Developing leaders of change in inner-London sixth form colleges

Claussen, Ian (2012) Developing leaders of change in inner-London sixth form colleges. [Doctorate by Public Works]

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There is an increasing focus on developing leaders in the further education sector both to
improve the experience of students in the sector and to prepare the next generation of
leaders. The case study that follows was an investigation of a series of internally run,
action learning based leadership development programmes which took place in an inner-
London borough in different organisations over a period of years. It was assumed that
leadership in sixth form colleges is leadership of academic change to respond to external
pressures or to improve teaching and learning practice. Although leadership programmes
have to engage with a continually changing neo-liberal, instrumentalist, national
educational environment, there is here a further assumption that there is a local dimension
to the challenges of leadership in further education and that inner-London with its
diversity, social deprivation and cultural richness offers a specific leadership challenge
and focus for academic change
The research argues that organisations should indeed undertake appropriately designed
collaborative action learning programmes, focused on leadership and institutional
improvement because they can have a positive impact on the experience of staff and
students, make tacit knowledge and understanding explicit and prepare for succession in
the sector. These programmes need to be informed by a moral and political vision
focused on a broader understanding of the educational needs of students than the current
neo-liberal agenda offers.
It is also suggested that leadership programmes should be available to all staff not just to
middle and senior managers. It is claimed that the ingredients of leadership programmes
are successful in a far as they stimulate reflection, make tacit understanding explicit and
are taught using active teaching methods which mirror how teachers are expected to
engage with their students in the classroom. Coaching is seen as a useful professional
development to support this process especially if balanced by a clearly articulated
creation of professional, learning communities both within and between organisations.
These programmes are more effective if the process is accredited through partnerships
with the university sector
The ‘virtues’ of leadership it is argued from an Aristotelian perspective, cannot be taught
but need to be developed through practice. Action research or research into practice
properly understood and carried out is therefore believed to be an effective way to
develop understanding of leadership when combined with the right theoretical
ingredients. It is hoped that this research has proposed a model for developing leaders of
academic change which is of interest not just in inner-London but in the sector in general.

Item Type: Doctorate by Public Works
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Education
Item ID: 9763
Depositing User: Users 3197 not found.
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2013 15:40
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2021 14:59

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