Have you noticed?;Briefing;Governors

26th February 1999 at 00:00
My headteacher is attending a leadership course organised by the Teacher Training Agency in March. This requires me to answer 99 questions on her characteristics, 75 on her leadership style and 50 on the context for school improvement. Real answers are not required as real people will not be reading the forms, only computers.

I just fill in boxes to indicate levels of agreement with impenetrable statements. "Sees and takes time to reflect on patterns and connections, and their significance, in shaping vision and direction," for instance, fails to conjure up for me a picture of my beloved head, or anyone else, come to that.

I could have responded to statements like, "Would you give her your last jelly baby?" or "Gets tetchy if governors' meetings over-run into Coronation Street" - but unaccountably, they were omitted.

And the section on leadership style does not seem to relate to any primary head I know. Like every personality questionnaire in a women's magazine, it is quite clear which are the desirable characteristics. Theideal head should be visionary, dynamic, innovative, risk-taking, leading from the front. Real headteachers are increasingly, unwillingly, limited to merely implementing prescriptive national policies with which they may or may not agree to reach targets they may not accept as valid.

Sad really, isn't it? Jelly baby, anyone?

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