Book of the week : Individual schools, unique solutions

25th June 2004 at 01:00
Individual Schools, Unique Solutions
By Adrian Raynor
RoutledgeFalmer pound;22.50

Titles are important, and Adrian Raynor's title tells the story. Raynor, an experienced secondary head now lecturing on management and education, has significant reservations about the highly prescriptive policies and practices of recent years. The current stress on compliance, accountability and control is understandable, he says, but is fundamentally misconceived; there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution; we cannot always - or even often - "know what works".

That is because schools, like the learning they contain, are deeply complex systems. They are shaped by deeply complex contextual factors, too - and in return, they shape and change those factors. They have to be simultaneously stable and dynamic. They are organisms, not organisations: they are not susceptible to "measurement" and "control". As everyone who has worked in one of them knows, they generate their own chemistry.

So the leadership of schools is complex, problematic - and exciting. As Raynor describes it, it is more like walking a tightrope than steering a ship.nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;

Read more in this week's TES Friday magazine

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