
All too often people want to
buy something because it’s
new and exciting or it looks like it
might be useful: don’t let them, says
Tracey Morrison, the school business
manager at Vernon Park Primary in
Stockport. All procurement should be
assessed to make sure that it’s in line
with the school development plan
(SDP) and is the best long-term option.
This approach can also help you to
identify economies of scale within
your school; for example, if you need
an urgent plastering job done in one
room, check your SDP to see if other
classrooms are due to be refurbished
soon, and get them all done at once.
Test-run the product or
service with the people
who will actually be using it, suggests
the Chartered Institute of Purchasing
and Supply’s (CIPS) Emma Scott.
“I’ve seen some offices bring in half a
dozen people to sit in the chairs
they’re considering,” she says.
Use your time cannily
Concentrate your attention on
areas where your efforts will
get you the most bang for your buck,
Emma says. Start by looking at
straightforward commodities – in
other words, things that the school
knows that it will need and which can
be bought from a wide variety of
vendors, such as pens and exercise
books. “Find a supplier, get a decent
price and arrange a deal that covers
two, three or even five years,” she says.
“This will then free you up to spend
more time and energy in areas that are
more complex or involve bigger sums,
such as electricity.”
Join a network of schools to
share information and take
advantage of “buy in bulk and save”
deals, says Lisa Barratt, the school
Budget cuts here, spending pressure
there: it’s never been more important
for schools to think about how to get
the best deals. Carly Chynoweth asks
the experts for their 10 top tips
business manager at Brambleside
Community Primary. She is part of an
email network connecting bursars in
Northamptonshire. “When we send
out a request for information about a
particular product or supplier we get
at least three or four responses from
other schools telling us what they
used, who was good and who wasn’t,”
she says. Lisa also uses the network to
defray the cost of training. Recently
the school was quoted about £1,000
to bring in trainers for a day; however,
by selling places on the course to
teachers at other schools, Brambleside’s
own costs were covered and the other
schools got the training much more
cheaply than bringing the trainers in
to their own site.
Cost isn’t everything
“You may not want to go for
the cheapest product every
time,” Emma Scott says. “With chairs, for
example, you will also want to know
that they are safe, durable, that they will
46-47 procurement 2.indd 46 24/2/12 13:39:07
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS 47
work with other furniture and so forth.”
Delivery time and reliability are also
factors, Tracey says. “For example, can
the contractor do the work before or
after school? If I’m buying building
work the first question I ask is whether
they can do it in August.” Look at the
lifetime cost, including maintenance and
supplies, not just the up front price, adds
Melanie Teal, the CEO of Consortia, an
education buying business. “And don’t
fragment your business by buying from
lots of different suppliers,” she says. Each
individual price may look cheaper that
way but if you aggregate you will be in
a better position to negotiate.
E-auctions – where suppliers
bid to offer the best deal they
can in response to a school’s tender
– can be very effective, particularly for
straightforward products. If you have
a buying card that allows you to buy
online, use it, Tracey says. But even if
you don’t, use the prices you find on G
schools, or tell you about cheaper
non-branded products, Melanie says.
But don’t feel that you need to be
loyal to any one supplier, adds Lisa,
or you may not get the best deal.
“It’s a good idea to have a bank of
good, reliable suppliers so that you
can choose the best one for a
Be more professional
“Employ a school business
manager, or share one with
another school,” Tracey says. Emma
adds: “Get third party help for more
complex buying. With something like
energy, prices fluctuate enormously and
if you tie yourself into a deal you may
end up paying too much.”
However, there are a number of
companies and consortia that
will manage the relationship
for you to ensure that the
school stays on the lowest
appropriate tariff as prices
change, she says.
“You can get a long way with
reduce, reuse and recycle,”
Tracey says. “Monitoring energy use
also helps; people know that they
should be switching off lights and so
on, but it’s good to be able to remind
Do background checks
You don’t want a company to
go bust before repairing your
roof or delivering the new computers
you’ve paid for, Emma says, so take the
time to run a background check
before you sign the deal. This should
include a credit check and an online
search to see if other customers have
complained about poor service.
For more information and advice
on procurement, please visit the
following NAHT weblinks:
Budget cutting: bit.ly/yXL66b
Procuring technology: bit.ly/wCJe1L
Direct procurement: bit.ly/yNJnwU
Procurement in schools: bit.ly/wkBDA4
Holding the Purse Strings: the
commissioning children’s services
the internet as a negotiating point.
Bryan Plumb, a director of bee-it,
directs schools towards The Hive
– a group buying service that allows
schools to club together to get bulk-
buy discounts on specific pieces of
technology if enough school sign up.
Talk to your suppliers
“People still don’t remember
to negotiate,” Tracey says. “If
you get a quote and don’t go back
and say ‘is that the best price you can
offer?’, you won’t get the best price.”
Negotiation should extend to terms
of supply, adds Emma Scott. “For
example, if you can afford to pay
early, ask for a rebate. If you need
longer payment terms, perhaps
because of the way your funding is
received, negotiate accordingly.”
Developing a good relationship with
regular suppliers also allows you to
get information from them; they can
benchmark the amount you spend
on a particular product against other
46-47 procurement 2.indd 47 24/2/12 13:39:18
48 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ●MARCH/APRIL 2012
The latest products, books and teaching resources
g Pasi Sahlberg
g Teachers’ College
What can the
world learn from
educational change in Finland?
Written by a Finn who has taught
in Finland and now works at the
Finnish Ministry of Education and
Culture, the book tells how Finland
transformed its educational system.
The main message is that there is
another way to improve education
without using tougher competition,
more data and external testing of
students. Instead, it argues for
improving the teaching force,
limited testing and handing over
school- and district-level leadership
to education professionals.
• See also Russell Hobby, page 15.
Serving the community Ser rv vin ng g t th he e c coom mmmmuunit ty Ser rv vin ng g t th he e c coom mmmmuunit ty
This summer, 30,000 16-year-olds will have the chance to learn new T s u e 3 , y a o d w l a e h c a c t l a e Th his ssum mm mer 30 0 000 16-ye ear-ol lds will hhav ve tthe e ch han nce e to o le earn n n new
skills and get involved in their community through a programme k l a d e i vo v d n h r om u i r u h o r mm ski ills an nd ggett involveed iin tthe eir ccommm mun nity y th hro oug gh aa p prog gra amm me
called National Citizen Service. The scheme, which takes place at c e a o a C i n S v e T e c em h h a e p ac c e a o a C i n S v e T e c em h h a e p ac
the end of Year 11 and in a number of different locations across h n o Y a 1 a d n b r f i e e c t n a r s h n o Y a 1 a d n b r f i e e c t n a r s
England, aims to develop the skills of teenagers and encourage them Engla and d, aims s to o d dev velo op the e skillls o of t tee enagerrs aand d enco our rage t them E l n m e e p h i f e n e s n e c u a h m
to become responsible citizens. The programme will run for three to be eco ome e re esp pon nsib ble cit tize ens s. T The e pr roggram mm me wil ll run for th hre ee o b c m s o s l c z n h p o am e w n fo r e
weeks full-time, including two weeks away from home, and 30 hours we eek ks f full-tim me e, in nclu udiing g tw wo weeek ks a awaay ffrom home e, a and d 30 0 hours t d t 3
volunteering on a part-time basis. Participants will get the chance to vo olun nteering onn a pa art--tim me baasis. Pa articip pan nts wi ill ggett th he c cha anc ce tto t t i b i P t l t h
take part in activities like canoeing and abseiling. tak ke par rt i in a act tivit ties s like canoein ng a and d abse eiling. . i
On Her Majesty’s silver service OOn n H Her r M MMa aje es sty yss si ilv ve er se er rv vic ce OOn n H Her r M MMa aje es sty y’s ’s si ilv ve er se er rv vic cee
British Food Fortnight is inviting UK schools to enter a r s F o F r ig t v n UK c o o n r BBrit tish h Fo ood d Fo ortnnigh ht i is in nvit tingg U UK s scho ools t to e ente er a
competition to design a menu fit for the Queen om t o e gn a e u it o t e u e commpetit tion n to o d desi ign a m men nu fit for r th he Q Que een
to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. Four winning schools to c celeebr ratee he er D Dia amo ondd Ju ubile ee. Four w win nnin ng schhoo ols o e b at h r i m n J b e F r w n g c o s
will get the opportunity to have their menu prepared will ge et t the op ppo ortuunitty tto h hav ve ttheir m men nu p pre epared w g t h o p rt n y o a e h e u r p e
at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace in June. at aa sp pec cial ceremmon ny at BBuc ckin ngh ham m Pa alacce iin Junee. t s e a c e o y t u k g a P a e n n
The competition, which is open to all 10- to 15-year-old The c commpe etit tion n, w whic ch i is o ope en t to a all 10 0- t to 1 15-y yeaar-o old T o p t o h h p o l o 5 e d
schoolchildren in the UK, asks that schools create a schhoo olch hild dren n in n th he U UK, , asks t tha at scho ool ls creaate a i t K h h
menu to include both savoury and sweet dishes. me enu u to o inclu ude bo oth sav vouury and s sweeet dis shes s. t i l d b t t d h
They should also use ingredients that strongly Th hey sho oul ld a alsoo us se ingrreddien nts tha at sstro ongly h d h
represent their region. All dishes need to be in reepre ese ent the eir reggion n. A All ddish hes ne eed to o be e in n h l b
the form of canapés, which will be served at the th he f form o of c cannapés, wh hich h w will be serrved a at th he
reception. Closing date for entries is 30 April. reecep ptio on. Clo osing dat te f for en ntrie es is 30 0 A April.
g q g q fortnight/cook-for-the-queen
The future for science The e fu ut tuure e foor r s sc cie en nce The e fu ut tuure e foor r s sc cie en nce
Futurecade is an online game suite from u u d a e g o Futtureca ade e is s an n o online gaame e su uite e fromm
the Science Museum that’s aimed at h i n e M e m t a m d a the e Scie enc ce MMuseuumm th hat’ ’s aaimed at
getting teenagers to explore how science e t g e n g s o e p r h w s e c getttin ng tee ena age ers to explo ore ho ow scien nce
and technology affects their everyday n c n l g a e t t e e e d y and d tech hno olo ogy y af ffec cts thheir r evverryday
lives. It features four games: Bacto-Lab, v s t e t e f u g m s B t - a v s t e t e f u g m s B t - a
Robo-Lobster, Cloud Control and Space Roboo-Lo obs ster, CClo oud Co ont tro ol and Sp pace Rob L b t l u C n r d S a
Junker. They are designed to engage young JJun nke er. T The ey aare e de esig gne ed to en nga age yo ounng u k h y r d s n d o e g ge y u g
people in robotics, satellites and space people in r robbot tics s, sa ateellittes an nd s spa ace pe e n o o c t l e a d p c
junk, geo-engineering and synthetic biology. jjun nk, geo-e eng gine eer ring g and syynth het tic bio olo ogy. k d b l
The suite has been created and tested with The s suit te h has s be een n creaatedd a and d te este ed with T b t t d h
input from scientists and teenagers and inp put t fro om m sc cien ntis sts an nd t tee ena agers aand d f d
it is designed to stimulate discussion by it is d design ned d to o st tim mula atee discuussionn by d
embracing different learning styles. Related em mbr racing dif ffe eren nt l lea arning sty yle es. R Rel late ed
teacher resources are available from the websites below. tea ach her ressouurces are e av vailab ble fro om the w webbsit tes s be elo ow.
g g g sciencemuseum.org.uk/futurecadelearning
The author argues
that a transformation
in education is needed if we are to
live sustainably. He believes that
school is the perfect place to learn
how to live using finite resources.
He describes and compares other
sustainable living programmes that
are being carried out around the
world including Sweden’s Forest
Schools and China’s Green Schools.
He also offers ideas on how
schools can make a contribution to
solving the ‘ecological crisis’.
• See page 40 for details of Paul’s
work with schools in Burnley.
They T ey
48-49 whats new 2.indd 48 24/2/12 13:23:53
MARCH/APRIL 2012 ●LEADERSHIP FOCUS 49
Joanna Barsh and
This book began as a research
project and was launched by global
management consultancy McKinsey
& Company. The project was a
collection of more than 100 oral
histories of top women leaders
from different regions, age groups
and career paths. The result is an
assortment of stories from varying
perspectives. The book clearly aims
to inspire other women, to dispute
leadership stereotypes and to
challenge leadership issues. It also
reveals what drives these women
and how they maintain their roles
and their success.
First came the Skoog, now Skoogtöo Firsst ccammmee t the e Sko oo og g, nnow ww S Skko oo ogttö öo Firsst ccammmee t the e Sko oo og g nnow wwS Skko oo ogttö öo o
Launched in 2010, the Skoog was a musical invention like no other, , g LLau unc che ed in 2 2010 0, t the e Sk kooog w was a musicall inv venntio on like e n no o oth her,
aiding learning for children with special needs through an interactive i n l ar n r h d e w th s e a e d t r u h n n r t e aidingg le earn ning g fo or chi ildr ren wi ith sp pecial nee eds s th hro ouggh aan iinte era active
box of musical instruments. For 2012, the Skoog team has come up o u c s um n o 2 2 t k o t m h s om u bbox x o of mmus sica al in nsttrum me ents s F For 2012 the S Sko oog team m ha as ccomme up
with a variation – Skoogtöo. It’s a software platform for interactive w h v r t n k o ö . a o w r p at o m o e c v wit th aa va aria atio on – S Sko oog gtöoo I It’s a s sofftware e pl latf form f for r intter racttive
whiteboards and touchscreens that opens up the Skoog to the entire w t b ar s n t u h c e s h p n u t e k o t e e i w t b ar s n t u h c e s h p n u t e k o t e e i
class and aims to provide a learning class s an nd aim ms t to pro ovid de a learrnin ng c s a d i s o p v e a a n g
environment that helps children en nvironnment t th hat t he elps s child dre en e v o m n t a h p i r n
to explore music through play and to o expl lore e m mus sic thr rouugh play and t p o u c h o g p y an
discovery. The software combines iscoveery y. The softw war re ccommbi ine T t b
performing, composing, listening, perf form min ng, coomp pos sing g, liste ening, ,
reviewing and evaluating in reevie ewing g an nd evaalua atin ng in d
one easy package. oonee ea asy pa acka age e.
Signs of the times SSiigns s o of f t th he e t tim me es s SSiigns s o of f t th he e t tim me es
ITV BabySign is a free online video guide T B b S n f e o n d o u e IITV V Ba aby ySig gn iis aa freee online e vide eo gguide
to using simplified sign language, based o s g i p f d g n u e b e to uusin ng sim mplifie ed ssignn la ang guag ge baased d
on British Sign Language, to improve n B i g L n u e t i p ov on British h S Sign n La ang guag ge to o im mpr rove
communication between young children o u c ti n e w e y u g h d n o u c ti n e w e y u g h d n
and their carers. The website provides and d th heir r ca arers. The w webbsit te p pro ovid des n t e c r s T e s e r i e
tips and advice to those new to signing, tips s an nd adv vice to t tho ose new w t to s sign ning, p a d d i o h e n w o g i
starting with basic words and moving on star rtinng w wit th b basic w wordss an nd mo ovin ng o on t t g w h a c wo d a d m v g n
to using sentences, with written tutorials tto u usin ng sennte ence es, with writte en tuttori ials t h tt
accompanying the videos. The guide is aacc commpa any ying g th he v videos. T The e gu uide e is s t i h d
split into categories to help users search sspli it in nto o ca ateggorries s to o he elp p us serss se earcch h l h
for different signs. Suggestions for signs ffor diffferennt sign ns. S Sug gge estio ons s fo or s sign ns d f f
not already available can be requested. nnot t alreaady y av vaila able c can be e re equest ted d
y g y g itvbabysign.com
Skype in the classroom Skyyppe e i in n t th he e c cla as ssrrooo om Skyyppe e i in n t th he e c cla as ssrrooo om m
Skype in the Classroom is a free global p e o e g o a Sky ype e in n th he Cla assr rooom is a f free e gl lob bal
community that invites teachers to com u i a i v e te c e comm mun nityy that t in nvit tes tea ach her rs to
collaborate on classroom projects and co a o a n a s om r e t a d collabbor ratee o on cclas ssrooom m p pro ojec cts an nd
share skills and inspiration. It offers a quick h r s l a d n i t n I o e q c sha are e sk killss an nd inspira atio on It off ffer rs aa qu uick k
way to help students discover cultures, w y o e p tu e t d c v r u u s w y o e p tu e t d c v r u u s
languages and ideas, all without leaving the lan ngu uage es and d id dea as, all wit tho out t leaving th a g ag s n e s l w h u l v g t
classroom. The website provides project cla assr rooom. . Th he w we ebsi ite pro oviide es p proj jec c s o m T e w b e p v d o e
examples and resources to help new users, exa am mple es a and d re eso ourc cess to o he elp p ne ew use ers, e mp s n s u e t h l n w u r
as well as fresh ideas for regulars. Once a as we ell aas f fres sh ideeas for re egu ular rs. O Onnce a l h d f O
profile is set up, projects can be created pro ofil le is se et up, pr roje ect ts c can be e cr reaatedd f t b
and then partner teachers, classes or and t then p parttne er t teache ers, cl lassses orr h h
guest speakers found to contribute to guest t sp pea akers ffou und d to o co ont trib but te t to k
the learning activity. Users can also browse the e le earninng a activit ty. Use ers s ca an a alsoo b brow wsee
through previous projects for inspiration. thr rouughh pr reviou us p pro ojec cts for r in nspirat tion.
I Can Make
Hypnotist Paul McKenna claims
he can help you get the most
out of your academic abilities and
increase your capacity for learning
with his book, which includes two
hypnosis CDs. The book states
that it will teach you how to
‘increase intelligence, supercharge
your memory, improve
concentration and help you to
make smarter decisions’. By
practising the techniques and
listening to the CDs, you should
be able to train yourself to use
more of your mind’s potential.
48-49 whats new 2.indd 49 24/2/12 13:39:38
50 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● MARCH/APRIL 2012
AND FINALLY SUSAN YOUNG
There’s just one place in schools where
you’re less likely to find a woman than
a man: the head teacher’s office. And
the reasons why have been fascinating
academic researchers for years.
This research is not always well-
known to its subjects but, by a happy
coincidence, I’ve been given a sneak
preview of a paper by Dr Marianne
Coleman that analyses four decades of
leadership and diversity research.
The research is derived from the
archives of the Belmas journal (that’s
the British Educational Leadership,
Management and Administration
Society) and it makes fascinating reading.
Marianne’s work suggests that
discrimination was often linked to
stereotypes: women heads were seen
to be worse at discipline and financial
management, for example.
Then there’s the Catch-22 situation
known as the ‘femininity/competence
bind’. This is the belief that women
can’t be leaders because they are too
feminine, but if they act in a masculine
fashion they are not ‘proper women’
and are therefore also unacceptable.
In other words, women are damned if
they behave the way that women are
expected to, and damned if they don’t.
More recent research has shifted its
focus from the barriers themselves to
ways in which they can be overcome.
Mentoring and networking have
proved useful, while some researchers
have suggested leadership training
aimed at specific groups of ‘outsiders’.
Outsiders seems a startling word to
describe half of the human race, but
women candidates can seem that way
to governors whose mental image of
a head is a (white) man in a suit.
Perhaps more promisingly, a new
research strand appears to be emerging:
‘agency’, or how women are actively
choosing not to become leaders.
A recent study by Dr Joan Smith,
a lecturer in education at the
University of Leicester, suggests that
women may be making ‘conscious and
positive choices which may be at odds
with the hierarchical notions of career.’
The study was designed to look at
and understand what factors affected
the likelihood of women aspiring to,
applying for and achieving a position
as a head teacher.
Joan found that barriers still exist,
and she provides a depressing list
that includes ‘gendered socialisation’,
motherhood, overt and covert
workplace discrimination – and
also the alienation of women from
the masculine culture and values
“Hierarchical career progression is
constructed as normal and desirable,
and the implication is that if women
are not progressing to senior leadership
positions in great numbers, this must
be due to identifiable impediments to
women’s progression,” she says.
In interviewing 40 female
educational professionals for her
research Joan, found two basic career
approaches: self-defined or externally
defined paths. Within this there were
sub-groups in the first for planners
and pupil-centred or politicised leaders,
and in the second for protégées,
pragmatists and protesters.
Twenty of the educational
professionals were ‘pupil-centred’ and
had chosen to remain in the classroom.
The next largest-group contained the
pragmatists, who were willing to seek
promotion, but only if they could
manage it alongside their other
responsibilities, notably childcare.
The 10 head teachers that she spoke
to shared interesting characteristics.
Most had planned their careers, at least
in part, and eight were ‘politicised’,
with “a need to attain senior positions
in order to effect positive changes
school-wide. They therefore aim for
positions of maximum influence.”
What do you make of all this?
Is there a burning issue in school
leadership that you think is being
ignored? You can contact me at
Also, Belmas encourages heads
to carry out their own academic
research, as membership is open to
school leaders as well as academics.
Clearing the way forward
Women in school leadership can find themselves in a Catch-22 situation
50 And finally 2.indd 50 24/2/12 13:40:08
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011 ●LEADERSHIP FOCUS
Accept Visa payments to make your life easier.
It’s quicker than banking a cheque and better for cash ﬂow as funds are usually
received within 2-4 business days. It also oﬀers parents more payment
choice and flexibility, allowing them to pay in person, over the phone or
online 24/7. So to make payments for school fees, uniforms, trips or clubs
easier for everyone, swot up on how Visa could help you and your school.
To ﬁnd out how your school can accept Visa, visit visa.co.uk/schools
Life flows better with Visa
LFO.03.12.051.indd 51 16/2/12 15:52:21
52 LEADERSHIP FOCUS ● NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011
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