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Blue Skye thinking

Early lead from Columba

The study was based on 69 responses from 71 primary and secondary headteachers and deputy headteachers who made up five cohorts taking part in the programme. It included interviews before and after two days'

preparatory work in Edinburgh followed by a six-day residential course at Staffin on Skye.

The first interviews - before the residential course - showed that many headteachers felt that external factors such as the home, deprivation, peer pressure and parent influence had a greater impact on achievement than the school. Post-Columba, however, many reported:

* A greater willingness to listen to and consult staff.

* The use of non-directive coaching skills to empower staff to take responsibility and decisions.

* Being more confident and affirmative.

* Greater use of delegation.

* Improved communication.

The researchers found that the Columba programme had created a greater resolution to overcome barriers and a greater individual focus for participants on their leadership and management approaches and practices.

They concluded: "In principle, this should provide a mechanism and a channel for achieving some of the changes that are envisaged under Determined to Succeed."

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