This week we held a fascinating conference call to review progress in our research cluster, with each group explaining progress so far. The reflections on leadership were often very similar across the schools involved and were summarised thus:
Reflections on leadership
- You have to find a compelling reason for why you want to collaborate and specifically what the benefits are for all the schools involved. It is too easy to get sucked into the idea that collaboration is “a good thing to do” without being really rigorous about what collaboration will deliver.
- Need to give space for other leaders to step up and lead the collaborative work – particularly middle leaders. It is the role of the head to set the parameters and expectations but not micro-manage the action research.
- The way collaboration is viewed is changing – schools are now increasingly confident about being part of different networks for different purposes. In some cases the withdrawal of the LA has given schools the impetus to work together more effectively. In other cases schools are still trying to “recreate” the LA.
- In many cases it has been easier to achieve the buy-in from teachers than from fellow heads. Working “bottom up” in creating collaborative networks is just as important as working “top down.”
- Locating the collaborative experience in pedagogy is critical for moving teaching alliances forward.