Follow my leadership

21st March 2003 at 00:00
A secondary head in east London remodelled her management craft by bringing all her staff on board, writes Jill Parkin

When Kenny Frederick became head of George Green's school in east London, her vision of a learning community included the teachers. Indeed, for some of her staff it was all a bit too much.

"I revised the middle-management job descriptions as one of my first tasks," says Ms Frederick. "There were some casualties: some jumped ship over the next two years because they couldn't or wouldn't fulfil the role I wanted them to play."

The ship they abandoned was later launched on Ms Frederick's management pathways programme at the inner-city comprehensive in Tower Hamlets in 1997, with the idea of developing a range of management and leadership skills.

"We quickly became an Investors in People (IIP) organisation - this provided the framework for development focused on thorough planning and evaluation. IIP highlighted the importance of developing all staff, not just teachers, so that they could all contribute to the school aims. This was just what I had in mind," says Ms Frederick.

The school-based course for middle-managers was organised in the summer term of 1997. It ran over 10 weeks, one night a week for two hours.

"Twenty-two members of staff, including three support staff, volunteered to take part. The scheme was originally designed for about 14 people but we decided not to turn anyone away. We assumed some people would drop out.

"They didn't. Though it was run outside directed time, included a 24-hour residential session and required all participants to complete a school-based management project, all those involved stayed the course.

"The culture of the staffroom quickly changed. The dialogue was suddenly all about learning and leadership. Those not involved became the outsiders and moved on. The new breed of middle-managers and those still aspiring were fully on board with the vision for the school. A learning culture for staff had been established."

The management pathways programme didn't come cheap: it cost pound;10,000 a year for the first three years. Since then, the cost has varied according to the needs of those on the course. The programme is now delivered in two 24-hour residential courses a year, backed up with an internal development programme.

Ms Frederick rattles off the programme's success stories: "Five of the original participants are now members of our school leadership team and many others have gone on to become senior managers in schools across the country. We are always able to recruit new middle-mangers because we have many trained aspiring staff ready to step into vacant positions.

"All six of my assistant heads have been accepted on the NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship) and there are many middle managers waiting to step into their shoes.

"We've also introduced a school-based MBA in educational leadership with Leicester University and 25 members of our staff are on it with others waiting to join. The management pathways programme and MBA are now part of a CPD entitlement for all staff at this school. We are now a learning organisation in every sense of the word."

TEN SESSIONS AND YOU ARE A MANAGER

How George Green's devised pathways to managementfor its staff

* Self-assessment against characteristics of effective managers; creating a professional portfolio; presentation and assertiveness.

* Leadership and management; personal and organisational visions and values; understanding different leadership styles.

* Managing people: staff coaching; teambuilding; appraisal; monitoring; delegation; and problem-solving; working on a personal management issue.

* Managing performance and conflict: target-setting; accountability; discipline and grievance.

* Managing change: change for you; change for your team; evaluation and planning.

* Strategic planning: from school mission statement to institutional development plan.

* Managing staff performance: efficiency, effectiveness and economy; benchmarking and baselines.

* Effective personal management: time management; deadlines; stress management, both personal and team.

* Monitoring teaching and learning: the self-inspecting school; sharing good practice.

* Quality management

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