2 The context of leadership in Wales

In reality, few organisations have completely distinct structures, and different leadership approaches may be practised in different parts of the same organisation. Power may appear to exist in a demarcated, hierarchical structure, and this may reflect forms of perceived expert knowledge. However, those who are not in designated leadership roles may nevertheless exert influence on others through the power of persuasion and interpersonal relationships – this may include proposing refinements or alternatives to leadership plans. When you reflect upon leadership, it’s therefore important to consider not only the institutional features of an organisation but also the relationships between the people.

Estyn inspects Welsh schools and provides feedback on leadership and management as part of the current reporting framework. Although Estyn’s reports provide a summary and grading of the school’s leadership and management, the length of the inspection cycle will often mean that this ‘information’ is several years old.

The pace of change in schools is relentless. The latest Estyn report may be an important reference point, but there may be other external evaluative reports available to schools from a local authority (LA) or regional consortia. These other reports can provide more recent feedback on performance that reflects upon, discusses and analyses specific aspects of leadership.

Activity 2: External evaluation reports

Timing: Allow approximately 30 minutes

Consider the following points:

  1. What external evaluation reports are available to you as a school governor, and how familiar are you with these?
  2. How recent are these documents and what do they tell you about external perceptions of your school’s leadership processes?
  3. Do you feel that they are an accurate reflection of the school’s current leadership, or do you think that there are significant differences? What evidence supports your judgements?

Record your thoughts in a blog on the course website. [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

1 What is educational leadership?

3 Leadership and school improvement