New Code of Conduct for Sir and Miss trapped in moral labyrinth schools

New Code of Conduct for Sir and Miss trapped in moral labyrinth schools

New Code of Conduct for Sir and Miss trapped in moral labyrinth schools

One of the most consistent images of recent decades has been that of the superhero: The heroic figure of the League, the figure of a lonely business ranger once compared to a Clint character by former school inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw. Eastwood “Fights for Justice”.

But could the model of the next decades be different: a less combative leader driven by both the vision of a good society and a competitive advantage?

This is the deep wish of Carolyn Roberts, a former director and architect of the Ethical Leadership Commission. The influential body, set up by school principals, has been working for two years to develop common values ​​to help school leaders steer what they call a “moral labyrinth” of education, where behavior can be controlled to cause concern about the results. ,

But why do we need to recalibrate the school leadership to be more ethical? In many ways, this is a worrying issue to face on a wet February morning in the successful center of London, which Roberts has led in the past six years.

Is the fact that we have to revive the moral purpose of education, an indication that something went wrong with the school management? Is it ethical now?

Roberts, director of the Thomas Tallis School, a large and diverse comprehensive enterprise between Blackheath and Kidbrooke in London’s Greenwich district, selects his words carefully. “Now we have so many different types of schools and we have to make sure there are enough to connect us.”

Making schools accountable is reasonable, she says. “But the way we did it by measuring the effectiveness of schools based on their results [test scores] has made those responsible focus on it and lead to a poor balance between the other things. what schools do. ”

While Robert’s intent on not criticizing the other bosses, it is difficult to ignore the elephants in the room: Regular reports of the fact that some schools are “in operation”: Get rid of the students; Copy in exams; “Play” the syllabus by guiding students into lighter subjects. And then there is the exorbitant payment of the director and even the financial frauds that are on the brink of the criminal.

Roberts knows that the directors are under great pressure to further improve the results. She admits that in the past (she was head of two schools in the northeast before moving to London) she faced “personal dilemmas”, such as the use of GCSE equivalents, which were intensively promoted to support some schools. “Table positions.

“It’s really hard for people who are under constant pressure,” she says. “Too many directors have been compromised, accountability measures say they have to do one thing, and the trust of the local authority or academy says you need to do it quickly, so decision-making becomes more difficult and people take what they call shortcuts see.

“It’s perfectly reasonable to make sure a child gets good test results, but we can not distance ourselves from the fact that schools are communities that should model what we value in society.” What we hear is that the directors want a language that will help them in this long-term, nuanced work. ”

At a time when “solid” leadership and easily measurable outcomes are highly valued, the Commission could be accused of promoting a “bland” definition of education.

Michael Gove, the former minister of education whose reforms still shape the lives of many schools, pioneered a reduced scope of inspection without what he called “peripheral,” such as student welfare and cohesion. Community His colleague Nick Gibb, who once called the idea of ​​social and emotional learning “frightening,” remains a school minister.

However, the Ethical Leadership Commission has received high-level support from the Association of School and University Leaders (ASCL), the National Association of Master Teachers, the Office of Education of the Church of England, the Directors and the Directors’ Conference, the Collegiate College of Teaching and the National Association of Governors. He was warmly welcomed by provisional National Schools Commissioner Dominic Herrington when he published his final report last month.

Geoff Barton, ASCL Secretary-General and former Headmaster, is convinced that the current system is not unethical. “The vast majority of practitioners defend the values ​​articulated in this context,” he says. “Our members felt it was time to identify and articulate the principles and values ​​that are invariable in education leadership, and to provide a support framework that principals can use to make difficult decisions under great pressure to meet.”

Hundreds of schools are testing the framework and an ethics forum will meet several times a year to reflect on the kind of dilemmas managers face in connection with Nolan’s principles: seven principles of public life: disinterest, integrity, objectivity, responsibility, openness, honesty, and Leadership, to which the Commission has added the personal traits of trust, wisdom, kindness, justice, service, courage and optimism.

The main school inspector, Amanda Spielman, is a member of the commission, and Roberts believes that the proposed changes to Ofsted are far from focusing on the outcomes and achieving a broader definition of “educational quality” that strengthens the idea that the change is coming.

He argues that the Commission’s “virtues and values” are by no means abstract but inextricably linked to the boss’s real dilemmas. If they are grouped together, it can give the colleagues confidence and courage. “It’s about going down the street and looking a colleague in the eye and saying,” How you make admissions or exclusions affects my school, can we talk about it? “This is very difficult, so courage is very important.

“The point is that bosses feel they are being honest with their parents when there are disappointing GCSE results, to make sure that children see that adults treat themselves fairly, smartly, and kindly, and behave accordingly that we would like to see in society, “says Roberts.

She adds, “It’s about supporting bosses who want to take their time to see both sides of the discussion before making a reasoned judgment, or those who would rather support and be kind to a teacher who is under pressure in the hope of helping them. “through a difficult patch rather than feeling compromised because people expect them to be instant judges and tolerate zero failure. ”

Even the current debate on the use of mobile phones in schools has an ethical dimension, and it should be seen in a broader context in which society and adults use electronic devices.

More urgently, he argues that the framework is necessary because England is in a chronic crisis of teacher recruitment and retention, and that directors in their fifties are leaving the profession in record numbers, partly because of competitive pressures and leadership styles that have been appreciated in the past. Wilshaw was known to claim that the bosses knew they were doing their job right when “the morale of employees was at an all-time low.”

“This has created unbearable workload problems and made it difficult for teachers to do the work themselves for 40 years,” says Roberts.

“We lose experience and wisdom of the system, but every interaction in the school needs to create a stable and happy community in which all children are valued and adults want to work.” We need a clear idea of ​​what schools are and we must take our responsibility seriously with the citizens we want for the future. “