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EDITIONS
Unions 2000 Sunday, 12 March, 2000, 17:10 GMT
Heads told to lead by example
Margaret Griffin
Margaret Griffin: "Heads should be available and approachable"
Alison Stenlake reports from the Secondary Heads Association's annual conference in Harrogate.

Head teachers should lead by example, the president of a head teachers' association has said.

Margaret Griffin, president of the Secondary Heads Association (SHA), said heads should arrive at school early, stay late, work hard and be "available and approachable to show that there is care and concern."

"Example is a powerful teacher", she said in a speech to her union's annual conference in Harrogate on Sunday.

"If as inspirational leaders we are dedicated to helping others grow through their work then we must strive to model the values, attitudes and actions that we wish to see in those we lead."

Formal training

Mrs Griffin, who is head teacher of Axton Chase School in Ashford, Kent, said it was "fundamentally important" for head teachers to appreciate loyalty, talent, commitment and hard work in both staff and students, and to "recognise and celebrate" their achievements.

School leaders should strengthen their skills by broadening their experience in a number of ways, including volunteering for leadership roles in professional associations such as SHA, and becoming involved in high profile projects within schools, colleges and local education authorities.

They should also observe others to learn from both good and bad practice.

But formal leadership education and training were also essential, she said, and the National College for School Leadership - dubbed the Schools' Sandhurst - due to open on the campus of Nottingham University in September, would have a vital role to play.

'Too prescriptive'

Mrs Griffin said it was important to stress the essential features of leadership in the current climate, because "it seems that the government has not grasped the difference between the concept of leadership and management".

"Too many of their documents see leaders as only tools by which to oust incompetent teachers, to deal with discipline and to make links with the community, all to a given prescribed pattern.

"Too much is mechanistic, too little creative and inspirational," she said.

See also:

07 Mar 00 | UK Education
07 Feb 00 | UK Education
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