Don't leap into planet project

28th September 2007 at 01:00
There is no doubt that Wales needs more aspiring school leaders (see page 1). But, according to Professor David Hargreaves, that is not enough. The next generation of headteachers, says this outspoken academic, also need to be movers and shakers, no-nonsense go-getters. School-led innovation is hot, it seems.

Professor Hargreaves argues that schools need to adapt to the 21st century in the same way as the business world has "customised". He sees the concept of the 40-minute lesson all neatly packaged to the convenience of today's teacher as having as much relevance as a vinyl 45 has to an MP3 player.

Enter the project the new lesson with no time boundaries and in harmony with the "real world". Hopefully that should add enough X-factor to banish the yawns of the younger generation. What appears to be happening in both England and Wales there is no policy divide is that school-led innovation is on the increase.

Yes, school leaders are doing it for themselves. Out go lessons, homework as we know it and the restrictions of a rigid timetable. In come projects, flexible timetables and the rise of pupil observation, teachers being judged at the end of a lesson by their learners who, after all, are receiving a service.

There was a glint in the eye of candidates on the Developing Leaders for Tomorrow course in Cardiff, a realisation of the change they create, stirred up by Professor Hargreaves and his convincing argument. However, one thing needs to be sorted, that old-fashioned chestnut of workload. In between what Gareth Jones, secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders Cymru, describes in TES Cymru (page 29) this week as a "tsunami" of consultations and guidance sent out to documents to schools this autumn.

I suspect there are a lot of serving heads who would love to have some more time and resources to be more innovative before Christmas fat chance of that. So, before we bring on the revolution, let's get back to basics: resources, resources and, of course, the luxury of time.

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