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Is Creating Consistency One of Your Key Roles As a Leader?

There are many expectations placed on school leaders. Setting the direction. Supporting staff. Managing student behaviour. Dealing with unhappy parents. Managing the budget. Recruiting great staff (a heartbeat is a good start in the current environment).

I believe the following quote from Kenneth Leithwood captures a key area.

Leaders provide the direction and create the environment that promotes good teaching and consistency across the school.

I would argue that all students in a school deserve a good deal. It shouldn’t matter which class students are put in or which teacher they have, they all deserve a good deal. The remit of the school’s leadership team is to identify what good practice looks like, for their students and then how do we consistently provide those practices across the school. The larger the school the harder this is to achieve.

Whilst I believe people are more important in a school than programs, I am concerned that in many schools, vast amounts of time and energy are put into writing and rewriting programs, year after year.

In launching our Early Career Teacher program this year I have been alarmed by the number of graduate teachers who are writing their own programs or making important pedagogical decisions such as, how to teach literacy. For many it appears to be a free for all or a pick your own adventure. Rather than adopting the school’s agreed practices, many new graduates are writing programs from scratch and reinventing the wheel.

Whilst none of us like to be micro-managed and told exactly what to do, I believe that it is far more powerful, effective and efficient to have programs and plans in place that teachers should be expected to adopt and then tweak. This approach also reduces the creation of lighthouses where teachers do their own thing and work independently of each other. This creates pockets of brilliance but also areas of questionable practice.

As well as improving staff well-being by reducing workloads, these approaches help to ensure that all students get a good deal.