Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Boosting leadership skills in Oxford’s primary schools

Friday, 14 February 2014

Teachers from the city’s primary schools have just completed a one-year leadership training course run by Oxford’s two universities, making use of the education departments of both universities highly regarded track records in teacher education and professional development. The pioneering Leadership for Learning programme, funded by Oxford City Council, was created by the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes to boost attainment, including standards of numeracy and literacy. Head teachers, senior teaching staff and governors were able to attend training sessions run by some of the country’s leading experts on educational leadership. Around 40 teachers (all middle and senior leaders) and governors from 11 primary schools in the city participated in the programme’s 12 training days. As well as the staff, parents and governors from participating schools were also invited to twice-termly public seminars on the latest research and developments in education. A ceremony took place at Harcourt Hill last month to celebrate the achievements of the participants, who received certificates presented by Councillor Pat Kennedy, Cabinet member for Culture, Education and Leisure. At the Harcourt Hill event, participants reported on many examples of good practice shared between schools including support programmes for improving quality of teaching, support to develop teaching assistants, succession planning for future leaders and development of emotional literacy. There were also many reports of improved engagement with the parents. Deputy Director of the programme, Professor Debra McGregor of Oxford Brookes School of Education, said: ‘We are looking forward to building upon this year’s experience by working with a fresh cohort of teachers at the schools, as well as involving some of those we have already worked with, to further support strong leadership and collaboration across the schools. The impact on children’s learning is beginning to emerge and we are hopeful that the increased confidence of heads and middle leaders will result in sustained improvements in the participating schools.’ Councillor Pat Kennedy, Board Member for Education, Crime and Community said: ‘I was really impressed by the school leaders describing the journey of school improvement they had been on this year. The programme has really enhanced the confidence and skills of leaders and I would like to thank the two universities for their expertise and commitment to the programme, and to the school leaders for their thoughtful and enthusiastic engagement. This will make a big difference to life chances for children in the disadvantaged areas of the city.’ The second year of the programme will begin in January 2014, with up to 40 new participants.