Are you fit to be a leader?

6th June 2003 at 01:00
Do you have the necessary qualities to take charge of a school? Try Jill Parkin's quiz and find out if you've got what it takes

1. You've just been appointed headteacher. How would you describe your vision?

A Optimistic. It'll be good, I tell you. I'm researching it now.b It's set out in the five year plan. Copies available from school office.C Um. Next week doesn't look too good. Afterthat, I don't know.D Not too bad for my age, thanks. Slight astigmatism in the left eye, though.

2. You chair the board of governors. Be frank about your attitude to the school.

A Wary. Teachers whinge and the pupils are yobs.

b Critical friend. Pupils are paramount.

C Tired of being nobbled by parents and overlooked by the head.D Fond of the place, actually. Went there myself.

3. You're a classroom assistant with a long-term supply teacher being run ragged by the children. What do you do?

A Slap the little beggars down. They don't mess with me.

b Bring it up with next meeting with my line manager. If that doesn't work, I'll go to the head.

C Ignore it. She gets paid a lot more than me

D I chip in sometimes, but kids will be kids.

4. School purchasing is in expensive chaos. What do you do as head?

A Ask each teacher for a list of all materials used down to the last pencil and see where economies can be made.b Find out why the bursar isn't in control and assess his efficiency.C Ask the children to search their bags and pool what they find. Except for the gum.D Divert funds from staff development. They've all been trained, haven't they?

5. The history department is underachieving in its GCSE results. As headteacher, you decide:

A Carter will have to go. I'll offer him PSHE instead and with any luck he'll sling his hook.b Let's ask Dizzy Heights High if we can study how they teach history and take it from there. What do you think, curriculum development team?C Not many of our kids want to do history anyway. They want technology. D Might be better next time. Can we change exam boards?

6. You're head of ICT and you've been asked to turn the place into a data-rich school. Your response?

A Great! A fest of testing, assessing and inputting, with graphics, links, URLs - oh, the excitement!

b I need guidance from the leadership team on outcomes first, what it's going to be used for, who will have access and what its pedagogical value is to be.C Good idea. It'll make a decent project for Year 10s.D Okay. Give me CATs, SATs and subject choices and that'll do, won't it?

7. Your school is at best second choice for the children of the area and has a high staff turnover. You're the new head. What do you do?

A Give staff a pep talk, think about going for specialist status and take the heads of department out for a drink.b Fix a meeting with the local authority school improvement officer with a view to having a plan underway - including partnership and staff development by the end of the first term.C Offer new staff all the perks I can and have the prospectus redesigned.D We're the poor relation round here. It won't change until parental preference is abandoned.

8. You've been given a newly-created job. As assistant head (pastoral), what's the first thing you do?

A Arrange a series of pupil talks from truancy officer, police, family planning and drugs awareness. That'll stop the little sods in their wayward tracks.b Find out what all the issues are, using reports, staff, PTA, local authority education and family teams, school council. Get a team and timetable together.C Give the pupils a 'My door is always open' talk.

D Ask the school council, tutors, and support staff to let me know in writing if anything's wrong.

9. Lots of school programmes are now in place for development, curriculum, equality and staff induction. As head, what do you do with them?

A Distribute them. Follow them. And think about one for inclusion of school pets.b Set up a routine for monitoring and evaluation of the plans.C File them under O for Ofsted inspection.D Do with them?

10. You are Secretary of State for Education. The Prime Minister wants some pre-electoral initiatives from you. What do you come up with?

A The TIC (Teaching Initiatives Council) with powers to raise an annual fee from all teachers and fine all schools not piloting at least three initiatives per term.b The 'Let Them Get on With It' initiative to include simplified SATs.C Free higher education for all 18-year-olds.D Whatever the PM wants.


Mainly As You're certainly not a leader. You may have management potential, but most of the time you behave like a clerk. Bet you colour-code your marking schemes.

Mainly Bs Definitely leadership material. You're very switched on to the latest thinking. But occasionally you need to let rip and risk something new!

Mainly Cs - Talk about not seeing the wood for the trees. You couldn't see daylight on a mown lawn. Seek professional development.

Mainly Ds - Are you bored? Bet your pupils and colleagues are.

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