Press release: Leading schools to improve teaching
03 Dec 2010
Ref: NR- 2010-40
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.
For the report Developing leadership 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.
Visits were also made to 20 schools that were working in partnership with these National Support Schools. Partnerships had been established for a variety of reasons and ranged from supporting schools in an Ofsted category of concern to working on developments with other schools judged as good or outstanding in their previous inspection.
The focus of the survey was to identify the strategies and approaches used in these effective schools to develop and sustain the quality of leadership at all levels.
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert said:
'This survey builds on Ofsted’s earlier reports about outstanding schools. The two greatest influences on a school’s success are the quality of its leadership and management and the quality of its teaching. Thriving schools demonstrate high quality in both areas and this makes a huge difference to the achievement of their pupils. The survey identifies the characteristics of the leadership practice in 24 successful schools. Each one values its staff, invests in them well and develops them to do better still. The investment promotes, supports and sustains the drive in each of these schools to perfect teaching and maximise learning. The report shows how schools – and therefore children – benefit from partnerships with each other that are really focused on the detailed practice of teaching and on very practical professional development.'
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.
1. The report Developing leadership can be found on the Ofsted website at www.ofsted.gov.uk.
2. National Support Schools are selected by the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services. In order to become a National Support School, a school’s performance data must show a clear upward trend or consistently high levels of attainment, with contextual value-added data above the national average. Alternatively, the school’s local authority must provide evidence of the school’s upward trend or pupils’ high attainment that is attributable to the headteacher. The eligibility criteria are listed at Annex B of the report. Further information is on the National College website.
3. The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children's social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.
4. Media can contact the Ofsted Press Office through 020 7421 6574 or via Ofsted's enquiry line 0300 1231231 between 8.30am - 6.30pm Monday - Friday. Out of these hours, during evenings and weekends, the duty press officer can be reached on 07919 057359