Headlines: December 6th, 2010

The best leadership in schools focuses on improving teaching and learning with headteachers seeing this as their core business. Common characteristics of the best leadership include honest self-evaluation and leadership shared across the school. This is the conclusion of an Ofsted inspection.

Ofsted inspectors visited 24 high-performing primary and secondary National Support Schools, led by National Leaders of Education. To be designated as a National Leader of Education you need to have a proven track record of outstanding leadership and management and be leading a school that achieves outstanding results for the community.

In the schools visited there was a strong emphasis on creating opportunities for staff to develop meaningful and relevant leadership skills. The concept of ‘growing our own’ leaders was a particularly strong feature of the schools visited. This contributed significantly to recruiting and retaining high-quality staff and sustaining the schools’ good or outstanding overall effectiveness.

Senior leaders knew their staff well, including having a clear understanding of their individual development needs which led to appropriate support. Many of the schools invested heavily in coaching their staff.

The report recommends that schools should develop plans for sustaining effective leadership and building capacity, including through working in partnership with others. The National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services should extend opportunities for successful leaders and their schools to work in a variety of partnerships with others to build wider leadership capacity and improve teaching and learning.