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Leadership

In education, it is readily acknowledged that the quality of school leadership is critical to the school's performance. In highly effective schools, as well as those which have reversed a trend of poor performance and declining achievement, it is the headteacher who sets the pace, leading and motivating the pupils and staff to perform to their highest potential.

All leaders, even the best, can benefit from further targeted training, development and support and it is this that lies behind my involvement in the leadership area of Business in the Community's education campaign.

The Partners in Leadership programme which partners headteachers with business leaders to discuss leadership and management issues has shown that it is a valuable personal development opportunity.

The 12-month relationship with the headteacher offers an extremely useful perspective on business needs and management challenges in a very different environment. The 4000 or so headteachers who have already taken part in the scheme have overwhelmingly rated it as extremely valuable.

The challenge now is to build on the success of this programme and to expand the provision of business partners for headteachers, particularly for schools in challenging circumstances. Discussions are under way with the National College for School Leadership to put this into action. Other developments include making company training programmes and resources available to headteachers and establishing a 'skills bank' whereby business expertise is available to help with projects such as writing funding applications, business planning, ICT and human resources.

The case studies that follow illustrate just a few of the ways that businesses and schools can work together on leadership and management issues.

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