Leaders and followers

17th September 2004 at 01:00
The growing emphasis on the leadership of Scotland's schools and education authorities has taken a remarkable time to reach the top of the agenda. No doubt this is partly due to the fact that scrutiny of school performance is a relatively recent development, so the contribution of leadership to what schools did and what they were capable of could not in the past be fully assessed.

The SELMAS conference (page four) was therefore a timely event - if only as an illustration of the fact that developing leadership capacity is not just about laying on courses and seminars or exhortations in the manner of George III's mother, who might have said: "George, be a leader." As Walter Humes put it so succinctly, leadership requires professional commitment and professional courage developed over time, not just grand vision statements.

It was particularly timely also because the Education Minister stayed to listen. He will now be aware that perceptions among those who have to lead these developments are far from rosy: a profession that is felt to be disempowered and dependent is not going to fill the ranks of leaders with the quality that is required. It is also one thing to contemplate giving more power to headteachers, but are headteachers or national policy-makers comfortable with extending autonomy to the class teacher?

As Pamela Munn said at the conference, this is really about power - real leadership means dispersing it.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today