Charisma helps build success

8th August 2008 at 01:00

A leading advocate of spreading leadership throughout a school still believes there is a role for the charismatic headteacher.

Alma Harris, who holds the chair in educational leadership at London University's Institute of Education, believes a teacher who leads by the force of his or her personality is the best person to turn around a failing school.

The concept of the charismatic headteacher is becoming unfashionable as the idea of "distributed leadership", which requires a head to tap into all teachers' and pupils' ability to lead, rapidly takes hold in Scottish schools.

Professor Harris, speaking in Edinburgh recently at the International Summer School on School Leadership, says distributed leadership is a common denominator in schools that sustained improvement over a five-year period - but not a catch-all solution. "Distributed leadership is not a form of that will work in a school in crisis."

She believes more "autocratic" leaders are best able to reverse the "downward spiral" in such schools; only after the situation improves would distributive leadership be more effective.

Professor Harris says distributive leadership does not mean everyone leads, "but everyone has the potential to lead in the right conditions".

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now