Leadership by a headteacher is the common factor in schools that successfully deliver the literacy and numeracy strategies. A survey by Ofsted found that in all schools making good progress the headteacher provided strong leadership and good management. Ofsted inspectors searched for the ingredients of success and found that successful leaders made a convincing case for the need to change, involved staff in the process of improvement and systematically evaluated teaching and learning.Conversely the inspectors found that where leadership was ineffective the leader had an adverse effect on the process of improvement. Common factors for poor performing schools included delay in carrying out a literacy audit, failure to set a firm timetable for training and inadequate arrangements for monitoring classroom practice.
Strong leadership was particularly important in schools performing below average. Headteachers had to raise the expectations of staff and support them through the painful experience of realizing that they were performing poorly. Success came through creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust.
The results of the National Curriculum tests for 11 year olds over the last five years show some that schools have made much greater progress than others. Only 3% of the schools in each sample managed to improve their results every year since 1998.