The 25 Ways series: Retro Response #1

This is the first in what I hope to be a regular spot here on ICT in Education. Terry has kindly invited me to respond some of  the articles in his series ’25 things to Make Yourself Unpopular’. The posts will be like an extended comment & I hope you will feel able to comment on them & visit me over at The Head’s Office.


 (the original article '25 Ways... #5')via Panjeajoe

Over the past 10-12 years there has been a great emphasis on leadership & management & they are often terms that seem interchangeable. Training courses for aspiring leaders were on offer all over the place & it was sign that you wanted to progress in your career if you asked to go on one of them.  Here in the UK we are obsessed with inspections & Ofsted have separate judgements for L&M which over the years have increased in importance & relevance to the final judgement of the school.

Initially, leadership in school was regarded as limited to the Head teacher & Senior Leadership team. Gradually, there has been a move to try &include more people in the ‘leadership bracket’ almost as if it is a real sign of greatness that you are a leader.  Curriculum managers have now become curriculum leaders.( Interestingly, in my experience that change of title has included an expectation of remuneration.)In some quarters class teachers are hailed as leaders in their classrooms. Is this appropriate? Terry’s article talks about leaders who don’t manage but in a classroom that would be impossible surely!

In many ways it is almost as if leadership & management are part of the same hierarchical list with management being lower than leadership. That would imply that you can’t be a leader without being a manager & if you aspire to reach the top your ultimate goal should be leadership.

We all know that different skills are needed but I agree with Terry that  you do need to have some understanding of what the management would entail to really be able to have a successful project

Terry points to the problem of leaders who have no understanding of what work the project entails & how such projects often fail because the ‘doing’ has not been pinned down. To refer back to the classroom, if the necessary equipment is  not given out & the work isn’t marked then success will not come to the children.

We have all known people who come in with THE idea, who really do see the big picture. However if they do not have at least some understanding that there needs to be some fine detail to back it up it will remain an idea. The key is to know the difference & not merge them. But that is for another post!

Julia Skinner is a retired primary headteacher living in Bristol in the South West of England. She is very involved in class blogging and the use of social media in schools.

You can catch up on the other posts in the series by clicking on that link!