Distributed Leadership for Equity & Learning Toolset


Tool #1: How near to distributed leadership for equity and learning (DLE)?

Tool #1 provides a way of exploring what DLE means through the process of discussing and deciding where to place a school on a continuum.

Here is a reminder of how DLE is defined:
Leadership which is enacted by everyone in the school, emerges from a supportive set of organisational features and works for inclusive, holistic learning.

Ways to use it
The tool gives short descriptions of leadership in three fictitious schools: A, B and C.
These descriptors are ideal types and schools are not expected to fit wholly into one or another. Users of the tool are asked to think of a school they know and consider:

Which of these school descriptions comes nearest to it?
What elements of DLE are present and absent in each of the descriptions? The descriptions are not exhaustive, so you will need to consider what else you would need to know about the schools to answer this.
Where would you place the school you are thinking of on a continuum from ‘rigid hierarchical leadership’ to ‘fully DLE’?

There is no one set of right answers to these questions. Tool 1 is intended to help policy-makers and school leaders develop an understanding of DLE by stimulating discussion around the meaning of DLE.

There are many ways in which Tool 1 may be used. Here are two suggestions:
The three scenarios
Thinking of a school you know:

Which of these school descriptions comes nearest to it?
What elements of distributed leadership for equity and learning are present and absent in each of the descriptions? The descriptions are not exhaustive, so you will need to consider what else you would need to know about the schools to answer this.
Where would you place the school you are thinking of on a continuum from 'rigid hierarchical leadership' to 'fully distributed leadership for equity and learning'?
School A

School A

In my school,

leadership is viewed as the responsibility of the headteacher and senior leadership team.

These colleagues have all of the power and influence in the school. Other staff can give their views but these are sought in formal settings such as staff meetings. Suggestions may then be acted on or not by the Senior Leadership Team. Students are not included in any leadership activity within the school.

Instead,

we focus on getting them to achieve at the highest possible level in our national standard tests (or other types of exams).
School B

School B

In my school,

the way we view leadership is changing.

In the past we have looked to our headteacher to take all the decisions.

Now,

we are beginning to explore ideas of distributed leadership.

This is already beginning to have an effect on the school. More people are giving their ideas and acting on these ideas to improve the school. These still tend to be people who have formal roles such as subject leaders but we are trying to move away from this to involve ordinary teachers.

However,

students do not yet have a leadership role in our school.

School C

School C

In my school,

leadership is viewed as the responsibility of all.

All members of the community are invited not only to share their ideas but also to put these ideas into practice.

Because of this, changes to the school are often led by teams comprising of students, teachers and support staff. The culture of the school supports the potential success of this kind of improvement process.

Overall,

we value everyone equally.

Those who have named leadership roles have a clear strategic job to do and so does everyone else. Together we work to make the school the best it can be for our students and ourselves to grow and learn as whole people.

School C

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© 2014 EPNoSL Project