Foulkes. SEC (2009). Subject Leadership, Review of the Literature and Research. Subject/Curriculum Leadership Programme
Module 4 – (Code 003) – Sharing and Reflecting - Essay
Review of the Literature and Research
Type in ‘What makes an effective leader/manager?’ into any search engine, and instantly thousands of definitions appear. The terms are frequently used, but rarely defined consistently. The National College of School Leadership define them separately stating that ‘Leadership is about having vision and articulating, ordering priorities, getting others to go with you, constantly reviewing what you are doing and holding on to things you value. Management is about the functions, procedures and systems by which you realise the vision.’ In their discussion paper ‘Transforming School: a discussion paper’(March 2007), Estyn states that ‘The most significant features of good leadership are a strong sense of direction, a clear focus on teaching and learning and a relentless emphasis on raising standards’. Interestingly, they don’t define management at all. Northouse P (2004) identifies four common themes in leadership. These are; that ‘leadership is a process, it involves influence, it occurs in a group context and it involves the achievement of goals’. There is an overlap between Northouse’s common themes and the ideas of many others including Grint’s (1997) ideas of four ‘problems’ (process, position, philosophy and purity) and Blanchard and Hersey’s ‘Situational Leadership’. In recent years, Leadership has begun to be aligned with business and management theories and models. This has led some to question the differences between leadership and management. In his book ‘The new meaning of educational change’, Fullan (1991) states that leadership is related to ‘mission, direction and inspiration’ whereas management is related to ‘designing and implementing plans, working effectively with people and getting things done’. In his book ‘Managing on the Edge, Pascale R (1990) states that ‘Managers do things right, while leaders do the right thing’. Despite the appeal of a distinction between leadership and management, there is doubt as to whether the two can be distinguished in practice. Gosling and Murphy (2004) cite the need for a leader to have consistency, predictability and a sense of continuity – things normally associated with management – suggesting an overlap between the two. An individual must have the ability to progress from a ‘management’ role to a ‘leadership’ role whilst being the same person, which leads to Mintzberg (1975) suggesting the idea that ‘it may be more useful to conceive of leadership as one of the roles a manager undertakes, than as something separate and apart.’
Relationship Between Leadership and School Improvement
Busher H and Harris A (2000) state that ‘research findings…have revealed the powerful impact of leadership on processes related to school effectiveness and improvement’. The TTA states in its National Standards for Subject Leaders (1998) that the core purpose of the subject leader is ‘to provide professional leadership and management for a subject to secure high quality teaching, effective use of resources and improved standards of learning and achievement for all pupils.’ Pupil achievement is always a key consideration for any teacher and Field et al (2000) acknowledge this stating that ‘effective leadership will have a crucial effect on pupil achievement.’ The subject leader has a central role in promoting high standards within schools, and the importance of this leadership role is recognised by the significance placed on it during inspections. Key Questions 5; ‘How effective are leadership and strategic management?’, 6; ‘How well do leaders and managers evaluate and improve quality and standards?’ and 7; ‘How efficient are leaders and managers in using resources?’, concentrate wholly on leadership and management in a school and the direct effect their actions have on...
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