Add a dollop of trust to a tablespoon of wisdom, a sprinkling of kindness, a dash of justice, and season well with courage. Ta-da! You’ve made the perfect headteacher. (Measurements may vary, depending on the individual).
That is the ideal recipe, according to the Association of School and College Leaders. The union is launching a new ethical code which will show heads “the right way to act”, Tes revealed exclusively this week.
Cooked up by a high-powered commission, including Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman and UCL Institute of Education director Becky Francis, the “Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education” gives school leaders an ethical underpinning to their decision-making. Governors’ leader Emma Knights and the Rev Nigel Genders, director of the National Society of the Church of England, were also involved in producing the code, while Carolyn Roberts, the head of Thomas Tallis School in London, chaired the commission. Roberts explained what each of the elements of the code means in practice:
* Trust: “If we hold trust on behalf of children then we can’t be off-rolling them willy-nilly. We can’t be encouraging parents who are signally incapable of home educating a child to take a child home to be educated because it will make our numbers look better at the end of the year.”
* Wisdom: “Proper schemes of work, not exam tricks.”
* Kindness: “If you have to give someone some really bad news, don’t say at 3.30pm on a Friday, ‘I want to talk to you on Monday,’ because that’s their and their family’s weekend gone.”
* Justice: “Schools that have zero-tolerance behaviour policies … I’m not saying that they are wrong, some children will fall out of that system. Where will they go, and who’s thought about that, and who’s going to pick them up, and what’s the mechanism?”
* Courage: “The curriculum needs to be suited to the needs of the children and not the school. The children have to come first, and not the outcomes … And gaming: gaming is always wrong.”