Headlines: November 9th, 2005

The National College for School Leadership is launching new professional development programmes for head teachers and members of school management teams in response to a report that found they needed more support if they were to make extended school hours work.The report, “Taking the Wide View”, was commissioned by the NCSL and the charity ContinYou and was drawn up by the think tank Demos. It showed that while some heads were making good progress towards building an extended school culture, many were still daunted and needed more specialist support. As a direct response the College is to offer development opportunities specifically geared to leaders of extended schools.

Extended schools work on the principle that ensuring children are safe, happy, and healthy means that they will learn better. They offer not just longer opening hours but also foster a culture of joined up working with other children’s services and their communities. The report says: “While they (school leaders) find the potential of their extended schools exciting, they are struggling to adapt to it, and to find their own pathways through the different possibilities it opens up.”

It revealed that senior staff were struggling particularly to let go of control. Working with the local community was definitely the heads’ number one priority but it was also their number one source of anxiety. In conclusion the report says, “Leaders of extended schools have new and unique leadership development needs. There is a need for bespoke leadership development that can help them to meet the kinds of challenges they are facing.”

In response, Maggie Farrar, the assistant director of programmes at NCSL, said it would launch a new extended school leadership programme in the spring to address that need directly. It would consist of a series of workshops, each involving people from another children’s service agency, such as social services, health or youth justice. NCSL is also developing a new module on extended school leadership for the National Professional Qualification for Headship, which will be launched in the new year.”