“Unschoolleaders”: my contribution

I have recently contributed to Joyce Matthews’ book called “#Unschoolleaders: If I Could Give You a Piece of Advice”, which is a collection of the views of teachers from all over the world on what they think education leaders should be like / should do in their jobs. It felt like a simple and easy opportunity to pass on to others some of my views on who I think the people who run our schools should be. It felt unique in that it was asking those “below” actual leaders for their views: views that are often somehow forgotten. The decisions that leaders make affect teachers and in so doing affect the quality of teaching and learning in their schools, therefore their insights should be taken into consideration into the decision-making.

Have a look at the book, which can be downloaded for free from Joyce’s website at: http://www.unschoolleaders.co.uk/ . My short piece is no.31.

As I’ve written the piece, I feel at liberty to post it here as well – but do have a look at the book, which is beautifully presented and in the easy to download PDF form from the website.

Here’s my piece:

“Recognize that the greatest asset that your school will have, aside from, obviously, its students, is your teachers. In my experience, teachers are some of the hardest-working professionals I’ve ever known. They’re willing to devote their early mornings and late evenings for the benefit of their students. That’s why they became teachers in the first place. Recognize that without them – without them on your side – education just simply cannot take place. You must’ve read Index for Inclusion by Booth and Ainscow… in no uncertain terms, it says that inclusive education is about valuing students and staff equally. If you want your teachers to differentiate for different groups of learners, personalize their learning and meet their individual needs pastorally and drive those A* to C results up and constantly reflect on their own practice, ensure that you value their expertise and drive by giving them the time to prepare: schedule time for meetings, ensure they have at least 2 hours per day for lesson preparation and some time in the week for sharing practice. Balance the accountability pressures from the government with looking at real people in your workplace – be kind and supportive to your staff, but also demand improvement and continuing reflection. In short, value their practice, value their expertise and dedication and give your teachers the time to prepare for their lessons – and you will see amazing results.
It is in schools where everyone feels included that true learning miracles happen.”

* Joyce is a school leadership development facilitator and delivers training programmes from leaders from all over the world.

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