Plans announced for a new foundation to develop world-class school leadership

12 June 2015

Three professional associations representing head teachers, school and college leaders, and governors have drawn up proposals to create a new organisation called the Foundation for Leadership in Education, which would seek to develop new leadership qualifications and set standards.

The Foundation would be run by the profession, rather than government, and the associations involved believe it would help to fulfil the vision of a new approach to education in which self-improvement is enshrined in the system.

The plan has been agreed by the Association of School and College Leaders, the National Association of Head Teachers and the National Governors’ Association. The three associations would work with the Teaching Schools Council, employers and leading universities to create the Foundation.

The Foundation would design and develop models for new leadership courses and qualifications, work with organisations providing courses to ensure the highest possible standards and oversee the assessment of candidates. It is hoped to extend the scope to the professional development of all school leaders, including school business managers. The detail of its role in the professional development of governors and trustees will be determined in consultation with those with an interest.

The new foundation would also help schools with their succession planning by developing a network of opportunities for potential leaders to experience a broad range of work in different schools. It would collect and send out the latest academic research about effective leadership, and it would host constructive dialogue between education leaders and policy makers.

The new foundation would work closely with the planned College of Teaching, which will be responsible for leading the professional development of teachers.

Brian Lightman, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“It is incumbent on us as school leaders to develop the next generation of leaders and to promote the highest standards of leadership.

“We want to enable every single school in the country to benefit from world-class leadership. This will only happen if we give people the right tools to become effective leaders and put in place in every school the best possible practice.

“We already have a good education system but the creation of the new foundation is part of taking the next step forward to make it a great one. We propose to take the lead on profession-led standards for school and college leadership.

“This is one of the key steps in the profession stepping up and helping to move towards a self-improving education system.”

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said:

“As we expand accountability and autonomy in our education system, we must also invest in capability to match.

“A professionally owned set of leadership qualifications and programmes can be ambitious, stable and practical – rooted in the best of what we do and able to weather changes of political direction.

“We are proud to help establish this foundation and create a new chapter in leadership development for our schools.”

Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governors’ Association, said:

“Successful leadership is a cornerstone of improving England’s schools and colleges, and thus the future of our children. The National Governors’ Association is delighted to be supporting this new foundation which will play a central role in ensuring a superb generation of leaders and governors.

“Governing boards must take their own leadership development seriously and have the very same expectation of the senior leaders they appoint to run the nation’s schools.

“It is the right time for the national leaders in the education sector to come together to ensure local leaders, their schools and their pupils flourish.”

Stephen Munday, national representative of the Teaching Schools Council, said:

“The Teaching Schools Council is very pleased to have been able to be involved with this exciting proposed development and strongly supports its remit.

“It is absolutely in keeping with a further development of the school-led system that we all know and believe is the way forward to help to secure the best education for our young people in this country.

“The new organisation can play a significant role in supporting the development of high-quality leadership in all our schools, something that we believe is crucial.

“Teaching School Alliances already do much in this area working with various partners. They would look to engage with the new Foundation for Leadership in Education to develop this vital work further still.”

See Peter Kent, ASCL President's blog