Pulling no punches on head's cowboy act

25th February 2011 at 00:00

It appears that we have a boxing contest about leadership styles. In the blue corner, Sir (or is it St) Michael Wilshaw of Mossbourne Academy fame promotes the lone-warrior, Clint Eastwood model ("Clint and me: Mossbourne head says school leaders are 'lone heroes'", 18 February). In the red corner, the National College prefers a caring, sharing approach.

But it is neither one nor the other. The type of leadership style a school requires depends on the state of the institution. If the school is in special measures, Sir Michael will win hands down. If not, the National College triumphs.

Schools are organisations of humans, for humans, by humans. Humans are complex. They perform best when they are convinced they have a stake in the organisation. Accordingly, Sir Michael's model is doomed. I am sure he walks the distributed model but talks the Eastwood prototype. The debate, surely, is spurious and not worth the time we have already spent on it.

David Sassoon, Director, Schools Support Services, London.

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