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School Development Service

Leadership and Management


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Building Leadership Capacity

System Leaders

During the last decade there has been a recognition by government that the agenda for change cannot be led by prescription from above and that the real leadership of change in the education system will increasingly come from those who have been successful in achieving continuous improvement in their schools in the transformation from 'good' schools to 'great' ones.


These principals and senior leaders must be given the status to lead the education system and not just their own schools. In this sense they are the 'system leaders'.


(Diagram from David Hopkins)


See John West-Burnham's summary of discussion on 'sustainable leadership'

The major challenge is to identify accurately those individuals with the greatest potential for leadership and provide an attractive pathway for their development which will retain them within the system.
See NCSL's 'Evidence into Practice Guide' - What are we learning about identifying talent?

For a series of publications on systems leadership that provide 'thinkpieces' and a basic 'toolkit' see - System leadership in action

These four booklets offer perspectives of system leadership and what it might look like in practice. They set out to explore the interface between the practice of 'networked learning' and the practice of what has been identified as system leadership in action.

See David Hopkins - A short primer on system leadership
This provides some of the background thinking behind the presentation by David Hopkins at the BLC conference in October 2007. The four drivers to system leadership are shown as;

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