Primary heads spend too much time on administration but try to protect classroom teachers by refusing to delegate much mundane work, according to further research at Queen's, writes Sarah Cassidy. Alex McEwen and Matt Salters investigated whether the market forces in education have led to primary heads becoming "chief executives".
They reported that heads were often too busy dealing with day-to-day problems to adopt a long-term approach. "Heads are vulnerable to adopting a form of leadership where they feel forced to deal with the immediacy of management problems at the expense of more highly regarded professional knowledge and values needed to secure the quality of school life and its academic standards, " they wrote. The 30 participants were asked to compare the work they intended to do with what they achieved over 28 days.
Most time was spent on administration, although heads gave it a low priority in terms of professional values. They spent less time on their higher priorities, such as professional consultation and pastoral care.
"Values and Management: the role of the primary school headteacher", by Alex McEwen and Matt Salters, School Leadership Management Journal, 1997 Volume 17 Number 1. Free with sae from Alex McEwen, school of education, Queen's University, 69-71 University Street, Belfast BT7 1HL