A post by Mark Sparvell was deleted
School autonomy and leadership
Forums > General Discussion
The Education Act changes are still in the pipeline. The new act developers are at present playing catchup as the Independent Schools are pioneering some new ways of doing business and any changes will need to allow for flexibility. The issue remains: will policy makers and department personnel have enough trust in school leadership to let go of the reigns? A team of horses runs faster when you let go of the reigns. Will be interesting to see the nature of the new act.
I'm heading to Brisbane on Monday for CSE National Symposium - School Automony and system leadership - a 'formula' for school improvement?
The Symposium will provide a special opportunity to explore the Federal Government’s policy together with current practices in jurisdictions across the country, as we experience the impact of
latest developments in school autonomy – operationally and strategically.
This Invitation Only event will bring together system and sector leaders from government and non government settings together with leaders of national professional associations and key national agencies.
Our outstanding national and international education colleague, Professor Brian Caldwell, will provide the keynote address for the Symposium and Directors General - Julie Grantham (Queensland), and Dr Jim Watterston (ACT), together with CEOs Stephen Elder (Catholic Education Commission Victoria ) and Allan Shaw (Association of Independent Schools Australia) will play the roles of Expert Witnesses as we discuss and debate this crucial policy area.
Anthony Mackay, CEO, Centre for Strategic Education will lead the Symposium. Emeritus Professor Frank Crowther, Director QELI, Dr Stephen Brown, CEO QELI and Dr Barbara Watterston, Deputy Director, Centre for Strategic Education will act as Expert Rapporteurs throughout the Symposium.
Across Australia we have a diversity of governance arrangements and levels of autonomy, both within and between Government, Catholic and Independent sectors and systems. In jurisdictions beyond Australia the landscape includes Specialist Schools, Chains and Trusts, 'Free Schools', and Charter Schools. In the highest performing school systems 'System Leadership at multiple levels' is clearly exhibited. Currently listening to Brian Caldwell dispel myths
Brian has some excellent messages for everyone Mark. I was interested to note that in a symposium held at Notre Dame University in Perth recently all school sectors were experiencing similar issues relating to autonomy and accountability. I was very pleased to note that some of the principals that are attending over east at various conferences have downloaded papers from the Palnet school autonomy and leadership site. I look forward to further postings on the site from you in respect to key contentious issues. Perhaps we can then respond to them and hopefully debate them accordingly.
Michael Fullan is certainly getting a lot of attention across Australain education at present. I expect the other half of the tag team, Ben Levin, will also increase in prominence especially when his new book is launched
I am hoping that his new book will have some new and recent research in the leadership area. Also looking forward to the new Caldwell book Chesleigh. Here is a question for you that I am pondering. Can you teach a person leadership or does a person first have a natural propensity and self effacacy to lead others? My question arises from the fact that I have seen many people engage in courses and professional learning in order to build their leadership awareness but still have major issues when they return to their school, particularly in terms of communication, team building and leadership. Lots of managers but real leadership - I wonder. Interested in your thoughts.
Like many educators in WA I recieved the Tmail Education News Bulletin and saw two articles, one relating to possible School independence moves in QLD.
"QUEENSLAND teachers will strike if the Liberal National Party (LNP) wins government and introduces independent public schools."
Is this backlash a well supported position among Queensland school leaders and teachers or is it a political matter?
I am interested because my College was one of the first to go down the Independent line in WA. My teachers and staff would not go back to the old ways. The only issue we have had is getting the centre to let go. I also notice that the FEDS are going to be negotiating with states to promote this move.
There are some issues but to be self determining and autonomous has its benefits. I draw attention to the articles on Palnet in the autonomy and leadership group on this issue.
Again I read with interest the article
"Victoria schools to have more autonomy under plan"
"PUPILS studying the same subject may be marked using different methods under sweeping changes planned for Victoria's public school system."
Very interested from my Victorian secondary colleagues of the implications of such a move and do they believe it will improve student outcomes.
Not sure if a backlash so much as a horses for courses thing. Queensland and Western Australia occupy large parts of Australia geographically, but the spread and size of schools is different. In Queensland there are over 1200 state schools spread across the state and several hundred of these are one or two/three/four/five teacher schools – very small with teaching principals and of course composite classes as there are not enough students and hence teacher to have a teacher per year level. As with many things knowing some history can assist understanding of the current situation and newspaper articles.
Perhaps 14 or so years ago there was a LNP (by another name) government that introduced a not dissimilar concept called Leading Schools. It was divisive and there was industrial action.
Yes there will be an election soon in Queensland so that is a foreground to the reporting and comments.
There are many Queensland principals who would welcome self determination and autonomy BUT many of them are in the green, leafy, big city suburbs where attraction of staff is not as much of a consideration as sifting for quality. Currently there is a transfer system that works for staffing Queensland's remote and rural schools with high quality teachers. This is the dilemma for many that unless there is very significant variation in the amount of funding to employ teachers via a remote and rural monetary incentive then they are hesitant to forfeit the surety of the current transfer system.
Perhaps something to cross post to the Remote and Rural Group to ask how they would view the balance between autonomy and systemic support.
wow steffan, good question.
I'll take a deep breath and post some thoughts.
I think we can teach people about leadership - the traits that produce effective leaders, the skillsets and mindsets, perhaps even investigate leadership dispositions. This remains a research base, however, until aspiring leaders enact these strategies. And internalising strategies that are effective in achieving outcomes can take time.So in (really) short, for me, leadership is action research as much as any other of our practices; implementing, reflecting, modifying, in a cycle.....
I will continue to mull over this...and happy to dialogue around others thoughts too!
Ah the nature / nurture query.
Is it also something that fits with leadership styles as in the things that Daniel Goleman talks about
then combined and overlaid with succession planning, leadership density and the sustainability of excellence within a school over successive leaders' terms of tenure that then would include the consideration of not just using different styles but are some styles better to be replicated and/or balanced with a predominant alternative style utilised by each successive leader?
Thank you Chesleigh. I agree, unless incentives are provided there will be difficulties staffing more remote schools in less attractive situations. Teachers are making quality of life decisions. The danger is that you create a tiered system of government schools with those unable to attract quality staff becoming residual in nature. What I like about staffing and my situation as an Independent School in WA is that I get people applying for a position in the College who want to be here and who ascribe to our culture and ethos. For example we advertised 4 middle school positions and had 370 applicants. We were able to select 'top gun' teachers from around Australia which has further invigorated the culture of excellence we are promoting in the College.
Yes it is very much about the provision of incentives that is the concern raised by the QTU as a response to the proposed policy announcement. I would be curious to know if Wyndham District High School is also a Public/Private WA school. Would you expect Wyndham District High School to get 370 applications for 4 positions. Ballajura Community College is located within Perth so I suspect that it would be viewed as a preferred location by many teachers. It is very much about the residualisation within a tiererd system as you mentioned. Great for the "haves" but for the "have nots" what is then offered and will that be enough?
Funny you should mention Wyndham Chesleigh. I was its principal in the heady days of the Karmel initiatives in education. In WA there are some remote incentives offered to schools like Wyndham. However, they could always be better! For example free housing would go a long way.
What a small world it is with so few degrees of separation sometimes.
Yes decent housing is always a major consideration, especially in some mining towns where the option may not even be a house but a relocatable or even a caravan.
Might give Rex a head up about this discussion.