Does your head meet these new ethical standards?

New framework includes seven principles and personal characteristics for leaders in education

ethics, schools, leadership, framework, ascl, commission, off-rolling

A high-powered commission has published a new ethical framework to guide the actions of education leaders.

The code, published today, is the product of work by a panel that was set up by the Association of School and College Leaders in 2017.

Carolyn Roberts, a London head who chaired the ethical leadership commission, said: “We all have a duty to behave ethically, but the bar for school and college leaders is particularly high because they are setting the standards for the young people in their care and in turn the sort of society that we become in the future."

She has previously set out how the code could help tackle "willy-nilly" off-rolling and exam gaming.

The Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education sets out the following seven principles:

Selflessness: School and college leaders should act solely in the interest of children and young people.

Integrity: School and college leaders must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. Before acting and taking decisions, they must declare and resolve openly any perceived conflict of interest and relationships.

Objectivity: School and college leaders must act and take decisions impartially and fairly, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias. Leaders should be dispassionate, exercising judgement and analysis for the good of children and young people.

Accountability: School and college leaders are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.

Openness: School and college leaders should expect to act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from scrutiny unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.

Honesty: School and college leaders should be truthful.

Leadership: School and college leaders should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles, and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs. Leaders include both those who are paid to lead schools and colleges and those who volunteer to govern them.

The commission has also published a further seven personal characteristics or virtues that leaders should show:

Trust | leaders are trustworthy and reliable
We hold trust on behalf of children and should be beyond reproach. We are honest about our motivations.

Wisdom | leaders use experience, knowledge and insight
We demonstrate moderation and self-awareness. We act calmly and rationally. We serve our schools and colleges with propriety and good sense.

Kindness | leaders demonstrate respect, generosity of spirit, understanding and good temper
We give difficult messages humanely where conflict is unavoidable.

Justice | leaders are fair and work for the good of all children
We seek to enable all young people to lead useful, happy and fulfilling lives.

Service | leaders are conscientious and dutiful
We demonstrate humility and self-control, supporting the structures, conventions and rules which safeguard quality. Our actions protect high-quality education.

Courage | leaders work courageously in the best interests of children and young people
We protect their safety and their right to a broad, effective and creative education. We hold one another to account courageously.

Optimism | leaders are positive and encouraging
Despite difficulties and pressures, we are developing excellent education to change the world for the better. 

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