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A Comparative Study of Educational Leadership Development and Qualifications in the Czech Republic and England

Brendan Murden, Mark Brundrett, Lenka Slavkov, Stanislav Karabec, Ann Dering and Maria Nicolaidou

The development of educational leadership programmes and qualifications has become an international phenomenon in recent years. This article is one of a series that springs out of a British Council sponsored conference held in the Czech Republic in 2003, organized jointly by the Educational Management Centre of the Faculty of Education at Charles University, Prague and the Centre for Educational Leadership of the Faculty of Education at The University of Manchester. One of the key aims of the conference was to develop a dialogue on the topic of educational leadership development between European nations. This article attempts to map the content and structure of such qualifications in the Czech Republic and England.

The structure of the article is based around a brief historical evocation of the nature of the education system and the associated methods of educational leadership training and development in each nation, followed by a comparative meta-analysis of the key overall emergent themes that can be distilled from these national experiences.

Education and Educational leadership development in the Czech Republic

As in many other European countries, the education system in the Czech Republic developed during the 19th and 20th centuries as a centralized system, with the government in the decision-making role. Slavkov et al (2003) identify three key stages in the development of the Czech educational system that bear close relation to the changing political situation and the role and nature of the preparation of school leaders. Between 1867 to 1945 (the period of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy and the independent Czech state after 1918) compulsory eight-year education free fouryear teacher training at educational facilities was established. From 1948 to 1990 (the period of communist domination) the educational system was characterized by a

highly centralized administration based on the totalitarian principles of communist ideology (Svecova, 2000: 127). Headteachers were appointed by the relevant Regional National Committee and membership of the Communist Party playing a major role in the likelihood of success. Headteachers responsibilities and some school management issues were partly defined by a series of Education Acts which removed many of the headteachers powers in the domains of school management. In 1976 the headteacher was made responsible for the ideological, educational and professional standards of the educational process and for the schools performance. During this period teachers in-service education and training was directed by the Czech Ministry of the Interior (Sayer et al, 1995)..

From 1990 to the present (the period of transformation after the fall of the communist regime) the current transformation and development were based, in part, on experience gathered by developed European countries (Slavkov and Karabac, 2003: 45). The existing rigid central administrative grip on school management was loosened, schools gained a substantial amount of autonomy, and headteachers were granted basic decision-making powers. As a concomitant of the 1990 Act large numbers of managerial staff at all levels were replaced. Headteachers were to perform a new, rather difficult task: to execute state administration at their schools and the headteacher became responsible for: compliance with the teaching plan and curriculum; schools professional and educational standards; effective use of school facilities; creating favourable conditions for school inspections; inspecting performance of teachers and other school personnel; and students learning achievements.

The National Programme for Development in Education, The White Book, was adopted by the Czech Government on February 7th, 2001, which promoted training for managerial staff and encouraged headteachers to be aware of the fact that no fundamental change in school culture can be effected unless they invite committed teachers into the decision-making process. The adoption of the Concept of In-Service Training of Managerial Staff at Schools and School-Type Facilities, was a key event in the development of school leaders since it identified 3 types of education specific management development training.

Positional Training I is compulsory management development training for recently appointed headteachers, for deputy headteachers, or candidates who wish to submit to the selection procedure for a managerial position. The course encompasses 60 hours of instruction, 60 hours of participants self-study, and a four-day study visit to another school. The scope of PT I is based on the key professional competences of managerial staff at schools and is structured into 4 modules including: the basics of law; labour law; school funding; and organization of the school and the educational process. Positional Training II (PT II) is designed for managerial staff who have held such a position for 5 years or more and should provide the participants with a deeper theoretical background and related practical skills necessary for efficient management and development of schools in line with the needs of the community and the region. The training course is scheduled for 2 years, encompassing a total of 364 hours of combined training and is structured into 6 basic modules including: School management theory and practice; Law; Economic and financial management; Educational process control and management; Leadership; and Managerial practice. Other in-service training of managerial staff in the educational sector encompasses any managerial staff training except for positional training and advanced study. It serves to extend and/or deepen the managers knowledge and skills in various areas, usually respecting his or her current needs. Such training provides the trainees with knowledge and skills they need within the context of the school and its plans, which they did not gain within the positional training or advanced study. The training course content is not directly controlled by the Ministry of Education and can encompass a variety of problems. Other advanced training of managerial staff in the education sector, which is highly diversified, is provided by various institutions: advanced study facilities, universities, secondary schools of education, foundations and companies.

Positional Training I is organized by educational centres, which are controlled centrally by the Ministry of Education. Specialists at the Ministry have trained the trainers for the individual modules. Evaluation tools have been developed for the assessment of both the trainers and the study scope contents through a pilot project. Positional Training II was tested by the School Management Centre, at the Charles University in Prague through a pilot project, encompassing both combined learning and distance learning, and has been implemented at university level. Initial experiences with the proposed Positional Training I and II, suggest that this is the 3

most comprehensive form of school management training in the Czech Republic (Slavkov et al, 2003: 14).

Educational leadership development in England

England can neither boast nor bemoan quite such dramatic shifts in national or educational governance as can be evinced in the Czech Republic but a number of accounts, and associated models, of the evolving development of school leadership programmes have been offered (see, for instance, Bolam, 1997; 2003; Brundrett, 2000; 2001), one of the most recent, and most persuasive, of which is that by Bolam (2004) which provided a construction that included three phases: ad hoc provision in the 1960s and early 1970s; towards coherence and coordination in the 1970s, 80s and 90s; and a national college from 2002.

During the first period the James Report (1972) identified the emerging need for more effective in-service training throughout the education sector. The imperative for a structured ladder of training provision in all phases and at all levels of the education system was not to be addressed for many years. However, there were a small number of initiatives that paved the way for future provision. For instance the Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management (CCEAM) and the British Educational Management and Administrative Society (now British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society) were founded in 1971 and 1972 respectively. Higher degree programmes with elements of Educational Management began to appear in the 1970s (Bush, 1999: 239) and, by the 1980s, taught higher degrees in educational management became an increasingly important part of the portfolio of University courses in England. It may be, however, that this eventual interconnection between the academic and the professional and practical emerged somewhat too late to meet the developing government agenda to raise the achievement and the performance of the English school system. Department of Education and Science (DES) Circular 3/83 identified educational management training as one of four priorities for teacher training and the DES consequently introduced the most influential school leadership training project of the 1980s to be known as the One Term Training Opportunities (OTTOs). These were available to headteachers and senior staff to enable them to adapt to the

increasingly difficult and complicated tasks of management (Huber, 2001). At the same time the National Development Centre for School Management Training (NDC) was established at the School of Education at the University of Bristol to stimulate management training and research. Again the range, quality and pattern of provision was mixed and the substantial impact required nationally was not forthcoming. By the end of the 1980s, however, the National Development Centre had been closed down and the government had set up a School Management Task Force. The Task Force was to report on a more effective national strategy for training headteachers and school staff with management roles. Its two key recommendations were for the better integration of in-school and offsite development and for the pooling of expertise nationally.

The OTTO scheme proved to be only a foretaste of the massive state intervention that occurred from the mid-1990s when the focus shifted to the increasingly influential national programmes which changed significantly the power relationship between the governmental and regulatory authorities and the providers of in-service training (Brundrett, 2001: 237). The remit for the development and management of these programmes originally fell to the Teacher Training Agency (TTA), was held briefly under the direct control the Department for Education and Skills, and subsequently transferred to the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) which commenced its activities in temporary premises at the University of Nottingham in 2000 before moving to purpose-built premises on the same site in 2002. The NCSL was established to ensure that our current and future school leaders develop the skills, the capability and capacity to lead and transform the school education system into the best in the world (DFEE, 2001). At a pragmatic level the NCSL plays a pivotal role in the co-ordination of national programmes of school leadership development and oversees the development and delivery of courses and qualifications. It aims to combine the intellectual, professional and practical development of school leaders, drawing on best practice, while supporting an ongoing discourse about school leadership that will inform its work (Earley, 2002). NCSLs corporate plan for 2002/06 put in place the largest educational leadership development programme in the world by 2004 (NCSL, 2001b).

In 2001 NCSL produced the Leadership Development Framework, which outlined five areas of leadership development linked to a series of core and extension programmes including: emergent leaders for people who are beginning to take on formal leadership roles; established leaders experienced deputy and assistant headteachers who have decided not to pursue headship; advanced leaders headteachers with four or more years experience can attend the Leadership Programme for Serving Headteachers (LPSH); and consultant leaders experienced headteachers and other leaders who wish to take on the responsibility for the future development of school leadership (NCSL, 2001c). In essence this framework encapsulated and enlarged the construction that had emerged during the previous six years of development which had come to be based around preparatory, induction and further training for headteachers.

Central to this construction was a triad of innovative programmes that are enumerated below. The Headteachers Leadership and Management Programme (HEADLAMP) was the first of the headship development programmes to be introduced and commenced operation in 1995. Its key aim was to provide funds to support the cost of developing the leadership and management abilities of headteachers appointed to their first permanent headship (TTA, 1999). The HEADLAMP programme enabled a considerable degree of flexibility for headteachers and governors in their choice of training and training provider (Busher and Paxton, 1997: 121). The HEADLAMP scheme came under review when it was found that there was insufficient focus on leadership in context and variability in the quality of programmes (Newsome, 2003). The decision about replacement programmes was publicly announced by the NCSL in 2003 and the Headteachers Induction Programme (HIP), designed to replace HEADLAMP, commenced in that year. The National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH), which arrived in 1997, was a complex, centrally controlled but regionally delivered, programme of training and development with an allied, but separate, system of assessment (Brundrett, 2001). In response to robust criticisms (see Bush, 1998: 328) the NPQH was completely restructured in 2000 following a major review with new contractors being appointed to offer the revised scheme which commenced in 2001 (NCSL, 2001a). The new scheme is much more competency based and is more focused on schools with a school-based assessment process which is more challenging, individualised and focused on school improvement (Tomlinson, 6

2004: 231) and these transformations enabled the DfES to make the qualification mandatory for all headteachers from 2004. The Leadership Programme for Serving Headteachers (LPSH) scheme offered even tighter centralised control than had the NPQH programme was designed to encompass a three-stage process including: self diagnosis; a four-day residential workshop; and follow-up support through Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), coaching and mentoring and is underpinned by a Leadership Effectiveness Model developed by the Hay Group that encompassed the four circles of: job requirements; the context for school improvement; leadership styles; and individual characteristics. This is a very different model from the National Standards that underpin its two sister programmes since it concentrates on leadership effectiveness and performance and encompasses a very different approach to measuring leadership capacity than does NPQH final assessment (Tomlinson, 2004: 235).

The functions and activities of the NCSL include not only the preparation, induction and development of headship initiatives but also include a wide number of other programmes and initiatives including: Leading from the Middle; online learning and networks information including Talking Heads and Virtual Heads; affiliated regional centres; research and development projects; and the Networked Learning Communities scheme (Bolam, 2004: 260). This rapid expansion in activity is both an achievement and a weakness. An end to end review of the NCSL, presented in 2004, noted its very significant, even remarkable, achievements but called for a streamlining the NCSLs efforts to increasing its impact , through greater role clarity, outcome focus, goal clarity and efficiency (DfES/ NCSL, 2004: 5). This was reechoed by the Minister of Education who called for greater precision, discipline, outcome-focus, and depth in the future work of the College (Minister of State for Education, 2004: 2) and laid out a series of core priorities for its activities. This may be a precursor of some overall and inherent challenge of sustainability identified by Bolam (2004: 260).

Education leadership programmes tend to reflect the central intellectual and social concerns of the wider society in the host nation (Brundrett, 2001). As such concerns

change and mutate, programmes of educational leadership development are reconceptualised and refocused. In both the Czech Republic and England the history of such development is finely attuned to changes in broader policy, intellectual change and geo-political shifts in doctrine and national governance. In some senses there is a striking correspondence between developments in each nation that mirror contemporary engagement with standards based, competency led systems of training that stand to one side, but interrelate with, older traditions embodied in academic programmes. Most crucially, both nations have chosen to invest in the development educational leaders as a means of driving up achievement in schools.

It is increasingly accepted that the provision in England for the development and support of educational leaders is some of the most complete and focused provision worldwide (Huber and West, 2005). By contrast the nascent framework for leadership development in the Czech Republic remains fragmented and unsystematic (Slavikova and Karabac, 2003: 50) but with strong emergent and intellectually challenging practice based in individual institutions.

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