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The congruence needed for Academic success

First the Government introduced a qualification for headteachers. Now plans are about to be announced for a professional certificate for subject leaders. The crucial role that heads of department play in improving schools.

AT SCHOOL LEVEL

Clear leadership by the headteacher

An effective senior management team

Academic emphasis

Shared visiongoals

High expectations

Consistency in approach

Parental support and involvement

A student-centred approach.

IN A DEPARTMENT

Clear leadership by head of department

Academic emphasisShared visiongoals

High expectations

Consistency in approach

Student-centred approach.

IN THE CLASSROOM

Quality of teaching

Academic emphasis

High expectations.

In schools that are doing well, academic emphasis and high expectations are found at all three levels - school, departmental and in the classroom - while consistency, shared vision and goals and a student-centred approach are found at school and departmental level. Both senior and middle management can influence academic effectiveness through the leadership of the headteacher, the senior management team and the heads of departments.

A safe, orderly school environment and a clear and consistently applied school policy on behaviour appeared to be necessary, although they are not in themselves sufficient conditions for academic effectiveness. In the same way effective schools are not simply schools with effective teachers.

The findings point to the importance of three aspects of school and departmental culture: behaviour; academic emphasis; a student-focused approach.

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