Heads' ethics code ‘could boost teacher recruitment and retention’

Claim that framework for ethical leadership could also help improve secondary school gender imbalance

Martin George

recruitment, retention, gender, ethical, framework, ascl, crisis

A new ethical framework for education leaders could help boost teacher recruitment and retention, its authors have claimed.

The Ethical Leadership Commission, set up by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) in 2017, is today publishing its Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education.

The group was established because of concerns expressed by ASCL members and others about the lack of guiding principles for ethical leadership in education, amid concerns about off-rolling and exam gaming.

Its members included representatives of the Chartered College of Teaching, the Church of England, the Committee on Standards in Public Life and Ofsted.

Carolyn Roberts, a London head who chaired the commission, said: “While school and college leaders are motivated by ethical principles, we have not had shared language to guide us.

"At a time when there are huge pressures and demands on school and college leaders, as well as stories in the media about unethical behaviour such as the off-rolling of pupils, it is even more important that we do something about that.”

She added that while it “won’t solve every issue”, it would be “a touchstone which we hope will help to support school leaders in making those difficult calls and in speaking out if they see poor behaviour from colleagues”.

The commission’s report calls for ethical practice to be embedded in initial teacher training

It adds: “It may help teacher recruitment if deep thought and personal commitment about virtues and values is explored, explained and encouraged.

“Teaching may appeal more as a serious vocational option than its current image as difficult and unmanageable in the early years and suited only for superheroes at leadership level.

"It will help their self- understanding if teachers are introduced to the framework early.”

The commission also says the framework might help improve the number of teachers who want to progress into leadership roles.

The report says: “It may encourage more teachers to aspire to senior roles, reassured that instant certainty is less important than an ability to tackle difficult issues thoughtfully and to act correctly.

“This might keep them in the profession longer.”

The report also outlines how the framework could help improve the gender imbalance which sees more men than women take senior positions in secondary schools.

It says: “A focus on thoughtful and reflective decision-making might also help address the current gender imbalance in secondary school leadership.

“There is some evidence that women are deterred from senior roles through an unwillingness to cast themselves as super-certain instant decision makers.”

 

 

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