Review of the School Leadership Landscape

Palak Mehta, Sarah Lynch, David Sims, Peter Earley, Rob Higham, Rebecca Allen, Tracey Allen, John Howson, Rebecca Nelson, Shenila Rawal, Laura Morton

01 December 2012

Full report on European Policy Network on School Leadership website

The Institute of Education (IOE), together with NFER, were commissioned by the National College for School Leadership to carry out a review of the landscape of school leadership in England, between October 2011 and September 2012. The project included an analysis of leadership labour market demographics, a literature review, a national survey of school leaders, and the collection of qualitative data from case studies. The report presents a snapshot of a changing educational landscape (prior to changes such as the new Ofsted framework and national curriculum review) and took place at a time when academy status was still proceeding at pace.

Key Findings

  • There was a high level of confidence in managing change, despite any opinion on policy
  • The review concluded that school leadership is an important influence on student learning
  • Partnership and collaboration between schools were viewed positively amongst leaders, although a range of local obstacles to realising aspirations for collaboration in practice were noted (including local distrust and/or competitive relations)
  • Harnessing internal capacity and developing effective partnerships are essential for schools having to navigate numerous national policy changes within their own different contexts
  • Half of heads had clear plans on how they would use greater autonomy, but half did not think their institution would actually gain more autonomy
  • Secondary schools were more positive than primary schools about the changing role of the local authority
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