Learning about Leadership

Newly-qualified and trainee teachers from ATL Section of the new National Education Union took part in a leadership conference in Manchester recently. It was aimed at developing knowledge and understanding of leadership and I was privileged to be there taking part on the Leadership panel. Here’s my blog:

Progression into management and leadership (as published on AMiE website Nov 11th, 2017)

 I recently took part in a really enjoyable day with members of our ATL Future section about progression into management and leadership.

They raised some interesting points and asked fantastic questions of the panel, which included AMiE’s past president Julia Neal, Sir Richard Leese, Labour Leader of Manchester City Council and Jenny Goodall, service team manager at Skipton Building Society.

Hearing about the real people-focussed management used in non-education workplaces, which has all but disappeared from our sector was enlightening.

The approach taken to appraisals was different. Renamed “About You” they were used more as a discussion of an individual’s thoughts, views and needs rather than a list of targets.

Participants were worried about work-life balance and accountability, and the idea in many schools that the data seems to be more important than the health and wellbeing of students and targets more important than staff.

Reverse mentoring also seemed popular. Unsurprisingly the audience certainly liked the idea of reverse mentoring and felt it had a role in education

During the breaks I was asked for advice by participants on what they should do if they regularly witness unethical leadership and how they can make sure they aren’t ignored. There were also concerns they might be putting themselves in a position where they could potentially lose their job.

Belonging to a union is, of course, a good start and getting advice is the best first step.

Hopefully the advice I gave was helpful. Despite the palpable frustration in the room I would like to think that the message taken away was one of hope. One of a belief that, just as we are refusing to accept the funding situation being forced on us by the Government, we must also not allow an intimidating, bullying or generally unsupportive culture to win in our schools and colleges.