Effective School Management - IDR IAIN Antasari Banjarmasin

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Effective School Management - IDR IAIN Antasari Banjarmasin
K. B. Everard
Geoffrey Morris
Ian Wilson
fourth edition
Effective School
Bertie Everard read chemistry at Oxford and joined ICI in 1951 as a research chemist.
He moved from the technical side in mid-career and became the Company Education
and Training Manager, responsible for senior management training. Shortly before
retirement in 1982 he was appointed a visiting professor at the Polytechnic of Central
London and later a visiting fellow at the University of London Institute of Education,
where he helped to design and run courses in school management. He undertook a
year’s research into the problems of school management, comparing them with those
in industry, and published the results in another book, Developing Management in Schools.
He was a consultant in the management of change to a project concerned with the
Education Act 1981, and helped to write the training manual, Decision Making for Special
Educational Needs.
He spent ten years as an external verifier for NVQs in management, training and
development, and sport and recreation (including outdoor education). He was on the
Education Management Development Committee of the British Education Management and Administration Society for several years. He now chairs his local YMCA,
which provides early years education for 200 children and is a director of a leading
educational charity, the Brathay Hall Trust.
Geoffrey Morris read modern languages at Cambridge and later also graduated in
law. He is the managing director of EMAS Business Consultants Ltd. Before joining
EMAS (European Management Advisory Services) in 1971, he was a senior manager
in the Unilever Group, and prior to that he was a schoolteacher for ten years, five of
them as head of modern languages and general studies.
In 1967 he obtained the backing of the CBI to run a course in management for
schoolteachers – the first of its kind. Since then he has been active in promoting
management in schools through courses at Brighton Polytechnic and Brunel
University, with lectures and workshops for groups of inspectors, headteachers and
administrators and consultancy and development activities within individual
schools. From 1983 to 1986, he was a member of the CNAA Education Organization
and Management Board. Since 1999 Geoffrey has been chairman of a charity, whose
main focus is on building and equipping schools and training potential managers in
Kosovo and Bosnia.
In his mainstream consultancy activities Geoffrey has worked across Europe and
in the Far East with several multinational organizations, and for twelve months he
acted as Head of Management Training for British Rail, during which time he was
active in developing links between education and industry. He is a tutor and
Executive Board Member of the European Master’s Programme in Food Studies. He
lectures and writes regular articles on Environmental Law and conducts ‘Teambuilding and Organisational Behaviour’ programmes for both industrial and
educational clients.
Ian Wilson read mathematics at Cambridge and then obtained his PGCE at Chelsea
College Centre for Science Education. He taught mathematics in two inner London
schools before becoming, successively, Head of Mathematics at Clapton School and
William Ellis School. He then became Deputy Head at Park Barn School Guildford. He
was Headteacher of Woodcote High School in Croydon for eight years, during which
time he was a Headteacher representative on Croydon Education Committee, and
took part in an international research project on Effective Leadership. Since 2000, he
has been headteacher of Rydens School, a mixed 11–18 comprehensive of 1,300 students
in Walton-on-Thames.
Ian has written two mathematics textbooks and a guide to parents on ICT, as well
as editing school versions of three of the plays of G B Shaw. He is a reviewer for the
Times Educational Supplement. Ian is an associate consultant with Surrey LEA, and a
member of the Education Committee of the Royal Society.
Effective School
Fourth Edition
K. B. Everard, Geoffrey Morris
and Ian Wilson
© 2004, K.B. Everard, Geoffrey Morris and Ian Wilson
First published 2004
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• Do schoolteachers need to learn management? • Instinct,
common sense, skills and techniques • What is management?
Who is a manager? • The manager and the organization
• Ethics and the manager • The school’s role and mission: are
education and management incompatible? • Further reading
• Interpersonal skills • Management style models • Orientation
and behaviour • Dominant and back-up approaches • Suiting
behaviour to circumstances • Recognizing inappropriate
behaviour • Leadership and job experience • Passive/political
orientation • Style and the school manager • Discussion topic
• Categories of leadership • Standards for management and
leadership • Characteristics of headteachers and deputy
headteachers • Further reading
• Motivation • Whom do we need to motivate? • Satisfying
needs • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs • The relevance of the
hierarchy • Theory X and Theory Y • Frederick Herzberg
• Involvement • Achievement needs • The self-motivated
achiever • Motivation theory and the school manager
• Discussion topic • Further reading • Opinion questionnaire
• Assessing the motivation of others
• Making things happen • Taking decisions • Logical steps in
decision-taking • The implementation of decisions • A structure
for implementation • Styles in decision-taking • Consultative
decision-taking – the ‘management contract’ • Commitment
• Delegation • Key principles • Discussion topic • Further
• Meetings and the manager • Teamwork • Tests of an effective
meeting • Purpose of the meeting • Large meetings • Decisiontaking • Information exchange • Generation of ideas • Group
dynamics • Preparing for a meeting • Discussion topic • Further
reading • Group performance checklist
• People as a resource • Recruitment of staff • Employing
staff • The workload agreement • Appraisal and performance
management • Discussion topic • Meeting development needs
• The re-entry problem • Group training • A coherent
approach • Dismissing staff • Picking up the pieces • Discussion
topic • Further reading
• A key skill • The value of conflict • Reason and emotion in
conflict • The dangers of conflict • Intergroup competition
• Attitudes to conflict • Solving problems of conflict • Handling
organizational conflicts • Preventing unnecessary conflict
• Guidelines for handling conflict • Conflict-management
skills • Discussion topic • Further reading • Conflict
orientation questionnaire • Role revision strategy • Image
exchange • School review
• The manager as a resource • The use and abuse of time
• Establishing priorities • Criteria for effectiveness • Timemanagement techniques • Managing stress • Assertiveness
• Developing your own competence • Managing your learning
• Managing our attitudes and behaviour • Equal opportunities
• Positive and negative management • Discussion topic • Further
reading • Criteria for effectiveness – establishing priorities
• Use of time analysis • Time log
• The organizational dimension • Organizational goals
• Stakeholders • Environment • Models of organizations
• Elements of organizations • Interlocking systems • Hallmarks
of effective schools • Discussion topics • Further reading
• The nature of teams • Team-building • Managing team
performance • Discussion topics • Further reading
• Formulating objectives
• Matching the curriculum to the need • The National
Curriculum • Meeting the needs of tomorrow’s citizens
• Creating positive attitudes • Involving the stakeholders
• Corporate planning • Aims and value systems • Curriculum
development in practice • Management of early years education,
childcare and playwork • Leadership and management in the
curriculum • Managing pupil assessment • Special needs
and the inclusion agenda • Specialist schools • Discussion topic
• Further reading
• Quality • Risk • Health and safety • Managing school safety
• Some areas of general concern • Out-of-school activities
• Discussion topics • Further reading
• Resource driven or need driven? • Women and educational
management • Investing money • Local management of schools
• Cost/benefit analysis • Best value • Budgeting and financial
control • Resource control • Adapting existing resources to fit
the need • Discussion topics • The role of the bursar and fundraising • Independent contractors and competitive tendering
• Further reading
• The natural environment • External relations • The angry
parent • Parents as partners • Governors • Skills required for
dealing with parents, governors and employers • Managing an
Ofsted inspection • The school in the community • Discussion
topic • Further reading
• The nature of change • Appreciating the complexity of change
• Why plans for implementing change fail • Discussion topics
• Further reading
• Organizational conditions conducive to successful change
• Managerial qualities needed to handle change • Discussion
topics • Further reading
• Introduction to the approach • Assessing the soundness of a
proposed change • The reconnaissance • Describing the future
• Describing the present • Readiness and capability • Force-field
analysis • Problems to be tackled • Resources for change
• Discussion topics • Further reading
• Transition management structure • Tasks for the transition
management • Developing a plan • Hierarchy of objectives
• Gaining commitment • Responsibility charting • Monitoring
and evaluating change • Discussion topic • Further reading
Useful Websites
References and Further Reading
Index of Subjects
Improving the effectiveness of school management remains one of our
fundamental concerns.
(School Teachers Review Body, 1995, para. 134)
The main purpose of this book is to help teachers with senior management
responsibilities, and the schools and colleges that they work in, to become
more effective. It is not a book by academics for other academics, but by
practitioners for practitioners. Practitioners of what? Ian Wilson is a practising
head and the two original authors, Bertie Everard and Geoffrey Morris, have
both been senior managers in industry, and we have spent much of our careers
helping others, both in industry and education, to learn to become more
effective managers, as well as improving the effectiveness of organizations –
commercial, industrial, educational and church. So it is not only in the practice
of management and the workings of organizations that we claim some
expertise but also in the methods by which both can be improved.
Of the two original authors, one of us (Morris), having taught and
managed in schools and in Unilever, is managing director of a European
management consultancy which has played a strong role in developing
school management training since 1971; the other (Everard) has been
education and training manager of ICI, and since 1982 has trained over 1,000
school heads in management, mostly as a visiting fellow at the University of
London Institute of Education. We think this makes our book unique,
because there are so few people who have had enough management
responsibility and training experience both in school and in industry to
bridge the cultural and terminological gap fully. We both became involved,
through the former CNAA Education Organization and Management Board
in validating award-bearing courses in education management, and have
both taught on such courses. So we have a foot in the academic world and are
broadly familiar with what is taught in higher education about management,
and with the value system that pervades such educational institutions.
Those, then, are our credentials.
Naturally these experiences have shaped our outlook on school and
college management and leadership. They have convinced us of the value of
building ‘learning bridges’ between educational and non-educational (but
particularly commercial) organizations, so that successful management
practice and organizational design can be transferred to and fro. However,
because industry has a longer tradition of management and leadership
development, and spends more on it than does education, most of the traffic
across the bridge is towards education. We believe that only some of the
available know-how should cross the bridge, and even that may need
translating or adapting before it can be put to beneficial use.
It is our contention that those who do not believe that schools can learn
from industry base their case on false premisses and lack of first-hand
knowledge of industrial management. They have a concept of industrial
organizations and managers which we scarcely recognize as real – or, if real,
as effective. We know of the charges of exploitation and the supposed taint of
the profit motive, but we do not accept that the ethics of most businesses are
malign. Our proposition is this:
Some firms are effective, ethical and successful, partly because they are well led
and organized, which is partly because their managers have learned management systematically.
Equally, some schools and colleges are effective and successful, partly
because they are well led and organized, which is partly because their heads
and senior staff have learned management systematically.
Therefore heads and senior staff in schools and colleges can learn to manage
better by studying what their counterparts do in successful firms and schools
and across national boundaries such as the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea.
Such learning takes time. We think nothing of investing four to six years in
the training of a doctor, lawyer, chemist or vet, but how many managers get
even as many weeks’ training? Yet management can be just as complex and
demanding as these other professions.
Just as doctors’ and vets’ mistakes may die, managers can kill their
organizations. We can learn from others’ mistakes, and industry has made
many (as has education). So we need to be discriminating about what we
allow to cross the learning bridges. Industry has had to be discriminating in
the same way, for many of the new ideas about organization and
management stem from institutions of higher education. Some work and
some don’t. This book is about those that work, and it warns the reader of
some of the traps for the unwary.
For too long books and courses on education management have been
considered by students as too ‘theoretical’, ‘academic’, ‘impractical’ or even
‘irrelevant’; they do not deal with the real condition of the manager, but with
some kind of idealized role. Since 1988 the concept of competence-based
learning and criterion-referenced qualifications has proved to be a powerful
countervailing force, stimulated by the former Employment Department’s
Standards Initiative and by the National Council for Vocational
Qualifications (SCOTVEC in Scotland) – now superseded by the
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. This development is probably the
biggest single reform in vocational education and training since the Statute of
Artificers was enacted in 1543. It is just as revolutionary as the introduction of
the National Curriculum. Schools have already felt the impact with the
arrival of GNVQs as alternative qualifications to GCSE and ‘A’ levels.
The CNAA used to adopt the following principle in assessing polytechnic
courses (author’s italics):
The direction of the students’ studies must be towards greater understanding
and competence. Thus, while it may be appropriate for a programme to include
the acquisition of techniques or skills, or the learning of data, these must lead to
a higher level of intellectual and creative performance than that intrinsic in the
learning of skills, techniques or facts themselves.
We subscribe wholeheartedly to this principle, and the whole thrust of the
book is aimed at improving competence and performance. We do not disparage
theory; Lewin’s aphorism that there is nothing so practical as a good theory
rings true for us, but we believe that too many books on education
management are written from a theoretician’s point of view. Our aim has been
to redress this balance and to complement with something more practical the
texts written by those academics who simply study management without
practising it (excellent though many are).
Perhaps a clue to the different approaches lies in the words used to
describe ‘management’. It is different from ‘administration’ (though in North
America this word comes nearer to what we mean by ‘management’) and
‘leadership’, but includes both. Consequently, we see a manager as someone
(1) Knows what he or she wants to happen and causes it to happen;
(2) Is responsible for controlling resources and ensuring that they are put to
good use;
(3) Promotes effectiveness in work done, and a search for continual
(4) Is accountable for the performance of the unit he or she is managing, of
which he or she is a part;
(5) Sets a climate or tone conducive to enabling people to give of their best.
(Everard, 1984)
Since our third edition was published in 1996, there has been a gradual shift
of emphasis from ‘management’ towards ‘leadership’. This is exemplified by
the creation of the National College of School Leadership (www.ncsl.org.uk)
and by the rebranding of the MCI management standards as ‘management
and leadership’ standards (www.management-standards.org.uk); Figure 1 is
the new functional map on which these standards are based, and the latest
key purpose is defined as:
Provide direction, gain commitment, facilitate change and achieve results
through the efficient, creative and responsible deployment of people and other
People &
Trust &
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& Culture
& Lead
Excellence in
Management &
Use of
Use of Effective
to Plans
Advise &
Act on
Figure 1
Integrated management and leadership
Most of our readers will recognize both definitions as describing the role of
heads, principals, rectors and leaders in schools and colleges. Some will aspire
to such posts or to the next rung down: deputies, assistant headteachers, heads
of lower school, heads of faculties, principal teachers.
What we have to say is directed at primary, secondary and special schools,
as well as early years education centres (though the parts that deal with the
interdepartmental problems of large institutions will scarcely apply to a
small village primary school); and it is as relevant to the independent as to the
state sector.
We believe that much of what we say also applies to the management of
colleges and universities and we hope that this will be borne in mind by
readers in such institutions. However, in this stratum of education, it is more
to the teachers of education management on long or short courses that we
offer guidance – on what, in our experience, teachers as managers really want
to learn. Although the book is based on studies of effective management and
successful organizations, and is pitched at a practical level, it is underpinned
with theory. If it fails to do justice to important schools of thought, this is
because we have quite deliberately selected approaches that we ourselves
have used, and found relevant.
We have included short tasks which the reader can relate to his or her own
school situation. Some of these exercises could be used for group discussion –
group learning is a useful method which can be set up in any school or for a
peer group from different schools in a locality. Other issues for discussion
have been added to the fourth edition. Wherever we can, we have included
examples from schools.
Such conscious linking of the book to the reader’s own situation helps the
process of learning. We espouse the experiential learning model described by
Kolb (1984, p. 33), which is based on earlier work by Lewin and Dewey. It
postulates a cycle of improving competence by observing and reflecting on
concrete experiences, then forming abstract concepts or generalizations, then
testing the implications of these concepts in new situations. Thus learning
combines the processes of experience, perception, cognition and behaviour; it
is not simply the imparting and assimilation of knowledge. This book cannot
supply the concrete experience, so it will not be as helpful to readers whose
roles are not managerial; but we hope it will help perception, reflection and
conceptualization, and we suggest ways of putting the results of these
mental processes into practice.
We see the book being used for personal study at home or work; as part of
the reading for a short or a long course; for informal group discussion; and as
a reference handbook for the practising manager. We don’t think that this
multiplicity of aims is ambitious because that is how we have used similar
books on management. Our main concern is that so many of those who could
benefit from it simply can’t find the time for reading; their priorities leave no
space for self-improvement. It is worth reflecting whether such an ordering is
in the best interests of the school, for it is impossible to change a school for the
better without changing oneself.
The report of the School Management Task Force (1990), Developing School
Management – The Way Forward, called for a ‘new approach to school management development which focuses attention on the support which should be
available in and near to the school and places less emphasis on off-site
training’. It sees management development as a crucial process in helping
organizations achieve their purposes, and quotes Everard’s definition of it as
‘an approach that supports, promotes and is harmoniously related to the
development of the organization’. This philosophy pervades our book,
which emphasizes almost every characteristic of effective schools which the
report lists, and shows how each can be developed by schools themselves.
We share the task force’s view that schools should be moving towards an
integrated corporate approach to the development of the workforce, led by
the head, so that achievement of corporate goals and meeting the individual’s needs become matters of mutual benefit rather than of competing
demands. The report advises schools to draw on industrial expertise; our
book packages this in an interactive form which schools can use by themselves, selecting whichever topics, techniques and exercises meet their needs.
In 1995 the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) became responsible for
guiding nationally the professional development of teachers, including those
in management roles, and launched the HEADLAMP programme for
training newly appointed heads, now renamed the Headteacher Induction
Programme (HIP), in which many have now participated. Two other
programmes have since been added, and the work has now been taken over
by the National College for School Leadership.
We admit to being, in the writing of this book, creative plagiarists, a
condition rife among management trainers. In the distant past we have
picked up from lectures, handouts, articles, internal reports, books and
discussions with professional colleagues a whole host of interlocking ideas
which we have built into our personal repertoires, as birds build a nest. Often
the source of the original idea gets lost as it is embellished and refashioned to
new use. We are conscious of our debt to many ‘gurus’. As well as a general
acknowledgement to all those whose ideas we have used, we have tried to
give credit where we know the source. But there are some to whom we owe a
special debt.
Bertie Everard had the privilege of working over several years with
Professor Dick Beckhard of MIT, when he consulted with ICI, and with other
ICI colleagues such as Arthur Johnston and Derek Sheane. Part III owes
much to the insights developed during this experience. Professor Bill Reddin,
the late Ralph Coverdale and his disciples, and Meredith Belbin have also
helped to shape his ideas. Later there were colleagues in the University of
London Institute of Education and in the BEMAS Education Management
Development Committee, especially Janet Ouston.
Geoffrey Morris would like to express his thanks to his colleagues in
EMAS (European Management Advisory Services) who have contributed to
the development of ideas used in this book, and to Tom Lea, late of Brighton
Polytechnic, with whom he worked on frequent courses over a period of
twenty years; to Malcolm Mander of Brunel University and to Carmen
Newsome, Head of Tockwith Primary School, Yorkshire, who provided an
insight into Ofsted inspections and the changing primary school. He would
also like to acknowledge the, usually positive, criticism of his wife (a former
teacher), his daughter (a teacher) and his son (a manager), and to thank them
for giving him temporary leave of mental absence from the family.
Ian Wilson would like to acknowledge the many useful discussions he has
had with senior leadership teams at Rydens School and Woodcote High
School. He has also been influenced by colleagues on the international
research project on school leadership in which he participated. He is grateful
for the support and encouragement of fellow heads, including Sandy Davies,
Roy Blatchford and Keith Sharp and colleagues in Surrey, especially Judy
Nettleton for information on special schools. His family have been, as usual,
tolerant of his hours spent with a PC rather than with them.
All of us have been rightly chivvied by our editor, Marianne Lagrange,
and by Berteke Ibbett and Irene Greenstreet, Morris’s secretaries, who wordprocessed the script. To these and others unnamed, we express our thanks.
Bertie Everard
Geoffrey Morris
Ian Wilson
Study the management and leadership functional map in Figure 1. How well does
your own job map on to it (you may want to rephrase a few functions? How do the
functions of a headteacher differ from those of managers and leaders in general? If
you conclude that they are much the same, are you willing to accept the generic
nature of such roles and therefore the relevance to your job of insights from noneducational settings?
Figure 9.4 is adapted from The Learning Organization (1987) by permission of
the author, Bob Garratt and Profile Books. The learning styles description is
reprinted from Honey and Mumford’s Manual of Learning Styles (1986: 2nd
edn) by permission of the authors.
Figure 10.2 and the definitions of team roles in Chapter 10 are reprinted by
permission of Belbin Associates UK, and thanks are due to Dr Meredith Belbin
for agreeing to the use of this material from his book, Management Teams: Why
They Succeed or Fail (1981) and from the website, www. belbin.com.
The quotation from Ten Good Schools in Chapter 16 (Crown Copyright) is
reproduced with the permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery
The authors gratefully acknowledge their indebtedness to Professor Fullan
and to Professor Beckhard and his colleagues in Part III, which freely quotes
from their work; also to their publishers, Teachers College Press and Thomson
Publishing, and Addison-Wesley Publishing Company respectively, for
permission to use this material: Fullan, M.G., Change Forces, Thompson
Publishing © 1993, Fullan, M.G. with Stiegelbauer, S., The New Meaning of
Educational Change (2nd edn), New York, Teachers College Press © 1991 by
Teachers College, Columbia University (all rights reserved), R. Beckhard and
R. Harris, Organizational Transitions: Managing Complex Change © 1987 AddisonWesley Publishing Company Inc.
Acknowledgement is made to the McGraw-Hill Book Company (UK) Ltd for
permission to use material from V. Stewart’s book, Change: The Challenge for
Management (1983) in Chapter 16. The authors also thank HarperCollins
Publishers, Inc. for permission to use selected excerpts from In Search of
Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-run Companies, by Thomas J. Peters and
Robert H. Waterman Jr. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H.
Waterman Jr.; and ‘Hierarchy of needs’ from Motivation and Personality by
Abraham H. Maslow. Copyright © 1970 by Abraham H. Maslow. The authors
would also like to thank Frederick Herzberg for permission to use material
from Work and the Nature of Man (1966).
Chapters 14–18 are illustrated from a case study of a highly successful change
programme currently in progress: the Barrow Community Learning
Partnership (BCLP). Our thanks are due to Mason Minnitt, Director, Rick Lee,
Deputy Director, Professor Murray Saunders and Steve Lenartowicz, BCLP
Action Forum, who provided internal reports and gave freely of their time in
describing the programme and enabling us to relate it to this book.
Exercises 1–4 and 7–10 and some other material in this book are the joint
copyright of EMAS Business Consultants Ltd and EMAS Consultants Ltd.
Are good managers born, not trained? Does management come naturally to
us? Before answering these questions, you may find it useful to complete the
following brief questionnaire. Answer each question in turn, without hesitating
too long, and without reading ahead.
Management principles questionnaire
Award a grade of 0 (totally disagree) to 4 (totally agree) to indicate to what
extent you agree or disagree with each of the statements that follow. Please
do not look at Questions 6–10 until you have answered Questions 1–5.
(1) One should ignore certain faults in the work of subordinates in order not
to discourage them.
(2) I spend too much time sorting out problems that my subordinates ought
to be able to deal with.
(3) I try to tell my subordinates exactly what they have to do and how I want
it done.
(4) I know enough about my area of responsibility to be able to take most
decisions quickly and without having to seek the views of my
(5) I always tell my staff why we are making changes.
(6) If anyone finds any fault at all with my work I would rather he or she told
me to my face.
(7) If I have a problem I like my boss to take over and sort it out.
(8) I like to be told exactly how I am to do my job.
(9) If my boss is going to take a decision affecting me or my department I like
him or her to consult me first.
(10) It is difficult to appreciate the logic behind many education office
Interpreting the questionnaire
As you neared the end of the questionnaire you probably realized that there
was a relationship between Questions 1 and 6, 2 and 7, etc. In fact, the first
five questions all relate to the way in which we manage others or believe that
we ought to manage others. Questions 6–10, on the other hand, are concerned
with the way in which we believe we are or ought to be managed.
It seems logical that we should manage others in the way that we like to be
managed. However, you will be among the vast majority of those who have
answered this questionnaire if you have, by a ‘4’ grading, firmly asserted that
‘if anyone finds any fault at all with my work I would rather he or she told me
to my face’ (Question 6), yet have at the same time suggested by a ‘3’ or a ‘4’
that ‘One should ignore certain faults in the work of subordinates in order
not to discourage them’ (Question 1).
Answers by a typical group of fifty headteachers of all types to the
questionnaire gave the average results shown in Figure 1.1.
Figure 1.1
Scoring sheet for management principles questionnaire
In looking at your own scores or at the above scores, two objections may
(1) ‘The questions are not exact matches.’ This is true – but necessary in the
interests of not making the correspondence too obvious during the
answering of the questionnaire. The match is close enough to make the
(2) ‘The way in which you manage or wish to be managed differs from level
to level. Headteachers do wish to be told of their faults (and can safely be
told of their faults as they will be too mature to be discouraged!), but this
is not the case with less senior staff.’ However, this questionnaire has
been given to groups of school staff at all levels and the mean response
has been almost identical.
In the case of Question 10, the wording was changed to ‘Many of my
headteacher’s decisions …’ The responses still clearly made the point
that at any level we believe that we are keeping others informed of the
reasons for change. However, in the vast majority of cases we are living
in a fool’s paradise.
From what we have seen above, it would appear that our ‘instinct’ for
managing others may be less reliable than we think. We may, in fact, be
rationalizing ourselves out of facing up to issues with our colleagues or
subordinates when, in fact, this sort of evasiveness of real issues is frustrating,
destructive and time-wasting for all concerned.
Most of what we shall say in this book may well appear to be common
sense, as it indeed is once the issues have been thought through.
Unfortunately, as we often see in others, people sometimes do not behave in
accordance with principles which should be obvious to them. The remedy is to
be clearly aware of
(1) the pitfalls;
(2) the guiding principles which will help us to avoid the pits – or to get out
of those we do happen to fall into; and
(3) the early warning signs of trouble.
Practice at reacting in the light of these principles will develop our management
Finally, the book will suggest certain techniques and ‘tools’ that we can use
to improve the effectiveness of the ‘team’ for which we are responsible or of
which we are members.
As all teachers will know from their university days, a great deal of ink can be
expended in defining one’s terms. Definitions of management are so many
and varied that we could spend the next twenty pages on this subject alone.
Our aim, however, is not philosophy but practical guidance. Let us therefore
be brief.
What management is not is carrying out a prescribed task in a prescribed
way. As we discussed in the Preface, management in its broadest sense is
(1) setting direction, aims and objectives;
(2) planning how progress will be made or a goal achieved;
(3) organizing available resources (people, time, materials) so that the goal
can be economically achieved in the planned way;
(4) controlling the process (i.e. measuring achievement against plan and
taking corrective action where appropriate); and
(5) setting and improving organizational standards.
As all teaching jobs contain at least some element of ‘management’ in this
sense, one can argue that every teacher is a manager.
More restrictive definitions of management argue that a manager must
additionally ‘direct’ the work of others. Again, in their classroom role, this
definition could apply to all teachers and, indeed, almost all principles of
management do have very direct application to ‘managing’ the classroom.
However, our prime concern will be with school ‘managers’ in the more
conventional sense, i.e. those teachers who have some responsibility for
planning, organizing, directing and controlling the work of other teachers.
The ‘organization’ – be it department, school, college, university, education
authority or, indeed, the educational system in toto – expects of its ‘managers’
three things. These are that they will
(1) integrate its resources in the effective pursuit of its goals;
(2) be the agents of effective change; and
(3) maintain and develop its resources.
Integration of resources
The managerial role – as opposed to the teaching role – is to be the ‘glue’ in
the organization, not, it is hoped, in the sense of ‘gumming up’ the works –
though those whom you manage will inevitably see it that way at times – but
in the sense of holding the organization together.
The first post in which a teacher has to plan, organize, direct and control
the work of other teachers involves a fundamental change in the criteria for
job success. Many learn the lessons the hard way.
Throughout the educational process, success as a student tends to depend
on demonstrating and exploiting one’s own ideas and talents. This may also
be the focus in one’s first teaching appointment. As a manager, on the other
hand, success depends on using the ideas and talents of a team, on arriving at
decisions and actions to which the team members feel committed and on
ensuring that they are put into effect. Though you do not feel that someone
else’s idea is quite as good as your own, you may be wise to back that idea,
particularly if the person who puts it forward has a key role in implementation.
The manager is less concerned with being a resource than with using
resources. At most levels of school management, teachers are fulfilling both
classroom and management roles, and the danger is that one forgets that
behaviour which succeeds in the classroom is different from that required to
motivate the team.
Geoffrey Morris has not forgotten the occasion when, in his first year as
head of department, he made changes in textbook and curriculum without
fully involving the members of his department!
Effective change
Change is an essential function of the managerial role. It may be initiated
from within the school or imposed from without. It may take the form of
making improvements in the way in which we achieve ongoing goals, or we
may have to cope with new goals and challenges.
Over the last thirty-five years, schools have had to carry through a number
of radical reorganizations caused by changes in politics, philosophies and
birth-rates. In the years that lie ahead, the one thing that seems certain is that
the rate of technological and social change will, if anything, accelerate, and
the ability of our pupils to succeed – or, indeed, survive – in a changing
environment will depend on our ability to adapt the content, methods and
ethos of education to the new needs.
Change features strongly in the pages which follow. By definition,
strategic decisions involve change. As managers, we are involving others in
that change, and we need to bear in mind that the following phenomena tend
to come into play, affecting both ourselves and those whom we manage:
‘Not invented here’. Next time you are in a meeting and hear someone propose
a course of action, note carefully how many of the ensuing comments are
positive and how many are negative. (NB ‘Yes, but’s’ count as negative.) The
natural tendency in people is to resist and even resent ideas which are not
their own. The tendency is even stronger if a change is parachuted upon them.
Listen to the comments when a memo from the headteacher is posted on the
staff-room notice-board announcing almost any change – or when yet another
government circular comes round.
‘I haven’t time’. Implementing changes always takes time, and teachers’ time
is always in short supply. It is easier to apply a standard solution which has
worked in the past, to go over the same ground, to repeat the same syllabus
using the same methods, than it is to prepare and implement a new approach.
However good intentions may be, crises and routine will usually take priority
over preparation for change. The only way to overcome the time barrier may
be to set clearly defined action deadlines. However much time may be given
for these, we will often find that the action is not taken – by ourselves or
others – until the last minute, when it is promoted to the ‘crisis’ category
because someone is ‘breathing down one’s neck’.
‘A bird in the hand’. Change means risks and unforeseen problems. Will there
be timetable clashes? Will the pupils respond in the way that is hoped? Will
we have the resources to cope? Can we handle the new situation?
Restricted vision. Research has shown that the most important indication of
high management potential and effective managerial performance is the
‘helicopter’ quality – the ability to take the broader view of one’s activities
and to see them in context.
However, we all have a tendency, particularly in times of stress, to move
our sights down a level instead of taking this broad view. Thus we may
(1) jealously conserve the interests of ourselves or our departments instead
of relating to the interests of the total organization; and
(2) take decisions to deal with instant crises and forget that the decision may
create a dangerous precedent which will itself provoke more crises (the
history of management/union relations is littered with catastrophic
short-term expedients).
Problems of reorganization, status, demarcation, authority. As well as consuming
time, such changes are seen by most people as containing ‘threats’. Usually
our first reaction is to concentrate on these threats instead of looking for the
opportunities. A sign of individual confidence and organizational health is
said to lie in the ability to reverse this trend.
Shortage of money. Change almost always costs money!
Maintaining and developing resources
The tangible resources of an organization can be classified as
(1) human (the people employed by the organization);
(2) material (buildings and equipment); and
(3) financial (the funds available to the organization).
If these resources are not maintained we simply do not have an organization
to integrate or to change.
Alongside these are a number of intangible resources, of which ‘image’ or
‘reputation’ are the most generally recognized. Without the right image, the
survival of any commercial enterprise, including an independent school, is
certainly in doubt and, even within the state system, image matters wherever
choice comes into play, e.g. recruitment of staff, placement of pupils in jobs
and parental/student choice of school or college. Reflect on what other
intangible resources are possessed by a school and their relative importance:
ethical standards? disciplinary standards? external relationships and
It is not enough to maintain resources. The process of change demands that
managers focus a great deal of attention on developing resources to meet new
challenges and needs. If the educational system is to progress and be relevant
to society, it must be ‘need driven’ and not ‘resource driven’ – that is to say,
resources must be adapted to meet needs and not vice versa. These needs will
be derived from the interplay of the school’s values, the trends within the
environment and educational legislation.
Managerial activities particularly concerned with the maintenance and
development of resources are
(1) human – selection, job design, performance management, career
planning, training, project work, coaching;
(2) material – purchasing, stock control, asset management; and
(3) financial – budgeting, cost control, fund-raising, cost/benefit analysis.
While barriers to curriculum development are most often said to be financial,
the real problems are often human. Do staff have the skills and knowledge
needed to introduce new subjects and methods? Do they want to make the
changes? The relationship between skill and knowledge on the one hand and
desire to innovate on the other is a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. To support a
new subject we need to understand it; to wish to learn about a subject, we
may need to be convinced of its relevance.
A school manager needs to be able to plan, organize and control all his or
her resources, but the most crucial skill is undoubtedly the development of
human resources.
As teachers we already play an important and influential role in the lives of
our pupils. As managers we become, additionally, one of the most important
influences on the working lives of the staff who report directly or indirectly to
us. As heads we fashion the value system of the school.
On our actions and attitudes will depend to a large extent
(1) whether the staff are happy or unhappy in their work;
(2) their work priorities; and
(3) the standard which they observe and reflect.
As ‘leader’ of a group of staff, we have a potential ‘power-base’ which can be
used to influence decisions. Unscrupulous managers can make life hell for
those of their departments who do not support them in staff meetings, whether
or not the issue under discussion has previously been discussed within their
departmental groups. Words like ‘loyalty’ can be corrupted to mean slavish
adherence to the party line.
As we shall see, good ‘meeting management’ can become ‘manipulation’;
objectivity, honesty and justice can be lost in the emotion of conflict; all sorts
of games can be played.
Every manager should constantly reflect on the ethics of his or her
conduct. Other people, especially more senior managers, are more perceptive
of unethical manoeuvrings than ever the perpetrator imagines. People who
fondly imagine themselves to be seen as brilliant young managers, or as
shrewd and sympathetic handlers of people, may, in fact, be regarded as
unprincipled rogues by their colleagues.
Standards of competence, for use in NVQs, are now required to capture
occupational demands arising from ethics and values, and the practical
consequences for performance of subscribing to a value base have to be
incorporated into descriptions of outcomes (NCVQ, 1995). The new
standards for management and leadership include a unit ‘Ensure compliance with values, ethical and legal frameworks‘ (www.managementstandards.org).
Most authors on this subject readily reconcile education and management.
However, there are still those who passionately believe that the manager’s
role and mission, as we have described them, are incompatible with those of
a school. It is argued that schools, with their deep-rooted educational values
and academic professionalism, are not the kind of organizations that ought to
be managed by a ‘linchpin head’ or even a senior management or leadership
group – they ought to be self-managing communities with access to power
dispersed equally among the staff. This case has been argued in a London
Institute of Education Paper, Education plc? (Maw et al., 1984), which reflects
the views of a number of educational sociologists and other theorists in
institutions of higher education and of teachers who have been trained to
embrace their thinking. The main arguments adduced in support of this stance
are given below. We set them out early in this book because, unless they are
confronted, much of what follows may be rejected by readers who espouse
similar views:
(1) ‘Managerialism’ is in conflict with the values and purposes of schools.
(2) Stress on means as against ends devalues professional competence.
(3) Hierarchically organized schools deprive teachers of involvement in
fundamental educational thinking.
(4) Vertical accountability is debilitating; it leads to suspicion, resentment,
divisiveness, problems of legitimacy and (in the case of appraisal)
attendant psychological detriment to isolated individuals.
(5) The conception of authority relationships within an educational system
is contrary to democratic principles and has a miseducative effect on
(6) Pupils should not be politically educated through belonging to an
institution that is run by a ‘linchpin head’.
(7) The contexts of educational and commercial organizations differ
fundamentally; the latter ignore important moral considerations,
whereas to an educational undertaking, morality is central.
(8) Recommended management practice (‘contingency theory’) is
tantamount to expediency and manipulation; the abrogation of such
words as ‘participation’ is especially insidious.
(9) Management theory is a pseudo-theory, tricked out as a form of
‘behavioural science’, but without scientific basis; it lends a spurious
legitimacy to the manipulative practices of managers.
(10) A commercially inspired management imperative may betray rather
than enhance the specifically educational nature of schools, because its
values, focus and style of operation are destructive and alien to
progressive educational thinking.
(11) Managers surreptitiously enjoy the exercise of power, kick away much
conventional morality and subjugate employees to the demands of the
organization. Therefore heads should be regarded not as ‘managers’
but as professionally first among equals.
We believe that these arguments rest on false premisses and on a lack of
understanding of what well-managed commercial organizations are really
like (for example, those with the Investors in People accolade). Some postulate
a classical model of an industrial organization which has long been superseded;
some do not correspond with life in such organizations as we have experienced
it as managers and managed. The fact is that there is great diversity in industry
and commerce, and within this are to be found exemplary organizations and
departments with whose managers most teachers would find some rapport.
Only part of industry is concerned with the routine tasks of mass production:
research, accounts and training departments resemble schools in being staffed
mainly by skilled and articulate professionals, and are managed accordingly.
If we thought that the approaches we advocate in the rest of this book
would have the effects that critics of ‘managerialism’ fear, then we should not
have written it. We are more than ready to defend on moral and ethical
grounds everything we have written. No less than the critics do we respect
professional competence, individuality and the centrality of values in the
(often hidden) curriculum of schools. One of us was a founder member of the
National Association for Values in Education and Training (NAVET) and has
contributed a chapter on ‘Values as central to competent professional
practice’ to a book on Managing Teachers as Professionals in Schools (Everard,
1995b). For us management does not and should not imply the naked
exercise of power, nor the subservience of the managed, nor insensitivity to
individuals’ needs, nor the renunciation of human values. It does, however,
call for the knitting together of social and economic values, as warp and weft.
We readily acknowledge the cultural differences between schools and
other organizations, with their different raisons d’être, and we are deeply
aware, through bitter experience, of the pitfalls of using concepts and
terminology that mean different things to people on different sides of the
cultural divide. It may be that such pitfalls partly explain why we are able to
accept the five conclusions about school management training with which
Fielding ends his critique in Education plc? (Maw et al., 1984), while rejecting
most of the arguments on which he bases them; and why we wholeheartedly
subscribe to Mitchell’s view of the headteacher’s role, in the same booklet,
quarrelling only with his stereotype of industrial managers.
However, this is not a book about educational and managerial philosophy
and ethics: it is about effective practice. Hence all we need do at this point is
to outline how we perceive the school as an organization, and what its
mission is:
(1) The raison d’être of a school is to promote its pupils’ learning, within a
curriculum acceptable to its stakeholders, or as prescribed by the law.
(2) A school organization should meet these ends efficiently and costeffectively.
(3) In such an organization tensions will arise between social and economic
values, professional autonomy and managerial control, individuality
and hierarchy, structural authority and participative decision-making,
the head’s dual roles of ‘leading professional’ and ‘chief executive’, the
educational good of the many and the self-interest of the few, high
principle and pragmatic expediency – and many other dilemmas that
sometimes require a decision as to the lesser of two ‘evils’, e.g. being
cruel in order to be kind.
(4) Striking the correct balance in these dilemmas entails difficult
judgements, which have to be referred to a set of values outside of and
greater than those of the individuals in the organization.
(5) At the highest level of abstraction, such values apply to, and often drive,
all successful organizations, be they educational or commercial, and they
act as bridges between the two.
In the remainder of this book we shall often revert to these fundamental issues
in exploring how managers can best fulfil their personal roles and at the same
time contribute to that of the educational institutions where they are set in
Bush, T. and Bell, L.A. (2002) The Principles and Practice of Educational Management,
Sage, London.
Does your personal value system get in the way of your becoming a more effective
manager? What are the main sticking points? Can you find a mentor to help you to
reconcile your innermost beliefs with the inexorable demands that your job places
on you? Do any of your staff need mentoring for a similar reason?
The Manager as a Leader
Leadership is a process of influencing others to achieve a goal.
(Dickmann and Stanford Blair, 2002)
Before we can set about our managerial role and mission, we need some skill
in relating to other people. We need to understand the various behavioural
processes that may be at work, and use our knowledge to influence or ‘lead’
individuals or groups. In a meeting, as we shall see, decisions can be influenced
far more effectively by using the behavioural ‘process’ of the meeting than by
simply restating one’s arguments, however sound they are. How we use our
awareness of behavioural processes is a key aspect of managerial ethics. Do
we use it to ‘manipulate’ or to ‘facilitate’?
In order to help us to understand managerial behaviour and leadership, a
large number of models have been created. Because of the commercial
interest in management training, such models have proliferated to the point
of confusion, and authors have at times promoted their own models by
attacking those produced by others.
Our aim is to avoid adding to the lists, nor do we wish to spend time
carrying out a review of the differing approaches of the many theoreticians.
Instead we shall focus on some generally agreed principles and on a set of
well-established models which we have found to be useful to managers in
general and to school managers in particular.
Those of our readers who have attended courses on leadership and who
have read other management literature, including Goleman’s Emotional
Intelligence (1996), are almost certain to have some acquaintance with the
contents of this and the next chapter. Having cast an eye over the
subheadings, they may therefore wish to proceed directly to Chapter 4.
The best known of the management style models are based on the premiss
that every manager has two main concerns. These concern
(1) to achieve results (i.e. he or she is ‘task’ oriented); and
(2) for relationships (i.e. he or she is ‘people’ oriented).
Earlier style models such as the Schmidt–Tannenbaum continuum
(Tannenbaum and Schmidt, 1958) suggested that these two concerns were in
conflict and that the more a person was concerned with results, the less he or
she would be concerned about relationships, and vice versa. The type of style
model shown in Figure 2.1 resulted.
Figure 2.1 A management style model based on Tannenbaum and Schmidt (1958)
However, it was not long before it was realized that a manager’s concerns
for results and relationships were not necessarily opposed to each other, but
that it was possible to be concerned about both at the same time (how do I
best get results through people?) or, indeed, to be concerned about neither.
This is the concept recognized in a number of style models which put results
and relationships on two different axes of a graph and either name or number
the extreme positions, e.g. the Blake Grid (Blake and Mouton, 1994).
Figure 2.2 sets out such a model which gives both the Blake numbers and
verbal style descriptions. (NB The reader should note that the descriptions on
the model are used in a specific context as defined. Words such as ‘political’
are used later in the book in a more positive context.)
Some attributes of each of the five named style positions are as follows:
• wants things done his or her way;
• ‘tells’ rather than ‘listens’;
– – – – – – – – – – – – – –– – –V
– – – – – – – – Concern for results – – – – – – – –V HIGH
Figure 2.2 A two-dimensional model of management styles based on Blake and Mouton (1994)
doesn’t worry too much about other people’s feelings or opinions;
is aggressive if challenged;
‘drives’ things ahead; and
checks up on staff.
• cares about people;
• wants to be liked;
• avoids open conflict – smooths and coaxes;
• ‘if the school is “happy”, that is all that matters’;
• praises achievement to the point of flattering;
• glosses over slackness or poor performance;
• tends towards ‘management by committee’; and
• is helpful.
• agrees goals and expects achievement;
• monitors performance against goals;
• helps staff members to find solutions to poor performance;
• faces up to conflict calmly;
• agrees and monitors action plans;
• involves staff in decisions which affect them;
• delegates clearly; and
• takes decisions as and when needed.
Passive/political (NB People whose concern is neither for results nor for people
are often frustrated, disillusioned or feel under threat. They may respond
either ‘passively’ or by indulging in considerable ‘political’ activity):
Passive behaviour:
• does no more than is required;
• resists change;
• becomes ‘slack’ if not checked; and
• blames other people, the ‘children of today’, innovation, the government, etc., for creating intolerable conditions.
Political behaviour:
• is very concerned about status;
• is quick to criticize; and
• draws attention to the faults of others.
• goes ‘by the book’;
• maintains the existing system;
• is conscientious rather than creative or innovative; and
• is steady.
It is extremely important to realize that any such model operates at two
different levels:
(1) Basic orientation (or ‘dominant style’), i.e. the way in which a person
most naturally behaves or wants to behave.
(2) Behaviour, i.e. the way in which a person actually does behave on any
particular occasion.
Basic orientation – sometimes known as ‘management approach’ – will remain
relatively constant. We can all think of people who tend to be ‘assertive’ in all
they do, who are concerned to explain to their subordinates exactly what is
wanted and how it is to be done and who tend to be intolerant of – or not to
listen to – ideas other than their own. On the other hand, we have met basically
‘solicitous’ people who want above all to maintain good relationships.
Behaviour, however, will vary – and should vary – according to
circumstances and people. As we shall see later, one of the characteristics of
those who truly have a high concern for both people and results is that they
should be able to adapt their behaviour according to the needs of the person
with whom they are dealing.
Under stress people may move automatically from their so-called ‘dominant’
approach into a quite different approach, which is often referred to as their
‘back-up’ approach. For example, heads who are in the habit of doing what
they want without regard for the opinions of the staff may, if confronted, fall
into profusions of apology using phrases like: ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’, ‘I
had no idea you felt strongly about this’, ‘My door is always open.’ Such a
swing from assertive to solicitous is fairly common. Of course, once the crisis
has passed, such heads may well go on doing what they want, but discerning
members of staff will have noted the reaction for future use.
One should not count on this sort of reaction. In some cases, the dominant
approach grows even harder under challenge or stress. Furthermore, just as
in one individual an assertive approach may, when challenged, give way to a
solicitous or even passive back-up, some helpful and caring individuals can
turn into roaring lions if pushed too far.
If we are to manage our relationships with parents, governors, colleagues,
superiors and subordinates, the important skill is to be able to suit our
behaviour to circumstances and individuals. This calls for ‘situational
sensitivity’ and ‘style flexibility’ (Reddin, 1971).
If there is a fire or other emergency, an assertive style by the leader is
probably highly appropriate – there may not be time to consult or to let
people ‘do their own thing’. On the other hand, if a person is in distress, a
highly solicitous approach is probably best – ‘Forget your work, go home,
sort things out, and come back when you can.’ Such an approach may bear
rich rewards in terms of future loyalty and work.
While it is true that there are times when any of the range of behaviours may
be equally appropriate, we must remember that there are other times when a
particular behaviour is quite inappropriate. It is vitally important that we
increase both our
(1) skill in recognizing when a particular form of behaviour is wrong; and
(2) ability to use alternative forms of behaviour.
Remember that as well as ‘concern for results’ and ‘concern for relationships’,
everyone has a third concern – ‘concern for self’ or, more positively,
for ‘personal effectiveness’. People – and organizations – will adapt very
quickly to whatever patterns of behaviour are seen to ‘pay off’ and will avoid
patterns which do not ‘pay off’. Thus there is a very interesting interaction
of management styles. If it is clear in an organization that ‘those who
shout loudest get most’, a lot of people will start to shout loudly. If esteem or
salary depends on having a large number of subordinates, empires will be
While it is impossible to provide for every contingency, there are a number
of rules of thumb which the individual manager can use in spotting an
inappropriate use of behaviour on his or her part. Remember that these rules
only apply to inappropriate uses of the different types of behaviour, and that
while assertive behaviour, for example, may have a negative effect on some
people, there are others who like to be dealt with in an assertive way and who
will not respond to anything else.
Different individuals need to be handled in different ways. While some
people may be slow to take action if not ‘chased’, for example, others will be
sufficiently self-motivated to produce the best results when left alone.
In dealing with pupils, the technique of ‘acting’ an emotion is one that
most of us have used. Our response to staff may need the same degree of
control. The danger always is that of getting ‘hooked into’ behaviours which
may be counterproductive.
In dealing with subordinates the appropriate leadership style may vary
according to how long they have been in the job (Hersey, Blanchard and
Johnson, 1996). In the early days they may look for high task behaviour from
their boss, i.e. for him or her to tell them what is expected and teach them
how to do it in detail. At a second stage a more overtly ‘motivational’ behaviour
may be called for, i.e. agreeing what is expected but leaving the subordinate
more freedom to decide how to carry it out and giving feedback on results. At
the third stage, the employee may simply need positive or negative feedback
on results (a demonstration of genuine interest). Finally, a self-motivated
employee may for most of the time be left to get on with his or her job, though
this approach may never be right for certain subordinates.
Signs of inappropriate use of assertive behaviour
To a subordinate
(1) The subordinate may adopt a passive role: ‘If my boss will not listen to
my ideas, I will not contribute unless specifically asked or told to do so.’
If you have a passive subordinate, you should always ask whether this is
a basic orientation or whether you have caused it! A head of department
once said to us: ‘I am paid to take decisions and I do so. My worst
problem as head of department is that I have “turned off” teachers in my
department and I can’t seem to motivate them.’
(2) The subordinate may react politically, and start to bypass you by giving
his or her ideas and suggestions to others who are more interested – thus
competing rather than contributing.
(3) There may be a direct rebellion or protest. (As we have seen, some
assertive bosses when faced by this move sharply into a solicitous role.
This solicitous approach is usually short lived.)
To an equal
(1) Some equals will respond in equally assertive terms and a win–lose
conflict may quickly develop (Chapter 7).
(2) Other colleagues of a ‘solicitous’ disposition may ‘smooth’ the situation
by not responding strongly. However, they may then undermine your
position in less obvious ways.
Signs of inappropriate use of solicitous behaviour
To a subordinate. Contrary to the expectations of many ‘solicitous’ managers,
most people are not motivated by flattery or a style which overlooks
infringements. ‘If the boss does not care about my results, why should I
bother?’ Hence there may be slackness and low task motivation.
To an equal. A colleague who always agrees with you on the surface (but
may undermine you in your absence) loses your respect!
While passive/political behaviour may sometimes be appropriate, an orientation
which is directed neither towards results nor towards relationships is unlikely
to be of much real value to an organization or school except in the accom-
plishment of purely manual tasks under strict supervision. Remember, of
course, that it may be the school ‘culture’ or managerial behaviour which has
produced this orientation!
Behind many a ‘nine-to-four’ schoolteacher is a history of being frustrated
or overlooked. Some of these individuals show surprising enthusiasm and
ability outside school as leading members of local societies or even
councillors. What went wrong?
On any day we will see a rich variety of behaviour exhibited by our professional
colleagues, our pupils, the administrative and ancillary staff and other people
with whom we come into contact. In each situation the basic style orientation
of the individual will be modified to a greater or lesser extent, deliberately or
unthinkingly, in response to the situation with which he or she finds him or
herself confronted.
Experience over the years helps us to learn to respond more effectively to
many of the situations with which we are faced – to control our instinctive
reactions so as better to achieve a desired result. However, there are certain
behavioural patterns which we may never try unless we make a deliberate
effort. Furthermore, we may become locked into assumptions about the way
in which others will react.
An understanding of management style should reopen the options, cause
us to challenge our assumptions and consequent behaviour and, as a result,
make us more effective leaders.
(1) Think about your colleagues and try to classify them according to their
dominant management style.What back-up style(s) does each of them have?
(2) What do you believe to be your own dominant and back-up styles? Ask your
colleagues for their views.
To what extent is it desirable to modify our management style? What are
the dangers and how do we overcome them?
There are two main categories or models of leadership – transformational
and transactional – but other epithets have also been used, such as invitational,
distributed and charismatic. Transformational leadership is about the ability
of an individual to envisage some new social condition and to communicate
this vision to followers (Stoll and Fink, 1996). Sergiovanni (1996) adds to this
definition a moral dimension, connected with the meaning of work and life in
general. Transactional leadership is based on the exchange relationships
between the leader and the follower (Leithwood, 1995).
Invitational leadership focuses on the humanistic side of education,
mediated through interpersonal interaction, institutional policies and
practices and values such as optimism, respect, trust and care (Stoll and Fink,
Distributed leadership is characterized by widespread delegation of
responsibility, encouraging leadership behaviour to emerge from below as
well as above; any individual will take the lead for a limited time and/or
within a limited specialist field. Its success depends, as always, on ability to
relate approach and information to the issue and to the other group
members, and also on a culture in which it is encouraged and accepted by the
appointed leader. By contrast, charismatic leadership focuses strongly on the
personality of the person at the top of the organization.
In so far as effective school leadership will ultimately be tested by its
ability to prepare teachers to meet the challenges of change, which may
impact on the organization anywhere, heads would do well to practise
transformational leadership themselves, while seeking to distribute
transactional leadership to all levels in their school organization.
As part of a government initiative, national occupational standards of
competence for managers were introduced in 1992 and national vocational
qualifications based on them were made available to school heads by the then
College of Preceptors (now Teachers). During 2002–3 these standards were
reviewed to take account of the emergence of leadership as a key aspect of
competence and to incorporate best practice from other countries. This work,
carried out first by the Council for Excellence in Management and Leadership
(www.managementandleadershipcouncil.org) and subsequently by the
Management Standards Centre (www.management-standards.org), has
resulted in a number of ‘maps’ which show the relationship between
management and leadership functions, as well as descriptions of the functions,
to be used as a basis for a qualifications framework. Figure 1 in the Preface is
an example of such a map. The upper items are in the ‘leadership’ category,
whereas the remaining items describe the functions of operational
management. Some ‘fine-tuning’ may be needed to make the map fit school
management; nevertheless, this approach to describing the functions of heads
and the knowledge, skills, personal qualities and styles that they employ is to
be commended.
Despite its title, this book’s authors have always regarded leadership as an
indispensable part of management, and we do not think it helpful to create an
impermeable boundary. For those who prefer to differentiate, however, WestBurnham (1977) sums it up succinctly (Figure 2.3).
LEADING is concerned with:
• vision
• strategic issues
• transformation
• ends
• people
• doing the right things
MANAGING is concerned with:
• implementation
• operational issues
• transaction
• means
• systems
• doing things right
Figure 2.3 The differences between managing and leading
Think about how you do your job. In relation to what your school requires of you,
have you got the balance right between leadership and management? To which functions
in Figure 1 (see the Preface) do you need to give more attention?
Under the auspices of the National College of School Leadership, Hay
McBer have researched the characteristics of high-performing school
leaders in different settings. They identified the following characteristics
each of which they have defined in some detail (see www.ncsl.org.uk/
Analytical thinking
Challenge and support
Developing potential
Drive for improvement
Holding people accountable
Impact and influence
Information seeking
Personal convictions
Respect for others
Strategic thinking
Transformational leadership
Understanding the environment
Understanding others.
Hay McBer stress that these characteristics may be combined and applied in
different ways according to the setting and the individual. It is not a case of
‘one size fits all’.
In order to illustrate the need for variety, Hay McBer have created four
‘models of excellence’ for:
Headteachers in medium and large schools
Headteachers in small schools
Headteachers in special schools
Deputy headteachers
See www.ncsl.org.uk/index.cfm?pageid=haycompletechar.
Consider the list of ‘characteristics’ in the above section. Score each characteristic
on a scale of 0 to 5 to reflect its importance to the running of your own school.
Consider to what extent you possess and apply these characteristics.
Adair, J. (2002) Inspiring Leadership, Thorogood, London.
Bennett, D., Fawcett, R. and Dunford, J. (2000) School Leadership, Kogan Page, London.
Caldwell, B.J. and Spinks, J.M. (1992) Leading the Self-Managing School, RoutledgeFalmer,
Caldwell, B.J. and Spinks, J.M. (1998) Beyond the Self-Managing School, RoutledgeFalmer,
Dickmann, H. and Stanford-Blair, N. (2002) Connecting Leadership to the Brain, Corwin
Press, Thousand Oaks, California.
Edwards, G., Winter, P.K. and Bailey, J. (2002) Leadership in Management, Leadership
Trust, Ross-on-Wye.
Gillen, T. (2002) Leadership Skills for Boosting Performance, Chartered Institute for
Personnel and Development, London.
Goleman, D. (2002) The New Leaders: Emotional Intelligence at Work, Little, Brown, London.
Hay, W. (2003) Leading People and Teams in Education, Open University, Milton Keynes.
Tomlinson, H. (2004) Educational Leadership: Personal Growth for Professional Development,
Sage, London.
Sadler, P. (2003) Leadership, Kogan Page, London.
Motivating People
‘Motivation’ can be defined as ‘getting results through people’ or ‘getting the
best out of people’. The second definition is slightly preferable, since ‘the
best’ which people can offer is not necessarily synonymous with ‘the results’
which we might initially want from them, though it should be in line with the
overall goals and ethos of the school or college.
As Peters and Waterman (1995) say: ‘Management’s principal job is to get
the herd heading roughly west.’ A head of an English department may, for
example, have fairly strong feelings about the choice of set books. However,
if he or she wishes to get the best out of the teacher responsible for taking the
class, he or she should at least allow his or her own choice to be modified by
the teacher’s preference. Both should be asking what is in the best interests of
the pupils.
In motivating people we should be concerned with the needs and
potential of three parties:
(1) The group which we are managing or in which we manage.
(2) The individuals who make up that group.
(3) The ‘clients’ (pupils, parents, etc.) of the school, college or other
organization in which we all work.
A fundamental mistake is to forget that people are best motivated to work
towards goals that they have been involved in setting and to which they
therefore feel committed. If people do not feel committed towards a given
result or activity, the only motivations at our disposal are those of the carrot
and stick – reward and punishment. We therefore have to be prepared to
modify our own initial perceptions of what is required. Some people have a
strong ‘internal’ motivation – a sense of purpose or drive. Others do not.
In a hierarchical organization, subordinates are obvious candidates for
‘motivation’. However, it is even more important to be able to motivate
equals and superiors. In the last resort, we can tell a junior member of our
department what he or she is to do, but we have no such power with a
schoolteacher who is our equal and even less with the headteacher, chair of
governors or local education officer. Here we are in much more of a ‘selling’
role and, like all good salespeople, must be very aware of the benefits that
will accrue to our customer.
A cynical – but often true – maxim is: ‘There is nothing I cannot achieve
provided that my boss gets the credit for it!’
People work in order to satisfy some need. The need may be to achieve fame
or power, to serve other people or simply to earn the money to live. It may
even be the rather negative need to avoid punishment.
Most motivational theorists have therefore concentrated their attention on
(1) examining human needs; and
(2) considering how the needs are met and can be better met in work.
People work at their best when they are achieving the greatest satisfaction
from their work.
Maslow (1943) suggested that it was useful to think of human needs as being
at different levels in a hierarchy – see Figure 3.1. The principle behind the
hierarchy is that, starting from the bottom, the needs at each level have to be
satisfied to some extent before we think about needs at the next level up.
Psychological growth
Friendship, group acceptance
Freedom from danger
Freedom from want
Food, drink, shelter, sex,
warmth, physical comfort
Figure 3.1 A hierarchy of needs, based on ‘Hierarchy of needs’, in Maslow, A.H. (1970) Motivation and
Personality (2nd edn), copyright © by Abraham H. Maslow
The physiological needs. Undoubtedly physiological needs are the most basic
of all needs. For the person who is missing everything in life, it is most likely
that the major motivation will be the physiological needs. A person who
lacked food, security, love and esteem would probably hunger for food more
strongly than for anything else.
The security needs. If the physiological needs are gratified, there then
emerges a new set of needs, which are categorized roughly as the security
needs. Robinson Crusoe’s first thoughts on reaching his desert island were to
find water, food and shelter. His second was to build a stockade and to get in
reserves of food and water.
The social needs. If both the physiological and the security needs are fairly
well satisfied, then there will emerge the needs for love and affection and
belongingness. Now the person feels keenly the need for friends, a special
relationship with one partner, or children. There is a hunger for affectionate
relationships with people in general, for a place in the group.
The ego needs. Having established a base of friendship, acceptance and
affection, most of us want to prove our worth within whatever group or
groups we belong to. We seek to demonstrate to ourselves and others that we
are as good as, or better than, other members of the group. We pursue
promotion, influence, status, power, reputation, recognition, prestige,
importance, attention.
The need for self-realization. Even if all these needs are satisfied, we may still
be discontented and restless if we feel that we have talent and potential
within us which we are not fully exploiting.
Why do people write poetry, plays, books and music, play sports, act in
plays, take up hobbies, climb mountains? We have a need to achieve, fulfil
ourselves, become what we are capable of becoming, meet new challenges.
In his later writings Maslow identified an even higher need, selftranscendence, to describe the inner grace of a person who feels called to
serve a cause above and beyond him or herself, such as a deity.
There are a number of important points to be made about the hierarchy:
(1) If an individual is really deprived at a lower level, he or she may lose
interest in the higher-level needs. How often do we hear someone who
suddenly finds him or herself in pain in hospital make a remark like: ‘To
think that I was worrying yesterday because I hadn’t been invited to…
This puts things in perspective’? Serious financial hardship or threats of
redundancy can take the mind off thoughts of achievement.
(2) On the other hand, a ‘satisfying’ job at the higher levels will raise the level
of tolerance or deprivation at the lower levels. Teachers, doctors and
nurses are prepared to tolerate conditions of employment which would
not be acceptable to someone with a boring job – though even they have
their limits.
(3) When a need at a given level is satisfied, the law of diminishing returns
sets in. When I have eaten a meal, I do not wish to eat another
immediately. While I may like friends and parties, too many become a
nuisance. Even prestige can pall and those who courted publicity on their
way to promotion and fame may seek, when they have ‘arrived’, to avoid
the limelight.
(4) ‘Oversatisfying’ of a need may produce a sense of guilt and/or deliberate
self-deprivation. Drop-outs are often the children of well-to-do families,
and young people will undertake ventures which involve frugal living
and risk in order to prove themselves.
(5) Different people will feel needs with differing intensity. One person’s social
needs may only be satisfied when surrounded by friends, whereas another
will be content simply to have the companionship and love of his or her
partner. Very exceptionally, an individual will shun all company, but such
‘hermits’ are extremely rare. They may, like saints, have reached the level
of self-transcendence.
The interesting thing is that when dealing with people with whom we work,
most of us have a tendency to behave as though the needs of others, particularly our
subordinates, are at the lower levels.
‘I look for satisfaction in my job but the rest of the staff are concerned only
about physical conditions, being treated kindly, not being asked to work
hours which are unreasonable, being given appropriate recognition of their
status.’ This is the same sort of phenomenon as was illustrated by the
questionnaire on page 1. Furthermore, the staff themselves often reinforce
our beliefs by complaining about precisely those things we have just
The two views of work – one asserting that people seek fulfilment through
work, and the other suggesting that they seek only to satisfy lower-level
needs – are neatly described by Douglas McGregor (1985). McGregor called
the two conflicting assumptions about the nature of work Theory X and
Theory Y.
Those managers who adopt ‘Theory X’ believe that
(1) work is inherently distasteful to most people;
(2) most people are not ambitious, have little desire for responsibility and
prefer to be directed;
(3) most people have little capacity for creativity in solving problems;
(4) motivation occurs only at the physiological and security levels; and
(5) most people must be closely controlled and often coerced to achieve
organization objectives.
‘Theory Y’ managers, on the other hand, believe that
(1) work is as natural as play, if the conditions are favourable;
(2) control of one’s own work activities is often indispensable in achieving
organizational gains;
(3) the capacity for creativity in solving organizational problems is widely
distributed in the population;
(4) motivation occurs at the social, ego and self-realization levels as well as at
the physiological and security levels; and
(5) people can be self-directed and creative at work if properly led.
Herzberg (1975) put to the practical test, through a series of experiments
conducted with widely differing groups of workers, the sort of thinking
developed by Maslow and McGregor.
One of his best-known experiments consisted of asking people to think of
three occasions when they had felt very satisfied in their work and three
occasions when they had felt dissatisfied. He then asked them to categorize
the causes of satisfaction and dissatisfaction under a number of headings.
Finally he recorded for all the individuals in the group the frequency with
which each category had been noted as a cause of satisfaction or
dissatisfaction. A typical result is shown in Figure 3.2.
From these findings, Herzberg drew some important conclusions:
(1) The things which make people happy at work are not simply the
opposites of the things which make them unhappy, and vice versa. The
two sets of things are different in kind. You will not make people satisfied,
therefore, simply by removing causes of dissatisfaction.
(2) The things that make people dissatisfied are related to the job
environment. The things that make people satisfied on the other hand are
related to the job content.
(3) While those who have a satisfying job may have a higher tolerance of
dissatisfiers, the dissatisfying factors can be so strong that the job
becomes intolerable.
(4) Managers must therefore be concerned with ensuring both that causes of
dissatisfaction are removed and that opportunities for satisfaction are
increased – that, in Herzberg’s terms, the job is ‘enriched’. It is in this
latter respect that managers usually fail. Instead of using the real
‘motivation’ which comes from a satisfying job, they use rewards and
Herzberg calls the environmental factors which are capable of causing
unhappiness the ‘hygiene’ factors because he believes that these have to be
reasonably well ‘cleaned up’ as a prerequisite for satisfaction. Among the
hygiene factors are
organizational policies and administration;
working conditions;
interpersonal relationships; and
money, status and security.
The work content factors which lead to happiness Herzberg calls the
‘motivators’, and these are as follows:
Work content
Company policy
Working conditions
Figure 3.2 Motivators and hygiene factors
Source: Herzberg (1975)
• Achievement. This is a measure of the opportunities for you to use
your full capabilities and make a worthwhile contribution. It includes
the possibilities for testing new and untried ideas.
• Responsibility. A measure of freedom of action in decision-taking, style
and job development.
• Recognition. An indication of the amount and quality of all kinds of
‘feedback’, whether good or bad, about how you are getting on in the
• Advancement. This shows the potential of the job in terms of
promotion – inside or outside the organization in which you currently
• Work itself. The interest of the job, usually involving variety, challenge
and personal conviction of the job’s significance.
• Personal growth. An indication of opportunities for learning and
At this point you may like to look at how ‘motivating’ your own job is, in
Herzberg’s terms, by completing and scoring Exercise 1 at the end of this
Educators’ jobs usually score fairly high in Herzberg’s terms, though low
scores on ‘Recognition’ are not uncommon. This is less a particularity of the
teaching profession than a British or European cultural norm. We hesitate to
tell people how they are getting on, though this knowledge is not only an
element in job satisfaction but also essential for improvement and adjusting
to the needs of the job. This should be the purpose of staff appraisal.
The relationship between the Herzberg ‘motivators’ and the top two levels
of Maslow’s hierarchy is self-evident.
Where staff at any level are ‘involved’ in decisions taken by their superiors,
peers or even subordinates, all the motivators are brought into play. This is
particularly the case where the decision under discussion will affect the
person involved.
Involvement should produce the commitment to goals on which a sense of
achievement depends. By involving people we show them recognition and
increase their sense of responsibility. The interest of their job should be
increased and we are providing them with the broader view which provides
both a learning opportunity and experience which may be of use in seeking
Motivational theorists are almost unanimous in giving a special place to the
need for achievement. In his book, Every Employee a Manager, Myers (1991)
neatly specifies that a sense of achievement arises when an individual clearly
perceives a goal and is then able to
(1) plan how to achieve the goal;
(2) implement his or her own plan; and
(3) control (i.e. ‘monitor’) the results.
In this sense, whatever the other issues involved, public and internal
examinations provide a motivational loop in that teachers and pupils know
more or less what is expected; can plan how to achieve the required standard
with freedom to choose textbooks and other means; can carry out the
teaching/learning in line with the plan; and, finally obtain a result. In the
absence of examinations, learning goals and measures of achievement may
be less clear, and we may have problems in finding motivational substitutes.
Fundamental to the concept of achievement is the perception by the
individual to be motivated that the goal is relevant to him or her. In a world
where traditional learning is no longer linked to career prospects – GCSE or
GNVQ results do not guarantee a job – teachers and pupils have a further
motivational problem.
As with all needs, the intensity of the need for achievement varies greatly
from person to person. In some pupils, particularly at secondary level, we
may feel that it has almost disappeared! McClelland’s (1985) interest is in
those with very strong achievement needs who offer great potential, but can
also pose problems where their own perception of goals may be different
from our own.
McClelland would claim that most of us have a motivation to achieve
something. He would also claim, however, that only in 10 per cent of the
population is this a highly developed motivation. According to McClelland,
the most convincing sign of a strong achievement motivation is the tendency
of a person who is not being required to think about anything in particular,
that is, who is free to relax or to let his or her mind wander, to think about
ways of accomplishing something. On a car journey the self-motivated
achiever will typically set him or herself time-targets or fuel-consumption
targets. On the way to work he or she will try out new routes to cut mileage or
time. He or she will work to achieve a standard in a sport, to take on new
challenges in his or her job, to produce a play, to organize a new function.
Such tendencies emerge at a very early age. In a series of experiments
McClelland provided young people with an upright pole and quoits. Some
would throw the quoits aimlessly around, build towers, drop them with ease
on to the pole or quickly lose interest. However, certain individuals would set
themselves a challenge by attempting to hit the pole or throw the quoits over
it from a distance chosen by them such that success would not come too
easily nor be impossible or subject to pure luck. Following his subjects’
careers, McClelland found that those who showed a strong achievement
motivation in childhood tended to manifest the same drive in adult life.
Although only about 10 per cent of people are strongly motivated, the
percentage in certain occupations is likely to be much higher. This is
especially true of people in managerial positions, and independent
entrepreneurs. A person with a strong achievement motivation is likely to
surpass the accomplishments of equally able but less strongly motivated
people, especially in one of the above occupations.
McClelland’s studies have identified three major characteristics of the selfmotivated achiever, and why supervisory tactics, which may be appropriate
to other kinds of people, are often inappropriate when applied to a man or
woman with a strong achievement motivation.
First, achievers like to set their own goals. They are nearly always trying to
accomplish something. They are seldom content to drift aimlessly and let life
happen to them. They are quite selective about which goals they commit
themselves to and for this reason they are unlikely automatically to accept
goals which other people, including their bosses, select for them. Neither do
they seek advice or help except from experts or people who can provide
needed skills or information. Achievers prefer to be as fully responsible for
the attainment of their goals as it is possible to be. If they win they want the
credit, if they lose they accept the blame. Either way they want the victory or
defeat to be unmistakably theirs.
Second, achievers tend to avoid extremes of difficulty in selecting goals.
They prefer moderate goals which are neither so easy that winning them
would provide no satisfaction nor so difficult that winning them would be
more a matter of luck than ability. They will tend to gauge what is possible
and then select a goal that is as tough as they think they can fulfil, i.e. the
hardest practical challenge. This attitude keeps them continually straining
their abilities to their realistic limits, but no further. Above all else they want
to win and, therefore, they do not knowingly commit themselves to a goal
that is probably too difficult to achieve.
Third, achievers prefer tasks which provide them with more or less
immediate feedback, i.e. measurements of how well they are progressing
towards their goal. Because of the importance of the goal, they like to know
how well they are doing at all times.
The effect of a monetary incentive on an achiever is rather complex.
Achievers usually have a fairly high opinion of the value of their services and
prefer to place a fairly high price tag on them: they are unlikely to remain for
long in an organization that doesn’t pay them well. But it is questionable
whether an incentive payment actually increases their output since they are
normally working at peak efficiency anyway.
McClelland notes that monetary incentives are actually more effective
with people whose achievement drives are relatively weak, because they
need some kind of external reward to increase their effort. The main
significance of additional income to achievers is as a way of measuring their
success. McClelland emphasizes that the achievement motive, as he defines
it, is not the only source of success attainment. Other drives can also lead to
high levels of attainment, but achievers have a considerable advantage.
Can the level of achievement motivation be increased in people whose
achievement drives are not usually strong? McClelland believes this may be
possible and indeed there are considerable reserves of latent untapped
achievement motivation in most organizations. The key is to build more
achievement characteristics into the job – personal responsibility, individual
participation in the selection of targets, moderate goals and fast, clear-cut
feedback on the results each individual is achieving, etc.
For achievers themselves, McClelland believes that many standard
supervisory practices are inappropriate and in some cases may even hinder
their performance. Work goals should not be imposed on achievers. They not
only want a voice in setting their own goals but they are also unlikely to set
them lower than they think they can reach. Highly specific directions and
controls are unnecessary; some general guidance and occasional follow-up
will do. But if the job does not provide its own internal feedback mechanism
regarding the achiever’s effectiveness, as is the case, for example, in some
professional or administrative jobs, then it is vitally important to achievers
that they be given frank, detailed appraisals of how well they are performing
in their jobs.
The key to effective management is the ability to get results from other
people, through other people and in conjunction with other people. If the
underlying psychology is wrong, the most carefully constructed system and
techniques will fail. Efficient headteachers are not necessarily effective
headteachers. But if relationships and motivation are good, people will
readily accept and overcome some administrative or environmental flaws
(but see Herzberg, 1975, p. 29).
Three basic rules should underlie management relationships and the
application of any technique:
(1) We should remember to use the ‘motivators’, i.e. people’s need for
achievement, recognition, responsibility, job interest, personal growth
and advancement potential. We tend to underestimate the needs of other
people in these areas. Involving others in decisions which affect them is
one way of meeting all or most of these needs. This principle is as valid
for the caretaker or the dinner lady as it is for teaching staff.
(2) The relative intensity of psychological needs will vary greatly from
person to person and from time to time. There are people who simply are
not interested in motivators, or who do not wish to have these needs
satisfied at work. If a teacher’s spouse loses his or her job, security needs
may well be the most important need. If there is a marriage break-up,
both security and social needs may surface, though these may be
followed later by a need to find renewed interest and achievement in the
These are predictable and often recognizable behavioural phenomena.
However, when symptoms and causes are less obvious, the risk is that
we misjudge the needs of colleagues or friends. Some of us have a
tendency to assume that the needs of others are the same as our own;
others tend to assume the opposite.
As a fairly light-hearted exercise in judging your ability to assess the
motivation of others, you may like to try Exercise 2 at the end of this
chapter with a group of colleagues or friends.
(3) We should try to suit our management behaviour to both the personalities
and the needs of the situation. Our automatic behavioural reaction may
not be the right one. Think about the alternatives.
Despite every effort there will remain individuals who have no wish to be
‘motivated’ and who view with suspicion any attempt to increase their
responsibilities, job interest or involvement. Such attitudes may typically be
found in caretakers, ancillary staff or teachers who are frustrated. However,
the danger is always that we give up too easily. The right approach may
prompt a surprisingly warm response.
(1) (a) Invite the members of your department to complete the Opinion
Questionnaire of Exercise 1, making it very clear that this is not a test of
their competence but of the environment in which they work.
(b) Discuss the results either on a one-to-one basis or in a departmental
group.Try to find and agree for each person one thing that would increase
job satisfaction. Put it into practice.
(2) Try to identify some ‘self-motivated achievers’. Consider to what extent the
standards by which they judge their achievement are compatible with the
school’s goals.
How can we apply the motivation theories in this chapter to the motivation of parents, children and governors?
Adair, J. (2003) The Inspirational Leader: How to Motivate, Encourage and Achieve Success,
Kogan Page, London.
Fraser, L. (1992) Maximising People Power in Schools: Motivating and Managing Teachers
and Staff, Corwin, London.
Stewart, V. and Stewart, A. (1988) Managing the Poor Performer, Gower, Aldershot.
EXERCISE 1: Opinion Questionnaire
The aim of this exercise is to discover your reaction to your job.
Answer each question to show how you feel. Do this by circling the number
of the statement which best describes your opinion. The only correct answer
is your frank opinion.
(1) Think about the specific duties of your job. How often have you felt
unable to use your full capabilities in the performance of your job?
Not very
(2) How many functions do you perform on your job which you consider
relatively unimportant or unnecessary?
all of
Most of
a few
A few
None of
(3) As you see it, how many opportunities do you feel you have in your job
for making worthwhile contributions?
A few
a few
A great
many times
(4) How often do you feel that your job is one that could be dropped?
all the
Most of
the time
(5) How much say do you feel you have in deciding how your job is to be
carried out?
(6) How frequently have you felt in your job that you could achieve more if
you could have complete freedom of action to accomplish your
all the
Most of
the time
Not very
(7) How frequently in your job have you received some type of recognition
for your accomplishment?
Not very
A great
many times
(8) How often does your job give you the opportunity for personal
Not very
A great
many times
(9) How do you feel about your present post as a job where you can
continually learn?
more to
learn in
Practically Can learn
to learn
but not
Can still
learn a
Can still
learn a
lot in it
Can still
learn a
(10) How do you feel about your general association with the school as an
opportunity for learning?
Provides Provides
almost no
chance chance
Can learn Can learn Can learn Can learn
something a little
a lot
a vast
but not
(11) Leaving aside any regular measurements of your job (indices or
performance standards), how often have you inwardly felt you have
achieved something really worth while?
Once in
a while
All the
(12) To what extent is it possible to know whether you are doing well or
poorly in your job?
No way
Almost no To some
way of
To a
To a
(13) To what extent is it possible for you to introduce new (untried) ideas on
your job?
To no
Almost no Very
(14) How often have you found the kind of work you are now doing to be
Not very
(15) Based on your past experience in your present job, how often have you
thought that you would like to resign or change jobs?
Once in
a while
(16) To what extent do you consider your present post helpful for a person
who wants to get ahead?
Almost Very
no extent little
Not very
(17) If you wish to make any comments about your job, your chance for
achievement, recognition and personal growth, use the space below.
Scoring sheet
Mark your score for each question in the appropriate space, add the total for
each group and divide as indicated.
Group total
Grand total
Interpreting your score
The scoring sheet has interpreted your responses to give a rating to your job
under the following headings:
Achievement (ACH)
Responsibility (RY)
Recognition (RN)
Advancement (AD)
Work interest (WI)
Personal growth (PG)
Note that the rating is not of you but of the extent to which you feel, according
to your answers, that your job provides you with opportunities for achievement, responsibility, etc.
The headings listed are the factors which, according to Herzberg, are the
‘motivators’ in work.
In the grand total you have a score which reflects the relative weighting
which Herzberg gives to each motivator in determining overall job
You may like to compare your own score against the European norm:
UK and European norm
As a rule of thumb, a score of 3.5 or above for any heading indicates a
thoroughly satisfying job. A score of between 2.5 and 3.0 suggests that there
may well be room for enrichment of your job. If your score is less than 2.5 for
any heading, you and your manager should be asking why. There may be a
simple explanation (e.g. a head of a large school may well score 0 on
opportunity for further advancement!), but the likelihood is that there is an
area of frustration here.
An overall score of 55+ would indicate total job satisfaction. However,
between 45 and 55 should not give any cause for concern.
Note, finally, that the first three areas – ‘achievement’, ‘responsibility’ and
‘recognition’ – are particularly within the control of your superior and the
way your work is organized.
NB All the above remarks are equally valid if you give the test to your
subordinates. It can provide the basis for a discussion which can make their
jobs more interesting and your life easier and more efficient.
EXERCISE 2: Assessing the Motivation of Others
The exercise that follows should be carried out with at least three (preferably
five) friends or colleagues. The friends need not be connected with work –
indeed, the exercise can provide a semi-serious hour’s entertainment for you,
your spouse and a few dinner guests. While it is essential that all the people
involved in the activity should have met several times previously and spent
some time together, they do not need to have a particularly close social or
working relationship.
Before conducting the exercise, you are advised to familiarize yourself
thoroughly with the two forms (pp. 42–43) and with the exercise instructions,
but you should not read the ‘Interpretation’.
When you have completed the exercise, develop a personal strategy to
remedy any problems you may have either in assessing the needs and wants
of others or in ensuring that others know your own needs and wants. Put it
into practice.
Form 1, column 1. Each of the participants in the exercise should be given a
copy of Form 1. On this form are listed a number of ‘needs’ or ‘wants’ which
are felt to a greater or lesser extent by most people.
In the first column of the form each participant should rank the needs in
order of importance to him or her by writing the figure ‘1’ against the most
important, ‘2’ against the next most important, and so on.
Usually people will find it relatively easy to rank the most important and
the least important but may have some hesitation in the middle rankings. If
this happens, the order probably does not matter and a choice should be
made fairly quickly either way. Others may feel that two needs ‘overlap’ for
them. If so, they should ask which is the really driving purpose for them and
which is the means to the end.
The golden rule is not to spend too long in contemplation – first instincts
are often the most accurate.
Form 1, column 2, etc. Having ranked the needs in order of importance for
themselves, each participant should write at the head of column 2 the name
of the first person to his or her right, at the head of column 3 the name of the
second person to his or her right and so on.
The next step is for each participant to fill in, outside the brackets, under the
appropriate column what he or she thinks the person concerned will have
written in column 1 of his or her own table, i.e. participant A tries to assess
how important each need is to participants B, C, D, etc. This must obviously
be done without reference to any of the other participants.
We now have the raw data to be processed.
Form 2. At this stage Form 2 should be given to each participant. Each person
heads the columns with the same names as on Form 1. The purpose of Form
2 is to enable each participant to find out how each other participant
perceived his or her needs.
The most efficient way of transferring the information is to
(1) ensure that each participant has written his or her name clearly at the top
right-hand corner of Form 1; and
(2) circulate the Form 1s and let each person enter on his or her Form 2, under
the column bearing the name which is in the top right-hand corner of the
Form 1 (Exercise 2) – your own views of your own needs and those of other group members
Your name ....................................................................
(Names of other group members)
(a) To be liked
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
(b) To make a lot of money
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
(c) To serve other people
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
(d To have a good time
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
(e) To be secure
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
(f) To be an expert
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
(g) To become well known
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
(h)To be independent
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
(i) To make the most of your talents ................
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
(j) To maximize status
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
(k) To be a leader
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
(l) To achieve something worth while ................
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
) ...........(
Form 2 (Exercise 2) – your motivation as seen by others
............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ..............
Ratings of your needs by other group members →
(a) To be liked
............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ..............
(b) To make a lot of money
............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ..............
(c) To serve other people
............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ..............
(d)To have a good time
............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ..............
(e) To be secure
............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ..............
(f) To be an expert
............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ..............
(g) To become well known
............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ..............
(h)To be independent
............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ..............
(j) To make the most of your talents
............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ..............
(j) To maximize status
............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ..............
(k) To be a leader
............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ..............
(l) To achieve something worth while
............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ..............
row ‘1’)
Form 1 which has been passed to him or her, the ranking which on that
Form 1 appears under the column bearing his or her own name.
Form 1, inside the brackets. When all participants have transferred the
information from all Form Is on to their Form 2, you can begin the next
process, which is to let each person discover how accurate was his or her
judgement of how others would rank themselves.
This is best done by having each person in turn read out the figures in
column 1 of his or her own form (e.g. how they ranked their own needs). Each
other participant can then enter what is read out inside the brackets under the
appropriate column on their own Form 1.
When this is done you can go on to the interpretation.
You now have data on at least two important subjects. These are your ability
(1) assess the needs and wants of others and therefore to have a clue as to
how to ‘motivate’ them by meeting these needs and wants; and
(2) project your own needs and wants to others.
The first set of information is obtained by comparing the figures inside and
outside the brackets under each column on Form 1. (NB The first three and
the last three rankings are the most important.) The second set of information
is obtained from Form 2.
In the discussion and comparisons which will inevitably arise from this
exercise, it may be interesting to look for the occurrence of certain common
(1) It often happens that the ‘quieter’ individuals are the best at perceiving
the needs of others and vice versa.
(2) On the other hand, the needs of these quieter individuals are not so easily
perceived by others.
(3) Certain people have a tendency to assume that all other people have the
same needs as themselves.
(4) Other people display the opposite tendency and assume that their own
needs are quite different from those of others.
The moral of this exercise is obvious. From the first moment we meet any
other person we are making assumptions about their needs, their
temperament and their reactions, and we are acting on these assumptions.
We modify our superficial assumptions very quickly as we receive back
certain clear signals. For example, if we start to talk to someone about football
we will learn quickly whether or not they are interested. If we start to try to
impress someone with our knowledge we may be quickly cut down to size.
However, even with people we know quite well, the deeper needs may
remain hidden and we may therefore ‘get it wrong’ – if, for example, we offer
a make-or-break opportunity to someone who is looking for security.
It is, finally, worth noting that the priority which people attach to needs
will vary over time according to circumstances. In times of economic crisis
and unemployment, ‘security’ rises sharply in the rankings of most people.
Taking and Implementing Decisions
Whether we are setting goals, planning how to achieve them, or coping with
the issues which arise in organizing and carrying out day-to-day activities,
making things happen as we wish them to (and preventing unwanted
events!) depends on our ability to take and implement decisions. To
accomplish both the taking and implementing of decisions consistently well
is no mean task. Ingredients for success include self-discipline, perception,
creativity, dynamism and considerable skill in handling both individuals and
Decision-taking can be a painful process since it usually involves
the risk of being wrong and being called to account; and
having to cope with a bewildering number of facts and alternatives.
The result is that many people would rather do almost anything than actually
take a decision of any importance, though:
(1) the failure to take a decision is often worse than most of the alternatives;
(2) colleagues and subordinates are often frustrated and virtually paralysed
by lack of decision.
In a survey at all levels of one organization, people were asked what change
they would most like to see in their boss. The most frequent reply by a clear
margin was ‘that he should take decisions’. Several added remarks, such as
‘more clearly’, ‘more rapidly’, and there was the frequent comment that ‘It
often doesn’t matter which decision as long as he takes one or the other’.
A problem in any organization can be that the culture is such that people
are blamed heavily if a decision is proved to be wrong, whereas no blame is
attached for inertia. In fact, failure to take decisions, or ‘management by
default’, often has the same effect as a decision and is often worse than any
considered alternative.
The risk of not deciding is often the greatest of all risks to the organization.
This is obvious when a commercial organization slides into bankruptcy
through failure to respond to market changes. Unfortunately, it is not quite so
obvious if schools fail to make the adjustments in curriculum and attitude
necessary to prepare their students for a changing society.
Whether a decision is taken by an isolated individual or in the context of a
meeting, common sense suggests a series of logical steps. These are
summarized in Figure 4.1.
In taking run-of-the-mill decisions we will often run through the steps
subconsciously and, indeed, time constraints dictate that we do no more.
However, the risk is that in big as well as small decisions we lose creative
input, and therefore quality, by short-circuiting unduly. It is all too easy to
jump for the first solution that comes to mind without considering
alternatives or possible side-effects.
Step 1: statement of situation
Decisions are made either to correct a situation or to improve it. Therefore the
situation must be understood and its causes explored. We can often usefully
compare the situation ‘as is’ and the ‘ideal’ that we should like to see. We can
also ask questions such as when, where, how and why the problem occurs, or
when, where, how and why there is a situation that could or should be
improved. What has changed? Relevant data (facts, attitudes, events, figures)
can be adduced and the total should be seen in a context of what the school is
trying to achieve.
(Problems, opportunities, date, aims)
ESTABLISH CRITERIA (Essential/desirable)
Figure 4.1 Steps in decision-taking
Often it can be useful to restate the problem in as many different ways as
possible. The more specific we can be, the better. ‘A lot of parents are
complaining that their children’s property has disappeared’ may be able to be
restated as ‘Ten parents have complained that valuable items (six pens and
four calculators) have gone from form rooms over the lunch-hour ’ or even
that ‘Children have no secure place to leave valuable items over the lunchhour’. Such restatements often suggest possible solutions.
Similarly, a problem which appears as ‘Parents are complaining that they
have to wait around between appointments to see staff on parents’ evenings’
can be restated as ‘Parents get bored between appointments’. This quickly
suggests the solution of introducing displays of work, refreshments,
opportunities to try the computers, etc., rather than playing with
appointment schedules.
Step 2: establishment of criteria
When a problem has been defined and its causes identified, the needs of the
situation can be determined. These should be expressed in terms of ends not
means. To help establish priorities, it is useful to split the needs into two
(1) Essential ends – those which, unless they are achieved, will mean that the
situation has not been put right or improved.
(2) Desirable ends – those which are wanted but are not essential to putting
right or improving the situation.
Pursuing the example of lunch-hour losses, we may feel that the criteria for a
satisfactory solution are as follows:
(1) Lunch-hour thefts from form rooms will not occur.
(2) Parents will have no grounds for complaint against the school in this
(1) Children should not have to carry their possessions at all times, in
particular during lunchtime.
(2) Staff should not be burdened with extra duties.
(3) Children should be able to leave their possessions anywhere on the
premises at any time without risk of theft.
(4) Any thieves will be caught and dealt with.
(5) Would-be thieves will be deterred.
Step 3: generation of alternative courses of action
The fact that we have to take a decision implies that at least two alternative
courses of action are available, even if one alternative is to do nothing. In the
simplest cases, there are often several alternatives. The risk is that we do not
think of them. It is very true that there is nothing more dangerous than a
good idea – if it is the only one you have!
When working as an individual the task of seeking alternatives can often
be helped by ‘sleeping on it’ or seeking other inputs in discussion or from
texts. When decisions are being made in a group or team setting, all too often
one, or perhaps two, people will make suggestions and the discussion will
then be limited to whether or not to accept these, instead of calling for other
A flip-chart is a wonderful tool for collecting alternatives. People cannot
think of other ideas until they know that their first idea has been recorded.
Once this has happened, they have no grounds for repeating their idea until
others have also had their say. Another good mechanism for collecting ideas
is the ‘silent meeting’ in which participants record their ideas on ‘Post-its’
and stick them on the chart. Discussion on the alternatives should be
forbidden until this step is complete. The best solution may combine two or
more alternatives.
Step 4: evaluation and testing of alternative courses of action
Evaluation consists of comparing the alternatives generated at Step 3 with
the criteria from Step 2.
Any alternatives which do not satisfy the ‘essential’ criteria can be weeded
out immediately. Thus, in our lunch-hour losses example, we could
immediately rule out doing nothing or simply ‘having a word in Assembly’.
Some other alternatives before us might be as follows:
Carry out an investigation to discover the thief.
Set a trap.
Establish a lunch-hour security duty for staff supported by prefects.
Lock the form rooms at lunchtime and unlock them five minutes before
the start of afternoon school.
(5) Tell the children that they must keep valuable and attractive items such
as pens and calculators on their persons at all times during the day.
(6) Provide a secure area in which children can leave their belongings before
lunch and recover them after lunch.
(7) Provide lockable personal lockers.
Each of these alternatives will to a greater or lesser extent satisfy or not satisfy
our ‘desirable’ criteria. Solutions 3, 4 and 6 may well put an extra burden on
staff. Solution 5 would partially break the criterion of children not having to
carry possessions around with them. Solutions 1 and 2 applied alone might
not satisfy the ‘essential’ criteria but could be used in combination with other
actions. They would, of course, take up staff time.
Finally, we need to ‘test’ the proposals for ‘side-effects’, i.e. for the fact that
they might bring new problems and disadvantages. Thus Solution 5 could
bring the risk of loss or damage at lunch-hour play. Solution 7 could cost
money. Solution 6 could bring organizational and space problems.
Step 5: selection of a course of action
Few alternatives will meet all the ‘desirable’ criteria and be without
disadvantages. Our choice should in the end be a balanced judgement in
which we are aware of the potential snags and in which we weigh the relative
priority which we give to each of the desirable criteria and the extent to which
each alternative satisfies each criterion.
Before moving on to the next section, think of some problem with which you are currently
faced and work through the decision-making steps systematically.
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and the road to managerial
and organizational ruin is paved with decisions that have not been
implemented – or, worse still, that have been implemented halfheartedly.
There are managers who are sufficiently foolish or immodest to believe that
whatever they have decided will automatically be done. The wise head
knows better.
Apart from the obvious consideration of practicability, whether or not a
decision is effectively implemented depends on two things:
(1) A clearly defined and communicated structure for implementation.
(2) The commitment of those responsible for implementation.
This is by far the simpler part of the process though it is too often forgotten in
the joy of having reached an individual or group decision. Basically the
structure consists of
(1) determining (agreeing?) who will do what by when (the action plan);
(2) communicating the action plan to the parties concerned; and
(3) ensuring that reviews take place.
To avoid ambiguity it is usually advisable for the action plan to be
communicated in writing either as a memo or as part of the minutes of a
meeting. Additionally it may be necessary to speak to the people responsible
for action to ensure that they have actually read the paper and that they
understand exactly what is intended.
The review procedure may take the form of a special meeting, or bringing
up the action plan on the agenda of a more general meeting.
Where actions involve more than one person it is important to state – and
to repeat – to all those involved in implementation that anyone who at any
stage feels unable to fulfil his or her part of the action plan on time should
immediately inform whoever is responsible for co-ordinating the action plan.
An ‘update’ of the plan may then prove necessary. The most vulnerable
decisions are often the simplest, where, for example, one or two people agree
informally that they will ‘let each other have a copy of …’ or that one of them
will ‘ring X and sort it out’. The discipline of jotting down any such action to
which you have personally committed yourself is a good beginning to
establishing a reputation for ‘reliability’.
If you do not already have on your desk an ‘action book’ in which you
systematically read and work through ‘things to be done’, you should at least
try that discipline. Each morning you should review the book to ensure that
actions agreed the previous day are added and that ‘things left undone’ are
brought forward.
Four types of decision-taking can be identified:
(1) Autocratic: the decision is taken without consultation, then others are
informed of what is to be done and what is expected of them.
(2) Persuasive: the decision is taken before consultation and then ‘sold’ to
(3) Consultative: the views of others are sought and taken into account before
a decision is taken.
(4) Codeterminate: decisions are taken on either a consensus or majority basis.
The appropriate style will depend on people and circumstances.
Autocratic decision-taking
This style is acceptable for routine matters which do not deeply concern
people one way or the other. It will also be accepted more easily where the
decision-takers have a considerable track record of success, where they are
acknowledged to be the expert or where they have ‘charisma’. Though
people may grumble, they may also grudgingly accept that the decisions
taken at a much higher level must sometimes be handed down without
opportunity for consultation.
In such situations (e.g. when the head or the LEA has issued an edict)
commitment may be built by creating an opportunity for frank questions to
be put and honestly answered, and by ‘consulting’ on how the edict will be
Persuasive decision-taking
This differs from the autocratic style in that the manager uses his or her
powers of advocacy to explain and justify his or her decision to his or her
staff, subsequent to the decision being taken. It is not open to negotiation.
This can be perceived as dishonest, in so far as staff are manipulated by slick
‘sales talk’ into accepting un fait accompli. It would, indeed, be dishonest if
such a decision masqueraded as ‘consultation’; but if it is presented as what it
really is, and not fudged, it is an acceptable type of decision-taking in the
right circumstances, and all of us use it in our daily lives. The secret of
persuading people effectively without consulting them is to try to
demonstrate understanding and sincere respect for their points of view; it
also helps to explain why the manager thought consultation was
inappropriate (see pp. 224–5).
Consultative decision-taking
This method combines the advantages of obtaining the ideas, suggestions
and commitment of those involved, with vesting decision-taking
responsibility in one person who should be able to assure consistency of
decision-taking and conformity to established guidelines. It combines
motivation with effectiveness.
Codeterminate decision-taking
This approach runs the risk of inconsistency and, while having the virtue of
‘collective responsibility’, it may thereby avoid individual responsibility. It is
the only method available when no one party has clear decision-taking
authority. Negotiation and ‘management by committee’ are forms of
codeterminate decision-taking. Many joint decisions between heads of
department are of this form.
Whatever form of decision-taking is used, the important things are that:
(1) the form of decision-taking should be ‘open’ and clear to all concerned;
(2) it should be consistent with reality; and
(3) the decision-takers should understand and establish the conventions of
the particular form of decision-taking.
If these conditions are not met, we may find ourselves confronted with
situations like these:
(1) A group ‘votes’ for a decision which is unacceptable within the school
context (e.g. too expensive).
(2) A decision-taker who is trying to operate in ‘consultative’ mode comes
under attack because the rest of the group expect that the majority view
should be accepted.
(3) A decision-taker seeks people’s views but ignores all that is said.
(4) Having agreed in a meeting or group to do something, the decision-taker
finds that what has been agreed does not take into account the interests
of some other person, or some other relevant fact.
Consultative decision-taking imposes behavioural obligations on both the
decision-taker and those who are invited to participate. There is a ‘contract’ to
observe clear roles and conventions in going through the steps in decisiontaking.
The terms of the contract are as follows:
(1) The decision-taker will share his or her perceptions of the situation and
the criteria.
(2) The other persons involved will ask questions (and give answers) and
put forward perceptions, problems and facts relevant to the situation. At
the ‘alternatives’ step they will contribute proposals for action. (A wise
decision-taker will ensure that these are recorded on a flipchart for all to
see!) There can be some evaluative discussion of the various alternatives.
(3) The decision-taker will listen (i.e. not merely keep quiet), bearing in mind
that his or her job is not primarily to produce the ideas but to use the best
ideas whatever their source. (If one thinks someone else’s idea is nearly
as good as one’s own it is probably better!)
(4) After the meeting (or individual discussion) the decision-taker will decide
after due consideration of the proposals and any other factors. He or she
should then communicate and explain the decision, being prepared to
answer any questions.
(5) Finally there is an implied contract that, having been given every
opportunity to contribute to the decision, the ‘doers’ will each play their
full part in making it work.
It should be borne in mind that this ‘contract’ between the decision-maker
and the ‘doers’ can easily be broken by either side. Typical breaches of
contract to be avoided are as follows:
(1) The decision-taker suppresses key information or consults only when it
suits his or her purpose.
(2) The ‘doers’ attack and criticize rather than make constructive proposals.
(3) The decision-taker goes on the defensive or feels that it is his or her duty
to have all the ideas. Phrases like ‘Yes I had thought of that but…’ are not
helpful in encouraging people to make suggestions.
(4) The decision-taker does not really listen to the ideas of others but has
clearly made his or her mind up in advance. This is ‘playing’ with people.
(5) The decision-taker unreasonably refuses to explain his or her decision.
(NB (a) The words ‘on principle’ often indicate ‘I have run out of logical
reasons’; (b) to tell someone that you are not prepared to disclose your
reasons implies a parent–child relationship.)
(6) The ‘doers’ do not give their full commitment to implementation.
Managing the process of consultation is not easy. It is a comparatively slow
way of coming to a decision, and it brings with it a perceived risk of early
confrontation. However, it has the following advantages:
(1) People who have been involved will be likely to be more committed to
the decision taken. They will understand it.
(2) You have benefited from the ideas of others before taking the decision
and are therefore less likely to have to back off and lose face because you
failed to take into account some important consideration.
(3) For the above reasons, though decision-taking is slower, implementation
is likely to be much more effective and faster.
Skill in managing the consultative process depends on the following:
(1) Being very clear on the terms of the ‘contract’, making them explicit (‘I
should like your views before I decide what to do about…’ not ‘We have
to decide…’) and carrying them through.
(2) Dealing politely but firmly with ‘breaches’. If discussion starts to become
negative, you should ask very deliberately, and repeatedly if necessary:
‘What do you suggest we do then?’ If people are not implementing a
decision, take them up on it quickly: ‘Is there some problem?’
(3) Refusing to become emotionally ‘hooked’ on attack/defence. If people
shoot at you (‘If you had done what I suggested three months ago’ or
‘The problem started when you…’), lie down till the bullets have passed,
and then come back with a remark such as ‘All that is as may be, but what
do you suggest we do now?’
(4) Asking questions and collecting in ideas rather than making statements.
(5) Practice.
My idea
‘Not invented here’
‘It will work’
‘I knew it wouldn’t work’
Figure 4.2 The choices between involvement and non-involvement
While not all staff like to be involved in decision-taking, there is
overwhelming evidence that most people would like a greater share than they
have in decisions which affect them but which are the responsibility of others.
A simple model putting the choices between involvement and noninvolvement is shown in Figure 4.2.
If people make such remarks as ‘Don’t ask me, you are paid to decide’, you
should ask yourself whether this reflects a real reluctance to be involved or
whether, on the other hand, your own behaviour where there is such
‘involvement’ is seen as a charade masking an inbuilt resistance to the ideas
of others. It is not enough to ask for opinions and ideas, you should also use
them when reasonably possible.
Think of some decisions that you have taken recently and for each say whether your
approach was autocratic, persuasive, consultative or codeterminate. Do you
consider that your approach was the right one in each case? Did you have any
problems in implementation and why?
Commitment based on the ‘My idea – it will work’ principle becomes even
stronger if we delegate as much as possible of the decision-taking to the
implementers. This is the thinking which underlies ‘management by
Ideally heads or heads of department will involve their subordinates but
take the decisions themselves in determining
(1) common policies;
(2) common systems;
(3) school or departmental objectives (these could derive in part from a
higher level); and
(4) what each individual is expected to achieve.
How individuals achieve their objectives can then be left to them, subject
always to a respect for the objectives of others and to staying within the
agreed policies and systems. As we saw earlier, this puts the individual into
an ‘achievement loop’ of planning, implementing and controlling against
meaningful goals. If the goals have been agreed with the head or head of
department and colleagues, and if there is a review process, recognition of
achievement is also built automatically into the process.
Effective delegation depends on
(1) clearly defined objectives with a timetable;
(2) clearly defined criteria which should be borne in mind in achieving the
objectives; and
(3) review procedures or check points.
Let us suppose that the head delegates to a member of staff the task of
organizing a school fair on a given date. The teacher who has been made
responsible will need also to know what essential and desirable criteria
apply, as follows.
(1) We must invite X, Y and Z.
(2) Areas A, B and C must not be used.
(3) We must not incur a budget of more than £x and we must not lose money.
(4) There will be no alcoholic drinks on sale.
(5) We must provide for the possibility of bad weather.
(6) We shall raise at least £x.
(7) We shall avoid clashes with competing activities.
(8) We shall get subscriptions from local businesses.
The list is not, of course, comprehensive for even an imaginary fete. Many
other items may be quite clearly implied from the school’s culture or from
previous experience. However, especially if there is a new head or a new
organizer, a thorough briefing meeting can save a lot of wasted effort.
Job descriptions (see p. 75) are an important tool in permanently
delegating authority and responsibility for decisions and actions.
The effective taking of decisions depends in short on a logical process which
ensures in particular that we
(1) gather as many as possible of the relevant facts and opinions;
(2) consider the alternatives; and
(3) take into account the criteria which we need to meet and choose
Effective implementation depends on
(1) a plan;
(2) reviews of progress; and
(3) the involvement of the right people at the right time and through a well
controlled process.
Plan to delegate a task or activity for which you are responsible (e.g. parents’
evening, school trip, sports day). Consider who should be involved, the objectives
and criteria that you need to communicate, and how you can achieve clear and
accepted delegation so that all know who is to do what by when. Put your plan into
Do teachers have time to
(1) take decisions in a consultative way?
(2) implement autocratic decisions?
(3) take any decisions?
Adair, J. (1985) Effective Decision Making: A Guide to Thinking for Management Success,
Pan, London.
Burns, R. (2002) Making Delegation Happen. A Simple and Effective Guide to Implementing
Successful Delegation, Allen and Unwin, London.
A good general text explaining how decisions are taken in the public sector is
Lawton, A. and Rose, A.G. (1994) Organisation and Management in the Public Sector (2nd
edn) Financial Times Prentice Hall, London.
Managing Meetings
Though we tend to think of a meeting as a formal gathering at a prearranged
time and place, many meetings to discuss and progress the work of the
school or college are casual, informal affairs consisting of only four, three or
even two people. Such meetings can have just as important or even more
important outcomes for the organization. Meetings come in all shapes and
sizes. They may be highly structured and highly formalized with members
speaking to each other ‘through the chair’ and observing a rigid agenda, or
there may be no formal agenda and no acknowledged chairperson. They may
have many legitimate purposes, but – as we shall see – they all too often
wander aimlessly and have no productive outcome. They consume a high
proportion of the non-classroom time of all teachers.
Meetings are of critical importance in co-ordinating effort and effecting
change, and a very important part of the manager’s role is to ensure that they
are vehicles for communication and action rather than for confusion and
frustration. This will be achieved by ‘helicoptering’ above the hurly-burly of
the discussion, asking what we wish to achieve, being aware of the
behavioural processes at work and trying to structure the meeting in such a
way as to channel positively the energies of those involved.
The key criteria for judging a meeting’s effectiveness are
(1) Did the outcome of the meeting justify the time spent on it?
(2) Could there have been a better outcome for the same investment?
(3) Will the outcome be acted on?
In order to analyse whether or not these criteria have been met, further
questions should be asked:
(1) Was the purpose of the meeting clear to all those who attended?
(2) Was the attendance correct for the subject under discussion? (Who else
should have been there? Who was not really needed?)
(3) Were the participants adequately prepared for the meeting?
(4) Was time well used?
(5) How high was the commitment of the participants?
(6) Did the meeting achieve its purpose?
(7) What was the quality of the outcome?
(8) Was there a clear definition of
(a) action to be taken following the meeting?
(b) responsibility for taking the action?
(c) a mechanism for review of the action?
Some of the above questions need no further discussion. Below are some
considerations which are relevant in answering the others.
The main purpose of some meetings – particularly of regularly held meetings
– appears to be to fill Monday morning, the first afternoon of term, etc. In
others, there is often a hidden conflict between, for example, those
participants who believe that they are there to take a decision (possibly
forcing it by a majority vote) and others who see the meeting as a vehicle for
giving and receiving information and airing views in order to enable ‘the
boss’ to take his or her own decisions.
Among the possible reasons for holding a meeting are to
(1) take decisions (e.g. on the organization of parents’ evenings, fetes,
curriculum changes);
(2) collect views, information and proposals in order to enable an informed
decision to be taken by an individual (e.g. on a submission to the LEA in
response to a circular);
(3) brief the meeting on, for example, policy;
(4) exchange information (e.g. on the progress of various aspects of a
common project);
(5) generate ideas by use of a ‘brainstorm’, ‘spidergram’ or other creative
method (these techniques are discussed later in the chapter); and
(6) enquire into the nature and causes of a problem, such as the behaviour of
a particular child or group.
Any one of these purposes is legitimate and it is quite possible that different
agenda items will have different purposes. What is important is that the
purpose of the discussion at any time should be clearly stated and agreed. An
important function of a formal or informal chairperson is to ensure that this is
done, and to ‘remind’ the participants whenever the discussion appears to be
losing relevance. Where there is no chairperson, or where the discussion is
straying wildly, any participant can often make a very telling and
constructive contribution simply by asking: ‘What are we trying to achieve?’
All that needs to be said here is that attendance should be determined not by
status or convention but by relevance:
• Who has the information we need?
• Who can give a responsible undertaking?
• Who will have to act on the outcome?
Participants may change according to the agenda item. For some items it may
be appropriate to have a fairly junior person ‘sit in’ or make a presentation.
It is important to ensure that the people needed at a meeting actually can
and do attend. To miss a meeting can waste the valuable time of the other
members, particularly if the missing member’s agreement is needed to some
key action. If a meeting can be missed fairly regularly the question should be
asked whether the person concerned ever needs to attend. Should he or she
just receive the minutes, or attend when specific items of interest to him or
her are discussed?
Some schools and colleges develop a vicious circle whereby people are too
busy attending meetings to be able to prepare for a meeting and therefore
have to attend a further meeting to present what should have been prepared
for the first meeting.
Ability to prepare will depend on the circulation in good time of an agenda
for the meeting. Key items for inclusion in the notice of a meeting are
(1) date, time, place and intended duration of meeting;
(2) people attending and roles (e.g. chairperson, secretary);
(3) purposes of meeting (e.g. decision-taking, information-giving, information exchange, brainstorming);
(4) preliminary documentation, preparation, etc.;
(5) agenda items with, for each item, relevant documents, etc., and a note of
the persons responsible for introducing the item (NB An early agenda
item should always be minutes of the last meeting, if any, and action
taken); and
(6) particulars of procedure for adding any items to the agenda.
For small, informal meetings it may be enough to say ‘I should like to
discuss… Could you bring X, Y and Z with you?’
The use of time – meeting structure
Efficient use of time will largely depend on having and keeping to a structure
which is suited to the purpose and membership of the meeting.
An invaluable piece of equipment at any meeting is a flipchart or
whiteboard on which key ideas, information or proposals can be recorded for
all to see. Advantages to be gained from this common-sense but underused
item are the following:
(1) The discussion is focused.
(2) Ideas are not ‘lost’ (accidentally or otherwise).
(3) Flipcharts are a useful record on which minutes can be based (and
against which minutes can be checked).
(4) Time is not wasted while individuals repeat ideas which they feel have
not been heard or considered by the meeting.
(5) Recorded ideas (e.g. alternative proposals) can be dealt with in sequence,
and those who have put forward an idea can take a full part in all
discussions in the confidence that their own view will in due course be
considered. Most people are incapable of listening to anyone else until
they are sure their own view has been or will be heard. If, as often happens,
there are two or more people in a meeting who feel this way, a ‘dialogue
of the deaf’ is guaranteed.
Given the structure which is naturally created by a written record visible to
all, other structural considerations will be determined by the circumstances,
such as the size of the meeting.
The only thing which is accomplished efficiently in a large meeting is the
giving of information (preferably, of course, with the help of visual aids and
If the audience is to respond with ideas or ask questions which are
meaningful to more than the questioner, the meeting should be split into
discussion groups (each with its own room and flipchart). Each group should
be asked to formulate ideas and questions which a representative can present
to the reconvened main meeting.
A typical programme for such a meeting would be as follows:
Chairperson’s introduction
(Purpose and structure of the meeting)
Presentation(s) of key facts, considerations, criteria by
the decision-taker with handout
Questions of clarification
Group meetings
(Groups, each containing a mix of departments, develop
ideas and proposals. The decision-taker will visit groups
to answer any questions)
5 minutes
10 minutes
5 minutes
40 minutes
Group presentations
(Each group will make a 3–5 minute presentation with
key points on flipchart)
20 minutes
(After all groups have presented, questions of clarification
will be put by the decision-taker and other groups)
15 minutes
Arrangements for follow-up
5 minutes
End of meeting
The study-group concept can be effective with as few as eight members in a
meeting (i.e. two groups of four) and should certainly be seriously
considered if meaningful participation is expected from more than twelve
As we discussed in the last chapter, ‘participative’ decision-taking has many
advantages, and ‘management by committee’ does not, for the very simple
reason that committees present problems of consistency and accountability.
Even within the ‘democratic’ process of British government, the Prime
Minister may overrule the Cabinet and, on major issues, voting within the
House of Commons is effectively controlled by the government and
opposition party machines rather than by the judgement of the individual
member. In the same way, most company boards operate on a basis of giving
the final word to one person, whether the chairperson or the managing
Meetings at any level should therefore be clear on whether a decision is
really being taken by the meeting or whether, on the other hand, there is, for
each decision, one person who has the responsibility for taking the decision
with the help of the meeting.
Whichever is the case, the meeting should follow a clear structure which is
stated at the opening of the meeting. If the meeting is to split into groups after
an initial presentation and questions, this should be made clear. If we are
seeking to achieve ‘involvement’ in decisions, the steps described at Figure
4.1 can be followed, with key points, especially the criteria and alternatives,
listed on a flipchart for all to see.
There is, however, one very important warning. In the atmosphere of the
meeting, it is very easy for the decision-taker to be swept along and to forget
or minimize constraints and pressures from outside the meeting. Will there
be funds available? Will the governors agree? Wise managers will let it be
known at the start that they do not intend to make the final choice during the
meeting. They should state clearly how and when the decision will be made
known and explained, and they should hold to their promise.
The aim of the decision-taker during the meeting should be to explore
fully the alternatives presented by comparing them with the criteria and
asking questions of the meeting to help understanding of what each
proposed alternative implies.
The important structural message under this heading is that where a series of
people are to report overlapping information to a meeting (e.g. a report back
from groups or progress reports on a project), questions on each report
should be limited to ‘clarification’ until all reports have been given. Then and
only then should a full discussion take place within the full meeting or in
groups. If this principle is not followed, much time is wasted after early
reports in discussing issues which may be covered in later reports. Also, later
reporters suffer considerable frustration when their ‘thunder’ is ‘stolen’, and
they are apt either to abstain from discussion or to take over the answering.
Generation of ideas can be the purpose of a total meeting or of a part of a
meeting. In the decision-taking process we look to the meeting to contribute
ideas during each of the first three steps, i.e.
(1) statement of the situation;
(2) establishment of criteria; and
(3) generation of alternatives.
Less familiar to many schools – though increasingly being used – are pure
‘brainstorming’ meetings in which the aim is to promote creative solutions to
Whether in a brainstorming session or a lower-keyed session for the
generation of ideas, the key to success is to gather in ideas systematically and
not to allow any evaluative comments during the process. The person
leading the meeting should make it clear throughout that even the merest
‘Yes, but… ’ is unacceptable during the ‘gathering’ phase. All ideas must, of
course, be recorded on a flipchart.
Once the ideas have been listed, then, and only then, should questions be
asked to clarify what is meant or implied or involved in each suggestion. The
irrelevant should be discarded; the relevant suggestions should be debated
one by one in depth.
In normal meetings the process of gathering ideas, prior to discussing them,
will be relatively calm and rational. Sometimes, however, we may want a
completely uninhibited generation of ideas and comments. Brainstorms, as
we call such sessions, are particularly appropriate when we want to unleash
creativity or frankness. The aim is to get as many ideas in as short a time as
possible. Guidelines given to the group are as follows:
Suspend judgement. Never evaluate the ideas being produced in a
brainstorming session, whether they are yours or other people’s. Never use
the phrases ‘That won’t work’ or ‘That’s silly’ or ‘We’ve had that before’.
Laugh with the wild ideas, not at them. No one likes being laughed at, but
laughing with the wild ideas encourages further ideas.
Let yourself go and freewheel. This means drifting or dreaming, and brings
into play the subconscious levels of the mind. Don’t be worried about putting
forward wild or silly ideas. In fact, the wilder the better.
Quantity. Quality implies evaluation. Suspend judgement. Go for quantity,
the more the merrier. All ideas are good.
Cross-fertilize. This is where the group comes in. Always be prepared to pick
up somebody else’s idea and suggest others leading from it. Don’t leave it to
Charlie to develop his own – after all, he’s going to pick up yours!
Use verbal shorthand. Don’t hold things up by explaining your idea at length.
Just shout out the one or two words that will convey your thinking. (You can
explain later!)
Brainstorming is both fun and highly productive. Used with a group of
school heads of department to answer the question ‘How does the staff judge
a timetable?’, a list of over sixty criteria was produced within 15 minutes,
reflecting interests which ranged from educational to purely personal. Some
examples of the output were
good mix of subjects for children;
double periods;
no double periods;
free periods Friday afternoon;
free periods Monday morning;
one free period per day;
children move as little as possible;
staff move as little as possible; and
specific criteria, such as no French after PE.
In a half-hour discussion which followed the brainstorm, the member of staff
responsible for timetabling was quickly able to come to grips with her
colleagues’ preferences, some of which they might have hesitated to admit in
a more inhibited discussion. Some guidelines on mix of subjects for the
children also emerged, not to mention a review of period length and daily
With two or three colleagues ‘brainstorm’ possible uses for a paper clip or an
elastic band.
Another approach to generating ideas is the ‘spidergram’ or ‘mind pattern’, a
technique which can also be used in a group, or individually, for organizing
or recalling ideas. It is an excellent basis for planning an essay or report. The
technique consists of setting down the subject as a central point and adding
on the other ideas around this point as they emerge. Normally the first
thoughts will be immediate associations or main branches from the word but
this will not always be the case, and additional main branches may emerge as
we proceed.
Thus, if we start with the subject of curriculum development, the first
ideas that emerge may be illustrated in Figure 5.1. We may then be ‘triggered’
by one of the main branches – see Figure 5.2.
Next a subject such as ‘funds’ may be linked with a number of other issues
such as ‘retraining’ and ‘teaching materials’ – this we can illustrate by a link
line between the subjects in another colour.
The value of the method is that it enables the individual or group to collect
ideas and organize them as they spring to mind, rather than hold them back
until the relevant subject comes up in sequence. Furthermore, by letting our
eyes wander over the chart we constantly restimulate our brains in each area.
Whereas brainstorming can be used effectively in groups of up to twenty
people, spidergrams are best used in smaller groups. For further reading see
Buzan (2003).
Figure 5.1
Spidergram: first ideas
Figure 5.2 Spidergram: branches
(1) Draw a spidergram linking the subjects in this or any other chapter.
(2) Apply the above principles to the next meeting you run, not forgetting to
annotate your own agenda with target times and purpose against each agenda
A valuable exercise is to watch a video recording of a meeting, preferably one
in which you have taken part. If this is not possible, you will have to rely on
sitting back and observing. Among the phenomena which you may notice are
(1) repetition by the same person of the same point;
(2) failure of people to take up each other’s points except to attack them with
a ‘Yes, but…’;
(3) ‘not invented here’ reactions;
(4) lack of interest manifested by ‘body language’;
(5) arguments about the structure of the meeting: ‘Wouldn’t it be best if we
first…’, ‘I don’t see how we can decide that before…‘, and constant
changes in approach to the problem;
(6) people trying to ‘score’ off each other;
(7) several people talking at once;
(8) ‘blocking out’ of certain people and alliances between others; and
(9) possibly some skilful manipulation of the meeting.
Meetings can take place in which the results are less the result of logical and
constructive debate than of skilled games play. You may have come across
examples of the following:
Clique-forming. In this activity certain members of the meeting have an
implicit or explicit understanding that they will support each other whatever
the rights and wrongs of a particular issue.
Selective support. This game may be played by the chairperson who
carefully selects for consideration those ideas which approximate to his or
her own while ignoring those which do not. A variant is played by the
ordinary meeting participant who does not express his or her own opinion
but waits until other people have spoken before making a remark like: ‘I
think that Mr X hit the nail on the head when he said … and Mrs Y had a
good point. Couldn’t we build on these by …?‘ There is a fair chance that any
idea which follows will be supported by X and Y, who are flattered that
someone has actually listened to them.
Selective minute writing. Careful selection has been known to destroy the
true impact of a meeting!
Failure to listen. This is the game of asking people for their views in order to
ignore them.
While we don’t suggest that you should use manipulative tactics, it is
important that you should be able to recognize them and counteract them.
Commitment to the results or decisions will depend on the apparent honesty
of the decision process and conduct of meetings.
Process review
Exercise 3 at the end of the chapter is a ‘group performance checklist’ which
can be used to ‘score’ a meeting which you have attended. It highlights eight
areas which are key to a meeting’s success and asks you to judge to what
extent various behaviours are shown.
Such checklists can be used to powerful effect in a training context, where
the various participants to a meeting first record their individual scores, and
then compare scores, discuss the reasons for the scores, and in particular for
any discrepancies, and finally decide how they will improve their
effectiveness as a group in subsequent meetings.
Following the use of such a procedure for training purposes, some groups
build a review into their normal meeting procedure, at the end or after the
first 20 minutes of a lengthy meeting, or at any time when the meeting
appears to be losing its effectiveness. This can become a relatively short
procedure in which a practised and ‘open’ group will immediately bring
forward perceptions such as ‘We completely ignored Mrs X’s point’ or ‘We
are each defending our parochial interests again’.
There is further discussion of group dynamics in Chapter 10.
Whether or not they have a formal role, the aim of each meeting
participant should be to move the meeting towards the positive behaviour
outlined by the (a) items in the group performance checklist. This can be done
by, for example,
(1) drawing in someone who is being ignored or is remaining silent;
(2) asking quite deliberately for other views and stressing that it is ‘Speak
now or for ever hold your peace’;
(3) asking people to talk one at a time;
(4) drawing attention to the use of time;
(5) asking exactly what decision is being minuted;
(6) summarizing the stated opinions as you now understand them.
Good questions which a consultant, an observer or an observant participant
may usefully ask are as follows:
What do you understand to be the
goals of this meeting?
What order of priority should these
What do you understand ‘X’ to have
just said?
When to use
Whenever they have not been
When the agenda looks items be
too long.
When someone has not listened.
Where is the discussion aiming now?
Where are we in the systematic
What has just been decided?
How exactly did we reach that
Who is to do that?
When is this to be done by?
For instance?
What was your purpose in saying
(or asking) that?
Have you followed your plan?
How is the time going?
Are we helping you?
When you do not know.
When the discussion rambles
When it is not clear what has
been decided.
When it was not reached systematically.
When an action is not assigned.
When no time has been set.
When airy-fairy generalizations
are made.
When an unhelpful contribution
has been made.
When they have not.
When everyone has forgotten its
When discussion on someone’s
point makes slow progress.
(1) Carry out a process review following your next meeting using the Group
Performance Checklist.
(2) Arrange to video or observe a meeting and carry a process review alone or,
preferably, in conjunction with the other participants. Be prepared for
discrepancies in the way you and others rate the meeting and explore them.
Whether you are to chair a meeting or participate, you will greatly enhance
the chances of achieving the sort of outcome you want if you spend a short
time in preparation. The checklists which follow may help.
Chairperson’s checklist
Planning the meeting
(1) purpose(s) of the meeting;
(2) main agenda items (subject possibly to additions);
(3) essential and desirable participants for the whole meeting;
(4) participants for parts of the meeting;
(5) date and time, bearing in mind
(a) availability of essential and desirable participants;
(b) degree of urgency; and
(c) need for preparation;
(6) place.
Notification and circulation of agenda
(1) time, place, date and expected duration of meeting;
(2) purpose;
(3) proposed agenda;
(4) procedure for adding other items to the agenda;
(5) circulation list indicating who is to attend the full meeting, who will attend
part only, who is being informed but will not attend.
Preparation for meeting
(1) main meeting room;
(2) group rooms if needed;
(3) visual aids (e.g. overhead projector, screen, slides);
(4) flipchart(s) and dark-coloured markers that work;
(5) seating;
(6) pads and pencils;
(7) masking tape, tacky putty or adhesive pads to stick up flipchart sheets.
Content of meeting
(1) clear objectives (inform, involve, generate ideas?);
(2) appropriate structure;
(3) clear ground rules;
(4) ‘honest’ procedure;
(5) use of flipcharts or whiteboard;
(6) commitment.
(1) Who will do what, when, where?
(2) Written minutes circulated with action responsibility.
(3) Control and review procedures.
Participants’ checklist
Preliminary work
(1) What are the items on the agenda to which I shall be expected/would
wish to contribute?
(2) Are there any ‘hidden’ agendas for which I should be prepared?
(3) Do I wish to introduce any topics? If so, how? For example:
(a) add them to the agenda before the meeting;
(b) add them at the beginning of the meeting;
(c) make sure that they are considered as part of one of the agenda
items; and
(d) put down a proposal.
(4) In the light of the above:
(a) What information should I study, prepare for circulation as a
handout, prepare to present?
(b) Do I need to request any facilities such as flipcharts or overhead
(c) Do I need to talk to anyone before the meeting in order to gather
information or to lobby?
Meeting content
(1) What sort of outcomes should the meeting have (e.g. a decision, an
exchange of ideas, factual information, a plan of action)?
(2) Is there any outcome that I particularly want?
(3) Is there any outcome that I particularly do not want?
(4) Are there any conditions that I should like to see built into certain
(5) What alternatives can I propose?
(6) What arguments should I use?
(7) What arguments can I expect to be used in opposition to my ideas?
(8) When and how should I present my ideas?
(9) Am I really thinking in the best interests of the organization?
(10) How will my views be perceived?
(1) To what action am I prepared to commit myself/my department?
(2) What time/cost is involved and is this reasonable in the light of other
What are the main problems we experience in our staff meetings? What
practical steps should we take to remedy them?
Dobson, A. (1999) Managing Meetings: How to Prepare for Them, How to Run Them and
How to Follow up the Results, How To Books, Oxford.
Forsyth, P. (1996) The Meetings Pocketbook, Management Pocket Books, Arlesford.
Timm, P.R. (1997) How to Hold Successful Meetings: 30 Action Tips for Managing
Effective Meetings, Career Press, USA.
EXERCISE 3: Group Performance Checklist
According to the group’s performance, distribute 100 points among the
statements under the first heading below. Then do the same for the
statements under the other seven headings.
1. Objectives
(a) Objectives were clear, and understood and accepted by all group
(b) There was no clarity or agreement on what the group’s objectives were.
(c) Though the objectives were clear, full commitment to these objectives by
group members was lacking.
(d) A significant amount of time was spent on secondary issues or
unimportant detail.
(e) Personal goals weighed more heavily than group objectives.
2. System
(a) A logical procedure or method of approach was agreed and adhered to
unless deliberately changed; the meeting ran smoothly.
(b) The meeting was overorganized or rigid; following ‘proper procedures’
was more important than dealing effectively with the issues.
(c) The meeting was chaotic and undisciplined.
(d) The meeting went round in circles.
(e) Important ideas and information took longer to emerge than they should
have done.
3. Participation
(a) All members participated actively; everyone contributed and all
contributions received thoughtful attention; humour was a constructive
element of the meeting.
(b) Several members dominated a group of relatively passive members.
(c) Members tended to interrupt one another; two or more people talked at
(d) Silences fell as members seemed not to know where to go next; initiatives
were lacking.
(e) Frivolity, joking and irrelevant comments crept in.
4. Relationships
(a) Group members showed confidence in and trust and respect for each
(b) Relationships were formal and guarded.
(c) Members were not open to each other’s ideas; listening was poor.
(d) Cliques or subgroups developed.
(e) Maintaining a spirit of good fellowship and friendliness was more
important than dealing effectively with the issues or problems.
5. Decisions
(a) Decisions were well considered, based on facts and reason and reached
by consensus.
(b) Decisions were forced by individuals; not everyone’s point of view
received equal attention.
(c) Decisions were reached by majority vote.
(d) Decisions were compromised rather than fully reasoned out.
(e) Few or no decisions were made; issues were left hanging; it was frequently
not clear whether a decision had been made.
6. Disputes
(a) Points of disagreement were thrashed out logically until all parties were
(b) Disagreements were smoothed over; keeping the peace was more
important than getting the best decision or solution.
(c) ‘Win–lose’ power struggles were fought out; personal victory seemed to
matter more than getting the best solution.
(d) Compromise positions were taken; ‘workable’ solutions were accepted
rather than ‘best’ solutions.
(e) Differences were side-stepped or ignored.
7. Leadership
(a) There was a sense of shared responsibility for the quality of the meeting;
individuals took leadership initiatives as required.
(b) A leader was agreed at the start and provided leadership initiatives as he
or she saw fit.
(c) Two or more members of the group seemed to be engaged in a battle for
the leadership of the group.
(d) The group’s needs for leadership were not met.
(e) Leadership was overdone; the meeting was too tightly controlled;
spontaneity and flexibility were lacking.
8. Use of resources
(a) The group made the best possible use of the resources available
to it (e.g. time, special knowledge, special skills, equipment).
(b) Time available to the group was not used to the best advantage.
(c) Ideas or relevant information emerged too late or failed to
emerge at all.
(d) The group did not make full use of the skills of its members.
(e) The group did not make the best use of the equipment available
(e.g. by failing to capture information on a flipchart).
Recruiting, Employing, Appraising, Developing
and Dismissing Staff
In Chapter 13 we shall discuss in some depth the management of resources –
financial, physical and human. In the educational system, it is human resources
which consume the most investment. In many ways we should treat people
as any other resource, selecting the best for the purpose we wish to accomplish,
and maintaining, improving and adapting the resource as we would a building
or piece of equipment to ensure that it meets our needs. However, there is one
important difference: people are thinking resources who, whether we like it or
not, will decide jointly with their managers and colleagues on how their time,
energy, knowledge and skill will be used. Indeed, the true human resource is
not the whole person, but his or her efforts which will be jointly managed by
the individual himself or herself and the ‘management’ of the organization in
which he or she works. The final arbiter in the use of a person’s efforts will
always be him or herself, since he or she has merely contracted to supply
some of his or her services over a given period of time.
Teachers are often shocked at the idea of describing staff as ‘human
resources’, yet on a continuum of attitudes towards employment (Figure 6.1),
where does the average school or college management stand? Do we accept
that in selecting a new member of staff we are working with the candidate to
find out how his or her skills and personality will blend with the needs of the
school and the existing skill and personality mix? Do we believe that we can
sit as equals with our staff to discuss their performance and our own
performance in order that both of us can develop as individuals and as
members of a team, albeit with different roles in the team? Or do we feel that
relationships are such that appraisal of our colleagues will be seen by them as
‘judgement’, and that it would be ‘improper’ for them to pass a view on the
Contract between Superior/
equal parties
Figure 6.1 Attitudes to employment
performance of their ‘superior’? How do we view the caretaker and ancillary
staff? Should our relationship to them be different from our relationship to
our professional colleagues and, if so, how?
It is important to know where we stand and to behave in a coherent way
which is consistent with the realities of power. In the teaching profession it is
sometimes more difficult than elsewhere to invoke sanctions against the
incompetent. We are therefore almost entirely dependent on the recruitment
of good staff, and the creation of open relationships in which staff at different
levels will work together to make themselves, each other and the
organization more effective.
Standard elements in the recruitment process are
the job description;
the personal profile;
attracting suitable candidates;
application forms;
references; and
the interview.
The person under whose immediate direction the new recruit will work should
be involved in all stages of the process. Increasingly, it is also the practice to
take the views of those with whom the recruit will work and also of those
whom the recruit will lead. At the earlier stages this allows for creative input
(e.g. a readjustment of roles within a school or department) and at the interview
stage it builds staff commitment and helps the candidate to assess the
environment in which he or she will have to work. It is also common for
candidates to be asked to teach a lesson, or to undertake an in-tray exercise or
similar task. Some schools also find that the views of a specially convened
pupil panel offer additional useful information.
The job description
A vacancy is an opportunity to rethink roles, and one should therefore be
wary of automatically adopting the job description of a teacher who has
departed. Whatever job description is developed, it should also be open to
revision after appointment as a candidate may emerge with unforeseen talents
that one may wish to use. This is particularly true in relation to out-of-school
activities, general studies or subjects such as information technology.
Traditionally, a job description will contain
job title;
brief description of the purpose of the job;
reporting relationships; and
description of duties.
A further very useful concept is that of
(5) competences, i.e. abilities and attitudes (as opposed to qualifications)
that the occupant of the post will need to possess (see Chapter 8).
However, the most helpful element of all, both to the candidate and the person
or committee charged with the appointment decision, is a sixth element,
(6) criteria for effectiveness.
Criteria for effectiveness, which can often usefully be expressed as questions,
tell us how performance in the job will be assessed. For a head of French, for
example, criteria might be as follows:
(1) Are oral standards maintained and improved?
(2) How many pupils have visited France on exchanges, school trips or as
paying guests?
(3) Is there a thriving French club?
(4) Are examination results satisfactory?
Additionally there will be criteria which will apply to all heads of department,
for example:
Is the atmosphere in the department enthusiastic and harmonious?
Does the department work well with other departments?
Is administration accurate and timely?
Have objectives been achieved?
Has the performance of pupils been satisfactory in public examinations
and assessments?
(6) Does the department meet Ofsted criteria?
As an exercise draw up a set of effectiveness criteria for the school caretaker; the
school secretary; a lunchtime supervisor.
Personal profile
Starting from the job description, the next step is to define the characteristics
of the sort of person able to meet the criteria. Certain of these characteristics
will be ‘essential’ and others ‘desirable’. A useful checklist is
(1) personal characteristics;
(2) achievements and experience: general education, degrees, etc., jobs,
special projects, awards;
(3) competences: abilities, aptitudes, skills, knowledge and effective
(4) motivation: ambition (direction?), social, intellectual, level of ‘drive’; and
(5) personality: leadership, relationships, emotional stability.
It will be immediately apparent that while the first two categories are
‘factual’, the last three contain judgemental elements. Some of the
characteristics will – or should – depend on looking for an approach which
will complement that of other members of the team. If the team is creative,
mercurial but disorganized, perhaps we should look for an ‘administrator’
input, and vice versa. If we do not define this need, the risk is always that the
appointer will be attracted by someone whose approach is similar to his or
her own, whereas the need is often for a dissimilar person who will
complement him or her. The people we choose as friends are often similar to
us; the people with whom we can most easily work (or live) are usually
complementary in character (see Chapter 10).
Attracting suitable candidates
The relationship between supply of and demand for candidates for teaching
posts has varied over the years and will presumably continue to do so. There
is also, of course, a background of variation by subject. Specialists for example
in maths, sciences and modern languages have tended over many years to be
in relatively short supply.
In this shifting situation the need remains always to attract the right
number of the right candidates. Ideally we should probably like about
twenty application forms from which to select five candidates for interview.
There are a number of ways in which we can increase or decrease the
number of applications we receive. We can
(1) tighten or slacken the essential and desirable characteristics in the
personal profile and advertise accordingly;
(2) limit or extend our choice of advertising media;
(3) target groups other than existing teachers, redundant teachers or newly
qualified teachers; and
(4) build the image of the school as an attractive place in which to teach and/
or offer or make known fringe benefits.
Taking each of these in turn:
Adjusting the personal profile
A critical examination of the personal profile is always well worthwhile before
advertising a post. As we have already said, it is not always – even usually –
wise to appoint someone in the image of the previous incumbent. We want to
encourage a creative approach. Furthermore, we need to beware of anyone
who demonstrably possesses all the qualities and more needed to perform in
the job and has perhaps moved or been made redundant from a similar post.
The problem with such people is that the job may present them with insufficient
challenge and motivation. The ideal candidate is usually the one who has
potential to grow into and develop a job – and possibly move through it to an
even more challenging job.
For the above reason we should be careful not to make the essential
characteristics (the ‘musts’ in the advert) too tight. However, we do want
them tight enough firmly to rule out unacceptable candidates and
particularly so in a buyer’s market. Tightening the personal profile is a
particularly good way of reducing applicants since it decreases the quantity
by insisting on standards of quality.
The personal profile will, of course, form the basis of the job
Use of advertising media
Choice of advertising media as a means of increasing or decreasing the number
of applicants for a post has the advantage that the strength of the advertising
can be increased if the first attempt does not provide enough candidates.
Whether further advertising increases the quality as opposed to quantity of
applicants will depend on whether the format and location of the advertising
are only such that they reach those who are desperately seeking employment
or whether they will also reach others who are not so engaged but might be
drawn by a really attractive opportunity.
Targeting of non-conventional groups
Understandably, teachers feel considerable concern lest the profession should
be diluted by the introduction of staff who have not been formally trained to
teach. Proposals for ‘licensing’ or ‘on the job’ training have therefore met with
union resistance. This resistance has been reinforced by justified resentment
at failure to provide adequate training places or incentives and the perception
that recruitment of untrained staff threatens the job prospects of unemployed
trained teachers. The use of untrained or informally trained staff is therefore
a practical option only in subjects, locations or times of dire shortage or in the
independent sector.
Whatever the politics of the situation, the school manager can only
broaden scope of choice – and therefore increase chances of recruiting better
staff – by looking outside the conventional target groups of newly qualified
probationers, existing teachers, unemployed teachers and married women
returners. Far from diluting quality, the experience and competence of
unconventional recruits might well enrich and broaden the profession.
Publicity has been given to the recruitment of teachers from other
countries. Other groups that deserve special attention are
(1) early retirers of all kinds;
(2) industrial managers, especially those who have worked in the training
and personnel functions;
(3) local authority officers;
(4) parents who may have no previous teaching experience, but who have
relevant competences; and
(5) social workers.
People in the above and other categories may or may not have thought of
teaching as a possible second career, but it is unlikely that they will have regular
access to The Times Educational Supplement or to other lists of teaching vacancies.
If they do read these lists, it is unlikely that the advertisements will encourage
them to apply. A well-designed website, with a section devoted to vacancies
which encourages such people to apply, can be a very useful additional source
of applicants.
It is important therefore both to place targeted adverts in the ‘job-hunting’
journals read by these groups and to build up suitable contacts who will help
in finding people through their own organizations. While personnel
managers will not thank you for poaching their key staff, they may be very
pleased to point redundant, retiring or change-seeking executives in your
direction or to encourage their partners to move into or return to the teaching
profession. At least one school in the South East of England relies very
heavily for its staff on the wives of employees of a local computer company.
In times of teacher surplus the target group for recruitment can be
narrowed by, for example, advertising only locally as opposed to nationally.
Building an image of the school as an attractive place in which to teach
One head in an area where recruitment is notoriously difficult asserts that he
never has any problems because staff are ‘queueing up’ to come to his school.
Part of this popularity can be attributed to an overall ‘quality’ image which
attracts parents, pupils and staff alike – good academic results, good sports
record, high standards of behaviour. However, specific attention has also been
paid to feeding the press with articles and talking to local interest groups
about the attractions of working at the school – though only the best staff will
be accepted!
Image must not, of course, belie reality, and active steps have to be taken to
ensure that staff conditions, facilities and, above all, motivational factors (see
Herzberg, 1975) are to a high standard. We need to consider what possibilities
exist, if any, to provide child-care or housing assistance where appropriate.
Draw up (or revise) a job description, personal profile and advertisement to fill a
real or imagined vacancy in your department. Consider how and where you would
publicize the vacancy and whether you would vary the wording for different media.
Application forms
Most educational institutions have a standard form and most of these forms
are well designed to bring out all the factual information needed, and also to
elicit data which may give us a clue to behaviour (the ‘judgemental’ elements
in the profile). A good application form will make it clear, in asking for
references, whether or not these will normally be taken up before interview.
In reading application forms, we should remember that the most relevant
data are often those that are missing. An unexplained break between periods
of employment, particularly in a teacher’s career, may mean imprisonment,
dismissal for misconduct or a clash of personalities which has led to
resignation from one job before getting the next. On the other hand, it may
mean illness, or having a family. Absences from work (a key question in an
application form) may mean a period of illness which has been cleared up or
an ongoing health problem (physical or psychological) or family problems
(ongoing or past) or undue willingness to take advantage of minor ailments.
Whether the circumstances are acceptable to us or not, the point is that we
want to know. A note should be made on the form to bring the matter up at
We should, of course, be comparing each form with the ‘essential’ and
‘desirable’ criteria in our profile, and assuming that ‘essential’ really does
mean that we will reject any applications which do not conform. We may also
reject some which do not meet enough of our ‘desirable’ criteria.
As we have said, the reference procedure should have been made clear in the
application form. In the teaching profession it is usual, subject to a request to
the contrary, to take up references for the shortlist before interview.
Although a reference – unlike a testimonial – is a confidential and legally
privileged document, many referees will hesitate to refer directly in writing
to shortcomings in the candidate. Therefore the questions are ‘What is
missing?’ ‘Do I have a positive statement about the characteristics which I see
as essential in this candidate?’ If not, a telephone call to the referee can be of
help. This will usually elicit a much franker view of the candidate and, in the
case of the chosen candidate for a key appointment, many would argue that a
telephone call to referees is a ‘must’ before making a final offer.
Planning the interview
The purpose of an interview is to find which of the shortlisted candidates
best fits our needs. We are not looking for the most likeable person or even
the one with the best track-record in his or her last job. First-class honours
graduates do not necessarily make the best teachers, and first-class teachers
do not necessarily make good school or college managers. Above all we want
to check on those ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ criteria about which we are not
completely sure as a result of the application form and the references. Certain
of these criteria will be biographical or factual; others will be behavioural or
judgemental; most will be a mixture of the two, e.g. we may be able to judge
a person’s ‘drive’ by exploring in depth the results of some project he or she
has undertaken, asking about the problems that occurred and whether and
how these were dealt with and by whom.
Proficient interviewees will, if they can, steer us away from areas of
weakness. Inexperienced candidates, on the other hand, may not know how
to make the best of themselves at an interview. For both reasons it is essential
that we are systematic in listing the areas we wish to explore and thinking
about the questions we wish to ask. It is particularly important to think about
the sort of facts and interview reactions that will help us to come to a
meaningful conclusion on the behavioural/judgemental criteria.
It is essential that we make notes on each candidate as the interview
progresses and that we take time at the end of each interview to consolidate
these. The whole process is greatly helped if we prepare for each candidate a
selection sheet (preferably on A3 paper) similar to that shown in Figure 6.2.
The use and retention of such sheets can be valuable if any candidate alleges
discrimination on racial, sexual or other grounds.
The interview
Educational interviews tend to be by a formal panel, possibly preceded by a
‘tour’ of the establishment and an informal preliminary meeting or series of
meetings with the individuals with whom the successful candidate will have
to work most closely, as well as teaching a lesson or undertaking other tasks.
These informal preliminaries are to be encouraged, as they help the candidate
to decide whether he or she wishes to select the job as well as providing
potential behavioural input to the school’s side of the selection procedure.
Increasingly, schools are following the example of industry in using attitude
Job Description and Criteria For Effectiveness (attached)
Personal profile
E = Essential
D = Desirable
Personal and physical
Achievements and
Overall summary
Figure 6.2
Selection sheet
Notes on
and profile questionnaires which can provide interesting insights for
subsequent follow-up in interview. This input can usefully be collected by the
head or head of department before the formal panel meets.
The formal panel members should each be given a copy of the ‘selection
sheet’ for each candidate and taken through it beforehand by the head or
head of department. A decision should be taken on how the procedure will be
structured. How will the candidate be welcomed, introduced and put at
ease? Who will lead the panel? Who will cover what areas of questioning?
How shall we allocate time?
Questioning technique is important. Some useful ‘do’s and don’ts’ to bear
in mind are as follows:
Do not
(1) Start with intimate, personal, aggressive or argumentative questions.
(These can come later when rapport has been established.)
(2) Use ‘closed’ questions which will lead to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer unless
there is a need to establish a clear fact which is uncertain (or about which
the candidate is ‘hedging’) or unless you are going to follow up by an
open-ended supplementary.
(3) Use multiple questions, loaded questions, trick questions or jargon.
(4) Lead – for example ‘I suppose you …‘, ‘I think … What do you feel?’, ‘No
doubt you enjoy good relations with …’ (Even if the candidate would be
willing to tell you about problems, you make it almost impossible for him
or her to do so.)
(5) Indicate disapproval or show that you are shocked.
(6) Worry about silences.
(7) Allow your prejudices (accent, dress, men with beards, women with earrings, as well as colour, sex, etc.) to affect your judgement.
(1) Use ‘open’ questions which allow the candidate to express him or
herself, to demonstrate knowledge, to add to the picture (you do not
want them to repeat information that you already have).
(2) Probe tactfully, using ‘Why?’ ‘What?’ ‘How?’ questions, or
‘Tell me about …?’
What did you enjoy most about …?’
What was your role in …?’
How does our job compare with …?’
‘What did you enjoy least about …?’
(3) Reassure a nervous candidate by ‘congratulating’ on achievements,
smiling, making reinforcing noises, etc.
(4) Listen for at least two-thirds of the time.
(5) Guide tactfully into the areas you wish to explore.
(6) Close down one area and open up another with remarks such as ‘OK, I
think we’ve covered that; now, could you tell me about …’
(7) Come back to areas a candidate tries to avoid.
(8) Get his or her views on the job on offer and encourage criticism of the
(9) Observe behaviour (tenseness, etc.).
(10) When the candidate has had time to settle down, investigate
relationships by covering social and work life. Look for clues of difficult
adjustments, loyalty, etc. (NB The inability to relate well to other people
is the most frequent cause of dissatisfaction with staff members of all
(11) Give the candidate a chance to ask about the job, and check whether he
or she is still interested and whether there are any reservations (family
moves, etc.).
(12) Make sure the candidate knows what the next steps are.
(13) Close when both you and the candidate have enough information.
(14) Record your overall impressions before you meet the next candidate
(otherwise you will forget).
Confirming the appointment
Every employee must by law be given a written statement of terms and
conditions of employment. This statement must cover a number of specific
points including salary, periods of notice, holiday entitlement and grievance
procedure. It is good practice to incorporate these into a written offer to the
chosen candidate.
As soon as candidates have accepted the appointment, they should be sent a
copy of the ‘departmental document’ (schemes of work, departmental
responsibilities, etc.), invited for an induction day and given the job description.
The criteria for effectiveness should be agreed and preferably recorded in
writing. An objective is seldom meaningful unless it is qualified in such a
way that all parties will know whether it has been achieved. Time is the most
important measure. Thus ‘to put on a linguists’ evening in the spring term’
and ‘to arrange an exchange visit to each of France and Germany next summer’
are far more meaningful objectives than ‘to increase out-of-school activities in
modern languages’.
A pack of information, textbooks, school rules, standard forms, etc.,
should await the new recruit, and a guided tour and meetings should be
planned. Form room, locker space, pass key or other physical details should
be discussed. (It is useful to establish for each school an induction checklist.)
Preferably the induction day will start and finish with the recruit’s immediate
manager who will also become the reference point for further enquiries.
Since this book first appeared, employment legislation has become much more
complex. Most heads will have to rely on professional advice to avoid some
of the pitfalls lurking around. Society is becoming more litigious as the ‘blame
culture’ flourishes. Dealing with grievances and tribunals can devour precious
management time. Problem avoidance is better than cure, which makes
motivation and ‘hygiene’ so important (Chapter 3). Never let emerging human
resources problems fester; they usually get worse! On the other hand, avoid
caving in to buy peace, otherwise your management authority and freedom
of action will be eroded. The following things help and hinder:
Keep your ear to the ground
Have explicit policies and procedures on
important issues and communicate and
keep to them
Be consistent in your HR decisions and
recognise when you are creating a
Gain explicit agreement from staff about
anything potentially contentious
Document clearly key HR decisions
Take advice from your LEA HR section
Let work issues oust HR issues
Sweep difficult problems
under the carpet
Spring surprises on staff
without prior consultation
Make strategic decisions in
the heat of a crisis
Play everything close to your
Examples of the pitfalls that have been created by legislation such as the
Children Act 1989 and the Employment Act 2002 are as follows:
Staff protection. The horror of an allegation about child abuse has haunted
many a teacher. The Act underplays the propensity of children to tell fibs;
false accusations are sometimes made with malicious intent. Heads should
emphasise that child protection measures have an important secondary
purpose of protecting staff.
Maternity, paternity and adoptive rights. The exercise of such rights can play
havoc with the smooth running of a school and impair children’s education.
Because heads have a duty to all stakeholders, they have a difficult balancing
act. Providing adequate cover for an absent senior teacher is problematic.
However, it can be an opportunity to develop and test young teachers by
giving them more responsibility.
EU Working Hours Directive (48 hour week). There are occasions when staff
have to work long hours, e.g. on a residential trip. It helps if your management
style enables you to draw on a bank of goodwill, but take care not to exploit
this, especially if there may be a risk to health. (See the section on the workload
Disability Discrimination Act. Employers have a duty to make reasonable
adjustments to employment and working conditions so that anyone disabled
does not receive less favourable treatment. Discrimination of various kinds
can be challenged.
Employment tribunals. The important thing to remember is to keep written
evidence demonstrating that the school has complied with statutory
procedures though minor procedural errors can be disregarded. Unfair
dismissal is one of the main sources of grievance.
Dispute resolution in the workplace. Written disciplinary and grievance
procedures must be in place and be known to staff. Employment contracts
must refer to them and be up-to-date.
Fixed term employees. Any staff employed on a fixed term contract (limited to
four years) have been given new rights, e.g. to training and sick pay, based on
the principle that such staff have the right not to be treated any less favourably
than permanent staff.
Public Interest Disclosure Act 1999. It is the duty of all staff to take action if they
think they have grounds for suspecting colleagues of fraud, corruption,
malpractice, abuse, harassment, discrimination or legal or health and safety
non-compliance. There need to be open channels of communication with
management for dealing with such concerns, and a whistle-blowing policy
and procedure communicated to staff. This should include a means of bypassing management to gain access to school governors. By law, there must
be no victimization or recrimination: the information that whistle-blowers
impart, even if inaccurate, tells a story. Concerns must be thoroughly and
dispassionately investigated and remedial action taken if required.
Pending legislation. Watch out for new legislation on discrimination (e.g. on
religious, age or sexual orientation grounds), pension rights, consultation,
temporary workers (e.g. supply teachers) and dignity at work.
In January 2003, the DfES and the Welsh Assembly announced that they had
reached agreement with the teacher unions (with the exception of the NUT),
and those representing support staff, on implementing a programme which
will reduce teacher workload. The intention is to phase in changes to the teacher
contract and to employ support staff in greater numbers and in extended
roles. The first phase of the agreement will last until 2006, but it is likely that
there will be further developments beyond that.
School leaders should produce a development plan for the changes to the
workforce which the agreement will necessitate. A major change is the
inclusion in the conditions of service requiring heads to ensure that teachers
have a reasonable work–life balance. Teachers will, over time, no longer be
required to undertake many routine tasks such as bulk photocopying,
collecting money and minuting meetings. They will be required to cover for
absent colleagues for a maximum of 38 hours per year, and will receive
guaranteed planning, preparation and assessment time (PPA). Invigilation of
exams will also cease to be the responsibility of teachers (although, in
practice, many schools currently employ others to invigilate).
The progress of these changes will, of course, depend on sufficient
funding being available to schools to allow them to employ the additional
support staff who will be needed, but it is clear that school leaders in their
dealings with staff will need to take account of a significant change in the
assumptions of what constitutes a teacher’s job. The agreement emphasizes
the need to raise standards by allowing teachers to concentrate on the core
tasks of teaching and learning. Employing larger numbers of support staff
also raises issues about their training and development and we would
suggest that their needs should be given an equal priority with those of
teaching staff.
Developing staff
Fortunately the era is passing when it was assumed that a person equipped
with a university degree or a teaching certificate or diploma was equipped
for lifelong service as a teacher. Yet appraisal and development procedures,
standard practice in most walks of life now, are still not fully understood and
are sometimes treated with suspicion in parts of the educational profession.
With appraisal now compulsory in maintained schools (through performance
management policies), staff development should become gradually more
systematic and effective.The NCSL is developing standards for continuous
professional development (CPD).
Types of development need
The purposes of staff development may vary, and Figure 6.3 provides a useful
clarification. Some needs will be specific to the individual, though two or
more individuals may have a similar need; others – usually those related to
change – will concern groups of people or even the total organization.
Organizational change programmes are dealt with at some length in Part III.
In the remainder of this chapter we shall be concerned with the development
of individuals and groups.
Although appraisal is now mandatory in maintained schools, it is not always
effective; indeed in some schools the process has been undermined.
However, a survey (Barber et al., 1995) shows that appraisal has made a
major contribution to identifying staff development needs and targeting
resources effectively, leading to better focused INSET, in 70 per cent of
schools. It has contributed to improved school management and the
Improve performance in current job
Prepare for future job
Requirement for new skills and attitudes
Introduction of new method and approaches
Figure 6.3 Type of development need
development of a positive climate, with 70 per cent of teachers regarding it in
a very positive light. At least 90 per cent found their appraisal interview to be
fair, balanced and effective, but more needs to be done to link appraisal to the
school development plan, and to set time-bounded action plans.
Performance management is, or should be, an opportunity for the individual
to meet with his or her manager in order to take stock of their individual and
joint achievements. As a result of the discussion, there should be agreement
on action needed to
(1) improve the performance of the individual;
(2) improve working relationships; and
(3) develop the individual’s career.
Well developed performance management systems are of considerable benefit
to both the individual and the organization and, indeed, industrial staff will
complain if their appraisal interview is overdue. At their best such systems
are highly motivational to employees since they
enable them to measure their achievement;
recognize their achievement;
prepare them for advancement;
open up opportunities for personal growth; and
‘clear the air’ of problems and build their relationship with their
This has been shown to be true of teachers no less than of employees elsewhere.
However, because of the suspicion that appraisal has aroused, it is more than
ever necessary in schools to prepare thoroughly for the process of appraisal,
especially for classroom observation, the prospect of which is often experienced
as threatening.
A new or badly conceived performance management system can be
distrusted for many reasons. The appraisal can, for example, be – or be seen
as – a judgement on the individual rather than a means to future
improvement. Or both parties may be afraid that criticism or differences of
view will lead to conflict (see Chapter 7). Or the normal resistance-to-change
phenomenon may come into play. For example, arbitrary ground rules may
be applied which limit discussion to trivia.
Essentials for effective appraisal
We can identify a number of features of constructive appraisal:
Objectivity. The basis for a constructive discussion is prior agreement on the
criteria for effectiveness. A preliminary to appraisal is therefore a job
description with criteria and clear objectives of the type discussed in the
‘induction’ section of this chapter. The focus should then be on results achieved
against the criteria and objectives.
Willingness to listen. The manager’s approach should not be to tell the staff
member what is right or wrong but to ask for his or her views first. Indeed,
many good systems will ask the employee to draft his or her answers to the
appraisal form on to a separate form before the interview and to use this as a
basis for the discussion.
Openness to criticism. Not just the subordinate but also a mature manager
will listen very carefully to any criticism and use it as a basis for improvement.
To silence criticism is to demonstrate insecurity.
Counselling not judgement.
What can we do to improve the situation or the
Action planning. New objectives and development plans carried forward,
progressed and reviewed systematically at the next review meeting.
The appraisal record
Headings for an effective appraisal record are as follows:
(1) Development planned/carried out over the last twelve months or since
the last appraisal and results.
(2) Results achieved against job criteria and objectives.
(3) Notes on 2. (NB There may be very good reasons for failure to achieve a
(4) Particular strengths.
(5) Areas in which improvement could be made.
(6) Action needed by the individual, his or her manager and/or others to
achieve improvement.
(7) Staff member’s wishes for the future and action that will be taken to
prepare him or her.
(8) Objectives or targets (quantified as far as possible).
It is of course essential that the development actions are followed through.
Team Leader:_____________________
Date of meeting:___________________
Development and training
Resources to support the objectives
Teacher’s comments
Team Leader:_________________(signature)
Date of Review Meeting:
Team Leader:
Further development
Areas of particular strength (specify)
Areas to be developed
Support and resources to be provided by school (specify)
Teacher’s comments
The content of this record has been agreed by:
Team Leader:____________________(signature)
Date of receipt of the completed review statement by the teacher:_________
How can we ensure that
(1) Appraisals are taken seriously?
(2) They lead to real improvements in the school?
There are many ways of meeting development needs, and courses, if only
because they are the most obvious, should be the last that we consider. Other
methods are
counselling, coaching and consultancy;
planned reading;
projects (e.g. organizing a school event);
change in responsibilities (good for all concerned);
sitting in on meetings (or e.g. being seconded to the Senior Leadership
(7) producing a research report; and
(8) visits.
Individuals emerging from any development programme in which they learn
techniques, behaviours or approaches new to themselves and/or the school
are likely to feel some degree of frustration when they try to apply what they
have been taught. The re-entry problem is particularly apparent after an
intensive programme away from the school. Ex-autocrats who return
determined to be participative managers are often surprised to find that their
subordinates do not respond with ‘Hallelujah’ but are more disposed to say
‘He’s obviously been on a course; how long will this last?’ People feel
uncomfortable if one of the ‘norms’ in their environment appears to change.
They are suspicious. Unfortunately, this response may cause the returned
trainee to doubt the validity of what he or she has learned and the development
effort will have been wasted.
The re-entry problem will be eased if:
(1) Trainees are aware of it, bide their time a little (though not too much!) and
make an effort to discuss their intended change with their team and
involve them in helping to implement it.
(2) The trainee’s superior who, it is hoped, has been a key party to initiating
the development, provides support and counselling on and after reentry. This guidance should be a natural consequence of a pre-event
Training investment
Organizational resistance
Critical mass
Figure 6.4
Training – investment and return
discussion on why the trainee is undertaking the development and a
post-event debriefing. Sadly, these meetings do not always take place
and this is a serious dereliction of managerial duty involving waste of
training investment and demotivation of staff.
Many of the re-entry problems are overcome if staff are trained in groups or
as a total team, thus creating a common understanding and a ‘critical mass’
for implementing the learning. School managers should be viewing all their
decisions in terms of investment and return; a diagrammatic comparison is
given in Figure 6.4.
In-service training days provide a valuable opportunity to
introduce new concepts to a critical mass of staff;
work through cases and exercises to ensure active learning;
debate the concepts and discuss their application;
make plans to implement; and
plan to review implementation at a specified staff meeting or at the next
in-service day.
A valuable contribution to school effectiveness can be made by going through
such simple exercises as having individuals or departments specify what they
(1) expect from other individuals or departments; and
(2) feel able to offer to other individuals or departments.
This can then be followed by reaching agreement or ‘contracts’ as to how
exactly individuals or departments can improve the service that they provide
to their ‘internal customers’.
Recruitment, appraisal and training are three activities which should not be
seen in isolation from each other but as part of a comprehensive approach to
developing a proficient, well motivated and effective staff – the key to a good
school. Staff recruitment and development should be largely determined by
the values, objectives and curriculum development plans of the school (see
Chapters 11 and 13). The means of translating school objectives into individual
staff responsibilities are job descriptions, and the techniques for obtaining
and developing staff to fulfil the job descriptions effectively are those of
selection and appraisal, followed up by development actions including
The procedures advocated in this chapter, are not easy to introduce into
those schools where they do not already exist, for reasons which include
(1) resistance to ideas which appear to come from America and/or industry
and are ipso facto (in the view of some) repugnant to the professional
world of education, which is ‘different’;
(2) fear of being labelled incompetent;
(3) dislike of ‘paperwork’;
(4) discomfort at the idea that learning acquired at university may not be
sufficient for a modern teacher;
(5) a feeling that teachers are by their nature people who have an instinct for
choosing and developing staff;
(6) ‘professional performance should be above judgement’ (a misconstruction of what appraisal is about); and
(7) a feeling, perhaps caught from pupils, that training and learning are
unpleasant things associated with children rather than mature adults.
For all these reasons, and others which you may like to add, each step forward
has to be taken carefully but purposefully and using the strategies to which
Part III is devoted. Organizations (and this includes some educational
institutions) that have achieved the Investors in People kitemark must
demonstrate that their staff are undergoing CPD. ‘Learning for life’, of which
CPD is an example, is being promoted by government agencies. Progressive
schools will have noted these national trends and will be building appraisal
and development firmly into their management systems.
Finally, it should not be forgotten that a ‘comprehensive’ approach should
include administrative and ancillary staff as well as teachers. Though the
recalcitrance of some school-keepers can be attributed in part to local union
stances, it should never be forgotten that a show of strength is a fairly normal
reaction to being underestimated or taken for granted.
It is with some sadness that we have felt it appropriate to add this section to
our book. However, whether for reasons of redundancy, incompetence or
misconduct, staff dismissals are becoming an increasingly common occurrence
in the life of a school and, as responsibility for education is increasingly
devolved to governors and heads, particularly of foundation schools, their
involvement in dismissals becomes more direct.
The legal position (Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act, 1978)
All employees who work for more than eight hours per week, have not reached
retirement age and have been continuously employed for more than two years
are protected against ‘unfair dismissal’. If such employees are found to have
been unfairly dismissed they will be entitled to compensation.
Furthermore they will be deemed to have been unfairly dismissed unless
the employer can show that he or she acted for one of the following five
Incapability or lack of qualification.
The continuation of work would have contravened a statute (e.g. a driver
who loses his or her licence).
(5) Some other substantial reason.
And that the employer acted reasonably in all the circumstances. The burden of
proof is on the employer.
Proving that an employer has acted reasonably depends almost entirely on
whether the employer has followed the guidelines laid down in the ACAS
Code of Practice on Disciplinary Practices and Procedures and whether the
school has followed the procedures set out in the contracts of employment
issued to its staff.
The decision to dismiss
If a school is contemplating the dismissal of any member of staff, it follows
therefore that the head, the chair of governors and whoever else represents
the ‘employer’ in the particular school should first check that the procedures
set out in the contract of employment have been, are being and will be followed.
They should then be clear whether the reason for dismissal is misconduct,
incapability or redundancy (other reasons are unlikely) and, subject to the
contract of employment, should ensure according to the reason for dismissal
that the following basic conditions have been met:
(1) Misconduct: that the employee has been warned in writing of previous
cases of misconduct or has committed an act of gross misconduct. (Even
then, suspension is a good idea while the facts are explored.)
(2) Incapability: that this has been drawn to the employee’s attention in
appraisal and other interviews and that he or she has been given all
reasonable help to improve performance.
(3) Redundancy: that the post occupied by the employee has genuinely
ceased to exist as a result of reorganization or that one post from a
number of similar posts has ceased to exist and that the particular
employee has been chosen for redundancy in accordance with
established criteria.
Each school should have policies covering discipline of staff, capability
procedures and redundancy. The LEA can provide model policies, often based
on nationally negotiated policies, and the headteacher associations also
produce model policies.
In cases of redundancy there will be an entitlement to, at least, a statutory
payment according to the years of service or an agreed ‘early retirement’
package. In all cases there may be an entitlement to a period of notice or
payment in lieu of notice.
Redundancy is the most common reason given for dismissal, though
‘incapability’ has become more common as weaknesses are revealed by
Ofsted inspections and appraisals. The two can be neatly and humanely
combined if the criterion for selecting for redundancy is quality of
performance, though proof may be difficult unless very good records have
been kept. Unfortunately, ‘last in, first out’ may have been established, and
we may be constrained to lose the very people whom we least want to lose
unless we make a stand. The governing body will need, in consultation with
staff and the recognized trade unions and teacher associations (whether or
not they have members in the school), to determine the criteria to be used
when selecting staff for redundancy. The principle to be applied is that of
achieving a balance between the needs of the school and the need to be fair in
dealing with staff. Designing objective criteria is not enough to guarantee fair
and reasonable selection; the criteria must be consistently and fairly applied.
When the above process has identified staff, a clear decision should be
taken as to who will inform the employees. We would strongly suggest that
the communication that someone is likely to be made redundant should be
delegated to one person (e.g. the head), and that if another person requires or
is required to be present, that person should intervene as little as possible and
certainly be careful not, in any way, to undermine the ‘messenger’.
Occasionally a potential redundancy or early retirement package may
bring welcome relief. More usually dismissal (or suspension) will cause a
trauma rivalled only by bereavement and marital breakdown. In all three
situations we can expect the potential victim to move in turn through the
phases of
disbelief and refusal to accept;
anger, frustration and despondency;
acceptance (it is hoped!); and
a positive attitude to getting on with life.
These are normal reactions and it is important that the deliverer of the message
should expect and be prepared to deal with them by responding to the
following guidelines:
(1) Choose a time and place so that there will be no interruptions, no one will
be ‘in a hurry’ and the recipient of the news will have no further
commitments that day. (The end of the afternoon is often a good time but,
if it has to be earlier, make sure someone is standing by to take over any
remaining teaching duties for the day. Friday is ideal as it allows a
weekend for the employee to come to terms with the situation.)
(2) Work out and write down the details of any likely financial settlement,
when exactly the employment is to terminate if agreed by the governors,
when and how, in the case of misconduct, keys are to be handed over, the
premises vacated and personal items removed, the nature of any appeals
procedure and follow-up.
(3) Summon the person to the appointment at fairly short notice – not more
than three hours.
(4) The tone of the interview should be one of helpful formality and should
certainly not be preceded by questions about the family or interspersed
with pleasantries.
(5) Don’t torture the victim by beating around the bush. Come to the point as
quickly, simply and firmly as possible, e.g. ‘You will be aware that we
have to make staff cuts this year and, after careful consideration, we have
decided reluctantly to propose to the governors that they make you
redundant with effect from…’ Pause to allow the message to sink in.
(6) Responses from the ‘victim’ may be silence (Why me?), anger (What
about my family?), tears or other expressions of disbelief, nonacceptance or grief. Do not get involved in lengthy explanations. Do not,
above all, suggest that the decision to recommend dismissal is open to
review or use phrases like ‘We’ll see what we can do!’ Simply reaffirm
slowly, simply, sympathetically (‘I know that this must be a blow to you’)
that the decision to make the recommendation has been very carefully
considered and is irreversible as far as you are concerned.
(7) At an appropriate moment explain the details that you have written
down about payments, likely termination date, etc., and hand over the
piece of paper, having, of course, kept a copy for your files. Explain that a
formal letter of confirmation of the decision to recommend dismissal will
be sent, that no further work will be expected today, that you or some
other appropriate person will be happy to talk again and advise when
there has been an opportunity to think things through.
(8) Conclude the interview by offering an opportunity to sit quietly
somewhere, preferably with a cup of tea, offer the use of a phone, etc.
Generally try to do whatever is helpful in cases of bereavement or
trauma, bearing in mind possible dangers of driving home in a highly
emotional state.
(9) Make sure that you and other help are available to help the identified
person through the stages of acceptance and positive action.
Effecting the dismissal
Governing bodies must give any person whose dismissal is being considered
the opportunity to make representations (orally, if requested) to the committee
which has been convened to consider the dismissal. A friend or trade union
representative may also accompany the member of the staff. There is a right
of appeal to an appeals committee, which must comprise governors who have
taken no part in the original process.
You also need to consider the effect of a dismissal on the rest of the school
staff, so that you can manage the ‘fall-out’. Bad news travels fast and often
becomes unhelpfully embellished. The victim will naturally want to shift
blame, probably on to you, and to curry sympathy. Although relieved that the
axe has not fallen on them, people will wonder who is next, and a mood of
apprehension and depression is likely to spread.
If you have played down the prospect of dismissals, the staff will not have
had time to adjust to reality. They will need to know enough of the
background to be able to understand the rationale for your decision, even if
they cannot at first accept it emotionally. They will want to ask questions –
especially the union representative. You must provide them with adequate
opportunities for access. Although a staff meeting about the matter may
daunt you, you will have to face it. Try to resist any attempts to personalize
the issue; the reactions you can expect are less a reflection on your personal
competence than a natural response to a trauma befalling the school’s social
system (see the four phases above). Let the anger play itself out but, as soon
as you can, move people towards the fourth phase, ‘getting on with life’.
Practical measures must be taken to fill the gap caused by the victim’s
departure; just as the arrival of a new recruit provides an opportunity to take
stock of existing roles and responsibilities. Can it help to improve something
that needed changing anyway?
Your task is to restore morale as soon as possible, and not allow a mood of
discontent to take root. Try to direct attention to superordinate objectives: e.g.
the need continually to provide the best quality of education with whatever
resources are available. If there are precedents in which a former colleague
passed through the slough of despond ultimately to reach a higher peak,
quote them.
Advising governors as to which close colleagues to make redundant is one
of the most stressful situations you are likely to face as a manager. You will
probably need a support system to protect your own emotional well-being. A
supportive senior management team can provide this, or you may have to
turn to someone outside the school.
The positive leadership that you offer the school during its adversity will
help to dissolve the negative feelings that usually accompany redundancy
situations. This is what the school will look to you for.
Role play informing a colleague that she/he will be recommended to the governors
for dismissal. Then reverse the roles. In each case act as though you or your
colleague is being made redundant from the actual job you now hold. You will be
surprised how realistic the role play becomes.
Compare and contrast the functions of recruitment, employment,
appraisal, development and dismissal of staff with the corresponding
functions applied to pupils. What does this tell you about ways in which
staff management and pupil management could each be improved?
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Personnel and Development, London.
Blandford, S. and Welton, J. (1999) Managing Professional Development in Schools,
RoutledgeFalmer, London.
Dukes, C. (2002) Easy Step by Step Guide to Recruiting the Right Staff, Rowmark, Hayling
Everard, K.B. (1986) Developing Management in Schools, Blackwell, Oxford.
Fidler, B. and Cooper, R. (eds) (1992) Staff Appraisal and Staff Management in Schools and
Colleges: a Guide to Implementation, Longman, Harlow.
Greene K. et al. (2002) Administrative Support Staff in Schools: Ways Forward: NFER
Research Report RR331 for the DfES, NFER, Slough.
Hartle F., Everall K., and Baker C. (2001) Getting the Best out of Performance Management
in your School, Kogan Page, London.
Horne, H. and Pierce, A. (1996) A Practical Guide to Staff Development and Appraisal in
Schools, Kogan Page, London.
Kalinauckas, P. and King, H. (1994) Coaching: Realising the Potential, Chartered Institute
of Personnel and Development, London.
MacKay, I. (1995) Asking Questions and Listening Skills (2nd edn), Chartered Institute of
Personnel and Development, London.
Montgomery D. and Hadfield N. (1989) Practical Teacher Appraisal, Kogan Page, London.
Mumford, A. (1997) Management Development (3rd edn), Chartered Institute of Personnel
and Development, London.
Parsloe, E. (1995) Coaching, Mentoring and Assessing: A Practical Guide to Developing
Competence, Kogan Page, London.
Reeves, J., Smith, P., O’Brien, J.P., Tomlinson, H. and Forde, C. (2002) Performance
Management in Education, Sage, London.
West-Burnham, J. (1998) Leadership and Professional Development in Schools, Financial
Times Prentice Hall, London.
Managing Conflict
The ability to handle conflict is a key factor in managerial success. Whenever
we wish to make changes, there is potential for conflict. Furthermore, we not
only have to handle situations in which there is conflict between ourselves
and one or more other members of staff but may also at times have to resolve
conflicts between our subordinates or, most difficult of all, to plot a course
through the minefield of ‘politics’ when two of our peers or superiors are
locked in struggle. In the last case, it often happens that one party will
deliberately block anything which appears to be the initiative of, or have the
backing of, the other, and progress may be difficult. On the other hand, one
may have more freedom of action while the opposing parties are locked in
battle: a head who is ‘at war’ with a local authority, his or her governors, a
parental committee or a pressure group may be only too pleased if the staff
just get on with running the school. The worst situation occurs when no one
fills the vacuum caused by his or her preoccupation.
This chapter deals with the nature of conflict, how it builds up, its positive
and negative effects and some guidelines for handling conflict situations.
Conflict in the sense of an honest difference of opinion resulting from the
availability of two or more possible courses of action is not only unavoidable
but also a valuable part of life. It helps to ensure that different possibilities are
properly considered, and further possible courses of action may be generated
from the discussion of the already recognized alternatives. Also, conflict often
means that the chosen course of action is tested at an early stage, thereby
reducing the risk of missing an important flaw which may emerge later.
Alfred Sloan, a former president of General Motors, would always refer
for further consideration at the next meeting any proposal on which his
board members were unanimous. A large proportion of such proposals were,
it appears, eventually rejected! (Sloan, 1986).
The absence of conflict may indicate abdication of responsibility, lack of
interest or lazy thinking.
Most conflicts have both rational and emotional components and lie
somewhere along a spectrum between genuine conflict of interest on the one
hand and personality clash on the other.
Examples of genuine conflict of interest occur, for example, where the
vendor of a house seeks the highest price, while the purchaser wishes to pay
as little as possible. There is also a genuine conflict of interest between
employer and employee about the question of salary.
In both the above cases it is in the interest of both parties to resolve the
conflict – otherwise there is no sale in the first case and a strike in the second.
In order to negotiate a solution it is necessary to
(1) listen to and understand the point of view and needs of the other party
(don’t waste time reiterating your own point of view) – try to be fair;
(2) look for trade-offs, i.e. is there something that I can concede to the other
party that means more to them than it ‘costs’ me?; and
(3) focus on issues and facts and avoid personalizing the conflict.
These are the principles of positive negotiation which should produce a ‘win–
win’ situation.
However, it is all too easy for an emotional desire to ‘beat the blighter’ to
creep in and, once it does, it may well spread from one party to the other. At
the other end of the spectrum many so-called ‘personality clashes’ have an
element of conflict of interest, and are attributable to role, system or culture
problems as much as individual cussedness.
Some conflicts do have their roots in the contestants’ personalities; for
example, introverts may resent flamboyant behaviour by extroverts, and two
deputy heads with different management styles may find it difficult to work
together. We find it helps some management teams to deal with such
situations when they have jointly received training that incorporates the use
of psychometric instruments such as the Myers–Briggs inventory, management style questionnaires – or even so simple an exercise as the Team Role
Inventory cited on page 168. However, some people are strongly opposed to
the use of any personality tests, despite their potential, in the right hands, for
enhancing mutual understanding and professional respect. For this reason it
is usually wiser, in the absence of a competent facilitator, to adopt more
procedural approaches to the management of conflict.
Conflict becomes a dangerous and disruptive force whenever personal ‘glory’
is staked on the outcome. The further the conflict develops, the more ‘glory’
is staked, the more bitter the conflict becomes and the less easy it is to achieve
a solution. Decision-taking is paralysed because neither party dares to make
any concessions for fear (probably justified) that these will be seized upon by
the other party as a victory and a bridgehead for further advances.
At such a point, we speak of a ‘win–lose’ situation since this is how the
parties approach each issue. In reality the situation is often ‘lose–lose’ since
the parties both do things which are against their own real advantage (as well
as wasting their own time on the conflict). Real – or ‘superordinate’ – goals
and interests are lost sight of in the heat of battle. Conflict may be overt,
leading to a rehearsal of the same arguments at each meeting. More
dangerously it is covert, and the parties do not actually talk to each other
about the real issues but canvass support from those whom they believe to be
influential. They will each also take actions which affect the other party,
without informing him or her.
Competition, like conflict, can be of great value to an organization. However,
it can easily be destructive. The process can be seen diagrammatically in Figure
7.1. Once intergroup competition develops into a ‘win–lose’ situation it is even
more difficult to handle than between individuals. If any one member of a
group departs from the ‘party line’ he or she may be perceived as a traitor and
Unfortunately, ‘win–lose’ conflict with another group is, as shown in
Figure 7.1, a very effective means of achieving allegiance within a group.
Napoleon and General Galtieri of Argentina both recognized this fact and
used it, while the government of Margaret Thatcher, whatever may or may
not have been its degree of fault, undoubtedly benefited at the polls in 1983
from the ‘Falklands effect’. Subconsciously or consciously, managers who are
unsure of themselves will use conflict to win support – often with disastrous
consequences for the organization. The head, the local authority, the
examining board or another department will be perceived as the ‘enemy’
who are always doing things wrong: ‘Look what they’ve done now!’
There are basically four possible attitudes that can be adopted by the
participants in any conflict and these are based on permutations of whether
or not they believe that they can avoid confrontation, and whether or not they
believe that they will be able to reach agreement. The combinations and their
results can be represented in tabular form as in Figure 7.2.
The two central columns are self-explanatory. It is worth noting how many
so-called ‘communication’ problems occur because there exists at the root a
conflict of view which is not brought into the open. Instead, the parties each
‘do their own thing’ in the hope of ‘getting away with it’. They may also
devote a great deal of time to building up support for their point of view and
talking about the person with whom they are in conflict rather than talking to
him or her.
Within each group
Between groups
Closing of ranks
Others seen as ‘enemy’
Distortion of perception
More task-oriented
Negative stereotyping
Autocratic leadership
Decreased interaction
and communication
Structure and
organization increase
Increased ‘hostility’
Poor listening
‘Win–lose’ orientation
Figure 7.1 Possible consequences of intergroup competition
In the first and fourth columns of Figure 7.2, behaviour will depend on
how high or low are the personal stakes. These ‘stakes’ are not necessarily
those which have the highest monetary value or are of the greatest
importance to the organization, but tend rather to be measured in terms of
the ego of the parties. How strongly have they expressed their opinion on this
point and to how many people? How many battles have they fought for this
principle? Personal stakes may be higher on issues such as car-parking
facilities, book stores and dinner duties than they are on curriculum
development or provision of new teaching facilities. Indeed, any astute local
government official who seeks agreement to a major project will ensure that it
is preceded on the council agenda by some highly controversial, but often
low-cost, subject such as the provision of an extra facility for old-age
pensioners or even an additional public toilet. After a heated debate on such
a topic, a high-cost project may well pass ‘on the nod’.
With conflicts in the first column (Confrontation Inevitable/Agreement
Impossible) the logical approach is to refer the matter to arbitration, i.e. ask
the boss to decide. This may well happen if the ‘personal stakes’ are of
medium weight. However, where personal stakes are really high, it often
happens that neither party will risk ‘losing’. Furthermore, a boss who steps
into such a conflict and passes judgement may completely alienate the party
against whom he or she decides.
If the personal stakes are low, the decision may be left to ‘fate’, or the
conflict may easily pass into one of the other columns.
Power battle
problems and
‘muddles’ which
are more or less
and lead to
tensions and
stress for all
Fool’s paradise
Give and take
Figure 7.2 Attitudes to conflict
The attitude most conducive to resolving conflict is, of course, that
suggested in column 4. If the stakes are low or medium, it may not be worth
while for either party to spend time on in-depth problem-solving, and some
quick compromises or give-and-take ‘horse-trading’ may be the answer.
Where problems are a little deeper, however, or where ‘horse-trading’ and
give-and-take are leading to inconsistency and confusion, a more thorough
attempt to solve problems will pay off handsomely in terms both of the
effectiveness of the organization and of reducing the stress on the
As the contents of the columns in Figure 7.2 indicate, your attitude to
conflict in general and/or any particular conflict will condition the approach
that you adopt. If you would like to examine your own approach in greater
depth, you may find the Conflict Orientation Questionnaire (Exercise 4) at
the end of this chapter of help. You can either try to be honest in completing
it about yourself or ask someone who knows you well to complete it for
you. Responsibility charting may also help (p. 280).
Consider a conflict which exists among two or more people whom you know. List
(1) the issues of interest; and
(2) the emotional or personality aspects of the conflict.Try to describe the attitude
of each towards the conflict.
The first point to make is the obvious one that no party to a conflict can solve
the problem unilaterally. If the attitude of the other party is firmly locked into
columns 1, 2 or 3 of Figure 7.2, the situation may prove impossible and the
only resort may be to face the issues and seek arbitration. If a strong ‘win–
lose’ orientation has been developed, resolution may be complicated by the
fact that any problem-solving approach or concession may be interpreted either
as a sign of weakness (to be exploited to maximum advantage!) or as a subtle
‘ploy’ to be treated with great caution and mistrust.
For these reasons conflict should be recognized and dealt with as early as
possible. If you have a problem with someone, go immediately to talk to him
or her, before acrimony builds up. If you think of the person you least want to
meet and the thing that you least want to do, these are probably your first two
priorities for the day!
If acrimony has built up, it may be necessary to choose your time well and
to spend some time in making it clear that you really do want to solve the
conflict. Some friend of both parties may be needed to act as a catalyst, to
reassure both parties that intentions are sincere and to act as mediator or
‘process consultant’. In conflicts between other members of staff, particularly
those reporting to you, your job as a manager may well be to step in as the
‘process consultant’, to try to understand the point of view of each
protagonist individually and to bring each one into a ‘problem-solving’ state
of mind. Having set the stage for a meeting to solve the conflict, the following
principles should guide the discussions:
(1) The parties will talk to each other as openly as possible about the real
issues that concern them.
(2) They will state their aims, views and feelings openly but calmly, and try
to avoid reiteration.
(3) They will try to put the conflict into the context of superordinate goals
and of the interest of the total organization (a ‘helicopter’ view). They
will look for common goals.
(4) They will focus on future action rather than on the events of the past.
(5) They will listen carefully to each other’s point of view and seek to
understand it. To ensure that their understanding of it is correct, they
may rephrase the other’s point of view. However, this must be a
genuine attempt at restatement and not a parody of what was said.
(6) They will try to avoid moving on to the attack or defence.
(7) They will try to build on each other’s ideas.
(8) They will trust each other’s good faith and try to act in good faith (see
the ‘OK matrix’ discussed in Chapter 8).
(9) They will plan some clear actions to follow the discussion specifying
who will do what by when. (This is extremely important and may easily
be forgotten in the euphoria of finding that the other party is not as
unreasonable as had been anticipated!)
(10) They will set a date and time to review progress and will keep to this at all
If a third party is acting as a ‘process consultant’ in such a meeting, his or her
role should not be to comment on the issues (this is a dangerous trap) but
simply to draw attention to any departure from these principles.
A number of useful structures can be used to help individuals or groups to
overcome cultural reluctance to put conflict ‘on the table’. These structures
have the twin values of
(1) enabling strong feelings and prejudices to be expressed in a form which
is less antagonistic than the spoken word. The feelings become factual
(though possibly hurtful) data rather than barbed attacks; and
(2) asking for ‘balance’ in the data, i.e. what we like as well as what we
dislike and what we do as well as what they do.
Two of these structures are set out at the end of this chapter, namely
(1) Role Revision Strategy (Exercise 5); and
(2) Image Exchange (Exercise 6).
Conflict and frustration will often centre on the way in which a school, college
or department is being run, ‘the way things happen here’. Such conflicts have
a tendency to build up in any organization, and they can assume more and
more importance. There is often no coherent opinion about how things should
be done – just a generally negative attitude towards the way in which things
are being done.
For the head or head of department, the situation is very frustrating, and
the feeling grows that the staff are working not for you but against you. If you
bend to the suggestions of one body of opinion, another group will be even
less satisfied. You feel misunderstood by everyone and alone in trying to
make the organization work. You may, rightly, feel the need to bring key staff
together to examine the way in which the school or department operates and,
it is hoped, to get commitment to an agreed form of amended practices. The
trouble is that any such meeting can descend into chaos with all the old
arguments and prejudices rehearsed.
Exercise 7 at the end of this chapter presents a structure which has been
found helpful in channelling a review of school organizational practices. It
may be amended to suit particular circumstances, but amendment should
always be towards highlighting controversial issues, never towards avoiding
them. The ‘school review’ uses a number of useful techniques:
(1) ‘Gap’ theory – asking people to state their ideal view and compare it with
their actual perceptions. (The ‘gap’ between the two is what then has to
be bridged.)
(2) Categorizing and quantifying views of what is wrong by focusing
analysis round a structure of statements – always, of course, with the
possibility of formulating a group statement which does not correspond
exactly with any of the alternatives.
(3) Concretizing statements round ‘for instances’. (These should be recorded
in the ‘notes’ column within the exercise.)
The effect of these techniques is to take much of the heat out of the discussion
and to enable deep-seated problems to be treated at a rational level. There is
always a fear that individuals may be hurt by such a process, especially the
head who feels responsible for the processes under review. For this reason it
is important that a review meeting should be instigated from the top of the
group, with a genuine desire to understand people’s feelings. Provided this is
done, members of the group can usually be relied on to have a high concern
for feelings and, as the ‘we’ spirit develops, to be able to compensate for painful
home truths by supportiveness or willingness to put things right. But it is
important to prepare the group by agreeing that the meeting will be based on
the positive principles set out above.
Finally, it is important not to involve too many levels – or too many people
– in such a review. Two levels are ideal. As soon as three or more are involved,
great care has to be taken not to lay all problems unfairly at the door of the
intermediate level. In a meeting involving head, deputy head and heads of
department, there is real risk that the deputy head will be blamed for
communication failures, for ‘failing to pass on the message’.
Certain behaviours are liable to provoke an unnecessary degree of conflict.
The social policies of the European Union – and many of the member states –
speak of the difference between a ‘harmony model’ and a ‘conflict model’ of
relationships. In the conflict model the parties
(1) are concerned only to protect their own interests. ‘It is the task of
management to manage in the interests of the employer and the job of the
unions to look after the interests of their members’, is a statement made
both by some managers and by some trade unionists, and there is a risk
that teachers who feel that their profession is under governmental attack
(from right or left) may adopt similar attitudes; and
(2) involved in taking or implementing decisions will take up their
positions, make their decision, possibly try to sell them to the other
parties and, if necessary, fight.
In the harmony model, on the other hand, the aim is
(1) collective responsibility both for the interests of the school and for the
individual interests of staff; and
(2) participative decision-taking in which the views of interested parties are
sought out before coming to a decision (see Chapter 4). This allows
differences of opinion to be handled before a position is taken up from
which retreat means loss of face.
In order to minimize the destructive effects of conflict, the following principles
should be observed:
(1) Maintain as much communication as possible with any party whose
ideas, interests or attitudes appear to be in conflict with your own. Do not
postpone discussing the problem in the hope that it will go away – it will
usually get worse.
(2) Refrain from the temptation to talk about the other person behind his or
her back. Do not try to build up an army of opinion on your side. Talk
with the other person.
(3) If you see signs of interdepartmental conflict, try to establish projects, on
either neutral or sensitive subjects, in which individuals from the various
departments will work together. As a general principle, it is good to
prevent the build-up of rigid departmental demarcation by having crossdepartmental groups. Where there is competition for scarce resources –
computers, overhead projectors, rehearsal space, secretarial services or
even money – it can be far more fruitful to ask a cross-departmental
group of keen junior staff to meet to propose a policy to the head and
heads of department than to proceed via the traditional route of inviting
each department to submit its claim and thereby close ranks in battle
order. Such joint projects are also an excellent personal-development
(4) Try to avoid all the phenomena of the ‘win–lose’ orientation, and above
all try to see all sides of a dispute, remembering that most staff will only
behave negatively if they believe they are under threat or attack.
(5) Try to avoid setting up conflict situations through the ‘reward’ structure
and, if they are already in the structure, change them. If two teachers see
themselves as competing for your favour, a lot of their effort may be
directed into ‘political’ activity and they may each become high
consumers of your time in ‘showing off’ rather than getting on quietly
with the job. Ensure that you recognize results and not flattery or ‘show’.
If we are to be effective managers of conflicts to which we are a party, and of
conflicts between other members of staff, we need to develop certain attitudes
and skills. The only way to develop these is by self-control and practice.
First, we need the ability to confront, to be able to say ‘No’ when a
difference of opinion emerges. We should show by our attitude that we are
open to reason, logical discussion and problem-solving. Second, we must be
able to present our ideas and feelings clearly, concisely, calmly and honestly.
Third, we need to develop listening skills, which include the ability to show
someone that we understand what has been said by ‘playing it back’. We also
need to develop the habit of asking questions rather than making statements,
remembering that successful salespeople (of products or ideas) are those who
ask the most questions. Fourth, we need skill in evaluating all aspects of the
problem, understanding the pressure on the other party, ‘helicoptering’
above the limited perspective which we might normally adopt. Finally, we
need to be able to articulate the common goals which should help both
parties to rise above their differences about methods to look to future
achievement rather than past frictions.
It is in managing conflict that ‘emotional intelligence’ really comes into its
own – although it is also relevant in many other management situations. The
concept was popularized in Daniel Goleman’s best-seller (Goleman, 1996; see
also Goleman, 1998) and it is particularly useful in countering the
paramountcy of the intellect, which often typifies educational institutions.
Emotional intelligence is claimed to be twice as important as IQ plus
technical skills for outstanding performance.
Emotional intelligence is defined as ‘the capacity for recognizing our own
feelings and those of others for motivating ourselves and managing
emotions well in ourselves and our relationships’. Thus it includes selfcontrol, anger management, zeal, persistence and, above all, empathy. Such
skills can be learnt, and this can help to prevent unnecessary conflict, e.g.
when giving criticism, dealing with aggressive children or influencing
moods. Almost any sort of relationship (including marriage) can be
improved by the application of emotional intelligence. You can assess your
own by visiting the following website: www.EISGlobal.com.
A useful exercise is to think about some conflict in which you are involved and to
try very deliberately to understand the position of your adversary or adversaries.
Why are they behaving as they are? What are the pressures on them? What do they
wish to achieve? What common goal is there? What possibilities are there for accord?
Often it can be helpful to discuss your perceptions with a colleague. Much learning
and many solutions have been achieved in this way.
What does the group find to be the major causes of conflict? What are the
implications for working and social relationships?
Fisher, R. and Brown, S. (1989) Getting Together, Random House Business Books, London.
Fisher, R. and Ury, W. (1997) Getting to Yes, Arrow, London.
Katz, N.H. and Lawyer, J.W. (1994) Preventing and Managing Conflict in Schools, Corwin
Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif.
McBride, P. and Maitland, S. (2002) The EI Advantage, McGraw-Hill, Maidenhead.
Sloan, A.P. (1986) My Years with General Motors, Sidgwick & Jackson, London.
EXERCISE 4: Conflict Orientation Questionnaire
Score each of the following questions (and/or ask someone who knows you
well to score them for you) on a scale of 4 (very often) to 1 (hardly ever). You
may find that your answers would vary according to the person or situation:
in this case you should initially try to score your conflict behaviour overall,
and later you may find it useful to redo the test for each separate conflict.
When in conflict do you:
(1) Make your views and requirements very clear
from the outset?
(2) Start by asking the other party what you have
done wrong?
(3) Avoid meeting the other party?
(4) Tell other people about your problem?
(5) Seek the support of other people?
4 3
(6) Try to split the difference?
(7) Apologize for having to raise the issue?
(8) Listen carefully to what is said by the other
(9) Become aggressive?
(10) Keep calm?
(11) Explore the other party’s point of view?
(12) Try to placate the other party?
(13) Go for a quick ‘deal’?
(14) Speak more than the other party?
(15) Focus on a series of possible solutions?
(16) Look for a fair solution?
(17) Let the other party have his or her own way?
(18) Play down the importance of the conflict?
(19) Act as if there is no problem?
(20) Restate common interests?
(21) Try to get your own way?
(22) Apologize readily?
(23) Shift responsibility from yourself?
(24) Try to find a compromise?
(25) Give way on some issues in return for others?
4 3
4 3
Scoring the questionnaire
When you have completed the questionnaire, transfer each of your scores to
the appropriate column below:
Question Score
Question Score
Question Score
Question Score
Question Score
Interpreting your score
You now have a score for five different behaviours or orientations which are
among those listed in Figure 7.2. They are set out below and correspond to
the management style diagram in Figure 2.2.
As with management style, and as we have indicated in this chapter, we
should have an underlying high concern for both relationships and results
(problem-solving). Have I really ‘won’ if I have sown the seeds of vengeance
in my opponent? Has a conflict that I have smoothed over or avoided really
gone away? Do I feel satisfied with the outcome?
Concern for relationships
Concern for results
However, there are occasions on which it may be appropriate to adopt
different behaviours and some guidelines on these occasions are set out below.
This involves side-stepping conflict, postponing confrontation, hoping the
problem will go away or pretending it does not exist. It usually imposes stress
on all concerned, causes communication problems and means that decisions
are made by default. However, it has a positive use where
(1) the issue is a ‘storm in a teacup’ and will pass away of its own accord;
(2) you have no power to achieve a solution, or the potential damage of
confrontation outweighs the benefits of the solution;
(3) time is needed for cooling off or to gather information; and
(4) others are better equipped to solve the problem than you are and you
expect that they will step in.
This may mean standing up for what you believe to be right or simply trying
to score a personal victory. It involves bringing emotional, intellectual,
hierarchical or any other form of power to bear in order to get your own way
and implies a lack of respect for other people’s interests. It often breeds
resentment, ‘back-stabbing’ and deviousness or, if your opponent is of equal
status, a ‘shouting match’. It can, however, be used to good effect where
(1) there is an emergency calling for quick, decisive action;
(2) unpopular actions have to be enforced; and
(3) you know that you are right and the other party is not prepared to listen
to reason or will take advantage of any attempt to compromise or
This approach is unassertive and co-operative. It puts the interests of others
first. Overuse of this approach can cause other people to lose respect for you
and your opinions, to ride roughshod over you, and discipline may become
lax. However, the approach is appropriate where
(1) you realize that you are in the wrong;
(2) others are reticent to put forward their ideas and you wish to show that
you respect their views and wish to hear them; and
(3) the issue is very important to the other person and you wish to build up
Those who compromise seek expedient, quick solutions that satisfy both
parties. Focus is often less on the quality of the solution or on finding a creative
solution than on finding middle ground. A compromise culture leads to
‘wheeling and dealing’ that may be at the expense of principles and values.
However, compromise can be used where
(1) two opponents of equal power are committed to mutually exclusive
(2) the issues are moderately important but there is no time to go into
problem-solving mode. Often compromise can be used as a temporary
expedient; and
(3) the conflict centres on a false dichotomy, an example of which is given on
page 16; can a polarized relationship be transformed into an orthogonal
This involves working with the other party or parties to try to find a solution
which goes as far as is possible towards mutual satisfaction. It involves
thoroughly exploring each other’s interests and concerns and looking for
creative alternative courses of action. The difficulty is that this takes time and
energy and may be an excuse for postponing decisions which need to be taken.
Problem-solving should be used when
issues are too important to be compromised;
long-standing conflict needs to be resolved;
high commitment and understanding are important; and
the quality of the decision is important and all possible insights,
perspectives and ideas need to be taken into account so as to produce and
test creative solutions.
EXERCISE 5: Role Revision Strategy
This technique is usually used with individuals and is described for such, but
it can readily be adapted for intergroup application. There are seven steps
which may be grouped as follows:
problem identification
problem communication
negotiating resolutions
Step 1
The facilitator asks each participant to produce a list of the things he or she
would like the other person(s) to
(1) do less of;
(2) do more of; and
(3) continue doing as now.
These things should be specific actions or behaviours. The list should include
everything salient to the situation; nothing important should be suppressed.
Step 2
The participants then mark their own list to indicate how strong is their desire
for change in each item listed, in order to facilitate improved collaboration.
Step 3
The participants read each other’s lists and through discussion seek to clarify
the changes that the other person(s) are demanding. The facilitator may well
say: ‘Can you give a specific example of when “X” has happened in the past,
and you don’t want it to happen in the future?’
Step 4
Each participant thinks for about two minutes about what the other
participant(s) are demanding, and puts a ‘+’ against the things he or she thinks
he or she can do something about; also a ‘–’ against things he or she does not
agree with, or will not change without a quid pro quo.
This completes the first round of the role revision strategy. It is based on
the assumption that the status quo is held steady by forces (whatever people
are now doing, they have reason for it) which must change if behaviour is to
change. One of these forces is likely to be misapprehension of what the other
people want. There are others, however. To achieve change, there must be a
change in the driving or restraining forces (see force-field analysis in Chapter
17), and that change must be perceived or experienced by the individual. A
change strategy is needed to bring this about.
It is unrealistic to expect one participant to change his or her behaviour
unless the other participants do something different – like giving help, or
putting pressure on. One cannot assume that people of goodwill will
change their behaviour merely as a result of a discussion. So we have to
ask: ‘What am I prepared to do to influence others to change their
behaviour?’ The second round of the strategy is, therefore, to obtain answers
to this question.
Step 5
The facilitator may explain the foregoing, and will ask the participants to
identify the areas where they think they can make progress. It is best not to
tackle the tougher things first, unless there is a high degree of trust, but to go
for something in the middle, success in dealing with which will lay the
groundwork for dealing with the bigger issues.
Step 6
The facilitator asks the participants to talk about what could be done in the
area selected, and constructs a chart under two headings:
The facilitator encourages the participants to offer help in overcoming the
difficulties that emerge.
Step 7
When pseudo-agreement has been reached, the facilitator gets the participants
to specify exactly who is going to do what by when. There is likely to be a
further meeting to review progress, and this should be set up. Also there needs
to be agreement on the first step to be taken to deal with those issues which
have not yet been processed to quid pro quo.
Thus the process is iterative, and success in the first round encourages the
participants to tackle the more difficult issues.
EXERCISE 6: Image Exchange
This technique is normally used with groups and is described as such, but it
can also be applied to an interpersonal situation.
Step 1
The facilitator explains the phenomenon of stereotyping in such a way as to
‘blame’ it not on the shortcomings of the individuals or the groups, but on the
organization structure; stereotyping is the natural outcome of a situation in
which any two groups that have to relate are deprived (for example, through
overwork) of social contact. He or she might give examples of a humorous
nature because by setting a mood of lightheartedness he or she can often dispel
apprehensions. Indeed, doing this exercise sometimes gives rise to much
hilarity, which is an effective solvent for bitterness.
Step 2
Each group goes to a separate room, equipped with flipcharts, to produce
two lists, on separate flipcharts:
(1) A list that characterizes (even caricatures) what they think and feel about
the other group – their outlooks, their aims, their modus operandi, etc.
Candour is to be encouraged.
(2) A list of what they predict the other group will be writing about them,
trying to anticipate what the other group dislikes about them.
A variation on the procedure is to produce a third list, of how they would like
to be seen by the other group. If there is a cartoonist in the group, it is often
helpful (and entertaining) to illustrate the lists.
Step 3
The two groups come together, the flipcharts are displayed, and each group
in turn reads out and clarifies what it has written about the other group in the
first list. No discussion is allowed but questions of clarification may be put.
Then each group in turn reads out and explains their second list similarly.
Step 4
The groups return to their rooms, each with all the lists describing their own
group, and they discuss which items are based on incorrect perceptions or
failures to communicate.
Some items will have a rational explanation which can probably be
conveyed to the other group in the expectation that they will exclaim ‘Ah, so
that’s why you always keep doing so-and-so!’ – or some such remark. It is
probable, however, that there will be other items that cannot quite so easily be
explained away, and constitute a genuine source of friction or a problem that
needs to be resolved – such as a chronic shortage of resources to do what the
other group needs. These items are listed, and placed in order of priority.
Step 5
The groups reconvene, share their lists, dispose of the ‘easy’ items (it is hoped),
and then construct from the more difficult items a single list of problems to be
resolved, in an agreed order of priority. They then draw up a plan for dealing
with those problems that they agree to tackle. This plan should spell out who
does what by when.
Step 6
Still meeting together, the two groups agree on a process for monitoring
progress towards solving the problems, for example, regular exchange of
written reports, dates for follow-up meetings to review progress, and any
meeting to be held after several months have elapsed to return to the
particularly difficult problems on which agreement to work on could not be
The exercise proves more valuable if carried out in a congenial setting
where it can be followed by informal social intercourse between members of
the two groups – for example, in the bar of a residential centre. In such a
setting, the ‘ogres’ become more like us, taking on a human face, and this
lends credence to the facilitator’s suggestion in Step 1, that the source of
intergroup problems is usually structural.
A similar exercise can be carried out when three or more groups are
involved, but if this gives rise to unwieldy numbers, it can be combined with
a ‘fish-bowl’ approach, in which the key representatives (for example,
managers) carry out Steps 3, 5 and 6, with an outer circle of the remaining
participants looking on. Subgroups of members drawn from each of the main
groups can meet separately at the problem-solving stage, following Step 6 to
work on the problem(s) allocated to them.
EXERCISE 7: School Review
The aims
For a school review these are to
(1) examine frankly the way in which the school and its staff currently
(2) diagnose problems and opportunities for improvement;
(3) set objectives for organizational improvement in the light of the
diagnosis; and
(4) (starting from the second review) examine progress towards the
achievement of the organizational objectives set at the last review.
Organizing the review
In the top team (i.e. the head, the deputy head and the heads of department)
responsibility for organizing review sessions lies with the head. In other groups
the responsibility is that of the senior member of the group, though any other
member should feel free to ‘trigger’ the process.
The time needed for the meeting will vary according to the size of the
group, but usually six hours should be set aside for even the smallest group.
It is very important that staff arrange not to be disturbed during the meeting.
The questionnaires below should be handed out by the head or senior
group member before the meeting, and individuals should be asked to
complete the checklist, the group development assessment and the
intergroup problems questionnaire and to bring them to the meeting. There
should be no consultation with other members of the group.
Under each of the headings below are listed five alternative ways in which a
work group may operate. All or most of the statements have probably been
true of your own work group to some degree at some time.
Under each heading rank the statements in order (1 = ‘best’, 5 = ‘worst’)
according to how well they describe the situation
(1) in your own work group (i.e. the group to be reviewed at the meeting);
(2) which should ideally obtain in your work group.
ranking ranking
1. Decision-taking: Decisions which affect the
group as a whole are
(a) taken by the head/department head;
(b) allowed to drift;
(c) thoroughly thrashed out in the group
under the head/departmental head
(d) left to members of the group. The
head/departmental head ‘falls into
line’; and
(e) usually based on compromise or
established precedent.
2. Communication
(a) The work of the group is hampered or
effort wasted through serious lack of
(b) Too much time is spent in exchanging
irrelevant information. There is too
much ‘gossip’ and not enough action.
(c) Most communication is ‘vertical’, e.g.
between the head/departmental head
and individual subordinates.
(d) Most communication is ‘horizontal’.
Subordinates exchange information
and ideas but there is an absence of
upward and downward interchange.
(e) There is a steady exchange of relevant
ideas, information and problems
among all members of the work group.
ranking ranking
3. New ideas
(a) The group’s main aim is to maintain
the ‘status quo’. Crises are dealt with as
they arise.
(b) The group constantly takes up new ideas,
but it fails to carry them through.
(c) Individuals who come up with new ideas
or show initiative are ‘left to get on with it’.
(d) All members of the group are
constantly on the lookout for possible
improvements and long-term solutions
to problems. After careful evaluation these
are systematically implemented with the
active co-operation of the whole group.
(e) Initiative or impetus comes from above or
outside the group. The group responds.
4. Relationships with other groups
(a) The group resents intrusions, advice
or criticism from the outside. Group
members staunchly defend group ideas,
action and policies.
(b) There is a free exchange of information,
ideas and help with those outside the
group and with other groups.
Competition with other groups is
never detrimental to the effectiveness of
the total organization. Responsibility for
action is accepted by all.
(c) Some members of the group are apt to
dissociate themselves from group actions
when dealing with others outside the group.
(d) Efficiency is hampered by destructive
competitiveness and lack of co-operation
between this group and certain others.
(e) The status of the work group is more
important than the well-being of the
5. Review
(a) The group seldom examines the way
in which it has operated. Patterns of
work are either established or establish
(b) Some group members discuss among
themselves shortcomings in the group’s
ranking ranking
operations and relationships with other
groups but are afraid of hurting feelings
or causing upheaval by bringing
these shortcomings into the open.
(c) There is a ‘shake-up’ from time to time,
especially when there has been a
clear case of inefficiency.
(d) The workings of the group are
examined frequently and frankly; all
members seek ways of improving efficiency.
The group learns from experience.
(e) The group usually manages to blame
some other department for any failures.
It is content that it has played its
own part satisfactorily.
6. Objectives
(a) Group objectives and each person’s role
are regularly examined and realistic
targets are set to which all feel
committed. Objectives are updated as
circumstances change.
(b) While individuals are concerned for
their own objectives, there is little
concern for group objectives. Objectives
encourage competition rather than
(c) Objectives either are not set, are ignored
or are so easily attainable as to have no
real value in improving performance or
targeting effort.
(d) As reports and salary increases depend
largely on achievement of fixed, annual
objectives, these are pursued irrespective
of changing conditions or long-term
(e) Effort and time are devoted to trivialities
which contribute little to the fulfilment
of the team’s most vital functions.
7. Planning
(a) Many plans are made but few are
(b) After careful consideration of
circumstances, plans are made to
which the group feels committed
ranking ranking
and which enable work and development
to proceed in a timely and
systematic fashion.
(c) Plans are imposed and must be strictly
adhered to.
(d) Panics are frequent through lack of
adequate planning.
(e) Work follows an established pattern.
8. Commitment
(a) All members of the group feel
personally committed to achieving
the highest possible standard of
(b) There is more group loyalty than job
(c) People do only as much as is required.
(d) The head/departmental head drives the
group hard.
(e) Members of the group are anxious to
avoid any criticisms of their operation.
9. Responsibility
(a) Responsibilities are clearly defined,
are logical and are accompanied
by the appropriate authority to take
(b) Many decisions which should be
taken by an individual are referred
to a group or to a higher level than
(c) Too many decisions which should
be taken as a group are taken by
individuals without adequate
(d) Responsibility and authority are far
from clear.
(e) Responsibilities have become
established in a pattern which is not
the most effective.
10. Use of resources
(a) Financial and other resources are
allocated to group members in
accordance with a well established
pattern. They deploy these resources
as they think fit.
ranking ranking
(b) In some areas money has to be ‘used
up’ while in others it is sadly lacking.
(c) Resource allocation is too flexible and
money is made available to those areas
in which the group agrees that it can be
of most benefit to the total system.
(d) Resource allocation is a matter of great
controversy. Individuals each bid for as
much as can be got irrespective of the
needs of others.
(e) Many ventures are undertaken without
full consideration of the financial
Group development assessment
(1) List what you believe to be at present the group’s three main
organizational problems or opportunities for improvement.
(2) If the group has had a previous review, list
(a) the organizational objectives then set for the group; and
(b) your own personal and organizational objectives.
(3) To what extent do you consider that the above objectives have been
attained by
(a) the group?
(b) you personally?
Intergroup problems questionnaire
(1) With what other groups does this group have to work most closely?
(2) What problems prevent more effective co-operation between this group
and any of the above groups?
(3) Which three of these problems most impair effectiveness?
(4) How might the above three problems be solved?
Managing Yourself
So far we have emphasized the fact that the manager is an organizer, a director,
a controller of resources. Nevertheless, even in fulfilling these functions we
are ourselves resources of the organization, and our managerial function
extends to the control of our own time, skills and attitudes, to coping with
stress, to the direction of our own efforts and to the development of our
We have indicated already many of the ways in which we need to control
our managerial behaviour in order to be effective in, for example, motivating
others, taking decisions, participating in meetings and handling conflicts.
This chapter is intended to focus on some key principles and to bring in some
guidelines and techniques which have not been discussed elsewhere.
It is very easy to be very busy doing the wrong thing. Those colleagues who
are perpetually racing against time are seldom the most effective, and it should
be recognized that just ‘thinking’ is one of the most positive uses of time. It is
then that we are able to ‘helicopter’ above the hurly-burly of the school and
do our managerial job of planning, organizing and controlling to make the
best use of the resources available to us to achieve the desired result. Yet some
teachers feel guilty if they are not seen to be bustling here and there, always
doing something ‘urgent’. Often the ‘urgency’ has arisen because they have
failed to think ahead or act earlier, and they find themselves on the treadmill
of crisis management. Managers will often find themselves doing things which
they could – and should – have delegated if they had given the matter their
attention earlier – but then they were too busy with the last crisis.
A great deal of effort can be expended to no avail. Geoffrey Morris was
called in some years ago as a consultant to the head of a large comprehensive
school, in which crisis management had developed to the point at which
everyone was calling meetings at short notice, with the result that less than 50
per cent of the involved parties could attend because they were at other
meetings. Further meetings, therefore, had to be called with many similar
results, and the amount of wasted time and energy was almost unbelievable.
Frustration and stress were apparent at every level. In such a situation it is
very hard to get off the crisis treadmill, because no one has time to think
about solving the real problems.
In this situation, despite the ‘urgency’ of the crisis, we had to lay down a
programme of discussion, training and eventually ‘school review’ (Exercise
7, p. 116) well in advance (a novelty in that school), and insist that it had
absolute priority over commitments which might subsequently arise. Three
months later the effect of the programme on the running and atmosphere of
the school was dramatic. The time taken actually to sort things out was about
8 hours per departmental or pastoral manager, plus 12 hours each of the time
of both the head and the deputy head, spread over six weeks.
Much of the success of the programme could be attributed to group work
to establish new guidelines for managing the school. However, it was also
essential that each manager should learn to manage his or her own time.
In determining how we use our time, we should be clear about our priorities
and relate our activities to these. We should recognize that there are different
kinds of priority, and the different categories have to be treated differently.
The critical distinction is between what is urgent and what is important. It
may well be that in time sequence we have to deal with the urgent before the
important, but we must not be lured into the trap of being caught up in the
urgent to the exclusion of the important. Are all the ‘urgent’ matters really so?
Should I respond to every request to see me by allocating the next available
slot of free time, or should I deliberately allocate a period of time to the
important and keep that thinking, organizing or writing time as carefully as I
would an appointment with Mr X? Do I myself have to deal with the things
that are presented to me as urgent (or important for that matter) or can I
delegate some of them, perhaps thereby motivating and developing one of
my staff?
Within the ‘important’ category we need to think in terms of ‘long term’
and ‘short term’, with all the intermediate possibilities. If a priority is long
term, we need to review the shorter-term implications and lay down the
intermediate steps. These then need ‘do-by’ dates and allocation of time.
A useful background to priorities is to ask yourself what your job is really
about. In Chapter 6 we wrote of the importance of establishing with staff the
criteria against which the performance of each one is judged. Even if there is
no machinery for doing this with your own supervisor, the exercise is worth
carrying out for your own guidance and it is well worth going beyond the
level of the actual criteria by also asking what
(1) ought to be the criteria against which you are judged in the interests of the
(2) personal criteria do you additionally apply in judging your
performance? (For example, are you managing to achieve goals which
may be related to your own interests, rather than to those of the
A format for carrying out such an analysis is in Exercise 8 at the end of this
If we have used a process such as the above to establish our priorities or if we
just know them instinctively, the critical factor in management success is, of
course, to control our use of time in relation to our priorities. A number of
well tried techniques are available to help us to do this. Two of these relate to
an analysis of the recent past, namely
(1) use-of-time analysis (Exercise 9 at the end of this chapter), which offers a
rough-and-ready way of analysing your impression of how your time is
being spent; and
(2) time log (Exercise 10 at the end of this chapter), which enables a detailed
analysis of the use of time over a relatively short period.
Both these documents are intended for occasional use and enable us to learn
from what has happened and, repeated at a later date, to assess improvement.
In each case the objective is, of course, to use ‘gap’ theory by comparing our
actual use of time with the way in which we ought to use it, in line with our
real priorities. Having learned from the past, the important thing is the
continuous control of the present and future, and for this we need to build
into our daily routine some basic administrative disciplines, i.e.
(1) an action diary;
(2) a daily action sheet; and
(3) project planning.
These disciplines are neither elaborate nor original, and most managers and
headteachers come to use them sooner or later without any need for prompting
from writers on management.
The action diary
This is a development of the appointments diary and the discipline consists
simply in having the diary (preferably of the ‘desk’ variety) always in one’s
briefcase (possibly with a small emergency diary also in one’s pocket or
handbag) and writing down as they occur not only future appointments but
also dates by which things have to be done. Periodically, at least weekly, the
diary should be reviewed and slots of time allocated for items such as ‘prepare
examination papers’, ‘plan overseas visit’, ‘practise with computer’ or even
‘administration and organization’.
The daily action sheet
This is an equally fundamental discipline. It can be a separate notebook or
can be incorporated into a suitably large action diary. Here the discipline
consists in starting each day by
(1) writing a list of all the things that should be done that day;
(2) reviewing the previous day’s list and carrying forward anything not
(3) numbering the items in order of time priority (i.e. the order in which you
hope to tackle them); and
(4) starring (or whatever other system you like to use) to indicate
Project planning
This is the final basic discipline which consists in thinking through, for a project
involving a series of action points or check points, what has to be done by
when and
recording the total project plan on a sheet of paper or in a file;
publishing whatever parts of the plan others may need to know;
recording ‘do-by’ dates in the action diary; and
recording slots of time in the action diary for doing the actions.
Failure to manage our time will induce stress. As the educational environment
has become more turbulent and where pupil misbehaviour has grown, so
stress has become more widespread in the teaching profession. Not only does
it impair the quality of life but it can also detract from performance; for both
reasons, it needs managing.
There are three issues to examine: causes, symptoms and remedies. But
first we need to understand that some stress is a valuable element in any job. It
provides challenge and motivation, helps to raise performance and is an
ingredient of job satisfaction. Lack of stimulation such as stress provides can
lead to boredom, which paradoxically is itself stressful. Moreover, internal
stress is a natural, animal response, connected with survival. In the face of
external challenge, the body secretes adrenalin, which boosts the
performance of the heart, muscles and brain and prepares the animal for
‘fight or flight’. But if we do nothing physical after the adrenalin flows, we
remain tensed up.
It is excessive, prolonged, unmanaged stress that causes problems,
especially with ‘Type A’ personalities (pushy, active). Some problems can be
severe, such as ulcers, heart attacks, strokes, anxiety-depressive illnesses and
even suicide. But these are largely preventable. Unfortunately our national
culture is an obstacle to prevention: males particularly are conditioned not to
expose their feelings or to display emotion, so stress tends to be a taboo
subject for discussion. Admitting to it is felt to be tantamount to a confession
of weakness or incompetence.
The causes of stress have a cumulative effect. Family crises such as divorce or
bereavement pile on top of work pressures, of which the main factors in schools
pupil misbehaviour;
educational changes;
poor working conditions;
time pressures;
role conflict, confusion or overload; and
a school ethos that denies information and support.
Our own attitudes can exacerbate stress: we may be perfectionists who set
impossibly high standards; we may worry too much about what others think
of us; we may bottle up emotion; we may not be assertive enough to say ‘no’
to unreasonable demands.
People react in different ways to excessive stress; symptoms can be
behavioural, emotional, mental or physical. Surveys among teachers identify
the main symptoms as feelings of exhaustion, reduction of contacts outside
school, frustration at lack of achievement, apathy, irritability, displaced
aggression and a wish to leave teaching. Others are listed in Figure 8.1. Each
symptom may have other causes, but if you find you have several, they could
be due to stress. Experience will tell you which you usually evince and help
you recognize the onset of stress. Self-diagnosis is important, so that you know
when to deal with the condition. Some of the symptoms are observable and
may help you to discern when a colleague needs support.
Organizations can help to deal with stress by adopting preventative measures.
Generally, industry has the edge over schools in this respect. Large firms
employ occupational health specialists. They have better selection processes,
which help to ensure a better fit between person and job. They practise
systematic appraisal, which helps to nip incipient work-related problems in
the bud. They invest more money in training so as to develop confidence In
the job. There is much more teamwork, which provides group support. Heads
can take similar measures in their schools. They can also find out how their
own management style and the school’s ethos lead to unnecessary stress
among the staff, and modify them accordingly. They can review teachers’ roles
to minimize confusion, conflict and overload.
Drinking too much alcohol
Compulsive smoking
Neglect of personal appearance
Restlessness – fidgeting
Change in sex drive
Unusual clumsiness
Accident proneness
Letting things slide
Less communicative
Upset stomach
Sweaty and/or trembling hands
Blurred vision
Skin rashes
Dry mouth
High blood pressure
Neck pains
Thoughts of suicide
Aggressive behaviour
Loss of concentration
Increased forgetfulness
Increased mistakes
Increased day-dreaming
Poor judgement
Less rational thinking
Figure 8.1
Some symptoms of stress
At the personal level those experiencing stress have several options open
to them. Different people find help in different coping strategies, so you may
have to experiment. Some things you can do by yourself are
(1) managing your time better (see above);
(2) identifying the people or tasks that steal your time and saying ‘no’ more
(3) ‘brain-dumping’ on to paper all the things that are worrying you, before
you go to bed;
(4) deep breathing and other relaxation exercises (you can buy tapes for this
purpose); and
(5) carving out time to pursue your favourite pastime or sport after work.
Try to view yourself objectively within your environment; reason with yourself
and realize that the seat of the problem may lie in the environment rather
than in you, in which case self-reproach is misplaced.
Another approach is to share your concerns with a member of your family
or trusted circle of friends. Let them listen and then help you to tease out the
problem and come to terms with it. Agree with them the specific actions you
will take, by when, to manage the stress, and arrange to meet again to review
progress. Make sure that they understand the confidential nature of the
discussion. The chances are that the person you choose to talk things over
with will have experienced stress him or herself, so you can probably count
on a sympathetic understanding. However, you may do even better to meet
others in the same boat; sometimes you will find a stress workshop being run
locally by a trained counsellor. Such support systems can be of real help in
generating the will to take effective action, especially at a time when your
decision-making capacity is impaired.
We have already mentioned that one of the techniques for reducing stress is
to learn to say ‘no’ to unreasonable demands. This is one of the principles of
assertiveness training, which has primarily been introduced to help women
to claim due recognition for their ideas and rights, but which can be of value
generally in clarifying communication and preventing the build-up of
commitments which cannot be met – hence stress on all parties.
‘Assertiveness’ in this particular sense can be summarized as ‘openness,
honesty and conciseness’ and means
• letting people know how you feel;
• stating your viewpoint and, if necessary, restating it until you are sure
that it has been listened to;
• not hesitating to tell people what you can and cannot achieve and what
will be the consequence of their pushing a demand;
• clearly stating your requirements of others; and
• avoiding unnecessary padding which may soften or mask the impact of
the message you wish to convey.
Being assertive must be distinguished from being aggressive. The latter usually
involves some degree of emotion and a positive desire to impose one’s will
on the other party or to dominate. The ‘assertive’ person, on the other hand,
• keep calm and keep the emotions under control;
• make factual, objective statements (this also applies to statements about
one’s feelings); and
• respect the interests and feelings of the other party and seek fair
solutions in which neither party uses undue pressure to subjugate or
dominate the other.
The simple techniques of ‘assertiveness’ are surprisingly powerful. The
only danger is that those who practise them may overcompensate for their
previous submissiveness and that, despite all warnings, the dominated may
become dominators or even ‘aggressors’.
Great strides have been made over the past 10–20 years in establishing
systematic approaches to the assessment, enhancement and accreditation of
competence. For heads, the lead agency was the Teacher Training Agency
(TTA), with its three national training programmes, the National Professional
Qualification for Headship (NPQH), to be mandatory by 2004, the Headteacher
Induction Programme (HIP) and the Leadership Programme for Serving
Headteachers (LPSH), for aspiring, newly appointed and experienced heads
respectively. Since 2002 the National College for School Leadership
(www.ncsl.org.uk) has taken over responsibility. These programmes are based
partly on those used to improve the output performance of senior managers
in commerce, industry and the public services, modified to take account of
research on fifty high-performing headteachers (Parsons, et al., 2000).
Outside education, the lead agency in the UK was originally the
Management Charter Initiative (MCI), but is now the Management
Standards Centre (www.management-standards.org). These standards of
competence form the basis of National Vocational Qualifications in
Management (and from 2004, Leadership). They draw on best practice across
the developed world. One of us (Everard) has been involved in the updating
of these standards and recommends that education managers take note of
them when they are launched in spring 2004. In draft, several units closely
match aspects of the head’s role. An inkling of the functions to be covered can
be gained from Figure 2.3.
There are other sets of competence standards which have been used for
headteachers. Jirasinghe and Lyons (1996) have reviewed and critiqued
these; they have developed a new set using a psychometric test (OPQ) and
based a self-evaluation and self-development questionnaire on them. They
advocate the use of techniques widely adopted in non-educational
employment sectors, based on job analysis. Their work is underpinned by an
extensive research project and a theoretical framework.
It is government policy that standards (or benchmarks) of competence
should exist for every occupation and a National Qualifications Framework
is being developed to accredit all those who have attained the standards
relevant to their job. Although such an approach has its critics, the grounds
for criticism often stem from the inflexible way in which the model is
implemented, rather than from the underlying concept of standard-setting
We believe that standards are here to stay and not a passing fad. From time
immemorial, sportsmen and women have used standards to improve their
performance, by competing with their previous best. Standards are equally
useful to managers as benchmarks of their performance. It is worth
encouraging managers and leaders in schools to use them as part of their
professionalism, to take responsibility for systematic self-development. The
steps in the development process are
(1) recognition of the various elements or units of competence;
(2) understanding their nature and how they relate to managerial and
leadership effectiveness;
(3) self-assessment or other feedback (such as appraisal) on the level of
(4) experimentation with reflectively applying the competence, or
demonstrating it at a higher level of effectiveness, with systematic
(5) continuing conscious, reflective practice in using the competence; and
(6) applying it, along with other relevant competences, as an integral whole
in a range of work situations.
While training courses are helpful in taking groups of individuals through
steps 1–5, the process can also be followed on the job, especially if facilitated
by a trusted colleague, adviser, coach, mentor or consultant.
Competence is a combination of knowledge and skill plus the ability and
will to apply them to particular situations. It thus includes motives, traits,
attitudes, values and aspects of self-image and role. Competence is related to
performance in regard to both the functions and demands of the particular
management job and the requirements and constraints of the organizational
setting (e.g. LEA policy). In developing competence, therefore, there has to be
some definition of what constitutes effective performance (effectiveness
criteria – see above and Chapter 6).
The functions that managers are required to perform call for a variety of
competences which are largely generic, in that they are needed in all kinds of
settings. These have been classified in various ways; one of us (Everard, 1986)
used Burgoyne’s taxonomy (Burgoyne, 1976) to group the qualities that
senior teachers associate with managerial competence.
However, it is insufficient to analyse competence, which is a holistic
concept, into its elements; there is also a need for an overarching ‘integrative
competence’, which enables a manager to assemble and orchestrate the
necessary elements in dealing with particular situations.
Competences can be improved by systematic development and training;
none is so innate that it cannot be influenced, although people’s aptitudes for
acquiring particular competences differ widely.
Boydell and Leary (1994) have categorized the development of competence under three types and seven modes of learning (italicized below), all
of which relate to the characteristics of a ‘learning organization’, namely, that
it does
(1) things well (implementation);
(2) things better (improvement); and
(3) better things (integration).
To ‘do things well’, managers must learn to adhere to rules, to adapt and modify
rules to suit particular situations, and to relate these rules and procedures to
some kind of rationale that gives them meaning. Learning to improve involves
reflecting on one’s experience, analysing it and experimenting systematically in
order to ‘do things better’. ‘Doing better things’ involves connecting, seeking
patterns, empathizing with others, and this is followed by the seventh mode
of learning – dedicating oneself to one’s purpose in life, in the sense of doing
something in and for the external world.
Competence is developed by repeatedly going round an experiential learning
cycle. The most effective learning occurs when all four stages of the cycle are
fully used (concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, active experimentation). However, people have different preferences
for the four stages; they are said to have different ‘learning styles’ (Kolb, 1984).
Honey and Mumford (1989) call these styles Activist, Reflector, Theorist and
Pragmatist, and have developed a useful questionnaire for determining one’s
learning style profile. They have kindly allowed us to reproduce the style
descriptions (Figure 8.2), but if you want the best-selling questionnaire you
must purchase at least ten copies or you can buy one inexpensively on-line
(www.peterhoney.com). It helps you to interpret your scores, use your learning
strengths and improve your learning style. Alternatively, write to Dr Peter
Honey, 10 Linden Avenue, Maidenhead, SL6 6HB.
In interpreting your profile from the questionnaire, you need to compare
your results with the norms for your occupational group. Kelly (1995) gives a
set of norms for headteachers (n = 149), but is finding an upward trend in the
activist score over time. Seymour and West-Burnham (1989/90) give a set for
middle/senior education managers, predominantly deputy heads and heads
of department, and Butcher (1995) has found a difference between primary
and secondary heads, as follows:
Heads (Kelly)
Middle/senior (Seymour)
Secondary (Butcher)
Primary (Butcher)
Honey’s manual contains norms for other occupations, including industrial
and commercial managers.
Although your score can be used to select management training courses
that suit your learning style, remember that practice in a less preferred mode
• Flexible and open-minded.
• Happy to have a go.
• Happy to be exposed to new situations.
• Optimistic about anything new and therefore unlikely to resist change.
• Tendency to take the immediately obvious action without thinking.
• Often take unnecessary risks.
• Tendency to do too much themselves and hog the limelight.
• Rush into action without sufficient preparation.
• Get bored with implementation/consolidation.
• Careful.
• Thorough and methodical.
• Thoughtful.
• Good at listening to others and assimilating information.
• Rarely jump to conclusions.
• Tendency to hold back from direct participation.
• Slow to make up their minds and reach a decision.
• Tendency to be too cautious and not take enough risks.
• Not assertive – they aren’t particularly forthcoming and have no ‘small talk’.
• Logical ‘vertical’ thinkers.
• Rational and objective.
• Good at asking probing questions.
• Disciplined approach.
• Restricted in lateral thinking.
• Low tolerance for uncertainty, disorder and ambiguity.
• Intolerant of anything subjective or intuitive.
• Full of ‘shoulds, oughts and musts’.
• Keen to test things out in practice.
• Practical, down to earth, realistic.
• Businesslike – get straight to the point.
• Technique oriented.
• Tendency to reject anything without an obvious application.
• Not very interested in theory or basic principles.
• Tendency to seize on the first expedient solution to a problem.
• Impatient with waffle.
• On balance, task oriented, not people oriented.
Figure 8.2 Learning styles – general descriptions © Honey and Mumford
helps you to enlarge your repertoire and thus to take better advantage of
different sorts of learning opportunity; also, that competence develops as
you follow every stage of the learning cycle.
The learning styles questionnaire is an example of a self-perception tool
that we recommend for getting to know yourself better; accurate selfperception is a key management competence and vital to self-development.
Peter Honey has developed forty of these, which are generic to all learners
and managers. Other do-it-yourself tools will be found in Pedler’s books (see
further reading). We also recommend the Myers–Briggs test as particularly
suitable for teachers, but this requires a psychologist to administer, as do the
16PF, OPQ and Firo B, which are also used.
In the preceding chapters we have seen that ‘natural’ reactions to situations
are not always the best. We can, in fact, easily become ‘hooked’ into behavioural
patterns which are counterproductive, such as developing intergroup conflict
in order to cover up our own feelings of insecurity or threat. We may be unduly
ready to perceive an attack and respond defensively when suggestions are
We have already looked at models, checklists and guidelines which may
help us to check on our behaviour in one-to-one or group situations, and to
adopt constructive approaches. Other helpful models exist, and we would
recommend, as a perceptive insight into behaviour (though not to be taken
too seriously), insight into behaviour, the theories of transactional analysis
(Berne, 1968), which start from the premiss that behavioural patterns can be
classified as those of the Parent, the Adult or the Child with classic attitudes
(1) Parent – telling, guiding, asserting, dominating, criticizing;
(2) Adult – reasoning, listening, suggesting;
(3) Child – feeling, creating/destroying, accepting/resisting, enquiring.
It is surprising how often we can catch ourselves, especially as teachers,
treating our colleagues or social contacts as ‘children’ by adopting
‘know-all’ or ‘patronizing’ attitudes. How often are we instantly recognized
as teachers?
In a book of this scope it is impossible to do justice to this or other helpful
theories. However, one of us (Morris) has found the following adaptation of
another of the transactional analysis concepts particularly useful in helping
managers to understand and control their own behaviour (Harris, 1995). It is
a useful model in dealing with conflict, since it enables us to recognize the
psychological realities that may underlie the reactions of ourselves and/or
The OK matrix
The OK matrix (Figure 8.3) illustrates four basic ways in which we may feel
about ourselves and other people. However self-confident we are, there are
bound to be times when each of us will not feel ‘OK’, i.e. sure of ourselves.
For example, no one feels completely ‘OK’ on his or her first day in a new job.
The adolescent does not basically feel ‘OK’ in an adult world. Some people
consistently feel less ‘OK’ than others and are then said to have an inferiority
At times when we do not feel ‘OK’ most of us will try to prove ourselves in
a variety of ways. If these ways fit into the value system of the organization to
which we belong, the effect will be perceived as positive – teenagers may
strive for distinction in the examination room or on the sports field;
salespeople will seek to achieve their targets and possibly to be the best;
managers will seek to demonstrate their effectiveness to their superiors.
However, if these methods do not succeed, individuals may, in their
under-confidence, adopt less constructive approaches. Teenagers may seek
the approbation of their fellows by being disruptive; salespeople may blame
the market, the system, the targets; managers may feel that they must
suppress the initiatives of their subordinate which they perceive as a threat.
Ironically, people with inferiority complexes do not behave modestly but, on
the contrary, often behave in an aggressive, patronizing, arrogant way in an
attempt to prove themselves. Finally, there is the possibility of withdrawing
into one’s shell and opting out.
Such patterns of behaviour can be disturbing enough when directed
towards someone else whom we see as ‘OK’. However, they have the
potential to become really vicious when someone, who does not him or
herself feel ‘OK’, takes the opportunity to prove him or herself at the expense
of someone whom he or she perceives to be also ‘not OK’. This is the
behaviour of the bully. It is also the behaviour of the manager who tries to
shift blame on to, or take advantage of, a weaker colleague.
In the top right-hand corner of the matrix we have the situation where I
may feel ‘OK’ but may find someone else ‘not OK’. This means that I do not
trust the other person or have confidence in his or her ability. Such an attitude
may be justified. However, there is the risk in a conflict situation that I am
Figure 8.3
You’re OK
You’re not OK
I’m OK
We can work
I don’t trust
I’m not OK
I must prove
that I’m worth
something or
opt out
I may be able
to prove
myself at your
The OK matrix, from Harris (1995), reprinted by permission of Jonathan Cape Ltd
stereotyping the other person negatively – inclined to attribute the wrong
motives to his or her actions. I may well be right, particularly if we have both
become locked into a vicious circle where neither trusts the other and where
the actions of both will therefore be loaded.
The important thing to bear in mind is that most negative behaviour
occurs because people feel unsure or threatened – perhaps not by us but by
others or by circumstances.
Finally, it must be remembered that how a person perceives him or herself
and others in terms of the OK matrix depends to a large extent on that person.
If we treat others as though they are ‘not OK’ in our eyes they will seldom
prove the contrary.
As far as possible the aim should be to feel ‘OK’ in ourselves and try to
accept others in a positive way. This is the basis for a sound working
relationship or friendship. In attempting to resolve conflict, the parties must
make a real effort to move towards the ‘I’m OK/You’re OK’ corner, though it
will never be easy! (Harris, 1995).
An increasingly important aspect of managing our attitudes and behaviour
relates to equal opportunities; we may even fall foul of the law if we neglect
our responsibilities towards minorities and towards the opposite sex. It
certainly erodes our effectiveness as managers if we are insensitive to other
people’s feelings, and there is no doubt that women and ethnic minorities
sometimes feel that they are the victims of oppression by men and by white
Anglo-Saxons respectively. Sexism and racism are usually present in schools
whether we like to admit it or not. Statistics show, for example, that women
are under-represented in more senior management posts. Many business
organizations and public authorities are taking positive action to ensure that
such inequalities are addressed. Educational institutions have been in the van
of this movement, sometimes to the point that ‘political correctness’ and
zealotry have become counterproductive.
The least that effective managers should do is to train themselves to avoid
language traps (yes, we’ve had to learn too!). Gender-specific terms are not
always interpreted as generic, even when the context might suggest the
contrary. Unfortunately some well established management terms fall into
this category: ‘man the office’, ‘manpower’, ‘chairman’. Women can also
upset men by talking about ‘bringing feminine values to management’, as
though the values to which they refer were exclusively gender-specific. Many
managers are so unaware of giving offence to minority groups that they
would do well to legitimize a feedback system to let them know when they
have inadvertently transgressed; but beware of ‘witch-hunts’.
The positive manager
Accepts responsibility
Is objective
Listens and responds
Proposes solutions
Sees opportunities
Has breadth of vision
Faces up to problems
Confronts the source of problems
Has foresight
The negative manager
Is a victim
Blames others
Is subjective
Rejects suggestions
Is incapable of delegation
Sees threats
Is preoccupied with detail
Conceals problems
Talks about the source of problems
Is taught
Has hindsight
Figure 8.4 Positive and negative management
Finally, we suggest that the behavioural checklist in Figure 8.4 may serve to
crystallize the key behavioural issues for the manager.
Consider any two colleagues and mark each of them against the checklist in Figure
8.4 by ticking for each line which of the two alternative behaviours predominates.
Do the same for yourself and consider how you should change your behaviour.
‘Recent changes have made many teachers feel threatened or “not OK”.
They are reacting predictably to this.’ Do we agree, and if so what can
school managers do to alleviate the situation?
Brown, M. and Ralph, S. (1994) Managing Stress in Schools, Northcote House, Plymouth.
Cooper, C.L. and Payne, R.L. (eds) (1994) Causes, Coping and Consequences of Stress at
Work, Wiley, London.
Esp, D. (1993) Competences for School Managers, Kogan Page, London.
Foster, M. (2000) Get Everything Done and Still Have Time to Play, Help Yourself, London.
Honey, P. and Mumford, A. (1989) Manual of Learning Styles, Honey, Maidenhead.
Mill, C. (2000) Managing for the First Time, Chartered Institute of Personnel and
Development, London.
Pedler, M. and Boydell, T. (1999) Managing Yourself, Lemos and Crane, London.
Pedler, M., Burgoyne, J. and Boydell, T. (2001) A Manager’s Guide to Self-Development
(4th edn), McGraw-Hill, Maidenhead.
Rogers, B. (1995) Managing Teacher Stress, Financial Times Prentice Hall, London.
Ward, P. and Nattrass, M.S. (1990) Managing Occupational Stress: A Guide for Managers
and Teachers in the Schools Sector, Health and Safety Executive, London.
EXERCISE 8: Criteria for Effectiveness – Establishing Priorities
List criteria detailed, and then rank them in order of importance to you:
(1) The main criteria against which you believe that your performance is
judged by your immediate superior and by others who can affect your
(2) Additional criteria against which you feel that your performance ought to
be judged in the interests of the school or college.
(3) Further criteria against which you personally judge your success or
EXERCISE 9: Use of Time Analysis
This exercise is fully intended to help you think about how you spend your
time currently, and how you would like to spend your working day, with a
view to developing some concrete action plans directed towards improving
your overall effectiveness.
(1) Using the activity categories shown on the analysis sheet and any others
you feel are applicable, estimate the amount of your time you have spent on
each activity during the past three months, expressed as a percentage of
your total working time. Use the first column (‘Actual’) for recording
your estimates.
(2) Use the second column (‘Ideal’) to fill in the time allocations as
percentages which you feel you would like to be able to record for a
future period.
(3) Which five (approximately) activities show the greatest discrepancy
between ‘actual’ and ‘ideal’ in terms of time commitment? Enter these
(4) Which major obstacle (if any) do you see preventing you from achieving
the sort of time allocation which you think would be ideal for you in your
(5) What concrete steps can you take in order to come closer to your ideal in
terms of spending time on the job? Be specific.
(6) What can others (who?) do to help you or indeed make it possible for you
to achieve this ideal? Be specific.
Analysis sheet
(a) Teaching
• lesson preparation
• practical teaching
• marking
(b) Administration
• staff management
• tidying up, sorting out, ‘getting organized’
• reports
• general administration
(c) Miscellaneous
• meetings (if not covered above)
• reading, studying, thinking
• parent/teacher co-operation
• ‘out-of-school’ activities (including clubs,
societies, one-day and extended visits – UK
and abroad)
(d) Specialized activities (please list)
EXERCISE 10: Time Log
Day ..................................................
Date .................................................
Describe what happens in detail – the subject of meetings, telephone calls, letters, reading, conversations. Note the duration of each happening. Note the
name and position of other people involved. Include even casual encounters.
People involved
What happened?
What happened?
People involved
Most of Part I was addressed to the ways in which managers deal with people
as individuals. However, managers also have to operate at points further along
the organizational dimension (Figure 9.1) and this is tackled in Part II. We
shall first look at some of the characteristics of organizations and their
implications for managers; then, in Chapter 10, at groups. Forming groups of
individuals, building them into effective working units or teams, and getting
these teams to work together effectively in pursuing the organization’s purpose
and goals, are at the heart of organization management. Teams, or whatever
word is used to describe these groupings of collaborating individuals, are the
building blocks of organizations, and managers (as we have seen) are the
glue that holds them together. But first we look at organizations as a whole.
We believe that all organizations, including educational ones, should be
actively managed against goals; in other words, not only should there be a
clear sense of the direction in which the organization is being steered but also
markers whereby we can assess progress. The words that we use to describe
concepts of direction and progress vary from the broad to the more specific.
At the specific end, we have words like ‘goals’, ‘objectives’, ‘targets’ and
‘success criteria’, which more or less define endpoints or milestones. ‘Aims’
are broader in concept, and subsuming the rest, we can talk of a ‘central
purpose’, a ‘reason for being’ or a ‘core mission’ for the organization. A sense
of purpose is like gravity – a continuous force that moves the organization in
a particular direction. There is no agreed generic word that describes these
concepts collectively, but we usually speak of ‘opening’ and ‘closing’ an
objective when we want to indicate a movement towards, respectively, breadth
or specificity.
Organizational aims (used here in a generic sense) nurture and steer
creative tension and release and harness energy; they keep the organization
on the move, heading in a certain direction. Some heads we interviewed
conceive it as one of their most important tasks to keep their schools
moving. ‘My recurring nightmare is stagnation and not moving forward’,
said one.
Interestingly, this same idea of inducing movement was picked up as a key
activity of executives of successful companies by Peters and Waterman in In
Search of Excellence (1995, p. 119). For instance, they quote a Cadbury’s
executive as saying ‘Ready. Fire. Aim’. And (p. 107):
organizations are to be sailed rather than driven … the effectiveness of
leadership often depends on being able to time interventions so that the
force of natural organizational processes amplifies the interventions
rather than dampens them … organizational design is more like
building a snow fence to deflect drifting snow than like building a
Similarly, John Harvey-Jones, a former chairman of ICI, said in a nautical
metaphor: ‘I know this sounds terrible, but I’m more interested in speed than
direction. Once you get moving, you can sort of veer and tack. But the
important thing is, you’re moving’ (Huxley, 1984).
So the message to organization managers is: get moving! Don’t drive it;
steer it. Use the force of the wind and snowstorm, not just letting them buffet
you around like a cork, but to help you aim in roughly the right direction.
Once you have got it on the right course and everyone knows in what
direction you are trying to head, you can start to close down the broad
objectives and set more specific markers of progress, such as targets. For
example, if you want to stimulate new thinking on curriculum development,
you could assemble a small informal group of, perhaps, staff, pupils and
parents who are constructively dissatisfied with the present curriculum, and
give them the general aim of helping you to decide what most needs change.
You may not agree with all they say, but you will probably like at least one
suggestion which you might give to, say, the English department to shape
into a concrete proposal by the end of the Easter term. After discussion, you
might agree a target date for incorporating the change into next year’s
The same approach is needed for the constituent parts of the organization
V Group
V Organization
community colleges
sixth form colleges
working parties
Figure 9. 1 The organizational dimension
V Network of
V Government
– the departments, the teams, the committees. Their aims should be kept
aligned with those of the school. The setting of organizational and
departmental aims should normally involve the people in them, together
with other stakeholders (see next section), but it is ultimately for the manager
to decide what these should be. This is laid down as the first professional
duty of headteachers under their conditions of employment (DfES, 2002):
‘formulating the overall aims and objectives of the school’. Peters and
Waterman (1995, p. 85) state: ‘The in-building of purpose is a challenge to
creativity because it involves transforming men and groups from neutral,
technical units into participants who have a particular stamp, sensitivity and
Organizations usually have more than one objective: it is a fallacy, for
example, to suppose that business organizations only exist to make the
maximum profit. Study of the published objectives of such companies as
Shell, Astrazeneca and Securicor show that they pursue social as well as
economic objectives, which it is the task of management to keep in balance.
Similarly, those schools that make their aims explicit often find that they are
having to harmonize different though compatible aims.
Take, for example, the set of aims of a comprehensive school, reproduced in
Figure 9.2. Not only does the school aim to serve the needs of the individual
pupil but it also seeks to respond to the legitimate demands of employers,
colleges, universities, examining bodies and society as a whole. There are
different ‘stakeholders’ in all organizations: businesses need to serve
customers, offer a market to suppliers, reward shareholders, look after
employees and be good corporate citizens in society; likewise schools have as
stakeholders pupils, parents, LEAs, governors, teachers, feeder schools, higher
education, employers and the local community.
The management’s task is to look after the interests of all the stakeholders
and keep some sort of balance between them. An industrial manager is no
more the paid lackey of the shareholders (or expected by them to be so) than
a headteacher is of the LEA or DfES. Both have a right and duty to resist
demands that seriously upset the balance and health of the organization. Not
all organizational aims are perfectly aligned, and the manager has to resolve
conflicts of interest, some of which are more apparent than real. It is a help
when the different stakeholders recognize and respect each other’s legitimate
aims for the organization, and can see that its best interests are served when
any conflict is resolved by consensus: hence the importance of the last
objective in the list in Figure 9.2.
Another objective in the list mentions the concept of ‘reciprocal responsibility’. Organizations have to strike deals with their stakeholders whereby, in
return for certain advantages flowing one way, other advantages will flow
the other way. The head may well have to supervise unwritten contracts of
this kind.
Aims are ideals and they are like stars in that though we may not reach them, we use
them to guide us. If we do not know where we are going, it is likely that we will end
up somewhere else!
• To recognize the individual’s talents of all kinds and degrees and to develop this
intellectual, physical and creative capacity.
• To ensure that the curriculum serves the individual’s needs.
• To develop a curriculum which is flexible enough to respond to the sensible needs of
students at different ages and stages.
• To recognize the legitimate demands of employers, colleges, universities, and
examining bodies.
• To recognize the legitimate demands of society as a whole with respect to adequate
numeracy, literacy and other fundamental skills relating to the processes of
communication; oral, written and visual.
• To enable students to acquire the required education relating to the necessity to earn a
living and, when appropriate, to enter into skilled occupations and professions.
• To seek to measure the extent to which an individual is being successful in making the
maximum use of natural gifts and opportunities.
• To be rigorously selective in the material presented to students, bearing in mind the
above aims and having particular regard to the following aims:
– The instilling of an attitude to learning that shows it to be a life-long process.
– The stimulation of intellectual curiosity.
– The direction and exercising of the emotions.
– The encouragement of discrimination.
– The development of the art of learning.
– The fostering of a capacity to tackle unfamiliar problems.
– The emphasizing of the need to differentiate between truth and lies and between
fact and feeling with the associated understanding of the nature of evidence.
– The growth of understanding of the nature and importance of knowledge plus
the involvement with the processes and resources of learning.
• To recognize and accept differences in natural endowment and environment and to
hold every individual in esteem as of right.
• To accept responsibility for identifying the physical, aesthetic, creative, emotional
and social needs of each individual student as a necessary starting point to satisfy
these needs.
• To maintain the school as a caring community emphasizing the central importance of
good human relationships based upon sensitivity, tolerance, good will and a sense of
• To promote the understanding of the fact that the individual and the community have
a reciprocal responsibility and that individual needs must at times be secondary to
the greater need of a large group; that collaboration and co-operation are a two-way
• To foster habits of responsibility, self-discipline, initiative, endeavour and individual
• To obtain a positive response to the needs of a changing society whilst emphasizing
established fundamental values and standards.
• To promote the idea that the school is the servant of the community in both local and
national terms and to accept the responsibilities which flow from this understanding.
• To secure the active involvement of all people concerned with the school’s welfare,
staff, students, governors, parents and the authority, in the continuous reassessment
of the aims and objectives of the school.
Figure 9.2 Aims of a comprehensive school
List the stakeholders in your school.What aims does each stakeholder have for the
school? Is there any conflict, actual or potential? Is there an ‘umbrella’ statement of
purpose that subsumes all these aims? Do all the stakeholders subscribe to this?
How well are these aims articulated and used in directing the affairs of the school?
What more can you do to generate a sense of common purpose and commitment
to agreed aims or ends?
Much criticism is levelled at schools for being out of touch with the world
outside them. Some of it may be justified in the sense that few teachers have
had an opportunity of working anywhere other than in an educational
establishment: those who have held a responsible post in industry or in the
public service outside education develop a useful frame of reference by which
to judge what goes on in school.
Those who manage organizations should remember that they are part of a
bigger system; they are interdependent with the rest of society, which they
serve as society serves them. To ensure that they keep track of what is going
on around them, successful organization managers make a point of having a
wide circle of contacts and of staying interested in developments outside
their immediate sphere. Blinkered managers are unlikely to pick up from the
flow of events what may hit them tomorrow. They fail to anticipate what new
demands may be made on them, and are caught unprepared. Managers have
to take into account prevailing currents of opinion, to track the changing
stance of the DfES, for example, and to aim not at where the environment is
now, but at where it will be when they are able to respond. It is not easy to
distinguish a fundamental shift from an ephemeral straying off course; but
we have to try.
One way of picturing an organization such as a school in the context of its
environment is shown in Figure 9.3. Rather like a living organism, it pursues
its central purpose, denoted by the big arrow, within an environment with
which it makes continuous transactions. It takes in various inputs (in the case
of organisms, food and energy; for schools, younger pupils, funds, learning
materials, etc.) and it gives out various outputs – older, educated pupils,
service to the community, a livelihood for teachers and their families, etc. The
organism or organization is designed to achieve the efficient transformation
of all the inputs into the desired outputs – ‘efficient’ signifying that the
transformation takes place with the minimum expenditure of internal energy
(using an electrical metaphor, the battery has low internal resistance).
Such a model does not always appeal to schools as it suggests that they are
a kind of sausage machine. No model tells the whole story, yet there is a sense
in which schools exist to ‘school’ or socialize children and to equip them as
future mature members of society.
The model also depicts the other important properties of organizations:
Figure 9.3 A school in its environment
the existence of a basic aim to provide a sense of purpose and direction, and
the effect of the interactions with the environment which arise from pursuing
this aim. The arrows on the right of Figure 9.3 show that the turbulent
environment may tend to thwart the fulfilment of the school’s central
purpose; the double-headed arrow in the middle indicates that there is some
feedback mechanism to enable the organization to know how well it is faring
in pursuit of its aims, so that the helm can be set accordingly.
Many long-serving heads we have talked to have remarked how much
over the past two or three decades the nature of their jobs has changed to one
of ‘boundary management’ (Chapter 14): that is, they spend much more of
their time managing transactions between their school and its environment.
They are being forced to keep a weather eye on what is happening around
them, so that they can successfully pilot their schools through the ruffled
waters that lie ahead. Garratt (1987) depicts the dual role of top people in
organizations in a double-loop model (Figure 9.4, adapted) and enjoins them
to spend more time ‘looking upwards and outwards’, delegating more of the
operational management to subordinates. This is a key part of organization
Figure 9.4
The learning organization model (after Garratt, 1987)
management. In Part III we shall explore further what this involves, and how
to influence the environment’s demands.
The way in which managers conceptualize organizations influences the way
they manage them, so it is worth exploring some of the main models that are
used in relation to organizations, in addition to the simple one described in
the last section. Managers familiar with the various models or schools of
thought about organizations are better able to select an appropriate one to
deal with the particular situation they need to manage.
There is no one ‘right’ model of so complex an entity as an organization:
different models are different approximations to the truth. On management
courses we have found that people are helped by having a map of the various
models or schools of thought which have had an important influence. Such a
map appears in Figure 9.5.
The classical model
This model emphasizes characteristics such as rationality, high job
specialization, centralization, a command system, a tight hierarchy, strong
vertical communication, tight control, rigid procedures and an autocratic
approach. Though it bears some resemblance to certain bad companies and
schools, it is the antithesis of the way in which the best companies are
organized: ‘The rational model causes us to denigrate the importance of
values … The top performer’s ability to extract extraordinary contributions
from very large numbers of people turns on the ability to create a sense of
highly valued purpose’ (Peters and Waterman, 1995, p. 51).
The humanistic model
This model is characterized by respect for the individual and other human
values, job breadth, consultation, consensus, decentralization, loose project
organization, flexible procedures, multidirectional communication,
management by objectives and a participative approach. It comes closer to
describing how the best companies are organized and it is a good deal more
attractive to schools. However, without care, it tends to lead people to
undervalue the achievement of the tasks of the organization and thereby to
detract from the organization’s effectiveness in achieving its aims. It can also
give managers a sense of impotence and loss of control.
Nevertheless, a humanistic model has played a key part in the development of thought about organizations, counteracting the rational thinking of
the classical school. Incidentally, the term ‘rational’ is usually misused in the
literature on organizations: it actually means sensible, logical and reasonable.
However, it has come to have a narrow meaning which excludes the messy,
human stuff. Yet there is a great deal of rationality in the humanistic model: it
takes human behaviour into full account, by postulating that human beings
act rationally towards situations as they perceive them. The trick is to find out
how they perceive them, at the level of emotions as well as intellect; then you
can predict how they will respond.
The systems model
This model has been popular in industry for the last few decades and is
particularly useful to organizations having to adapt rapidly to change.
Although one of the conceptual roots of the model, control engineering, is
alien to schools, the other root is more acceptable: it comes from a study of
how living organisms work and survive, and especially of the properties of
the central nervous system of the human organism. By comparing organizations to organisms that adapt and survive in a changing environment, this
approach brings out a number of factors important to schools today.
Human relations
Technological or
Theory X
Theory Y
Emphasis on
Information flows
Decision bands
Sources of ideas
Control theory
Nervous system
Period of main
Some key names
Burns and
Lawrence and
Figure 9.5
Classification of schools of thought on organization
Stafford Beer, in his Brain of the Firm (1981), has taken the metaphor of the
living organism a stage further. He has used knowledge of human physiology to develop a theory that has been applied to industrial organizations,
governments and a church. It states that there are five tiers of subsystems in
the human central nervous system, which have their counterparts in all
organizations. The successful survival and development of the human
race are evidence of the effectiveness of such a system. The assumption is
made that organizations can be made more effective by comparing them to
the central nervous system, diagnosing in what respects they fall short and
strengthening the subsystem that seems weakly developed.
Three of the tiers (systems 5, 3 and 1) are easily recognizable (Figure 9.6).
They are associated with the functions of policy-making, managing the
execution of policy and, finally, the actual ‘doing’ operation. In practice, the
‘doing’ can be complex – teachers share pupils, plant and equipment, crises
arise, etc., so there is a cloud of buzzing communication across the ‘doing’
groups: a bit of give and take, borrowing and lending, reciprocal adjustment,
ironing out problems. On the whole this tends to be fairly informal, but it is
nevertheless vital to the smooth operation of the school. Its equivalent in the
human body is the subconscious co-ordination of movement; when the
system fails, this smooth co-ordination is lost.
This system (2 in Figure 9.6), which liaises, harmonizes, smooths and
provides lateral information exchange to avoid imbalance or rocking of the
boat, differs in kind from any of the three main tiers: it has no authority to tell
anyone to do anything. It can, however, feed information upwards to suggest
that plans are impractical and need to be changed.
Someone operating as just plain ‘doing’ often cannot see the need for
liaison, or policy, both of which are apt to seem unnecessarily constraining
because he or she cannot see the whole picture. We are all familiar with the
apparently crass acts of management, yet from the management vantage
point it all seems so obviously sensible. So it is important for organization
managers to develop in staff some understanding of how organizations
Systems 5, 3, 2 and 1 are largely concerned with getting things done now
within the organization. The model needs another function (system 4) which
looks into the outer world and into the future: we need to know the future
trends in pedagogy, educational technology, demography, legislation and so
on. This is not to say that every department needs its own research institute;
but somebody, somewhere, needs to spend some ‘panic-free time’ thinking
about the future. Like the liaison function, it has no authority, except that of
expert knowledge. It influences policy by making proposals for future action.
It does the ‘staff work’ for the policy group. It must be in touch with what is
happening inside as well as outside the organization; indeed, its need for
information is just as vital as its need for panic-free time.
The counterpart of this system in the human body is the five senses which
scan the environment continuously and send messages to the other systems
about future danger or opportunities, either at conscious ‘policy’ level or at
the unconscious ‘execution’ level, as when we remove a finger from a hot
Another aspect of the sensing system is the scanning of the internal
environment. We need a system that tells us when we have an abscess in our
Adjusting balance of resources
between subsystems
Tying in subsystem
3 information
Figure 9.6
The systems model (after Beer, 1971)
gums, by giving us toothache. Organizations likewise need to know where
they hurt. Normally such information comes up through other systems, if the
communication channels are flowing freely, but sometimes it is necessary to
‘poke a thermometer’ or other instrument (an attitude survey, perhaps?) into
the organization from the outside, to sense how it feels in relation to its
environment and its ‘normal state’.
In the model, system 5 – the policy-makers – are shown linked to a larger
organization. The head of a local authority school needs to talk to the LEA,
for example, on school policy. System 5 also has the key function of keeping
the balance between systems 3 and 4. It cannot allow the neglect of scanning
activities by overloading the same people with operational activities.
The theory suggests that all five systems must be present if an
organization is to work. Their form and relative strength will depend on
what the organization is trying to do, on its management style and on its
environment. A one-teacher primary school does not need five people, but to
be successful the one teacher must spend time in all five functions. At the
other end of the scale of complexity, for example in a large comprehensive
school on a divided site, the pattern of Figure 9.6 will be repeated many
times. Thus each subsystem 1 (e.g. the maths department) will itself
contain five subsystems, its subsystem 5 communicating with the larger
organization, i.e. the school’s senior management.
Individuals in such a complex organization may find themselves with a
role in more than one subsystem in different parts of the organization; for
example, a head with teaching duties may operate in a department’s
subsystem 1, and a head of year appointed to a policy-making working party
will be operating in the school’s subsystem 5. It is important to distinguish
between these roles and to know in what capacity one is operating at any
given time.
The model can be used in three main ways. These are to
(1) examine the health or viability of an existing organization;
(2) evaluate proposals for new organization structures; and
(3) clarify the purpose of committees or of roles.
It is not intended as a blueprint for an organization: it is more like a template
to test an organization for fit.
Apply the model to your school or department. Identify the subsystems in the
organization: of what do they consist? Pay special attention to subsystem 4, because
it is often found to be underdeveloped. Also assess whether vertical communication
links operate as well upwards as downwards. Do you need to improve internal
sensing? Are any ‘organizational pathologies’ apparent in your school? Which
subsystems most need to be brought into a state of health?
The decision model
This model, which depicts organizations as an assembly of elements for taking
decisions of varying levels of importance, has had its exponents in a number
of firms, such as the Glacier Metal Company. It is not thought to offer much to
schools, except that it does throw light on the different purposes of meetings
and conferences. These are dealt with in Part I of this book.
The contingency model
The central idea in the contingency theory is that organizations are, and should
be, different both from one another and from part to part. The appropriate
structure, management style, etc., are contingent upon what the organization
(or part of it) is there to do. There is no perfect organizational structure: the
choice of structure depends on which set of problems you prefer to live with.
For example, take the ‘generalist–specialist’ argument: is it better to let people
specialize deeply in their subject so that they achieve mastery over it, or should
one encourage the ‘jack of all trades’ who can turn his or her hand to anything?
The compartmentalization of secondary schools by subject discipline may have
contributed to academic excellence, but how effective is it in developing the
whole person?
Contingency theory accepts that, left to themselves, organizations,
departments and individuals tend towards specialization, carving out a more
and more distinctive niche for themselves. In other words, the units tend to
get more and more differentiated from one another, as the expertise builds up
and becomes increasingly specialized. If this process continues, each unit
begins to regard its own excellence as an end in itself, divorced from the
interests of the organization, forgetting that the unit was set up in the first
place to help the whole organization pursue common aims. People then
complain that the organization is becoming fragmented, that departments
are drifting apart, that empire-building is taking place, that overall objectives
are obscured, that there is too much upward delegation and that they are
becoming frustrated. The head of the organization feels that he or she is
dealing with a set of medieval barons in charge of their various departments.
Integration is probably a key issue in many secondary schools, because of
the high commitment of most teachers towards their subject disciplines. It
also becomes more important under conditions of resource constraint, as a
means of making the whole more than the sum of the parts. Somehow
departments and staff have to enhance one another’s contributions to the
achievement of the main purpose of the school.
Effective integration calls for careful attention to relationships, a high
degree of mutual trust, candour and respect, and an insight into
organizational behaviour and complexities. Conflict has to be confronted and
managed constructively: i.e. instead of being avoided altogether, smoothed
over or resolved by the exercise of crude power, it is treated as a matter
susceptible to a systematic problem-solving approach (Chapter 7). If this
fails, there are other devices that can be used to secure a constructive
(1) Each unit or individual can report to a manager (e.g. a deputy head) who
is made accountable for ‘synergizing’ the two roles (bringing them
together so that the sum is greater than the parts).
(2) A third unit or individual (e.g. a head of year), seen by the other two as
understanding their roles and as standing midway between them, is
interposed to act as intermediary.
(3) Some kind of training or ‘image exchange’ can be undertaken to help
each unit understand more accurately why the other unit behaves as it
does (see Exercise 6, p. 114).
(4) Interdepartmental groups or task forces, with members selected from the
two departments, can be formed on a temporary or permanent basis to
resolve issues between the two departments.
However, rather than rely solely on formal mechanisms for cross-linking
departments, the best organizations encourage an informal approach. Peters
and Waterman (1995, p. 117) comment on this as follows: ‘All of them [previous
commentators on excellence] fall far, far short of depicting the richness, the
variety of linkages that we observed in the excellent companies.’
What problems arise in your school which can be attributed to high differentiation
and low integration? How effective are the integrating mechanisms and lateral
processes? What methods are used to get departments to work synergistically?
What else needs to be done?
There is a temptation to think of organizations solely in structural terms – as
in an organization chart. However, organizations can be said to consist of
four interdependent elements, of which structure is only one (Figure 9.7). The
elements are as follows:
Technology. The ‘technology’ of an organization is its processes – in the case
of a school, the process of education and the plant (classrooms, workshops,
gymnasia, whiteboards, etc.) that goes with it.
Structure. An organization’s structure embraces the organization chart, the
committees, the departments, the roles, the hierarchical levels and authority,
the procedures in the staff manual, the timetable, etc.
People. The people in a school organization are the teachers, their professionalism, their knowledge, experience, skills and attitudes; also the pupils
and non-teaching staff.
Culture. The character (or culture) of the organization covers such intangibles
as its tone, its value system, the standards by which merit is judged, personal
relationships, habits, unwritten rules of conduct and the practice of educational
The arrows in the diagram indicate that all the elements interact. The
management of organizations involves not only the management of each of
the elements but also of the balance or harmony between them.
Organization managers are apt to under-rate the importance of character
as a formative influence on the people, the technology and the appropriate
structure, and therefore give too little attention to shaping it. Instead, they
constantly tighten up the structure. Goldsmith and Clutterbuck (1984, p. 162)
show from their study of successful British firms that organizations can and
do change their character radically: attitudes and culture are constantly
evolving. Managers seek to build a unity of perception of what the company
stands for, and culture changes take place, not as a result of edict, but as
people observe behaviour and attitudes at work and assimilate them into
their own way of thinking and doing. They conclude (ibid.): ‘One of the
strengths of many of the company leaders we have featured in this book has
been their ability to adapt their own behaviour to stimulate cultural change.’
Rutter et al. (1979) showed how the ethos of Inner London Education
Authority schools affected the outcome of the pupils’ education. Indeed, in
few organizations is the influence of ethos or culture on the product greater
than in a school, or its consequences for society more profound. Mant, an
Figure 9.7
Elements of organizations
experienced management consultant, devotes a whole chapter (‘School for
scoundrels’) to this (Mant, 1983). He writes that the problem about school
goes to its very heart: what’s it for? The good school keeps asking this
question. If we don’t really know, the school and its functionaries are without
clear authority. The good school is an authority structure rather than a power
system where survival is all.
In too many schools all that children learn is to survive in a naughty world.
They explicitly reject the basis of the school’s authority and the teachers begin
to see schools as anti-educational child-minding institutions, in which the
children’s peer groups determine attitudes for life more effectively than do
the teachers. By contrast, the good schools are sculpted with a respect for the
intrinsic value of ideas and materials and not simply because they will help
you ‘get on’. With good schools you can almost smell the calm and quiet
purposefulness when you walk in the door. Their heads reflect some higher
purpose than the ‘getting ahead’ mentality. They confront their staff as to
standards, notwithstanding ‘academic freedom’, and are highly intolerant of
the irredeemably incapable teacher.
In a well-known independent school that we visited, a teacher who had
spent much of his career in industry was as critical of the culture of his
present school as Mant is of some state schools. He was shocked by the
school’s organization structure and culture, because they depended so much
on command and the wielding of power. The head exerted more coercive
power than company chairpersons, and this characteristic ran right through
the organization. As a result, the boys, who were given very little responsibility, even as prefects, modelled their view of how organizations are run on
an unrealistic concept. Thus the school was still preparing boys to work in or
manage in organizations in which people did as they were told. What was
needed, the teacher said, was a major cultural shift in the school regime to
prepare boys for entering tomorrow’s real world, in which management is by
consent that is earned. Needless to say, his colleagues thought him eccentric!
Evidently this school was an example of the ‘power’ culture identified as
one of four organizational stereotypes by Harrison (1972) and discussed by
Handy (1993). The others are ‘role’ culture, ‘task’ culture and ‘person’
culture. Power-culture organizations are proud and strong; their managers
are power oriented, politically minded and risk-taking. They put a lot of faith
in the individual manager, and judge by results. They may or may not be
successful: so much depends on the person at the top.
In the task culture, influence is more widely dispersed; individuals
identify with the objectives of the organization; and they often work in
transient teams. It is the culture most in tune with current approaches to
change and adaptation, individual freedom and low status differentials
(Peters and Waterman, 1995). But it is not always the appropriate culture for
the technology of the organization. It would not be appropriate for schools
that see their basic purpose as primarily custodial, for example.
How would you characterize the culture of your school? What effect does it have on
the behaviour of the people in it, including the pupils? Does it influence the
educational process? Does the structure reflect it? Are the four elements in harmony,
and consistent with the raison d’être of the school?
One aspect of systems theory deserving a brief mention is the way in which
systems interlock. The pioneer work of the Tavistock Institute for Human
Relations on organizations (Trist, 1960; Rice, 1971) distinguished between two
systems, the social and the technical, which together constituted the
arrangements for getting tasks performed. We prefer to add a third system,
the economic system, overlapping with the other two as in Figure 9.8. The
idea is to show that where the groups in the social system overlap with the
plant (buildings, etc.) in the technical system, there is work; where the technical
system (say, a factory) overlaps with the economic system, wealth is generated;
and at the remaining interface, between the economic and the social system,
we find reward.
The manager has to operate in all three systems, and solutions to problems
in one of them which ignore the effect on the other two are no solutions at all.
The systems interlock. Failure to recognize this, e.g. trying to save money
without allowing for the effect of this on people’s livelihoods, or settling
disputes by paying people more money without asking where it is to come
from, is simply to transfer the locus of the problem without solving it.
It may be objected that schools are not factories generating wealth by
making goods and therefore this is irrelevant. We do not think so. Although
the bulk of a school’s resources are invested in people, the ‘plant’ is worth a
tidy sum and is costly to maintain. It is important to turn these physical assets
to account as fully and efficiently as possible. A school is of economic value to
the community, too, because it adds economic worth to children by educating
them. Those who see schools simply as drains into which taxpayers’ money
is poured ignore the investment element in such expenditure. Heads,
however, should be very aware of the economic contribution that schools
make to society, albeit indirectly, and should be able to defend their use of
resources within the economic system.
Such an argument becomes more convincing, and applications for funds
become more likely to succeed, if it can be shown that money is being used
cost-effectively, i.e. good value is being obtained from the resources used by
the school. The government has recently been emphasizing this in the ‘best
value’ requirements imposed on local government and the health service,
which aim to direct funds to wherever they are most effectively used. We do
not suggest that the drive to improve the productivity of capital and labour
should be as central a concern as in a factory, but good stewardship in any
organization requires attention to the effectiveness with which all resources
are used.
Stakeholders in the school who are more familiar with the economic
system than are some teachers are more likely to be impressed by pleas for
additional resources if they sense that the school appreciates and cares about
good economic and technical management, as well as good management of
the people in the social system.
We are sometimes shocked by the waste in schools which is caused by
failure to spend money. An antiquated telephone system, a dilapidated
photocopier, operated not by clerical staff but by professionals trained at
great public expense to teach, are not efficient uses of resources. A transfer of
resources from the economic to the technical system can greatly enhance the
effectiveness of resource utilization in the social system. The good steward
(organizational manager) keeps the three systems in balance.
In those schools that have bursars with experience in commerce or
industry, we have encountered particularly good stewardship of resources in
the three interlocking systems, to the benefit of all the organization’s
stakeholders. Not all schools need bursars, but heads without them can
usefully take note of what good bursars do.
Figure 9.8 Interlocking systems
There have been many studies of the organizational effectiveness of schools
and in a major survey 719 factors were found to be associated with
effectiveness. These have been reduced to eleven salient factors (Mortimore
and MacBeath, 2003):
professional leadership;
shared vision and goals;
a learning environment;
concentration on learning and teaching;
high expectations;
positive reinforcement;
monitoring progress;
pupil rights and responsibilities;
purposeful teaching;
a learning organization;
home–school partnership.
Rate your school organization on a 1–5 scale (5 = excellent) against the eleven
hallmarks above.Where do you think there is most scope for improvement? What
are your next steps?
MacGilchrist et al. (1997) correctly emphasize the importance of synthesis in
putting these discrete but interdependent factors together. In The Intelligent
School they use Gardner’s notion of ‘multiple intelligences’ to combine the
different capacities that, taken together, constitute the ‘corporate intelligence’
that characterizes successful schools. Continuous learning – for everyone – is
central to the notion of the intelligent school.
(1) ‘There is no such thing as society’ – Margaret Thatcher. What warning,
relevant to managers, underlies this aphorism?
(2) Read the quotation from the Education Reform Act 1988 on p. 178.
How can schools be expected to promote the development of society?
To what extent are they a microcosm of society? What does this imply?
(3) To improve organizational effectiveness, Handy recommends schools
to distinguish between leadership and administration and between
policymaking and execution. What is achieved thereby? Is he right?
(4) The School Teachers’ Review Body reports express concern about ‘the
negligible amount of non-contact time available to most primary
teachers within the timetabled week’. What measures should a head
take to ensure that sufficient time is allotted to managing the school as
an organization?
Argyris, C. (1999) On Organizational Learning, Blackwell, Oxford.
Davies, B. and West-Burnham, J. (2003) Handbook of Education Leadership and Management,
Pearson, London.
Dutton, J. and Kleiner, G. (2000) Schools That Learn: a Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for
Educators, Parents and Everyone Who Cares about Education, Doubleday Currency, New
Handy, C.B. (1993) Understanding Organizations, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Senge, P.M. (1993) The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation,
Random House Business Books, London.
We turn now to a different aspect of organizations, the building-block which
we call ‘the team’. A team is a group of people with common objectives that
can effectively tackle any task which it has been set up to do. ‘Effectively’
means that the quality of the task accomplishment is the best achievable within
the time available and makes full and economic use of the resources (internal
and external) available to the team. The contribution drawn from each member
is of the highest possible quality, and is one which could not have been called
into play other than in the context of a supportive team.
There is always dynamic interaction between the individual member and
the team, such that each continuously adapts to optimize the quality of the
team’s work. This optimization consists of matching the individual and the
team to the progressively developing technical requirements of the task.
Although this is how a team should work, it is often found that a group of
people brought together to form a team (such as a head and his or her
deputies) do not really ‘gel’, and a good deal of time is wasted because tasks
are not handled effectively. When many groups in the school (departments,
heads of department committees, pastoral teams, etc.) fail to work at peak
efficiency, then the effectiveness of the whole organization suffers. If groups
cannot work effectively by themselves, they are not likely to relate effectively
to other teams with which they have to do business.
The head of an organization plays a key role in making the best choices of
whom to bring together to make what happen for the good of the
organization. He or she then has to ensure that these groups work effectively
and collaborate with one another synergistically to achieve the task of the
organization. (‘Synergistically’ means that they enhance one another’s
contribution, so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.) The
head’s role may be compared to that of the conductor of an orchestra,
drawing from each group and player the highest possible quality of
There are two complementary components in the building of an effective
team: the selection of the members and the training of the team. Training
begins either with some kind of instruction so that members know what
makes for an effective team, or with some task that enables them to discover
it for themselves. Then they practise and repeatedly review their own
progress, so that they finally become proficient at any new skills required.
Collaboration between teams can also be improved through practice and
review, so that a process for developing effectiveness is at work throughout
the organization (Figure 10.1).
Although in industry a good deal of team-building training has been
systematically carried out along these lines over the last forty years (see
below), it is only in the last twenty that the selection of team members has got
much beyond the point of intuitive judgement. It was Meredith Belbin, a
Cambridge psychologist, who made the breakthrough, in what has been
described as one of the most imaginative and original pieces of research in
management for two decades. His book Management Teams: Why They Succeed
or Fail (1981) is a classic.
Team roles
The essence of Belbin’s research findings is that the mix of personal
characteristics in members of a team is a major determinant of the team’s
success. It is not simply the technical expertise that the members bring, for
Figure 10.1
Training and organization development matrix
this can be of second-order importance – it is the way they interact. Moreover,
astonishingly accurate predictions can be made of whether a particular team
will succeed or fail. Although the research was mainly carried out in a business
setting (the bulk of it at the Management College at Henley), it has been
successfully applied in school management training. Some of the problems
that schools repeatedly encounter in getting effective group working can
probably be ascribed to injudicious selection of members.
The development of these ideas is a fascinating story in itself, comparable
to the history of certain discoveries in physical science, but space does not
allow us to go into it here – you must get it direct from the book if you are
interested. What we shall do in this chapter is to summarize the main
findings of relevance to managers in schools and reproduce (with permission) excerpts from the book and the website www.belbin.com..
The conventional wisdom in building teams in industry is that if you
contrive to put together, for example, your best accountant, researcher,
production person, salesperson et al. under a competent chairperson, you
have probably got the best possible team. Technical merit and expertise reign
supreme. What Belbin found was that this was a recipe for failure. In many
cases the less brilliant exponents of their profession worked more
successfully in a team. When very clever people are put together they tend to
suffer from ‘analysis paralysis’; anyone putting forward an idea finds it gets
hacked to bits by his or her colleagues, and no progress is made.
By contrast, the meticulous observation of winning teams shows that the
members individually adopt one or more of certain team roles, defined as ‘a
tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular
way’, which are indispensable to the successful completion of the task. Belbin
now recognizes nine such roles (Belbin, 1995). Belbin’s original eight roles are
listed in Figure 10.2, together with the typical features, positive qualities and
allowable weaknesses of the role incumbents. A short description of each role
and associated common traits is given below.
Implementer. Turns concepts and plans into practical working procedures,
and carries out agreed plans systematically and efficiently. Traits: stable and
Shaper. Shapes the way in which the team effort is applied; directs attention
generally to the setting of objectives and priorities; and seeks to impose some
shape or pattern on group discussion and on the outcome of group activities.
Traits: anxious, dominant, extrovert.
Completer. Ensures that the team is protected as far as possible from mistakes
of both commission and omission; actively searches for aspects of work which
need a more than usual degree of attention; and maintains a sense of urgency
within the team. Traits: active, introvert.
Co-ordinator. Controls the way in which a team moves towards the group
objectives by making the best use of team resources; recognizes where the
team’s strengths and weaknesses lie; and ensures that the best use is made of
each team member’s potential. Traits: stable, dominant, extrovert.
Teamworker. Supports members in their strengths (e.g. building on
suggestions); underpins members in their shortcomings; and improves
communications between members, fostering team spirit generally. Traits:
stable, extrovert, not dominant.
Resource investigator. Explores and reports on ideas, developments and
resources outside the group; creates external contacts that may be useful to
the team; and conducts any subsequent negotiations. Traits: stable, dominant,
Symbol Typical features
Positive qualities
Allowable weaknesses
Conservative, dutiful,
Organizing ability, practical
common sense, hardworking, self-discipline
Lack of flexibility,
unresponsiveness to
unproven ideas
Calm, self-confident,
A capacity for treating and
welcoming all potential
contributors on their
merits and without
prejudice. A strong sense
of objectives
No more than ordinary in
terms of intellect or
creative ability
Highly strung, outgoing, Drive and a readiness to
challenge inertia,
complacency or selfdeception
Proneness to provocation,
irritation and impatience
Individualistic, seriousminded, unorthodox
Up in the clouds, inclined
to disregard practical
details or protocol
Extroverted, enthusiastic, A capacity for contacting
curious, communicative people and exploring
anything new. An ability
to respond to challenge
Liable to lose interest once
the initial fascination has
Sober, unemotional,
Lacks inspiration or the
ability to motivate others
Socially orientated, rather An ability to respond to
mild, sensitive
people and to situations,
and to promote team
Indecisiveness at moments
of crisis
Painstaking, orderly,
conscientious, anxious
A tendency to worry about
small things. A reluctance
to ‘let go’
Figure 10.2 Useful people to have in teams
Genius, imagination,
intellect, knowledge
Judgement, discretion, hardheadedness
A capacity for followthrough. Perfectionism
Plant. Advances new ideas and strategies with special attention to major
issues, and tries to initiate breakthroughs in the team’s approach to the
problems with which it is confronted. Traits: dominant, intelligent, introvert.
Monitor-evaluator. Analyses problems and evaluates ideas and suggestions
so that the team is better placed to take balanced decisions. Traits: intelligent,
stable, introvert.
Specialist. Provides team with scarce knowledge and skills. Traits: singleminded, self-starting, dedicated.
The two most crucial roles are probably those of co-ordinator and plant, and
the incumbents need to relate to one another well: if they don’t, the plant’s
ideas never bear any fruit. The essence of skilfully employing a plant (a role
which some people prefer to think of as that of creative catalyst) lies in
recognizing the member’s potential, giving him or her scope and not allowing
him or her to pursue unrewarding lines of thought. Successful co-ordinators
do not have to be brainy: their characteristics are commonplace, but they are
put together in an uncommon way, which earns the respect of everyone in the
team. Often they are good shapers as well.
Different people are good at different team roles; although they may have
one dominant role, they may still be reasonably competent in another one. In
teams smaller than eight in number, people may have to play more than one
role. By contrast, two dominant shapers, two plants or too many monitorevaluators are apt to cause problems. Bowring-Carr and West-Burnham
(1994) have noted that members of school management teams score low on
both the monitor-evaluator and the completer roles: so beware of gaps as well
as duplication.
Associated with these team roles are personality characteristics such as
intelligence, dominance, introversion/extroversion and anxiety/stability.
Stable extroverts, who often excel in jobs that place a high premium on liaison
work and where co-operation is sought from others, are generally good team
members. Anxious introverts, on the other hand, usually lack cohesion in a
group, yet as individuals they are often very creative; they distinguish
themselves in jobs (such as teaching?) which call for self-direction and selfsustaining persistence.
Anxious extroverts are commonly found in places where people need to
work at a high pace and exert pressure on others: they form good teams in
rapidly changing situations. Stable introverts plan well, are strong in
organization, but are slow-moving and tend to be blind to new factors in a
situation. They excel in bureaucratic occupations.
While co-operative stable extroverts form the most effective homogeneous
teams (i.e. in which all team members are of the same personality type), they
are excelled by heterogeneous teams (composed of different personality
types) because stable extroverts on their own are prone to complacency and
euphoria. The best teams also have a mix of mental abilities, usually with the
highest belonging to the plant, then the co-ordinator. The advantage of
having people of relatively low mental ability appears to lie in the fact that
these members tend to be willing to adopt the less ‘dynamic’ team roles.
Another type of successful team is one dominated by a co-ordinator who
has unrivalled superiority in intellectual or creative ability over his or her
colleagues, and whose office and natural talents reinforce each other in
establishing ascendancy. It is not a recommended formula because of the gulf
left when the co-ordinator leaves the team.
Whatever the composition of the team, all its members must learn
‘teamspeopleship’. This goes beyond fitness for any particular team role.
Good ‘teamspeople’ time their interventions, vary their role, limit their
contributions (often difficult for teachers), create roles for others and do some
of the jobs that others deliberately avoid. Most of these behaviours can be
learned through training.
One of the problems in a hierarchical organization is that it is not always
easy to bring the most suitable people into teams. The wise manager avoids
building teams solely on the basis of ex-officio membership. Meetings of
heads of department, for instance, often lead to disappointing results. It is
often better to set up project or study teams of a mixed composition of people
at different levels in the hierarchy; what such a team may lack in structural
authority, it may gain in effectiveness, if the team roles have been well
chosen. To give it authority, let it report to a project steering group, e.g. heads
of department, which meets occasionally to advise on guidelines and
objectives; or let both report to the head independently.
Finally, you can rate your own preferred team role on-line by visiting
www.belbin.com, or by investing in e-Interplace, a programme that is widely
used in fitting people to jobs.
Knowledge of one’s colleagues’ preferred team roles, and of the roles that
have to be played in effective teams, assists the manager both in composing
teams and in helping them to work more effectively once they are formed.
For instance, if it is noticed that the team is missing its deadlines, it could look
to its completer to inject a greater sense of urgency.
Team-building is the most widely used approach to the development of
individuals and organizations (Everard, 1995a). One widely used approach is
Coverdale training in ‘the practice of teamwork’ (Babington Smith and Sharp,
1990); as at 1996 over a quarter of a million delegates had undergone this
training and more than thirty LEAs had been clients. For the last thirty years,
one of the authors (Morris) has been training teams in both business and
educational contexts.
Teamwork depends on effective meetings, effective decision-taking,
effective communication, the identification of team roles and effective
delegation. Members of a team must be able to trust each other. The most
important work of a team will be done by individuals between meetings. It is
therefore vital to be clear on the three ‘W’s – Who must do What by When.
Team-building programmes will therefore enable participants to practise and
discuss their skills together before embarking on one or more major
exercises, success in which will depend on using these skills.
Because so much of the work of teachers is done alone with children in the
classroom, there may appear to be fewer opportunities for practising teamwork than is usual among professionals in industry. Moreover, there is less of
a tradition of using consultants or short courses for developing effective
teamwork. However, teamwork should not be confused with group therapy.
Its test is whether the individual members follow agreed team objectives
when they are apart! Teams are an essential part of healthy organizations,
especially those undergoing rapid change, and heads would do well to
encourage the formation of more teams such as task groups and working
parties to get new things done. Such teams must learn to ‘gel’ quickly. Most
large schools operate with a top management team, which is an obvious
place to start trying to improve effectiveness.
Newly formed teams have been observed to pass through five stages of
development as they gain experience of working together (Tuckman, 1965).
These are depicted in Figure 10.3. Awareness by the team members of these
natural stages of team development helps to depersonalize conduct
sometimes misdiagnosed as members’ personality defects. Teams and their
members should bear in mind that
(1) progress is not continuous – a team that is ‘norming’ or ‘reforming’ can
easily fall back into ‘storming’ on a particular issue;
(2) if there is a change in team membership there will invariably be some
regression – otherwise a new member may be excluded; and
(3) most importantly, senior management should not change a team that is
storming’ in the mistaken belief that this group will ‘never manage to
work together’.
Like all models, this one is no more than an approximation to the truth, but it
does set a direction for development.
Teams are trained by encouraging them to follow a systematic approach to
getting things done. Individuals who have the talent and skill to solve
problems intuitively may feel that they do not need to follow a systematic
approach. Intuitive thinkers tend to solve a problem by devising solutions
and testing them until they are satisfied with the quality of their decisions.
Most individuals, however, are more effective when their thought processes
and actions are systematic; even intuitive thinkers meet situations when they
need a systematic approach.
It is when people are working in groups that a commonly understood
systematic approach becomes essential, since an intuitive approach cannot be
followed and understood by other members of the group. A simple
Team’s needs
Figure 10.3
Understanding teams
Review team &
systematic approach provides a foundation for teamwork, and a basis from
which to develop ways of meeting the needs of the team when tackling
Such an approach consists of a logical series of steps that are followed in
order to achieve a given task or deal with a particular problem. We met an
example of this when considering decision-taking in Chapter 4. The main
steps in problem-solving and team-building are similar:
(1) Define what we are seeking to achieve in the specific situation to solve the
problem, including the criteria by which we shall judge success.
(2) Identify why we are seeking to achieve this.
(3) Generate alternative means of achieving this.
(4) Decide which means to adopt.
(5) Act on the decision.
(6) Review successes and failures in order to improve performance.
The acronym TOSIPAR helps to fix these stages in the memory:
Tuning in to the problem;
Success criteria;
Information and ideas;
Time spent on the ‘TOS’ stages is time saved later on. Everyone needs to know
exactly what the team’s product is for and how it will be used.
The last stage is also very important in team-building. Teams should set
some time aside before the end of each meeting so that they can review the
way in which they work together to accomplish tasks. Such a ‘process
review’ provides an opportunity for members to make observations about
the behaviour of a group (e.g. uneven frequency of members’ contributions),
from which it can deduce reasons for successes and difficulties. When
important points emerge, they should be processed into group decisions, e.g.
on how to remedy the situation or to consolidate good practice. Then a plan is
needed to implement each decision, i.e. a specific statement of who does
what, when.
All systematic approaches lay stress on the importance of the team
defining and agreeing its objectives (what has to be achieved), for no team
can work effectively unless everyone in it knows where it is going. This may
sound trite, but the authors have repeatedly found that teachers are not good
at defining what has to be done and formulating sound objectives, either for
themselves or for groups or organizations in which they work. Others too
have observed that few heads are systematic at problem-solving (Leithwood
and Montgomery, 1986).
Soundly framed objectives are SMART: as far as possible they should be
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. They tend to be
quantitative rather than qualitative, results-centred rather than activitycentred, and realistic rather than pessimistic. A small degree of over-reach
helps to motivate those who respond to challenge; a minimum objective,
likely to be met anyway, provides little stimulus.
Objectives can be broadened by asking the question ‘In order to achieve
what?’ and can be narrowed down by asking ‘What has to be achieved to
attain this?’ Objectives that appear vague and woolly should be narrowed
Another device for increasing specificity is the definition of ‘success
criteria’: these define the situation that will exist when the objective has been
An example of an objective that is too broad to lead to effective action is ‘To
maintain sound communication in the school’. A soundly framed objective,
dealing with the same problem, would be: ‘To have introduced a two-page
weekly staff bulletin, which all staff use and read, by half-term, edited by
Miss X’. The success criterion for this objective might be: ‘During the second
half of the term, no more than five staff will complain to the head that
something has been done without their being told’.
These techniques need to be assiduously practised before it becomes
second nature for teams to use them. Exercise 11 at the end of this chapter, for
use by teams, will help to improve objective-setting skills.
Apart from unclear objectives and other manifestations of failure to define
the problem, teams sometimes waste time by not listening actively to what is
being said, with the result that one contribution does not build on another.
One way of following the process of discussion is to use a form down the
vertical axis of which are listed various categories of contribution, and along
the top are listed the names of the team members (see Rackham et al., 1971).
Categories of contribution can include the following:
Seeking suggestions. This label is used when someone invites others to
contribute their ideas, suggestions or proposals.
Suggesting. Can take a number of forms, e.g. ‘I suggest we do so and so’,
‘Let’s do the following’, ‘Shall we do X, Y and Z?’, ‘Can I take your idea a
stage further?’
Agreeing. Covers all types of supporting or backing what has just been said;
this includes nodding.
Disagreeing. Covers all ways of opposing or withholding support for what
has just been said: i.e. not only an outright disagreement (‘No, I can’t go along
with that!’) but also stating a difficulty, whether valid or not: ‘The snag with
that is…‘ or ‘We are running short of time again.’
Seeking clarification. Whenever anyone asks for a recap or checks that he or
she has understood what was intended: e.g. ‘Do you mean’, ‘What happens if
A and B coincide?’
Clarifying. Responses to requests for explanations; also spontaneous
summaries of a discussion.
Interrupting. Whenever someone breaks in to stop a member from finishing
his or her contribution; or when everyone seems to be speaking at once.
Miscellaneous. In practice, it is difficult to assess all contributions quickly
enough to categorize them, so any unspecified contribution can be put in this
category rather than go unrecorded.
In order to analyse the discussion in this way it is necessary to detach from
the group an observer, who does not take part in the discussion, but is given
the task of leading a process review later, to help the team discover how
effectively it is operating. With a bit of practice, observers not only get quicker
at recognizing categories of contribution but can also study sequences of
contributions from which they can deduce what types help and hinder the
team in particular situations. They can observe, for example, how ideas get
lost when the next contributor after a suggestion is made completely ignores
the contribution; or the effect of timing of a proposal, and the style or tone in
which it is made; or the different ways in which different individuals habitually
contribute, e.g. by making positive proposals, asking relevant questions,
encouraging action, controlling use of time.
Other aspects of teamwork can also be brought out: the degree of
openness and trust in the team; the quality of leadership; the use of resources;
the clarity of tasks and decisions; non-verbal communication; the extent to
which values are explicit and shared; the degree of commitment; and
whether action follows discussion.
Teams (including school management teams) sometimes invite an
outsider to be a consultant to the group, and to coach it in improving
effectiveness. A consultant, such as an industrial trainer or college lecturer,
experienced in group processes, can bring a useful amount of objectivity and
detachment into the proceedings, and get the team to confront issues that, left
to itself, it would probably suppress.
The main object of these techniques is to heighten the team’s awareness of
the process by which it tackles its task, then to make use of the insights in
order to improve. It certainly entails some members changing their
behaviour, which can feel threatening, but the only way a team can improve
is by individuals continually adapting their behaviour to meet the needs of
the team.
The effective management of team performance is central to school
improvement. There has to be a clear and consistent focus on achieving results,
both short- and long-term. Short-term results help success to breed success;
long-term results are important in creating an enduring school culture of
continuous improvement. The two are connected: Schmoker (1999, p. 67) points
out that ‘current organizational habits that avoid focusing on short-term,
measurable gains are the major obstacles impeding not only isolated
improvements but also system-wide transformation. Palpable gains are the
key to leveraging change in the system…’
Actions agreed at each team meeting must be followed up at the next, to
find out what worked and what didn’t. Belbin ‘implementers’ help here,
while ‘teamworkers’ help to sustain zest and ‘shapers’ relentlessly keep the
team’s eye on the ball (task orientation). Teams sometimes become engrossed
in ‘process’ issues in their attempts to develop, but managing process is but a
means to an end. The most important end for a school is student achievement,
not just team or departmental performance, so there needs to be a logical link
to some measure of this.
Team performance can also be impaired by biting off more than the team
can chew. Especially if members are already experiencing a sense of overload.
it pays to prioritize objectives and avoid working on too many at a time. By
concentrating effort, teams can get relatively quick results, which is
motivational. However, there can be a downside to tying a team down,
because this weakens a potential excuse for subsequent non-achievement
(‘there was just too much to do’) and it can feel threatening to have no bolthole.
Heads have a special role in managing the performance of teams in their
schools: to recognize, celebrate and reward achievement. Teams, be they
departmental or organization-wide, which can demonstrate that they have
achieved an objective unmistakably related to improving students’ learning
deserve a public pat on the back. Praise should be tied to specific successes –
not just general performance. The more that the whole school community
knows about the many incremental improvements that are occurring all over
the place, the more the culture of continuous development and improvement
will be reinforced. Heads may have something to learn from the way that
military commanders foster esprit de corps by consistently celebrating success.
It’s all part of leadership.
Next time you attend a meeting of a task group to which you belong, try to focus
for some of the time on the process by which the group tackles its task. Does it
start with clear, agreed objectives? Is use of time properly planned? Do some
members impede the work of the group? Is a systematic approach consciously
followed? Do ideas get lost? How do you rate the degree of openness and candour
in the group? Do people listen to one another? Are the resources available to the
group well used? Does it hold a process review? If not, try getting it to agree at the
next meeting to set ten minutes aside to reflect together on how effectively it
‘Managers are paid to take decisions; why should I be co-opted on to
this working party to decide a school discipline policy?’ What are the
arguments in favour of detaching teachers from their classroom
work to contribute to whole-school policy and its implementation?
Does the fact that teachers are tied to their classrooms because pupils
cannot be left on their own imply that teams are less important in
schools than in industry?
How can you apply Belbin’s research on team composition when the
dominant criteria for selecting members are usually their work roles,
subject knowledge and availability?
Adair, J. (1987) Effective Teambuilding, Pan, London.
Belbin, M. (1981) Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail, Heinemann, Oxford.
Bell, L. (1992) Managing Teams in Secondary Schools, Routledge, London.
Hastings, C., Bixby, P. and Chaudhry-Lawton, R. (1986) Superteams, HarperCollins,
MCI (1996) Effective Manager: Teambuilding and Leadership, Management Charter
Initiative, London.
Schmoker, M. (1999) Results: The Key to Continuous School Improvement (2nd edn),
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Va.
EXERCISE 11: Formulating Objectives
In 15 minutes, as individuals, write legibly on flipchart sheets
(1) a personal objective in your job, for improving your competence or
effectiveness; and
(2) an organizational objective for your school, for improving its
For each objective, establish success criteria and write them immediately
beneath the objective to which they apply.
In one hour, working as a group,
(1) display the flipcharts and read them;
(2) by marking the sheets in silence, each individual should distribute five
points only, among up to five objectives and related success criteria
(other than your own), so as to identify those that come nearest to being
soundly formulated (SMART). You are not judging whether the
objectives are intrinsically worth while: only how well they are
(3) in discussion, agree in your team and list succinctly on a flipchart the
criteria you used in judging how to distribute your five points each;
(4) still as a team, take the objective and related success criteria that scored
the most points and use the listed criteria to improve them (in case of a
tie, take either or both); and
(5) if time permits, form pairs to improve one another’s objectives and
success criteria, again applying the agreed group criteria.
Managing and Adapting the Curriculum
The Education Reform Act 1988 defined for the first time a National
Curriculum that would serve everyone at school. Hailed as an ‘entitlement’,
it smacked of what is now known as a ‘one size fits all’ approach, introducing
inflexibilities that have since been recognized as unhelpful. Besides, it was
too crowded. Sir Ron Dearing was brought in to ease the requirements and
this process has continued (for example, students in Years 10 and 11 may
currently be disapplied from having to study science).
It is increasingly realized that different individuals and categories of
learners have different needs, as regards not only curriculum content but also
mode of delivery, depending on their preferred learning styles and aptitudes.
Moreover, different stakeholders have different perceptions of the
learners’ needs. The government, for example, is focused on ensuring that
the UK is internationally competitive, so it sets high store on standards
accredited by a nationally recognized certificate of some sort, and on national
targets of achievement by various cohorts of the population. These are used
as criteria of effectiveness of the education system. Learners, on the other
hand, have their own criteria, such as the avoidance of boredom. Parents
generally want their children to ‘do well’, leaving school with good grades
attesting to (especially) academic achievement, and leading to good jobs.
Employers, however, have significantly different ideas about curricular
outcomes and continue to complain that the education system does not
deliver on ‘employability’ criteria. The Royal Society of Arts has followed up
its ‘Education for Capability’ manifesto with a project entitled ‘Redefining
the Curriculum’ or ‘Opening Minds’, which takes account of the ‘knowledge
revolution’ and seeks to prepare people for work organizations of the 21st
century by proposing a competence-based curriculum (Bayliss, 2003a).
Associated initiatives, such as the ‘Campaign for Learning’ aim to promote
positive attitudes to learning and its facilitation.
At the same time, the growth of childcare, playwork, experiential learning
and early years education generally has challenged some of the old
assumptions about the nature of education (‘filling empty vessels with
knowledge’) and reminded us of Thring’s definition of a teacher as ‘an
artificer of the mind’. Child development theory and research, and the
different pedagogical approaches of nursery nurses and of trainers in
commerce and industry are other influences that are driving nails into the
coffin of the traditional knowledge-based school curriculum.
Teacher training institutions and the ‘education establishment’ have been
generally slow to take these developments on board, so it is left to
progressive school heads to make the running, notwithstanding the straitjacket of the National Curriculum and the entrenched attitudes of many
experienced teachers. Guidance on addressing the problems of curricular
change is given in Part III. This chapter deals with specific areas of
curriculum management.
The introduction of the National Curriculum represented a major change in
our approach to education. While the ‘core’ and ‘foundation’ subjects
prescribed by the Education Reform Act 1988 are not substantially different
from those set out in the 1904 regulations, the advent of ‘key stages’,
‘compulsory assessment’, ‘standards of attainment’, and ‘national norms’
introduced a common structure that schools in the United Kingdom had never
previously known. To many teachers and heads, the National Curriculum
appeared as yet another unwarranted restriction of professional freedom, and
resistance to the changes was understandably heightened by inadequate
preparation for the introduction of such radical reform and an increase in
workload. Obvious benefits, however, are the greater ease of transfer between
schools and the creation of standards against which parents, pupils and
teachers can measure and agree progress.
There were fears that, in complying with the National Curriculum,
teachers might lose sight of the fundamental purposes of education. These
were restated in Clause I (2) of the Education Reform Act (and in subsequent
legislation) where it is said that:
The curriculum for a maintained school satisfies the requirements of this section
if it is a balanced and broadly based curriculum which:
(a) promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development
of pupils at the school and of society; and
(b) prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of
adult life.
We were therefore gratified to find in the 1990s that Ofsted inspectors are
specifically required to report on ‘pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural
development’ as well as on ‘standards, quality and efficiency’.
Fears were expressed that project work and interdisciplinary work would
suffer as a result of the new requirements. However, while schools needed to
refocus some of their efforts in order to ensure that mundane yet necessary
skills (e.g. spelling) are acquired, work in primary schools suggests that there
is no problem in meeting most of the demands of the National Curriculum
through the more imaginative approaches that have been developed.
One of the more certain things about the world in which today’s schoolchildren
will spend their lives is that the pace of change is likely to continue or even
increase. We may expect therefore that
(1) any ‘vocational’ knowledge and skills acquired may well be out of date
by the time the pupil seeks a job. Indeed, in scientific or technical
subjects, what is being taught in the schools and universities has already
been superseded as it is being taught;
(2) the future for children holds fewer ‘careers’ of a structured kind. Career
‘ladders’ have been replaced by ‘scrambling nets’ or even ‘climbing
walls’. Using another metaphor, those who are to succeed will have to
jump from raft to raft of new skills as their existing skills and knowledge
become redundant. This applies as much to the shop assistant or the
typist as to the technologist or the teacher, or the lawyer or industrial
manager; and
(3) employment patterns are changing: 97 per cent of UK businesses have
fewer than 20 employees, 15 per cent of the workforce are self-employed,
2.5 million people work from home and 70 per cent of job vacancies are
not advertised. All these figures are growing, suggesting that enterprise
is becoming ever more important for school-leavers.
It follows that the most essential needs of tomorrow’s citizens (as, indeed, of
today’s) will be those core skills which are of general application (e.g. personal
and interpersonal skills, problem-solving, creativity, communication,
numeracy) together with positive and flexible attitudes. Above all, they will
need the ability to learn, in order to cope better with unstructured situations.
While ‘work’-oriented skills are of some value in preparing pupils for their
first job, that is probably the limit of their usefulness.
Industry has often been accused of being reactionary in the demands it
makes of education (e.g. in insisting on correct spelling, punctuation and
clear, concise English expression as opposed to ‘creative writing’). However,
the report of the CBI Greater Expectations, Priorities for the Future Curriculum
(CBI, 1998), contained the following statements:
… learning for life is a continuous process and developing employability is not
a narrow, marginal or separate activity.
Pupils’ understanding of how to learn is more likely to be captured if there are
different types of learning available.
The evidence does not suggest that there is a pressing need to permanently cut
back on other subjects to give more time for literacy and numeracy.
The development of personal qualities and personal skills is one of the main
purposes of schooling … This development needs to be paramount if young
people are to be self-reliant and flexible enough to meet the challenges of the
Development of key skills (communication, application of number, IT, working
with others, improving own learning and performance, problem solving)
should be a priority for the new curriculum, at all Key Stages.
There is strong and widespread support for these sentiments (Dearing, 1995),
and some of them were embodied in the National Education and Training
Targets, accepted by government, employers and trade unions (NACETT,
1995). NACETT’s third aim is ‘All education and training develops self-reliance,
flexibility and breadth, in particular through fostering competence in core
skills’ (now known as ‘key skills’), as listed above.
Positive managers, whether heads or heads of department, will recognize that
their role is to steer their school, college or department on a positive course
through the sea of change. Furthermore, they will need the support of the
‘stakeholders’ – parents, potential employers, local authority and pupils.
If we look at the ‘force field’ acting on the curriculum, it appears as in
Figure 11.1. Ofsted inspections, the National Curriculum and key-stage
assessments could be added to either side of the field. Currently we would
see them as weighing heavily on the positive side, but others’ perspectives
may be different.
In a negative environment, the school staff may be so preoccupied by
legislative demands, cut-backs, lack of resources, ‘difficult’ pupils and the
varying demands of the other stakeholders that an atmosphere of
hopelessness develops among both pupils and staff. No one is happy in an
organization which has lost its sense of direction and in which the constraints
seem overbearing. Energy is directed against the constraints instead of
towards a purpose (see Figure 11.2).
The first problem is to develop within the staff the attitude advocated by
Reinhold Niebuhr: ‘to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,
the courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom
to distinguish the one from the other’ (Bartlett, 1987).
The positive organization is one in which the constraints are defined and
accepted but which tries to redefine and fulfil its purpose within those
constraints (see Figure 11.3).
The task of the school manager, and it is not easy, is not only to ensure that
a sense of purpose is maintained but also to ensure that the energy is being
focused in the right direction for today’s pupils.
There is no one simple formula for building a positive ethos within the
organization. It is less likely to be achieved through a dramatic programme
Figure 11.1
Curriculum force field
Figure 11.2
The frustrated organization
than by a consistent attitude and a series of carefully planned steps which
will probably include the following:
(1) Sounding discussions with sympathetic members of staff.
(2) Sounding discussions with influential members of staff, especially the
most frustrated and recalcitrant. (Listen and note their responses and,
however negative the replies, do not argue but keep asking their views
on what should be done.)
Figure 11.3
The purposeful organization
(3) Establishment of a small curriculum advisory committee (possibly heads
of department, but this is also a good chance to develop some up-andcoming staff). Such a committee should be clear about its duty to sound
out all members of staff systematically, to recommend ways of taking
into account the views of the other stakeholders and to report its findings
regularly for discussion by the total staff.
(4) Well structured discussion at staff meetings, based on an understanding
that the aim of the discussion is to suggest what can be done within the
constraints rather than to complain about them. (A realistic suggestion
about how to overcome an apparent constraint is always to be
The basic principles involved in curriculum development are no different from
those set out in the chapter on decision-taking. While the ultimate decision
rests with the school and ultimately the head, the wise head or head of
department will take every opportunity to ensure that, on such a vital issue
as curriculum, not only the staff but also the other stakeholders are actively
involved. PTA meetings, meetings with industrialists, and especially
discussions with older pupils, all present opportunities for involvement. The
governors are responsible for drawing up a general statement on the
curriculum of the school, and they must be involved in strategic decisions
about the curriculum (but do not take decisions relating to methods of teaching
and learning). Suggestions can be invited, recorded and used. Education is
not alone in having to adapt to the pressures of economic, technical, social
and political change. Some widely accepted structures have evolved for
‘corporate planning’ and these can be adapted as well to education as to any
other profession, to government or to industry. They provide a sound
framework for thought, and discussion at meetings with staff and others.
The main questions to which stakeholders should be invited to respond are
as follows:
(1) What are our aims and values as a school or college?
(2) In what order of priority do we rank our aims?
(3) What economic, technical and social changes do we anticipate over the
coming years?
(4) What are the implications for the lives of the children in our schools?
What are the threats and what are the opportunities? (The mark of a
healthy organization or individual is a focus on the opportunities in
change rather than the threats.)
(5) How do we need to adapt the curriculum?
(6) Given the needs which we have identified, how do our resources match
these? What are the strengths and weaknesses of our resources?
(7) How do we need to develop or adapt our resources?
(8) What should be our action plan?
While it is useful to begin by discussing the questions in sequence, we should
be prepared to amend our response to an earlier question (e.g. question 1) as
a result of our analysis in response to a later question (e.g. question 3 or 4).
Few would disagree that the overall purpose of an educational institution is
to prepare its pupils for life. However, as soon as we ask what this entails we
find a variety of deeply held convictions, including our own. These convictions
are the product of ‘values’, i.e. our perception of what is important, right or
good. People do not justify their values in logical terms; they are the
fundamental beliefs or premisses from which other arguments are deduced.
Our values are conditioned by upbringing and by the group or groups to
which we belong; many teachers are therefore likely to have certain values in
common which will be different from the common values of many industrialists or pupils. However, while there may on occasion be fundamental
disagreement about a particular value (some will believe that children should
be taught to conform; others will not), the real problem comes with priorities.
How do we rank in order of importance, for example, the ability to get
employment, the ability to set up and run one’s own business, the
achievement of an academic qualification, a career in a profession, the use of
leisure, an appreciation of the arts, the acquisition of knowledge, the
acquisition of skills? The question is less one of individual educational values
than of value systems.
Reconciliation of value systems is a need which is specially important to
the educational and training role. Schools and colleges share the problem
with churches, industrial training organizations and political parties.
However, in the last three cases, a ‘client’ who is troubled by incompatibilities
has the option of going elsewhere. Despite parental choice, this may not be
such an easy option with schools.
For educational managers, particularly headteachers, an understanding of
the value systems which affect their school is fundamental. How do staff see
their priorities, how do pupils see priorities, how do parents see priorities,
how do local industrialists see priorities? Are there important discrepancies
which will produce tensions, a feeling that what the school is doing may not
be ‘relevant’ and, consequently, discontent and misbehaviour in pupils,
whose lack of faith may be reinforced by parental attitudes?
Though value systems are the underlying ‘beliefs’ on which arguments
and actions are based, this does not mean that they are incapable of
modification or even radical change. People are converted to and from
religions, change philosophies radically, can move from idealistic to cynical
systems, from spiritually based to materially based attitudes, and vice versa.
Such shifts often occur because experience of life calls one’s assumptions into
The important task for the educational institution is the reconciliation of
value systems so as to achieve a clear statement of aims and beliefs to which
a large majority of the stakeholders can subscribe and to which they feel
commitment because they are satisfied that the process through which the
aims have been defined has taken account of the main streams of fact and
opinion. The statement of aims and beliefs should not of course be a watereddown compromise trying to be all things to all people, but one which clearly
states priorities and commits itself to behavioural objectives of the form: ‘A
person who has been educated at this school should…’
One of us (Everard, 1993) has written a short practical guide to handling
values issues, based on the work of Beck (1990). It is important in curriculum
management to steer clear of indoctrination, but to enable students’ values to
be shaped in such a way as to prepare them for life after school.
List the stakeholders in your school’s curriculum. What do you believe to be the
most important values or expectations of each in regard to the school? How do
these relate to the government’s requirements?
As in all decision-making processes the objective in curriculum development
is to collect and use positive inputs while reserving the right to decide.
As we have indicated, the sequence of input will normally begin with the
staff and should probably end with the staff. Useful techniques which can be
used with the staff or any other of the interested groups are as follows:
(1) Brainstorming on each of the first five corporate planning questions
followed by a period in which subgroups respond to questions 1, 2
and 5.
(2) A curriculum representative committee to include representatives of
staff, governors, parents and older pupils. Such a committee can
stimulate, co-ordinate and use the findings of a wider circle of meetings.
(3) Questionnaires (possibly based on ‘ideas’ meetings) which contain a
mixture of structured questions (e.g. the request to list a number of
possibilities in order of priority) and open questions. These can be sent to
staff, parents, governors, pupils and possibly a local employers’ panel.
They are particularly valuable in ensuring that a proper sample is taken,
and the analysed answers show the weight of opinion in various
(4) Classroom discussions with pupils from which the results are
systematically collected. Such discussions are usually very fruitful and
are motivating for the pupils, who may arrive at a better understanding
of the possible purposes of education.
Whatever the method, it is important that results and findings are openly
available to those who contribute. Transparency is the name of the game.
At the end of the process, it is up to the head, with the help of the staff
curriculum group, to put together a final document for the consideration of
the governors, which summarizes
(1) the aims, values and priorities of the school;
(2) the curriculum towards which the school will move; and
(3) the rationale behind these.
Though the head is the final arbiter, it goes without saying that the decisions
should reflect the inputs rather than personal or staff prejudices. If this is not
the case, credibility and motivation will be lost.
The whole process should have been carried out in the framework of the
resource constraints and legislative requirements of which the school is
aware. The force field, it is hoped, has now changed shape to Figure 11.4.
The procedure should have lined up the attitudes of a majority of
stakeholders, though some will always remain opposed. However, the
problem which still remains is that of adapting our resources. (See Chapter
Attitudes of some
Attitudes of some
Future needs of
Figure 11.4 Revised curriculum force field
Since this book was first published, there has been a huge growth throughout
the UK in the provision of early years education (i.e. up to 8), including
childcare (a term often used generically), playwork, nurseries, after-school
clubs and holiday schemes. This has been driven by the government’s national
childcare strategy, designed to encourage more parents of young children into
employment, but it has also presented a golden opportunity for purposeful
child development (as distinct from child-minding). About £1.5 billion per
annum of public and lottery funds are currently being allocated to this sector.
Many primary schools have opened up pre-school nurseries and afterschool and holiday clubs, often outsourcing their management. The private
sector (both commercial and charitable organizations) is a major provider.
Primary school heads need to understand the likely influence of this growth
industry on curriculum strategy, and those who establish and manage childcare centres need to meet acceptable standards of effectiveness.
The prevailing pedagogical approach of most proponents and providers
of childcare (but excepting nursery school education, which is more
curriculum-oriented) is significantly different from that of mainstream
education. It is more child-centred and less subject-centred, relying more on
creating a rich and supportive learning environment and leaving the rest to
children’s natural curiosity and resourcefulness, than on teaching to a
curriculum or to standard attainment tests. The key principle is that children
are inherently active learners who learn best from activities that they plan
and carry out themselves, and then reflect on. The emphasis is on the
development of personal and social skills, including learning and problem-
solving skills, but also involving familiarization with the alphabet, numbers
and sometimes keyboard skills.
Well-founded longitudinal research has established that the beneficial
effects of using this approach extend into adulthood, improving academic
attainment and reducing the incidence of criminal risk behaviours, teenage
pregnancies, etc. (www.highscope.org; Ball, 1994).
This approach requires the staff of a childcare centre to possess
professional facilitation skills more than instructional skills, together with the
relevant underpinning knowledge, understanding and values. Typically,
they will be nursery nurses rather than qualified teachers, or have a National
Vocational Qualification in Early Years Education or Playwork. Until 2002
social services departments regulated centres, but Ofsted has now taken over
this function.
The features that differentiate the management of childcare centres from
that of mainstream schools are:
• The regulatory framework specifies generous staff:children ratios of up to
1:8, whereas a sole primary school teacher is allowed to look after a class of
30 or more.
• The consequent inflation of staffing costs is partly offset by steep salary
differentials between qualified teachers and nursery nurses, playworkers
et al.
• Staff turnover is usually much higher – typically about 30 per cent p.a. –
which inflates training costs.
• It is generally more difficult to devise reliable measures of experiential
learning progress than it is with subject-oriented teaching, because such
learning is more heuristic and opportunistic rather than focused on
specific pre-planned outcomes.
• Because many Ofsted inspectors come from a teaching background,
managers have to try to resist the ‘structuralization’ or ‘academicization’
of childcare, which would be counterproductive.
• Traditional teachers are apt to disparage informal education as mere
‘play’, and confuse childcare with childminding, whereas in fact ‘play’ (or
‘playwork’ to use the preferred technical term) is a serious, purposeful
developmental process that stimulates children to use their imagination,
be creative, learn about themselves and take risks.
• Professional development is usually best done on the job, so childcare
centres are more likely than primary schools to be accredited for assessing
NVQ candidates.
• The qualifications framework is less ordered than with teaching
qualifications (QCA, 1999).
• Child-protection regulations place an even bigger burden on childcare
centres than on schools, because of higher staff ratios and turnover.
• Because funding is predominantly by way of grants and fees, managers
need to have the skills to identify potential funding streams and put
forward bids based on a ‘business case’, which can be a complex and
challenging procedure, constrained by sometimes narrow windows of
There are comparatively few textbooks on the management of early years
education and childcare, but a useful manual, sponsored by the DfES, was
compiled by the YMCA, which is the largest childcare provider in the USA
and one of the largest in the UK (YMCA, 2000; see also Jameson and Watson,
1998; Whalley, 2004).
Primary school heads may notice pupils who have attended well-run
childcare centres behaving differently from their peers in reception classes,
by taking on more responsibility for utilizing learning resources and for
organizing group-work. This can be mistaken for undue precocity, leading to
the pupils being ‘put down’.
The government now expects schools to foster leadership skills through the
14–19 curriculum by making more opportunities available to all pupils to
experience activities that develop their management and leadership (DfES/
DTI, 2002, section 46). Active Citizenship and ‘Outward Bound’ programmes
are suggested as examples of such activities. Some of the text and exercises
(e.g. Exercises 2 and 6) in this book could be adapted for this purpose.
The growth in formal assessment following the introduction of the National
Curriculum has been astounding. The system of national testing involves the
biggest annual mailing in England – 4.2 million test papers in 80,000 packages,
at a cost in 2003 of over £200m per year. The system of ‘high stakes’ testing,
linked to the publication of the results and the production (in England) of
‘league tables’ has placed great demands on the leaders of schools, and their
teachers. So great has this pressure become that, regrettably, there have been
a few cases of headteachers cheating by falsifying results or opening papers
early. One of the greatest challenges facing leaders is to reconcile the demand
for accountability through national test results with the development of a
curriculum which continues to give due weight to other aspects of learning
which are not formally tested. The DfES policy document for primary schools
‘Excellence and Enjoyment’ (2003) shows that the government has begun to
recognise that primary schools should be allowed to have a greater control of
their curricula and be more innovative. A relaxation of the requirements to set
targets at Key Stage 2 also points to the understanding that the climate of
over-accountabilty has distorted the balance of the primary curriculum.
Assessment has a number of purposes, including diagnosing learning
needs, helping pupils to improve and comparing schools. There is little at
present that you can do as a school manager to change the use of assessment
data for external purposes, but you can ensure that your school is using
assessment for the purposes of learning. It is essential that consensus is
reached, through the techniques described above, on the purposes and
methods of marking, the use of criteria and the process of target-setting for
individual pupils. Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam published a very influential
booklet (Inside the Black Box) in 1998 which persuasively argued the case for
teachers to use formative assessment rather than summative. This idea has
now received official blessing through the inclusion of assessment for
learning in the government’s Key Stage 3 strategy.
Four elements of teachers’ work need to be discussed and improved:
questioning, feedback through marking, peer- and self-assessment, and the
formative use of summative tests. A key message of assessment for learning
is that ‘giving marks or grades to pupils’ work has a negative effect in that
pupils ignore comments when marks are also given’ (Black et al., 2003). The
technique of pupils assessing their own work or that of their peers has also
been shown to be very effective, especially when they have been made
familiar with grade or level descriptions. These need to be written in ‘pupilfriendly’ language – even teachers can have difficulty in comprehending the
arcane language used by the examination boards in their syllabuses!
Many of these changes will present a challenge to many teachers and you
will need to draw on all the skills of managing change outlined elsewhere in
this book. It is best not to attempt to make all the changes at once, but to start
with, say, improving questioning techniques and move on from there. You
can help the process by setting up working groups of teachers to engage in
mutual support and observation, and encouraging them to report back to
departmental and staff meetings. Parents and governors will need to be
informed about any changes and about ways they can help to use assessment
to raise achievement.
There has been an increasing emphasis in recent years on requiring
‘mainstream’ schools to include pupils who would formerly have been
educated separately in special schools. Mainstream schools have long been
expected to make provision for those pupils who have some special needs
(such as relatively low reading ages) through the provision of extra support
or specific procedures to be followed by the classroom teacher. In addition,
many schools have been successful in including pupils with physical
disabilities, and the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act will
increase such provision. However, pupils with, for example, severe learning
difficulties, or emotional and behavioural difficulties, are now increasingly
being directed to mainstream schools. There is considerable debate as to
whether this results in effective education, and there is a lack of empirical
evidence on the success of such policies. The teacher unions have been
suspicious, demanding considerable extra resources in mainstream schools
and pointing out that most teachers have not been trained to use effective
pedagogy for children with special educational needs. There is also a tension
between a drive for inclusion and the current emphasis on simple ‘output’
School leaders in such situations will have to try to ensure that resources
are adequate, and that funding for teaching assistants is provided. This may
well require you to use your skills of negotiation (see Chapters 7 and 14) to
secure these from the LEA. Staff will need to be trained how to differentiate
effectively and the pastoral systems will need to be aware of a wider range of
emotional needs.
Headteachers of special schools have to look for staff who are good
generalists, with high levels of teaching skills and creativity. These teachers
understand different learning styles, and how different special needs affect
learning or lack of it. SEN pedagogy and process come first, with subject
expertise and knowledge second. Mainstream school leaders may have to
adapt their recruitment criteria when seeking staff who will spend a large
part of their teaching commitment with pupils with SEN. There are many
examples of excellent practice in special schools and mainstream school
leaders should ensure that their staff are provided with opportunities to learn
from their colleagues in those schools.
An alternative approach which is being pioneered in some areas is to try to
create a continuum of provision, with collaboration and flexibility being
Case Study – West Hill (Special School) and
Therfield (Comprehensive)
A shared commitment by the headteachers of the schools to meeting the
needs of pupils with SEN led them to identify a way to collaborate which
meets the needs of pupils at risk of disaffection (or already disaffected) in
Year 10. This collaboration means shared costs, shared resources (staff,
minibus) and inclusion of pupils from both schools into each other other’s
establishment. Some staff work in both schools, and there is a high level of
The project involves a group from West Hill who are taught separately.
On one day per week, they link with pupils from Therfield for sport, social
skills and the Duke of Edinburgh Award. This programme is taught offsite. A Project Trident employability programme, teaching practical
building skills, is also included, as is work experience.
The benefits of the project include:
• motivation to attend school and to learn;
• a reduction of the negative effects on the education of other students;
• a more appropriate curriculum.
Specialist schools are secondary schools which focus on their chosen subject
area but must meet the full National Curriculum requirements and deliver a
broad and balanced education. The scheme has been rapidly expanded in the
last few years and the government has announced that eventually it expects
each secondary school in England to be a specialist school. Schools may choose
a specialism from arts, science, technology, business and enterprise, sport,
music, humanities, languages, maths and computing, and engineering. They
may also choose to specialize in a combination of two subjects. The school
must work with a named ‘family of schools’ and with the wider community.
A sum of £50,000 in sponsorship has to be raised from private-sector sponsors
(which may include parents) and the DfES adds £100,000 to this for expenditure
on a capital project related to the specialism.
The school has to draw up a four-year development plan for improvements in teaching and learning and for involving other schools and the wider
community. In return, the school receives a grant per pupil (currently £123)
for each of the four years.
The process of applying to become a specialist school is arduous and needs
to be undertaken with careful planning. Governors, parents and staff need to
be convinced of the benefits, and staff in areas other than the chosen
specialism will understandably be initially suspicious that their subjects will
be downgraded in importance or that they will see no benefit from the extra
funding. It is common for a deputy head or other senior teacher to take the
lead in drawing up the application, and the time commitment involved
should not be underestimated. Obtaining the necessary sponsorship can be
difficult, especially in rural or deprived areas, although sources of funding
are available through the Specialist Schools Trust. However, many schools
report that the process of auditing current strengths and weaknesses, and
devising action plans to improve teaching and learning is valuable in itself,
regardless of whether they are granted specialist status.
To what extent has the introduction of the National Curriculum reduced
or increased the school’s scope for curriculum development?
Bayliss, V. (1999) Opening Minds: Education for the 21st Century, Royal Society of Arts,
Black, P. and William, D. (1998) Inside the Black Box, King’s College, London.
Black, P. et al. (2002) Working Inside the Black Box, King’s College, London.
Everard, K.B. (1993) A Guide to Handling Some Values Issues, NAVET, Aberdeen.
Garwood, M. and Dowden, M. (2001) Curriculum Management and Assessment Manual:
A Practical Guide to Managing, Monitoring and Target-Setting, Pearson Education,
Lyus, V. (1998) Management in Early Years, Hodder and Stoughton, London.
Powell, R. (1997) Raising Achievement, Robert Powell Publications, Stafford.
Whalley, M. (2004) Management in Early Childhood Settings, Sage, London.
Managing Quality, Risk, Health and Safety
Teachers are under constant pressure to achieve more without any increase –
and often with a reduction – in resources. The euphemistic term for this is
In such circumstances, considerations of quality, health and safety in
particular can easily fall by the wayside. If they do, however, the result is
almost invariably an increase in pressure on the school and, in extreme cases,
severe disruption of school life with criminal penalties imposed on staff –
especially senior staff – and heavy compensation payments to be made by the
school. It is true that compensation claims may be met by insurers but there
are often ‘excess’ clauses and insurers, whose business is to make money, will
recover their losses eventually through increased premiums. Indeed, some
risks have become uninsurable.
Quality, health and safety all depend on developing positive attitudes in
both staff and children. Since 1999, schools have had a statutory duty to teach
risk management (QCA/HSE, 1999). All in the school need to be aware of
where risks may lie and of the disciplines needed to identify and control the
risks. Hazard-spotting and troubleshooting can be fun, and these skills will
be increasingly important in the adult life of the children we teach.
All that we have said so far is common to all elements of quality, risk,
health and safety. It is useful now to look at each in turn.
The concept of quality and the means to achieve it have gone through some
interesting gyrations over recent years.
The definition of quality as ‘excellence’ was replaced in the early 1980s by
‘reasonably fit for the purpose’ and since the late 1980s has swung back to be
generally accepted as ‘meeting or exceeding the expectations of the
These swings in thinking are well illustrated by the engineering industry.
‘Murphy’s law’ – ‘If it can possibly go wrong it will and it will happen at the
worst possible time’ – was not just a cynical view of inanimate objects, but
was the principle which US engineers were supposed to bear in mind while
maintaining aircraft during the Second World War. They should, in fact,
repair or replace anything that could ‘possibly go wrong’. Excellence was the
name of the game.
Compare this approach with a discussion that one of your authors had in
1985 with the Quality Audit Manager (note the job title) of a major aircraft
manufacturer. The manager said that one of his problems was that the design
department prescribed the same tight tolerances in specifying all components. In consequence these tolerances were not always respected. What
he therefore wanted the designers to do was to slacken the tolerances in cases
where they were not really necessary, so that quality audit could ensure
respect for all tolerances and in particular therefore ensure that tight
tolerances were kept on those components where there was real need.
The logic in the above example is sound, but consider the story of a
Japanese car manufacturer who built gearboxes in the UK as well as in Japan.
Those built in Japan proved more reliable. The reason, it was discovered, was
that, whereas the UK production workers aimed to create components that
fell somewhere within the specified tolerances, the Japanese constantly
aimed to produce as nearly as possible to the ideal dimension.
Since the late 1980s an increasing number of organizations worldwide
have endeavoured to practise ‘Total Quality Management’ (TQM). In so
doing they have drawn heavily on the theories, principles and practical work
of the three best-known quality ‘gurus’, Philip B. Crosby, J.M. Juran and W.
Edwards Deming. The three ‘gurus’ are not always in agreement, and the
approaches taken by organizations are far from identical. However, there is
fairly general concurrence on a number of key principles, and these
principles are just as applicable and useful to schools as they are to commercial organizations, government departments, hospitals or universities.
They are as follows.
Customer focus
Quality is ‘meeting or exceeding the expectations of the customer’. Therefore
you need to find out what those expectations are and constantly monitor the
extent to which you are satisfying them. We have mentioned elsewhere that a
school has a variety of customers or ‘stakeholders’ – parents, pupils, employers,
government – and the importance of monitoring their expectations and our
satisfaction of these expectations cannot be overstated.
An irony about meeting or exceeding expectations is, of course, that any
improvement that we make rapidly becomes the new ‘norm’. Further
improvements will be looked for and any slipping back to the old standards
will create dissatisfaction. Furthermore, the direction and emphasis of
customer expectations will change.
Internal and external customers and suppliers
TQM defines our ‘customer’ as ‘anyone who expects or receives a service
from us’ and our ‘supplier’ as ‘anyone from whom we receive or expect a
service’. Customers and suppliers may therefore be those whom we normally
consider as such – i.e. people ‘external’ to our own organization. However,
they may also be people within the same organization. Thus if the head expects
a member of staff to produce a report, the head is the customer and the member
of staff the supplier. Conversely, if the member of staff requires some
information from the head in order to produce the report, the customer–
supplier roles are reversed as regards that piece of information.
In a ‘quality’ organization it is, of course, expected that the ‘supplier’,
whether member of staff or head, will endeavour to meet or exceed the
expectations of the ‘customer’. However, the next principle also applies.
Communication of expectations and capabilities
Whether in any given situation you are the ‘customer’ or ‘supplier’ you should
try to ensure that
(1) the ‘supplier’ fully understands the expectations of the ‘customer’; and
(2) the ‘customer’ fully understands the capacity of the ‘supplier’ to meet his
or her expectations. If there are any constraints or question marks, these
should be communicated as soon as their existence is known, otherwise
the ‘customer’ may be ‘let down’.
Get it right first time
A lot of time and effort are needed to correct mistakes. This truth applies not
only to marking pupils’ work but also to all fields of human endeavour
including the running of schools. If incorrect information is circulated, if there
is a clash of dates, if a flawed timetable is published, it is often not simply a
matter of redoing the same work. Special efforts may be needed to ensure
that all affected or misinformed parties are contacted and some ruffled feathers
may need to be smoothed.
Research has shown that if you get something particularly right, one or
two people may hear about it; whereas if you get it wrong, the number is
likely to be anything from ten to over a hundred.
How do we ‘get it right first time’ then? Here the next two maxims apply.
The human tendency, especially under pressure, is to ‘get on with the job’, to
‘get it out of the way’. This is particularly true if deadlines are looming. We
therefore tend to spend very little effort in planning and preparing, a moderate
amount in ‘doing’ and we may consequently need to expend a great deal of
time and effort in checking and correcting. The need is to reverse the
This principle is best illustrated by a production line, though it is equally true
of secretarial work, classroom work, the organization of school events or any
part of school routine.
On a production line there would traditionally be one or more ‘quality
controllers’ or ‘checkers’ at the end of the total line and/or each process along
the line. These checkers would scan the goods being produced and/or take
samples in order to spot any defective product. If defects occurred on a fairly
infrequent basis, the offending items would simply be removed by the
checker and either scrapped or ‘reworked’. If, of course, defects suddenly
rose beyond an acceptable level, the line would be stopped in order to check
for a fault.
The TQM approach is to say that no level of product defect is ‘acceptable’.
If any defective items are being produced there is something wrong with the
process. Certainly there should be no need for ‘checkers’. Instead, every
worker and machine on the line should be ensuring that the process is being
carried out in a way that eliminates errors.
The approach is, of course, the one followed by good teachers who do not
simply correct pupils’ work but try to ensure that pupils’ understanding will
be such that they make as few errors as possible in the first place but certainly
do not frequently repeat the same error.
Carrying the principle over into school management tasks, the message is
that we should not simply ‘do’ the timetable, ‘run’ the school sports day or
‘put on’ a school play but should first think through the various steps that
will be involved, who will take them and when they will need to be taken. In
setting up this ‘process’ we will need to ‘consult’ with those who will need to
play a role (our ‘suppliers’) and communicate to them exactly what are our
expectations. We may also need to train them.
However, the most important thing of all is that having made the effort to
set up a process, we get the maximum benefit from it. When the activity
needs to be repeated by ourselves or by others we want therefore to be sure
that we
(1) do not have to reinvent the wheel; and
(2) learn from any problems that may have been encountered on previous
occasions and update the process to reduce or eliminate these problems.
When human beings have solved a problem, they are apt to be so anxious to
tackle other problems that await them that they completely forget to learn or
communicate the lessons they should have drawn from the first problem.
The result is that the same mistakes are repeated again and again. Clearly
defined, recorded and applied processes are the basis of the ‘standards’
discussed in the next section.
BS5750 and ISO9000
BS5750 and ISO9000 are quality standards that have been adopted by
organizations of many kinds – industry, government departments, local
authorities, retailers and hospitals. So far we have heard of only a few schools
that have adopted these standards.
The standards are set by the British Standards Institute and the
International Standards Organization respectively. Governments, including
that of the UK, have promoted the use of these standards and many
government departments and other organizations insist that their suppliers
of goods or services should have been approved to one or other of the
standards, which are very similar except, of course, that ISO is internationally
recognized and is therefore increasingly preferred to BSI.
A ‘standard’ is a set of requirements to which an organization must
conform in order to be given accreditation by the appropriate institute.
Essentially the requirements are that the main procedures used in the
organization are effective, well documented, known by those who use them
or are affected by them and applied in practice. A most important
requirement is that there should be a systematic review and update of the
procedures. The organization is regularly monitored to ensure that the
standards are being maintained.
The immediate objections which teachers – or any other managers – will
raise to this approach are
(1) it creates unnecessary paper and bureaucracy;
(2) to implement the standards is very time-consuming; and
(3) the fact that you have described a procedure or ‘process’ does not mean
that it will be followed.
The responses to these objections are as follows:
(1) In most schools there is already no lack of paperwork about, for example,
organizing school trips, timetabling, dealing with absenteeism,
detentions, discipline, dinner duties. The problem is often that it is
created as problems arise and then forgotten or lost until the next time
there is a problem. The procedures operating within a school can be a
source of mystery to newly appointed staff.
What the systematic approach of BS5750 or ISO9000 does is to ensure
that documentation describing the various procedures or ‘processes’ is
organized into a manual or manuals which are easily accessible, must be
updated as needed and can be referred to by established or new staff.
These manuals are excellent induction training material.
(2) There is no argument that the creation of or systematization of
documentation on ‘processes’ is time-consuming. This is an aspect of the
constant management dilemma that to save time and effort in the long
term you have to invest time and effort in the short term. We have
discussed this elsewhere (p. 123).
(3) It is again true that to document ‘processes’ does not mean that they will
be followed. We are indeed wasting our time unless we
(a) focus staff’s attention on the processes;
(b) train newcomers in their use;
(c) monitor compliance; and
(d) update as necessary.
The application of TQM in school management
It will not have escaped the notice of our readers that TQM is largely a new
language for restating many of the well established principles of management
which we have discussed elsewhere in this book. A great deal of the value of
TQM lies precisely in this fact, since the learning of this new language helps
us to rethink our behaviour and to re-examine our criteria for effectiveness.
By discussing TQM with others we achieve a useful common language.
Particularly novel and useful in a school context are the concepts of
internal customer/supplier relationships and of describing and recording
systematically the ‘processes’ within the school. This latter activity not only
stimulates an improvement in the way we do things but is also an excellent
preparation for Ofsted inspections and can save an awful lot of frenzied
activity as the invasion approaches!
(1) (a) List your ‘internal customers’ (i.e. those who expect you to ‘produce’ things
for them and in particular those who depend on what you produce in order
to do their own job effectively).
(b) Choose one or more of these ‘customers’, list some of the more important
things that they expect you to produce and against each of them write in
order of importance what you believe to be the criteria (e.g. punctuality,
content, presentation) against which your ‘customer’ judges the ‘quality’ of
your product.
(c) Discuss your findings with your ‘customer’ and the extent to which you are
meeting/exceeding expectations.
(2) (a) Similarly list your internal ‘suppliers’ (i.e. those who are expected to
produce things for you and on whom you depend for your effectiveness).
(b) Choose one or more of them, list what you expect them to produce and
the criteria by which you judge their ‘products’.
(c) Discuss your conclusions with your ‘supplier’.
Choose one ‘process’ for which you are primarily responsible (e.g.
establishing your departmental budget) and one in which you are involved
(e.g. organizing parents’ evening, preparing the timetable). Describe each
‘process’ as it currently happens. List any problems the last time the
‘process’ was run. Amend the ‘process’ so as to reduce or eliminate these
problems. How would you ensure that the amended ‘process’ was followed?
Since 2001 charities have been required by law to submit risk-management
statements with their annual reports, confirming that the major risks to which
the charity is exposed, as identified by the trustees, have been reviewed and
systems have been established to mitigate those risks. Although it is only
compulsory for schools in the charitable sector, it is good management practice
for all schools to take stock annually of the risks they face. This enables heads
to focus attention on mitigating the most serious risks, and is helpful as a
defence if negligence is alleged after a serious untoward incident.
Although legal responsibility rests with the governors (trustees) or the
LEA, advice will be required from heads and senior staff. The first step is to
identify all risks that the school faces from any source whatsoever; this is best
done by assembling groups to brainstorm them. Examples of risks are: fraud
or embezzlement, expenditure exceeds income with no reserves to draw on,
failure of IT systems, loss of key staff, accidents, a child abuse incident,
litigation and loss of reputation. They can then be placed in categories, so that
similar risks can be combined if necessary. Next comes a process of scoring
(say, out of 10); judgments are made of the impact of the risk if the worst
should happen, also of the likelihood of it occurring. The product is the ‘risk
score’. Ways of addressing the risk are then identified, and any explanatory
notes added. The results are tabulated as in Figure 12.1.
High-impact, low-likelihood risks may be insurable. Low-impact, highlikelihood risks require alert day-to-day management attention. Highimpact, high-likelihood risks (say, scores greater than 30, depending on the
school’s risk tolerance) require specific attention and regular monitoring.
Focus on what really matters and don’t waste time agonizing about minor
risks. Can the risk be avoided by ceasing an activity? Can it be transferred by
outsourcing the activity? Can it be controlled by introducing new procedures? Are the benefits of accepting the risk commensurate with the
drawbacks of running the risk? Remember that life is inherently a risky
business and excessive risk aversion can be damaging. Thus prohibiting
conkers and skipping to reduce the risk of children hurting themselves courts
ridicule and prevents the school from fulfilling its statutory obligation to
teach children to look after themselves by learning the technique of risk
In a book of this kind it is not appropriate to go into the many detailed
regulations covering health and safety in schools. For these we would refer
Score Category
Details of risk Likelihood Impact How to address
School 2 m
away set
Health &
Install movementactivated CCTV
system & alarm
Figure 12.1 Risk assessment report – by risk score
you to the sources listed at the end of the chapter and, for a readable overview,
to David Brierley’s Health and Safety in Schools (1991) of which details are also
given at the end of this chapter. Since its publication, inspectors have started
to devote more attention to emotional health (work-induced stress). Our
purpose here can only be to discuss some of the key issues and principles
involved in the management of risk, health and safety in schools.
Liability at civil law
If a pupil, a member of staff or, indeed, any person suffers injury or loss as a
result of the act or omission of any other person or persons, the injured person
may be able to sue the person whose act or omission has caused the injury or
loss, for compensation or ‘damages’. Whether or not an action will succeed
depends on whether the defendant is deemed to have been ‘negligent’ and/
or ‘in breach of statutory duty’.
For a person to be deemed ‘negligent’ it is necessary to show that the
person being sued might reasonably have foreseen that his or her act or
omission could cause loss or injury of the kind actually caused to the sort of
person of the kind actually injured. Furthermore, people are expected to take
special account of the sometimes irresponsible behaviour of children
according to their age.
‘Breach of statutory duty’ occurs if the defendant has failed to comply with
one of the many regulations which exist and, in consequence, injury or loss is
caused to a person of the kind the regulation was intended to protect.
In either of the above cases the person causing the loss or injury will be
required to compensate the injured party to the extent required to restore as
nearly as possible the injured party to the situation and quality of life that he
or she enjoyed before the accident. In the case of physical injury, damages can
be enormous, though they may be reduced to the extent that the injured
person caused the injury by his or her own folly (‘contributory negligence’).
The good – or rather better – news for schoolteachers is that, provided that
they are acting in the course of their employment, the injured party may,
instead of suing them personally, sue his or her employer (i.e. LEA, school
governors or school owner), and this the injured party will usually do,
because the employer will be insured and will, in any case, be more able to
pay than the teacher.
Liability at criminal law
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 places a duty on every employer
to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at
work of employees. It requires the employer to prepare a written policy
statement on safety and to bring it to the notice of employees, to train
employees, to provide safe equipment and a safe system of work and to meet
with safety representatives appointed by a union. In the school context, this
means that the safety of teachers must be protected.
The Act goes on to say that an employer must ‘conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, as far as is reasonably practical, that
persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not exposed
to risks to their health and safety’. This section (5.3) of the Act therefore
means that the school must be run so as to protect the safety of children,
parents and the general public.
In case this is not enough Section 4 of the Act says that controllers of any
non-domestic premises must ensure that they are safe.
So far the person made liable is, in a school context, the LEA. However, the
teacher is caught by Section 7 which requires an employee ‘to take reasonable
care for the health and safety of himself and others who may be affected by
his acts or omissions at work’ and to ‘co-operate’ with the employers in
carrying out his or her duties.
If the employer and/or the employee fails in these duties, whether or not
there is an accident, they may be prosecuted and fined.
The law is enforced by inspectors of the Health and Safety Executive
who have wide powers to visit and investigate. They may also issue
‘improvement’ or ‘prohibition’ notices if they find anything to be unsafe.
Until recently the Health and Safety Executive left schools in relative
peace, but there have now been several prosecutions of schools and school
staff, notably for failure to take adequate precautions in science laboratories
and use available safety equipment. There have also been prosecutions for
more general safety failures such as unsafe wiring or allowing young
children to use scissors with points.
As we have already said, a book such as this cannot go into the detailed
regulations and guidance pertaining to the many and varied aspects of school
life. What we can do is to suggest a framework for health and safety which
publication of a school safety policy or policies;
training of staff and pupils;
consultation with safety representatives;
allocation of safety responsibilities;
hazard-spotting and risk analysis; and
emergency procedures.
The active use of such a framework will not only make the school a safer
place but will also go a long way to satisfying the requirements of the Health
and Safety Executive and Ofsted inspectors.
Let us now look at each of the framework elements in turn.
Safety policies
As we have already mentioned, the Health and Safety at Work Act requires:
Every employer to prepare (and as often as may be appropriate revise) a written
statement of his general policy with respect to
(a) the health and safety at work of his employees; and
(b) the organization and arrangements for the time being for carrying out
that policy;
and bring the statement and any revision of it to the notice of all his employees.
This is all the guidance that the Act gives, but for practical purposes there will
be a policy published by the LEA and there should also be a separate policy
for each school. Both these policies should be displayed on a notice-board,
included in any literature given to staff for their guidance and discussed during
any health and safety training sessions. We suggest that the content of the
policy should express a general commitment to the health and safety of staff
and pupils and go on to cover the other items in our ‘framework’.
Training of staff and pupils
The school should ensure that all staff are familiar with the safety policy and
know how to carry it out. They should also recognize that they have a duty to
teach children how to recognize hazards, assess and control risks and behave
safely (QCA/HSE, 1999). Ofsted inspectors will require proof of this. A useful
leaflet entitled Preparing Young People for a Safer Life was issued in 2000 (HSE/
IOSH/CCC, 2000).
The Social Security Act 1975 requires that an accident book be kept.
Training should include the procedure for logging all accidents and for the
reporting of more serious accidents to the local office of the Health and Safety
Executive on form 2508 by the quickest means available (i.e. e-mail or fax). Staff
should also be taught – and given a choice to practise – ‘hazard-spotting’ and
‘risk assessment’.
Consultation with safety representatives
A recognized trade union has a legal right to appoint one or more safety
representatives to
(1) represent the interests of employees;
(2) receive information from the employer; and
(3) carry out inspections or investigations.
Whether or not a union has exercised this right we would strongly advise any
school to ensure that one or more members of staff have specific responsibility
for co-ordinating health and safety matters and bringing issues up in
management and staff meetings. These representatives may also organize
training and the dissemination of information.
Safety responsibilities
No one person should alone be responsible for safety throughout a school
and its activities. Responsibility and accountability should be allocated among
the members of staff ensuring that everyone knows who is primarily responsible for safety in respect of
(1) each part of the school premises (office, classroom, laboratory, playing
(2) each school activity (drama, school trips, parents’ evenings); and
(3) each piece of school equipment.
Particular attention should be paid to areas of overlap (e.g. a trip organized
by the drama group or music department) or gaps between two areas
(staircases, corridors). It should also be clear how responsibility is shared
among the LEA, the governors and the school staff.
Although one person cannot cover all these areas, one person should
certainly have clear responsibility for ensuring that they are adequately
covered by appropriate members of staff, and this person could also organize
training. Ofsted inspectors will ask specifically whether such a person has
been appointed.
Hazard-spotting and risk analysis
The fundamental task of anyone who is accountable for an area, an activity or
equipment is to identify actual or potential hazards associated with his or her
sphere of accountability. This ‘hazard-spotting’ can be a fun activity for
Hazards can be of two kinds:
(1) Physical (electric cables, slippery floors, torn carpets).
(2) Behavioural (running in corridors, throwing objects, cutting wood
towards one’s fingers, balancing books on top of lockers).
Often hazards have both a physical and behavioural aspect, especially where
pupils are concerned.
One very important means of identifying hazards is to read the accident
book. If several minor accidents have happened for the same reason and
nothing has been done about it, you will be wide open to prosecution under
the Health and Safety at Work Act – and rightly so!
How big is the ‘risk’ associated with a particular hazard is a multiple of
two factors:
(1) The probability that an accident will occur.
(2) The potential seriousness of an accident.
The greater the risk, the more important it is that some action is taken to
eliminate or reduce it.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992, which
are the result of a European directive, prescribe (regulation 3) that ‘every
employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment’ of risks. The
employer should then try (in turn) the following means of combating the
(1) Eliminate it or find a harmless substitute (e.g. replace all spirit-based
marker pens by water-based).
(2) Where possible adapt the workplace to the individual and not vice versa.
(3) Try to reduce the risk (rounded not pointed scissors, tape down electric
(4) Prevent access to the risk (rope off newly washed floor, lock laboratories).
(5) If all else fails, provide protective equipment (e.g. goggles) for
individuals who may be exposed.
In all events give warning of the risks!
A suggested form for carrying out risk assessments is shown in Figure
12.2, and these should be used and kept for any major hazards that are
Emergency procedures
Finally, there should be clear procedures for dealing with accidents, illness
and emergencies when these occur. These procedures should include
alarm procedures;
evacuating the building and assembling for roll call;
use of emergency equipment;
first aid in the event of accidents (who is trained?);
summoning emergency services; and
controlling the scene of an accident (probably the task of the staff
member responsible for co-ordinating safety).
(NB Use a rating scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high) where appropriate)
Possible or known consequences – and to whom
• Frequency rating
• Seriousness rating
Existing controls
Suggested further action(s)
Resources needed and cost
Figure 12.1
Risk assessment
All these procedures should be made known to all staff and to the children as
appropriate, and practised.
Although we cannot go into the many regulations affecting the various aspects
of school life, it is useful to look in greater detail at three areas of current
interest which affect all teachers:
(1) Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.
(2) Display Screen Equipment Regulations.
(3) Out-of-school activities.
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)
The COSHH regulations date from 1988 and concern substances such as
solvents, cleaning fluids, paints, chemicals and even Tipp-Ex. Various objects
containing such substances (e.g. permanent marker pens) are included.
It is a legal requirement that a written ‘risk assessment’ should be prepared for any such substance that is used on school premises. The Health and
Safety Executive suggests that an assessment should involve the following
What substances are present? In what form?
What harmful effects are possible?
Where and how are the substances actually used or handled?
What harmful substances are given off, etc.?
Who could be affected, to what extent and for how long?
Under what circumstances?
How likely is it that exposure will happen?
What precautions need to be taken to comply with the rest of the COSHH
We would also suggest that the assessment should include the immediate
action to be taken in case of an accident involving the substance.
The best way of dealing with hazardous substances is, of course, to
exclude them or replace them by a non-hazardous alternative.
Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
These regulations, which were created to protect habitual computer users,
combined with other 1992 regulations to determine the running of offices.
Though few dramatic accidents occur in offices, hazards often include trailing
wires, guillotines, innumerable boxes over which people can trip, typist chairs
which are unstable or cause back injury over time, loose carpet, precariously
poised kettles and solvents.
The Display Screen Equipment regulations call for a risk analysis of
‘workstations’ – i.e. not just the computer but also desks, chairs, space,
lighting, heat, reflection and glare and humidity. Things that should be
checked include the trunking of wires, whether typists’ swivel chairs have
five feet and not four.
Furthermore, it is a requirement that the employer should provide
eyesight tests at the request of any habitual user of display-screen equipment
and provide corrective appliances for display-screen use where ‘normal
corrective appliances cannot be used’ and the test finds special appliances to
be necessary (e.g. persons wearing bifocal spectacles often need a special pair
for computer use and these the employer must pay for).
Finally there is a requirement that people using display-screen equipment
should have ‘periodic breaks or changes in activity’.
(1) Define what you understand to be your accountability for safety in terms of
(a) areas of school premises;
(b) equipment; and
(c) activities.
(2) List any ‘grey’ areas where responsibility is unclear.
(3) For either ‘a’ or ‘b’ or ‘c’ above make lists of
(a) behavioural hazards; and
(b) physical hazards.
(4) Carry out a risk analysis for one or more of these hazards.
Out-of-school activities
For educational visits the same general principles apply as for in-school
activities, and these are the subject of guidelines issued by the DfES (DfES,
1998 and 2002). The 2002 supplements to this Good Practice Guide, available
from www.teachernet.gov.uk/visits, are particularly helpful.
One supplement deals with managing safety in outdoor adventurous
activities, which are part of the National Curriculum and are compulsory at
Key Stage 2. If such activities are to present the kind of challenge that
underpins effective learning, there must be an element of risk attached. Part
of the skill of conducting such activities is to enable children to experience the
thrill associated with high perceived risk, while responsibly containing the real
risk at acceptable levels. As most children are adventurous creatures anyway,
it is safer to expose them to controlled risk situations than to let them take
unsupervised risks on their own.
Some schools allow their teachers to supervise such activities and even
have their own outdoor activity centres. Others take children to specialist
centres, run either by the LEA or by charitable or commercial organizations.
If schools provide their own activities, the head must ensure that they are
conducted safely in compliance with the 1974 Act and 1992 Regulations.
Teachers have been sent to prison for infringing these. LEA outdoor education advisers or other specialist advisers should always be consulted. It is
imperative to check that, where the activities come within the scope of a
national governing body of sport (such as Mountain Training UK or the
British Canoe Union), the teachers in charge have the requisite NGB
qualification at a level appropriate to the activity and context, and that the
qualification has not expired. Most serious accidents occur with unqualified
staff in charge, and a BEd or PGCE is no guarantee of competence in the
outdoors. However, a Scottish or National Vocational Qualification in
Outdoor Education, Development Training and Recreation provides better
evidence of competence because several of the constituent units cover health
and safety in the outdoors and are linked to NGB requirements. Another
useful qualification, Accredited Practitioner of the Institute for Outdoor
Learning (APIOL), is just being piloted.
Contrary to public perception, most specialist outdoor activity centres
maintain high safety standards, according to the Health and Safety
Executive, which carried out 200 inspections in 1994 and 1995. This remains
the case in 2003, when the Health and Safety Commission wrote: ‘Given the
number of people participating in adventurous activities, the sector is considered to be of low risk in comparison to other industries’ (HSC/03/38:
www.hsc.gov.uk). Additional assurance is provided by their membership of
the British Activity Holiday Association (BAHA: comprising mostly
commercial organizations) or of the Development Training Employers
Group (DTEG, of which Everard is chair, is a consortium of 11 leading
educational charities specializing in outdoor learning). However, the best
assurance derives from the regulations that were developed by the Health
and Safety Executive following the passage of the Activity Centres (Young
Persons’ Safety) Act 1995. These are administered by the Adventurous
Activities Licensing Authority which inspects centres’ safety provision and
issues licences to those that comply (www.aala.org.uk). Not all centres, and
not all activities within centres, are subject to this registration and inspection
scheme, but those that are cannot trade legally without a licence.
Although the management of safety in outdoor activities is loaded with
regulations, it is important to put the actual risk into perspective. More
children get hurt travelling to outdoor centres than once they get there. And
always remember the words of the Health and Safety Executive’s publication
on Safety Principles for Nuclear Plants: ‘A safety culture should be established
which will enhance and support the safety actions and interactions of all
managers’; so with schools, in every department and activity.
(1) ‘Teachers have their work cut out simply teaching the curriculum;
quality, health and safety management must come second.’ Why is
this wrong?
(2) What else can be done in your school to get quality and safety
management ‘into the bloodstream’?
(3) Employers who have endangered mental health and emotional
safety have been brought to justice. What are the implications of this
for school managers?
Brierley, D. (1991) Health and Safety in Schools, Paul Chapman Publishing, London.
Crosby, P.B. (1993) Quality is Free: Making Quality Certain in Uncertain Times, McGrawHill, Maidenhead.
Crosby, P.B. (1995a) Quality without Tears: Art of Hassle-free Management, McGraw-Hill,
Crosby, P.B. (1995b) Reflections on Quality, McGraw-Hill, Maidenhead.
Deming, W.E. (1992) The Deming Management Method: The Complete Guide to QM,
Mercury Business Books, Burien.
Health and Safety Executive (1995) Managing Health and Safety in Schools, HSE Books,
Juran, J.M. (1994) Managerial Breakthrough: The Classic Book on Improving Management
Performance, McGraw-Hill, Maidenhead.
Ofsted (1994) Handbook for the Inspection of Schools, Consolidated Edition, HMSO,
West-Burnham, J. (1997) Managing Quality in Schools, Financial Times Prentice Hall,
Managing Resources
Our ability to develop the curriculum in the way that we wish to achieve our
objectives as a college, school or department will, of course, depend on the
resources that are available to us. However, it is extremely important to ensure
that the tail does not wag the dog, that the content of the education that we
offer is not determined by the resources most easily available to us, rather
than by the needs of our pupils.
Unfortunately, resources always seem to be most freely available in the
areas where they are least needed. This is particularly true of teaching staff,
who are most readily available for those subjects of which commercial
employers have the least need. If we advertise for historians or English
specialists we probably have a number of applicants of high calibre, but to
recruit an ICT specialist, mathematician, linguist, physicist or engineer may
not prove so easy. In consequence the best teachers in many staff-rooms are
those whose subjects are least useful commercially. These teachers are likely
to be the most persuasive both in curriculum discussions and in influencing
pupils’ choice of options. Does a pupil choose a subject because he or she has
an innate bent for it, or because the subject has been well taught, has been
made interesting and is likely to be taught in such a way as to achieve exam
success? The risk in such a situation is that we produce more and more
people with the least-needed skills.
A similar phenomenon occurs with equipment, and schools can easily
become the repositories for cheap junk or, even worse, expensive junk
sold to education authorities at ‘bargain’ prices. A powerful, high-quality
computer whose manufacturer has gone out of business and for which there
is very limited software may be of doubtful benefit even at a knock-down
We must therefore be clear in our resolve to define the needs of our pupils
and therefore our educational goals. Though resources may mean that the
swing towards these goals has to be moderate, we must nevertheless attempt
to make the transition and develop our resources very deliberately in the
desired direction. When staff or equipment have to be replaced, we should
see an opportunity for change and question whether we really wish to
replace like with like.
One valuable resource which tends to be underutilized in schools is women.
Since the first edition of this book was published, the feminist movement has
strongly infiltrated education, but there is further to go before women are
adequately valued in management roles. Women headteachers are underrepresented in relation to the proportion of women teachers, yet there is no
doubting their competence in senior management roles, both within education
and outside. History, tradition and male prejudice, rather than objective
rationality, underpin this state of affairs; strategic planning is needed to redress
it, if resources are not to be squandered.
Adler et al. (1993) and Ouston (1993) have investigated the problem and
identified a number of causes: stereotypes of women and managers; shortage
of role models; women’s comparative lack of confidence; interference with
family life; and clients’ expectations.
Some ways of improving the position of women in education are equal
opportunities policies, monitoring selection procedures, equal access to
INSET, mentoring, networking and support groups. The gradual shift from
authoritarian to participative school cultures, and the adoption of styles of
management that better match the prevailing values of women, will also
help. We do not think it useful to regard (as some authors have done) some
management approaches as gender specific. In our experience, some men are
just as capable of adopting a so-called ‘feminine’ style of management as
some women adopt a ‘masculine’ style. It is always important to suit
behaviour to circumstances, and there will be times when heads need to
display a Thatcherite resoluteness or a Ghandian gentleness, whatever their
Resources are usually classified as
(1) human;
(2) material; and
(3) financial.
As far as educational establishments are concerned, the prime concern is how
we share limited finance between the human and material in order to achieve
our goals more effectively. The investment can take the form of maintaining
or developing existing resources or of acquiring new resources. Investment
may also take the form of buying in goods or services from contractors. The
question is, or should be, how do we invest limited financial resources so as
to maximize the benefit to the school? The question is doubly pertinent when
the money available to schools is not increased, or is even reduced, from year
to year despite increasing costs of equipment and salaries. Difficult choices
have to be made, including those of making staff redundant in order to remain
viable. It is also a distasteful fact of life that less experienced but lower-paid
staff may well be a better bargain than experienced staff. Industry has long
known this and remuneration tends therefore to be linked only to competence
whatever the age or experience.
Independent schools have long had to manage their own finances, including
how they obtain those finances. ‘Local management of schools’ (LMS) has
given to maintained schools the freedom to apply financial resources in the
way that the governors and head believe to be most appropriate, and they are
now able to switch expenditure according to need.
Under LMS schools control
costs of teaching and non-teaching staffs;
heating, cleaning and decorating of premises;
supplies, services, books and equipment;
some elements of capital expenditure;
the use of any income they can raise; and
relative spending under each of the above headings.
They are able to carry a limited amount of overspending or underspending
forward to the next year, and can modify their spending plans to deal with
unforeseen problems such as staff sickness provided that they stay within their
cash limits.
LEAs may decide whether or not to delegate additional responsibilities
including those for
(1) school meals (unless the school can show that it can provide these more
(2) particular services (e.g. psychologists);
(3) major repairs and maintenance of premises; and
(4) special staff costs (e.g. long-term supply cover).
What LEAs are not able to delegate are
(1) ‘major capital’ expenditure (i.e. major investments with a life of more
than one year, for example in land and buildings);
(2) LEA administration and inspection;
(3) home-to-school transport; and
(4) government or EU grant-aided project costs.
While the introduction of LMS has given schools freedom, the exercise of this
freedom has meant that heads and senior staff have had to master the
techniques of costing, budgeting, negotiating, contracting and financial control.
While the support of a bursar or other specialist administrator can be of help,
all the experience of independent schools, industry and small business goes
to show that to leave finance completely to the specialist is a recipe for
frustration, conflict and disaster.
The effective manager of resources will constantly be asking two questions:
(1) Looking at the present and past, am I making effective use of the
resources available to me?
(2) Looking at the future, what is the most cost-effective way of achieving
my goals?
While ‘benefit’ in education will not usually be measurable in financial terms,
it is usually possible, and convenient, to reduce the resources used to a common
denominator of money.
Some areas in which cost/benefit analysis can pay off in a school or college
(1) the use of time;
(2) teaching staff/equipment/ancillary staff choices; and
(3) training decisions.
The cost of time
Calculating the cost of time is a salutary exercise for most organizations. A
person does not simply cost the organization his or her salary but also
employer’s contribution to National Insurance;
employer’s contribution to superannuation;
a proportion of common-room costs (furnishings, heating, lighting, etc.);
stationery, textbooks, etc., for personal use;
meals (if supplied), etc.; and
INSET including supply cover.
These costs, if aggregated, mean that the real annual cost of a teacher is
something between 1.5 and 2 times his or her salary. Allowing for holidays
and weekends, teachers work for 195 days a year in the maintained sector
and between a six- and eight-hour day depending on the time we allow for
out-of-school activities.
If we assume a salary of £20,000 a year, therefore, some simple arithmetic
tells us that the cost of an hour’s time is something between £20 and £25. A
two-hour staff meeting of twenty people, therefore, costs between £800 and
£1,000. This may, of course, be money well spent, and it may be argued that
some staff would not be doing anything else if they were not at the meeting.
However, we should constantly be aware that we are using a valuable
resource and ask whether we are getting the benefit which should flow from
the investment.
Teaching staff/equipment/ancillary staff choices
In choosing equipment for the office or classroom, cost/benefit analysis should
be a normal routine. Will a new telephone system really bring savings in staff
time and/or some benefit that we can use in terms of our goals? If we get an
interactive whiteboard, how will it improve the quality of our teaching, either
directly or by freeing staff time? In the case of equipment, it should not be
forgotten that the true figure for comparison will usually be the cost over a
period of, say, a year. This will be a ‘depreciation’ cost (usually about a quarter
of the capital cost) plus a maintenance cost.
There is, of course, no justification for saving staff time, unless that time
can be put to other productive use or unless the net result is that we can cut
staff numbers. Turning the argument the other way, of course, if staff cuts are
imposed, an investment in equipment may be needed to maintain the quality
of teaching.
Training decisions
Training should be seen as an investment and it should be remembered that
the greatest cost element in training someone is his or her time, or that of the
equivalent supply teacher. On this basis it is false economy to save money on
course fees if pupils will then be taught less efficiently.
In all the above examples, the point is not that cost/benefit analysis will
yield a result one way or the other. What matters is that we get into the habit
of assessing proposals in terms of their cost and benefits, however difficult it
may be to estimate the latter. Ofsted standards and the emphasis on best
value should help.
The four principles of best value have become central to the work of the Audit
Commission in evaluating whether public money is being well spent. The
same principles are used by Ofsted inspectors, who are required to answer
the question ‘Are the principles of best value central to the school’s
management and use of resources?’
The four principles are
(1) Challenge, e.g. do we need to do this/buy this at all? What are we trying
to achieve?
(2) Compare, e.g. prices, different approaches.
(3) Consult, e.g. those who would be affected by a decision to buy new
(4) Compete – obtain/provide the best possible service at the best possible
price by, e.g., a tendering process.
Ofsted will make a judgement as to how well these principles pervade not
just the provision of material resources, but also all management activities
and decision-making. There is no need for increased bureaucracy and
paperwork, and most schools are used to applying principles 2 and 4, and to
a lesser extent 3. However, we would suggest that the principle of challenge
is not widely used and school managers would benefit their schools by
applying it consistently.
Fundamental to the success of investment decisions is that they are planned
through the process of budgeting. Budgeting should start with the school
development plan (see Chapter 11):
(1) What do we wish to achieve?
(2) What are our priorities?
(3) What do we need to do in order to reach our objectives?
What we then need to do is to see how we can best use the ‘budgets’ available
to us. This process is an ideal application for a spreadsheet computer model
with headings of cost down the side, months of the year across the top and, of
course, the appropriate formulae to total by type of cost and by month.
Last year’s costs will be a good starting point, but it is dangerous simply to
extrapolate, and real value comes from challenging every item of cost to see
whether it is really appropriate at that level for the coming year or whether a
better result may be achieved by cutting one item and increasing another.
Assumptions made should be written down in a plan, e.g. ‘We shall reduce
the cost of cleaning by employing Easisweep Contractors.’ ‘The maintenance
budget is increased by £X to allow for the re-painting of …’
In going through the budget, thought should be given also to increasing
revenue through, for example
(1) fund-raising;
(2) selling off unwanted equipment; and
(3) hiring out the school premises (not, of course, forgetting any additional
All this effort in drawing up a budget is, of course, to no avail unless actual
expenditure is monitored against it on a periodic basis, normally a calendar
or lunar month. The latter concept (i.e. 13 × four-week periods) often gives a
better comparison since we are comparing like with like.
Figure 13.1 gives a typical spreadsheet for budgetary control. For some of
the main headings you may need to have subsidiary spreadsheets (e.g.
teaching salaries by department).
Period 1
Period 2
Actual Variance Budget Actual Variance
Cumulative to date
................. Budget Actual Variance
Teaching staff
Employment costs
Other salaries
Employment costs
Figure 13.1
Budget monitoring
In order to help control, the figures used should be those for costs which
are incurred for that period, i.e. though we may not have paid a bill or indeed
received a bill, we must include any money that we have used for that period.
This latter process is known as ‘accruing’, and we do it because the last thing
that we want is a nasty shock when the bills catch up with us as they
inevitably will.
Most crucial of all is that at the end of each period the head should review
variances with the governors and senior staff and decide what action, if any,
needs to be taken.
We have dealt with the control of human resources at some length in Chapters
1, 6 and 10. The control of our material resources must also be considered. It
involves the following:
(1) Making sure that our material resources are actually present by keeping
up-to-date inventories which are periodically checked.
(2) Ensuring that someone is clearly responsible for the control and
maintenance of each piece of equipment.
(3) Reviewing the use to which resources are being put. This procedure has
the benefits of
(a) making us realize where equipment or space is available for some
other use;
(b) causing us to think about clearing out (preferably selling) redundant
equipment; and
(c) sometimes reminding staff that there is a resource available about
whose potential they have forgotten.
A problem faced by schools is that resources in which we have previously
invested may not fit the needs that have now been defined for the year ahead.
Whether we actually achieve our aim depends on an ability to match our
resources to it. Cost/benefit analysis, budgeting and resource control are tools
which help us to invest money wisely and to avoid waste. However, in times
of limited resources, success calls for ‘helicopter’ thinking and imagination.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Again commitment will depend on
involving staff via techniques which have been discussed in Part I of
this book, but every attempt should be made to avoid conventional
The basis for discussion should be a factual analysis of what exists and
how the resources are being used. We need
(1) a profile of staff against subjects taught and numbers of pupils;
(2) an inventory of all staff skills including those which are not currently
being used. Such an inventory should include not only subjects but also
teaching approaches;
(3) an inventory of equipment and how it is used;
(4) a review of available space and how it is being used; and
(5) an assessment of available and potential sources of finance.
Much of this information is required by Ofsted, and care should be taken not
to duplicate work or forms unnecessarily. Against the view of the present, we
can usefully set a view of the curriculum three years ahead with corresponding
profiles and inventories.
A more radical approach is that of ‘re-engineering’. This is very much in
vogue in the USA and involves imagining that we are starting from nothing
to create the best possible means of meeting future needs. These analyses are
excellent development projects for younger members of staff.
Finally, we need to look at how we can possibly move from the present to
the future. The widest ‘gaps’ can be identified and brainstorming used to
consider how these may be bridged. As a preliminary to the ‘gap-bridging’
brainstorm it may be useful to state some previously held assumptions about
education and ask that these and others are deliberately set aside during the
session. Typical such assumptions may be that
(1) teachers can only teach subjects that they know. (Can they not guide their
pupils in learning about what is unknown to both?);
(2) knowledge is more important than mental skills. (Perhaps we can
achieve school aims through any subject, if thinking skills are better
understood); and
(3) classes should be of uniform size and consist of regular groups. (Should
we not instead vary class sizes, so that very large groups attend ‘input’
sessions – i.e. lectures, videos, films – with the result that more teachers
are made available to run smaller, interactive discussion sessions?)
At the end of such a session the curriculum group will, of course, have to
reconcile their bright ideas with the realities of staff attitudes and what can be
done in one year. The outcome will be a compromise, but it should take the
form of an action plan to decide in which direction the ‘push’ should go, with
practical steps for moving in that direction and clear responsibility within the
school for making the moves and reporting back.
Typical actions could be to
(1) explore the possibilities of selling/buying unused/necessary
(2) make approaches for funds for a defined purpose; and
(3) ask a member of staff to consider how he or she might help pupils to
learn a new subject or to learn in a different way.
Given the financial constraints that apply to your school, consider how you would
ideally like to see the school staffed and equipped so as to best meet governmental
requirements and the needs of the pupils.
What are the pros and cons of financial autonomy for a school? What are
the key requirements for control?
The introduction of LMS led many maintained secondary schools to follow
the practice of independent schools in appointing a bursar. Some larger
primary schools now have bursars, and it is becoming increasingly common
for smaller schools to share a bursar or financial administrator. The growth in
the number of bursars has led to the formation of a professional association
and to training by LEAs and external providers. The job description will vary,
but typically bursars oversee financial expenditure, the management of the
site and the non-teaching staff. Some are given a major role in the preparation
of the school budget, but, as already pointed out, to leave finance completely
to the specialist is very unwise. All financial decisions must be based on
educational principles, and all senior staff should have at least a working
knowledge of budget preparation and monitoring (these aspects are covered
in the NPQH). Conversely, it is not sensible to expect the bursar to implement
decisions without understanding their rationale, and for this reason many
bursars are members of school senior leadership teams. A good bursar plays
a very valuable role in helping a school achieve its aims, and should be
given a correspondingly high level of salary, status and professional
Expenditure on schools has increased in real terms in recent years, but
there have been, and will continue to be, short-term problems of funding.
There will also be desirable projects which cannot be funded from delegated
funds. Schools need to be aware of all the many sources of alternative funds,
which include lottery funding, charitable funds, special grants from bodies
such as Sport England, and sponsorship from local or national companies.
Directories of grant-making bodies are useful sources of funds, and some
LEAs have officers to advise on lottery bids. A member of the senior
leadership team could have the responsibility to be aware of all funding
opportunities, and to prepare bids. If a major project is being contemplated, it
might be worth engaging a professional fund-raiser. You must ensure that he
or she belongs to a reputable firm with a track record of working with
schools, whose needs can be quite specific, and you should insist on talking
to other schools with which the company has worked. Will the fees be based
on the amount raised or be fixed? Will the fund-raiser be based in school?
How easily can the contract be ended if you are dissatisfied? For smaller
sums, you should consider forming a working party of staff, governors and
The use of independent contractors offers many attractions, particularly in
situations where unions or individuals have become so powerful that costs
have soared and the ‘tail wags the dog’. This has been known to happen with
caretakers, cleaners and kitchen staff! Among the advantages of using
independent contractors can be
(1) lower costs;
(2) fewer management problems, since the school deals principally with the
contractor alone and expects him or her to sort out any major issues;
(3) shedding of the problems and costs associated with employment of staff;
(4) the ability to terminate the services of the contractor at whatever notice
has been agreed.
On the other hand
(1) the school head may not have as much direct influence over staff;
(2) the management of health and safety may be more of a problem; and
(3) there can be difficulties in managing the contract.
Whether any of these last three problems actually occur will depend on the
quality of the contractor and of the contract.
The school may be required to, and certainly should in any event, ask at
least three contractors to tender for any contract. What is then important is
not to choose a supplier on price alone but on best value. The selection
process should certainly include an interview with whoever will manage the
contract, the taking up of references and a careful study of what is offered,
what guarantees are given and what mechanisms will be used to ensure
customer satisfaction. The health and safety policy of the contractor should
be studied and its conformity to the school’s policy and requirements, of
which the contractor must be informed. Last but not least, always insist on a
probationary period and remember that ‘cheap’ contractors can be very
Adler, S., Lang, J. and Packer, M. (1993) Managing Women, Open University Press,
Coleman, M. (2000) Managing Finance and Resources in Education, Paul Chapman
Publishing, London.
HMSO (1994) Buying for Quality: A Practical Guide for Schools to Purchasing Services, Her
Majesty’s Stationery Office, London.
Hywel, T. and Martin, J. (1995) Effectiveness of Schools and Education Resource Management,
University of Birmingham, Birmingham.
Knight, B. (1993) Financial Management for Schools, Heinemann, Oxford.
Ouston, J. (ed.) (1993) Women in Education Management, Longman, Harlow.
Managing the Environment
Although most of this chapter relates to the socio-political environment, it is
worth noting that both public opinion and legislation are facing managers
with increasing expectations that their schools will espouse ‘green’ values
and set an example of environmental protection. Educating children on how
to dispose tidily of litter is a continuing problem. Less well known is the duty
to ensure that all waste that has been in contact with bodily fluids (such as
wound dressings and tampons) should be separately stored in yellow plastic
bags and identified as hazardous.
The need to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases has led to initiatives
to save energy; even the national standards for managers include a unit to
‘identify improvements in energy efficiency’. Competence in sport and
recreation facility management is assessed against the backcloth of a number
of values including:
Respond to global environmental issues by economising in the use of energy
and non-sustainable resources, by avoiding destruction of natural resources, by
controlling pollution and by careful management of waste.
The Institute for Outdoor Learning, some of whose members supervise school
trips, have a fifteen-point policy for environmental sustainability as part of
their code of conduct, which enjoins members to conserve the natural
environment, be sensitive to the impact of their operations on the local
community and cultural setting and encourage knowledge, understanding
and respect.
Many heads ensure that such values and codes are instilled into the school
ethos and set an example by habitually picking up litter, switching off unnecessary power consumption and making the physical environment of their
school something to be proud of. Others, alas, seem not to care, thereby
spoiling the public’s image of the school and adding to the negative forces
that influence pupil behaviour.
In Chapter 9 we emphasized the importance of thinking of schools in the
context of their environment (Figure 9.3) and said that heads are having to
spend more time managing transactions across the boundary between their
school and its environment. Recent legislation has intensified this need.
Governing bodies have new powers and parents more rights. Although LEAs
now wield less political influence over schools, they are still significant
stakeholders, except for independent and foundation schools. Employers are
also an important constituency and can influence education both directly and
through bodies such as Learning and Skills Councils. It is therefore incumbent
on heads actively to shape community expectations of schools, to solicit cooperation and support for their activities and to build a public image.
For many heads, dealing with these outsiders is among the least enjoyable
aspects of their jobs (Jones, 1987). However, schools are not, and cannot be,
closed systems; their boundaries must be semi-permeable if they are to thrive
and respond to environmental change. The aim of heads and senior
managers should be to direct traffic across the boundary and to forge interdependent partnerships and understandings across it.
To assert this is not to deny the uneasy relationships that sometimes exist
with some parents, some governors and some elected LEA members. All can
interfere, disrupt and consume time and energy. But the coin has two sides:
they can also offer support, contribute and argue the school’s case. The
question is what heads can do to engender helpful behaviour, discourage
unhelpful and, where there is conflict, to manage it constructively.
Ignorance often lies at the root of conflict and misunderstanding; parents,
employers and teachers harbour myths about each other. The more we retreat
behind our boundaries, the less we comprehend each other’s worlds.
Schools, like industry, have to project an image and actively manage their
public relations; otherwise outsiders will form their own (probably mistaken)
impression of what they are like inside. A school where visitors feel welcome
and comfortable is less likely to engender antagonistic attitudes.
Even so, angry parents or neighbours will cross the boundary and heads will
be faced with managing conflict. The guidelines in Chapter 7 (which dealt
with internal conflict) still generally apply to conflict across the boundary:
thus heads should aim to lower the emotional temperature, steer away from
a win–lose situation towards a problem-solving approach and not start arguing
or driving parents into feeling that they have to make a stand for the sake of
honour. Self-control, listening skills and empathy are vital. Never assume that
the immediate problem has caused their anger; on many occasions you will
find that there is another, possibly more long-held, dissatisfaction with the
school, and today’s problem has been the last straw. Pause to think about and
then reflect back what has been said, to show you have listened, and
summarize at the end, including whatever action is agreed.
Always respect the position and feelings of parents; even if tempted to
think them stupid, show them the opposite, remembering that you would
probably feel the same way if you started from the same imperfect
knowledge base. For instance, some parents have been conditioned by their
experience of others in authority to tar heads with the same brush. Animosity
should therefore not be taken personally, but seen as directed towards the
authority role.
Running through the legislation is the notion of parents and teachers jointly
involved in children’s education: ‘pupils are to be educated in accordance
with the wishes of their parents’ (Education Act 1944). The 1981 Act and
Circular 1/83 see professionals and parents as partners in decision-making
about pupils with special educational needs (20 per cent according to the
Warnock Report). The 1988 Act requires parents to be involved in decisions
about departures from the National Curriculum.
Quite apart from the law, good practice requires heads to cultivate fruitful
relationships with the parent body. Problems are more easily resolved by
parents and teachers together than by either alone. Parents’ attitudes
strongly influence their children’s progress; so schools that set out to educate
parents can enhance the classroom experience. Moreover, reservoirs of talent
and goodwill exist among parents, and many surveys suggest that they
would like to be more involved with the life of the school. At primary level it
is known that parental involvement is a determinant of school effectiveness
(Mortimore et al., 1988). The Sussex Project showed that parents who gained
access to the classroom showed increased confidence in teachers. Joan Sallis
talks of ‘collaborative equality’: there should be consensus about objectives,
exchange of information about methods and dialogue to discuss the success
of what has been done (Glatter et al., 1988, p. 150). Such involvement works;
Everard witnessed in a project aimed at improving special needs provision
impressive contributions of ‘ordinary’ parents not only at the technical level
but also in the management of change. While teachers may have the edge
over parents in pedagogy, in management many parents can contribute on
more equal terms. The same goes for local employers.
Much the same also applies to the governing body as to the parent body, yet
the establishment of effective governing bodies is identified as one of the three
weakest areas of school management in an Ofsted report on leadership and
management (Ofsted, 2003). Again there is a legislative framework (especially
the 1986 and 1988 Acts): ‘In a well-managed school, the head and governing
body will work in a close and balanced partnership’ (DES, 1988). The necessary
changes in role relationships have taken some time to work through. The
transfer of power and responsibility within the LEA–governing body–school
system is a good example of strategic change, and several of the techniques
described in Part III are relevant to building a healthy working relationship.
Heads have a duty to advise and assist the governing body to discharge its
functions and many new governors pay tribute to the help they receive.
However, some heads try to keep governing bodies at arm’s length.
Governors can only help to the extent that they understand what the head is
trying to do and how he or she is doing it. This means sharing problems and
concerns as well as achievements, and soliciting help and advice. Reports to
governors should not be confined to factual reports of past activities; they
should also deal with philosophy, strategy and forward planning. Many
heads use the school development plan as a framework for their reports,
using it to comment on progress towards its objectives, and to generate
discussion on future opportunities.
A common complaint from businesspeople who become involved in
education is that the papers they get are prolix and not user-friendly. Since
schools are in the communication business by definition, they need to set
high standards in communicating with busy people unfamiliar with
teachers’ jargon. Another complaint is that meetings with educationists are
unproductive and inconclusive; although it is the responsibility of the chair
to conduct meetings, heads can offer valuable guidance, avoiding the traps of
overlong agendas and ill-prepared items (Chapter 5).
It is in the management of change that governors can be particularly
helpful, acting as sounding boards and evaluating the effects. Governors are
a potential resource for change and because of their position in the local
community may be more powerful advocates of the school and its needs than
the head himself or herself. Hence it pays to cultivate the friendship and
support of governors and to involve them in the work of the school.
Unfortunately, as Anne Jones (1987) found, this is seldom done well: ‘what
appears to be lacking between heads and governors is professional respect
and any sense of working together in a common cause.’
At the skills level, heads have much to learn from the methods used by
reputable sales representatives in industry for fostering beneficial relationships
with customers and getting them to buy products and ideas – sometimes called
the skills of persuasion. They are not as alien to the school culture as might be
supposed, for they are firmly based on consideration for others.
The key principle is empathy with the other party. Show respect for them
and their opinions. Present your ideas and proposals from their standpoint.
Understand their world. Consider their self-interest and what they are trying
to achieve by relating to the school (you may have to ask questions to find
out). Ask yourself how acceptance of your proposal can help them. Think of
the benefits to them, rather than letting them infer these from the features of
your proposal; you can turn a feature into a benefit by answering the
question ‘so what?’ Also list the drawbacks to them of rejecting your
proposal. Avoid, however, a long monologue; instead, use questions to
establish in their minds the problems and drawbacks which your proposal
will help to mitigate. Give time for points to sink in. Test reactions with
questions and watch non-verbal behaviour.
Since both emotion and logic influence decision-making, try to get the
other party into the right mood. Ascertain mood with a friendly question.
Establish enduring rapport and create an emotional bond. Look for ways of
offering a small service.
If you need a decision (e.g. agreement to provide resources), never end an
encounter without one, even if it is only agreement to make one at a specified
future meeting. Timing is of the essence in moving people towards
agreement. They may need nudging. Once there, sum up what has been
If the other party raises obstacles and difficulties, handle the situation as
you would manage conflict (see above and Chapter 7). Awkward or
antagonistic customers who always raise difficulties present a special
challenge. Try to soften your attitude towards them. Understand their mood,
use tact and work through their objectives. Such negative people tend to lack
friends, so if you can get through to them emotionally, you are home and dry.
Follow these precepts with sincerity and you will acquire a reputation as
firm, considerate and ‘someone I can do business with’. Your propositions
and ideas will become more ‘yes-able’, though you may not clinch them all.
(An exercise in empathy) List some adjectives and phrases or draw some cartoons
that you think governors would use to caricature your school.Then construct in the
same way your image of the governing body. How do you want each image to change?
What should be your first steps in bringing about the change?
An Ofsted inspection may be seen as a working relationship between two
teams with the common ultimate objective of school development. The
framework of inspection provides the guidelines for each team to follow. The
Ofsted team (the ‘joiners’) will want to garner information as effectively as
possible; the school team (the ‘steerers’) to present this information in the
best possible light.
Some of the general principles that apply to inter-team interactions are
identified in Coverdale training (Babington Smith and Sharp, 1990):
(1) Do not over-concentrate on the content of the inspection, but think about
the processes and the relationships.
(2) Prepare well and agree the main procedures with the inspection team.
(3) Ensure that the inspection team understands the school’s situation and
the work already done by the school (e.g. a development plan). Forms
S1–S4 are crucial in ensuring that the inspection team are given accurate
information about the school’s context. Wide consultation with staff,
governors and other stakeholders will ensure that when the team arrives,
everyone is well prepared to answer their questions.
(4) Agree what has to be done and the priorities, and a rough timetable.
(5) If the school team is to contribute willingly and effectively, they must be
able to understand clearly and identify with the aims being pursued.
(6) The more people see their abilities, experience and ideas being respected
and valued, the more willing to help they tend to be.
The independent review of inspection quality (Ofsted, 1995) showed a high
degree of professionalism among those in both teams, and three-quarters of
the schools surveyed were broadly satisfied with the inspection process.
Schools prepare very thoroughly for inspection and most heads report that
this is an effective team-building exercise. By following the systematic
approach (Chapter 10) self-appraisal, review and evaluation are reinforced,
so try to see inspection in this light. Good relationships were usually
established (principle 1 above). Over two-thirds of headteachers were satisfied
with the management of the process (principles 1–4). Less well handled was
the involvement of staff in professional dialogues, and some support staff felt
marginalized. Not enough is done to allay the apprehension of the staff before
an inspection, which results in the ‘freezing’ of the school’s normal
development processes. The fact that no less than 90 per cent of schools report
that inspections are conducted efficiently, sensitively and constructively can
be used to allay such apprehension. Remember also that Ofsted encourages
feedback about their inspection teams and has its own process of quality
improvement, so they are on a learning curve as well as the school team.
Clearly heads must work to establish in their staff teams a positive attitude
towards inspection, emphasizing opportunities and strengths to counteract
the natural feelings of threat and fear of weaknesses – just as students are
advised before exams to focus on the hills of erudition rather than the pits of
ignorance. Ormston and Shaw (1994) express this as follows: ‘We believe that
the healthiest approach to inspection is one where school leaders inculcate in
staff an expectation that they will be confidently operating at the highest level
of quality assurances, rather than reacting to externally imposed quality
control resulting from the inspection.’
The identification of weaknesses is not the end of the world; in a school
that has developed a capacity for change (Chapter 16), it is a positive
advantage to acquire independent data, set against national benchmarks,
showing where there is scope for school improvement. A problem-solving
task group can then be set up to implement the necessary changes.
Although over 80 per cent of secondary heads are satisfied with the
inspection team’s overall judgements, there will be instances where these
judgements are called into question. Inspection is not an exact science, and
judgements have to be made against numerous criteria in limited time. Some
rough justice is inescapable in these circumstances. Heads may well have to
smooth ruffled feathers and encourage staff to apply their energies to
improvements that both teams agree to be necessary, and time may have to
elapse before defensiveness plays itself out and the justification for a
contested, adverse judgement sinks in. The fact that over four-fifths of
schools are broadly satisfied with the key issues for action in the inspection
report, as a basis for school development, indicates that well managed school
inspection has a useful part to play in the improvement process. Secondary
schools in particular have a high expectation of the potential for improvement and development afforded by inspection.
In common with other inspection processes (e.g. NVQ centre approval and
verification), school inspection generates much paperwork and is therefore
criticized as ‘bureaucratic’. This is indeed a problem, and needs managing.
You may need to deter those who have to complete the forms from being
over-zealous, and you may be able to negotiate with the registered inspector
some simplification of the paperwork. On no account assume he or she is
inflexible until you have tested it out. Speaking as an NVQ ‘inspector’, I
(Everard) like to believe that I am open to reason!
Inspectors have become more experienced in evaluating the quality of
management and leadership in schools, using the following criteria.
For management, they assess the extent to which there is:
• rigorous self-evaluation and effective use of findings;
• monitoring of performance data, then appropriate action;
• thorough and effective performance management of staff, including
support staff, in bringing about improvement;
• commitment to staff development;
• good management of recruitment, retention and deployment;
• acknowledgement of educational priorities in finance and resource
• application of the principles of ‘best value’.
For leadership, they look for:
• clear vision, sense of purpose, high aspirations and relentless focus on
pupil achievements;
• strategic planning;
• leaders inspiring, motivating and influencing staff and pupils;
• creation of effective teams;
• knowledgeable and innovative leadership of teaching and curriculum;
• commitment to an equitable and inclusive school where each individual
• good role models.
(Ofsted 2003)
These criteria, and the greater emphasis in the latest Framework (2003) on
inspecting a schools’s own self-evaluation processes, mean that preparation
for an inspection should not be undertaken in a great rush once the dreaded
‘brown envelope’ arrives in school. Good schools use the Ofsted Handbook
(2003) as an aid to better monitoring and evaluation in their normal planning
cycle. A useful exercise is to complete the self-evaluation form S4 each year.
Governors and middle managers should be asked to complete their own
versions, before drawing up a final version, in order to answer Ofsted’s
question, ‘does self-evaluation penetrate to the heart of the school?’
Special measures and superheads
At the end of Ofsted inspection, the team will decide whether it is necessary
to put the school into one of three categories:
(1) The school is failing, or likely to fail, to give its pupils an acceptable
standard of education, and thus requires special measures.
(2) Although providing an acceptable standard of education, nevertheless it
has serious weaknesses in one or more areas of its activities.
(3) Although not requiring special measures or having serious weaknesses,
it is underachieving.
If the school has a sixth form, it is judged to be ‘inadequate’ if it falls into one
of the first two categories above, and this judgement is separate from that on
the main school.
HMI are asked to corroborate that a school requires special measures and
may well visit the school to test whether the inspection team’s judgement is
well founded. HMI corroboration is not needed in the cases of serious
weaknesses or underachieving, but in all cases HMI will visit the school to
monitor progress in rectifying the problems. The LEA is required to support
schools in special measures or with serious weaknesses.
We sincerely hope that you never find yourself in the situation of having to
cope with the aftermath of such devastating Ofsted judgements and indeed if
you and other leaders follow the advice of this book, you are very unlikely to.
It is quite common for LEAs and/or governing bodies to pressurize headteachers of schools in special measures to resign, and to replace them with
headteachers seconded from other schools (often nicknamed ‘superheads’).
In extreme cases of schools failing to come out of special measures, they have
been closed and re-opened (sometimes with a change of name) under ‘Fresh
Start’ procedures. A school judged to need special measures or to have
serious weaknesses will be in shock, perhaps with staff denying that there are
serious problems, or becoming very demoralized. Stoll and Myers (1998)
include some very useful case studies of how schools in such situations were
turned around, and these and other studies indicate that a process similar to
coping with bereavement is common. The leaders in such schools have a
short time-frame (usually a maximum of two years) in which to bring the
school to an acceptable standard. This implies planning for a mixture of
changes which are highly visible and which restore the belief of staff, parents
and governors that someone knows what is to be done, with other changes
that take longer because they deal with the need to change ethos, values and
There are now some impressive examples of how schools can play a leading
role in developing their local community, thus fulfilling the oft-neglected
requirement in the Education Reform Act 1988 and subsequent legislation,
for schools to promote the development not only of pupils but also of society.
Government initiatives such as Education Action Zones and the requirement
placed on councils to establish Local Strategic Partnerships (on which schools
can be represented) have provided new opportunities for school leadership
to extend beyond school boundaries. Partnerships involving schools are
helping to build communities and establish community cohesion. A
government programme on ‘Extended Schools – Schools at the Heart of their
Community’ is supported by a DfES team and £100m funding over three
years (www.teachernet.gov.uk/extendedschools). A case study of this from
Barrow-in-Furness illustrates what can be achieved with imaginative
Case Study: Barrow Community Learning Partnership
The Director of the BCLP project, who is an ex-headteacher, and his deputy,
a former drama advisory teacher and head of arts faculty, have applied
their creative thinking to ‘promoting education which challenges, intrigues
and empowers’. Two senior educational psychologists left their LEA posts
to work within the partnership.
The team’s first days together were spent developing a shared vision,
using leadership development analysis to identify their strengths and
individual problem-solving approaches. This early vision was subsequently developed and adapted as the team trialled various initiatives
and projects within and with partnership schools. This was accompanied
by continuous and enthusiastic investigation of the latest research into
effective educational change (with the support and advice of Lancaster
University Centre for the Study of Education and Training colleagues,
Murray Saunders and Paul Davies) and developments in learning and
teaching methodology. Throughout the life of the partnership the team has
continued to adapt and reflect upon the process of change and how
experiences can be used to determine progression and effectiveness – and
subsequently raise self-esteem, expectations and achievement. Many of
the processes that they used match those described in Part III of this book.
BCLP is a ‘whole change project’ aimed at effecting gradual, but
sustainable, cultural change in the Barrow community, driven by a
‘values’-led vision. Initiatives have been sustained which demonstrated
those values and criteria identified as likely to encourage this cultural
development rather than a quick-fix, results-driven, short-term approach.
The team eventually worked towards developing a methodology,
which would encompass all these initiatives – ‘BarroWise’ - which is about
building wise learning communities, developing a wise set of principles
permeating all aspects of school life – and the wider community –
balancing the practical, creative and cognitive with the social and
emotional needs of individuals and the community.
These principles are turned into action within a range of school and
community groups through
thinking and reflection (cognitive domain);
feeling good about ourselves (emotional domain);
working, living and playing together (social domain);
making wise choices (balancing these domains).
New teaching methodologies have been widely introduced, such as brainbased learning, critical skills, the behaviour curriculum, philosophy for
children (P4C: www.sapere.net) and communities and inter-generational
work. The work of leading researchers such as Howard Gardner, Robert
Sternberg, Guy Claxton and Michael Fullan is being used within a context
of local research. A new dynamic relationship between teachers (facilitators)
and learners is instrumental in changing classrooms and schools.
BCLP has now developed its sphere of influence beyond the initial EAZ
5–16 education brief, through the establishment of two Network Learning
Communities and substantial strategic leadership in a range of local and
nationally funded projects – such as Furness Strategic Partnership,
Furness Education Consortium, Furness Education Business Partnership,
Children’s Fund, Cumbria 14–19 Pathfinder, etc.
This approach is beginning to bear fruit. An Ofsted inspection in 2003
gave a series of ‘outstanding’ grades for lessons conducted by a teacher
using Critical Skills and P4C techniques, who has subsequently become
one of only three qualified Critical Skills trainers in the UK. Lancaster
University’s Centre for the Study of Education and Training is gathering
extensive independent evidence of the success of the projects in terms of
participation, engagement, impact and transferability. Evaluation is
focused on the promotion of cultural change, not only within schools, but
also in the wider community.
Some 120 (25 per cent) of Barrow’s teaching force have been trained in
Critical Skills techniques, including the first FE college cohort in the UK.
Five teachers from Barrow attained UK trainer status in January 2004. The
Critical Skills programme throughout the UK and USA now uses a
demonstration video made in BCLP schools as evidence of this successful
practice both as a teaching methodology and as an agent for change.
BCLP has also worked closely with the Brathay Hall Trust, Ambleside, a
leading international provider of personal, educational and corporate
development programmes on a range of youth, professional and
leadership projects. These programmes include the setting up of peer
coaching within the BCLP team and school Senior Leadership Teams and
the development of leadership skills and strategies, with a former
Unilever manager acting as coach and mentor. These leadership groups
have been established to nurture professional development and create
leadership roles, not only in schools but also among parents and in the
local community, where teachers and support staff apply the skills
necessary to embed new approaches and technologies.
All this is based on an achievable, community-wide educational vision
for South Cumbria – an area associated with rural isolation and high levels
of social and economic disadvantage – in which schools and colleges are
central to the task of neighbourhood regeneration and renewal.
For more information contact [email protected]
If you send out signals that ‘people out there’ are enemies, they may behave like enemies, whereas if your regard them as potential allies, you will
often gain their support. Is this true? How can you get people to want to
help you?
Clegg, D. and Billington, S. (1994) Making the Most of Your Inspection, Falmer, London.
Dean, J. (1993) Managing the Secondary School (2nd edn), Routledge, London
(especially Chapter 12).
Dean, J. (1994) Managing the Primary School (2nd edn), Routledge,
Foskett, N. (ed.) (1999) Managing External Relations in Schools, Paul Chapman
Publishing, London.
Glatter, R. (1989) Educational Institutions and their Environments: Managing the
Boundaries, Open University, Milton Keynes.
Jones, A. (1987) Leadership for Tomorrow’s Schools, Blackwell, Oxford.
Ormston, M. and Shaw, M. (1994) Inspection: A Preparation Guide for Schools (2nd edn),
Longman, Harlow. Contains a useful set of practical actions at the end of each
Stoll, L. and Myers, K. (eds) (1998) No Quick Fixes: Perspectives on Schools in Difficulty,
Falmer Press, London.
West-Burnham, J. and Gelsthorpe, T. (2002) Educational Leadership in the Community:
Strategies for School Improvement through Community Engagement, Pearson
Education, Harlow.
Whalley, M. (2000) Involving Parents in their Children’s Learning, Paul Chapman
Publishing, London.
Woods, D. and Orlick, S. (1994) School Review and Inspection, Kogan Page, London.
Organizations are dynamically conservative: that is to say, they fight
like mad to remain the same. Only when an organization cannot repel,
ignore, contain or transform the threat, it responds to it. But the
characteristic is that of least change: nominal or token change.
(Donald Schon, 1971 Reith Lecture)
Change Described
How often we are aware that something is crying out to be changed, yet
somehow the sheer inertia of ‘the system’ proves too great to overcome. Since
managers are there to get things to happen, how is it that they so often fail to
achieve significant, timely or orderly change?
Industry, like education, has faced this problem for many years, and not
only is it now more clearly understood but it is also one that has become the
focus of a good deal of management training, with considerable success. In
the past, most training has been aimed at helping managers to manage the
status quo more efficiently but, as the environment becomes more turbulent,
so it becomes more important to develop their skill in coping with change,
and indeed in steering it. The Education Reform Act and subsequent
legislation have put change at the top of the agenda in schools.
The main thrust in raising managers’ capacity to manage change has
come from a set of behavioural science theories and approaches called
‘organization development’, usually abbreviated to ‘OD’. Schmuck et al.
(1977) are one of its leading proponents in the context of education. Fullan et
al. (1980), also proponents, have defined it thus:
OD in school districts is a coherent, systematically planned, sustained effort at
system self-study and improvement, focusing explicitly on change in formal
and informal procedures, processes, norms or structures, using behavioural
science concepts. The goals of OD include improving both the quality of life of
individuals as well as organizational functioning and performance, with a
direct or indirect focus on educational issues.
The meaning of the phrase has been changing somewhat over the years
(Everard, 1989b), and the corpus of knowledge is now more popularly
described as ‘the management of change’ or, outside the UK, ‘school
improvement’ (Weindling, 1989).
Unsuccessful attempts to change organizations have been made
throughout history: Caius Petronius, for example, a Roman consul, recorded
his experience thus:
We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up
into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to
meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for
creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and
(Peter, 1996)
What are among the causes of success? Do the same factors account for success
in educational change? Is it possible to make useful generalizations about
effecting major change which can be applied to any new situation, and thus
produce a ‘tool-kit’ for managers in schools to carry around with them?
Unfortunately the subject is more complex than it might appear (Stoll, 2003;
Fullan, 2003). In any case there is no way of learning how to manage change
solely from a book: real proficiency comes from practical experience
accompanied by reflective learning. Nevertheless, we can set out the important
principles, offer useful techniques and give some practical guidance on
systematic approaches to change.
Since one of the main difficulties in managing change is conceptualizing
the process, we need to start by asking what we mean by ‘change’ and by
related words such as ‘innovation’ and ‘development’. For practical purposes
we can ignore the semantic differences between these words.
Let us take some concrete examples of recent changes in many schools:
Introducing local management (LMS).
Improving the quality of school management or leadership.
Setting and implementing educational objectives for the school.
Developing a whole-school policy.
Introducing a formal system of staff appraisal and development.
Amalgamating two schools.
Opting out.
Building closer links with the community.
Bringing new information technology into school administration and
the curriculum.
Implementing the National Curriculum and subsequent changes.
Why are such changes apt to be so fraught, and only rarely turn out to surpass
our reasonable expectations of the benefits to result from them? The problem
with change is that it is far more difficult to manage than people with limited
experience of managing organizations think it should be. Those with
particularly rational minds have major problems in encompassing the
complexities of implementing change; the more obvious the need for it, in
their view, the more exasperatingly obtuse are those responsible for failing to
carry it out. However, to grasp the nature of change one has to understand
the more subtle ingredients in human and organizational behaviour. Beckhard
and Harris (1987, p. 116), from their wealth of experience of consulting with
managers on their change efforts, conclude:
One of the biggest traps … is the failure of organizational leaders to resist the
temptation to rush through the planning process to get to the ‘action stage’ … it
has been our experience that a great portion of large-system change efforts
failed because of lack of understanding on the part of the organizational
leadership of what the process of intervention and change involves. When the
manager lacks an appreciation for and understanding of the complexity of the
intervention process, it is predictable that the emphasis will be on ‘action’ or
Although this book aims to be practical and skills oriented, we cannot escape
having a section on problems and concepts of the change process, before
coming down to practical guidance. The nature of change is not well explained
in many management books, nor in many management courses. Perhaps this
is caused by failure to distinguish among theories of education (what we ought
to be doing in schools), theories of organization (how we should be set up to
do it), theories of change (what causes progress towards where we want to
be) and theories of changing (what has to be done to influence those causes).
Let us therefore try to unpick the problem.
The call for change may spring from outside the school or educational
system, or from within. The growth of ethnic minorities in the UK’s
population, the alleged failure of education to prepare young people for
working life and the erosion of the country’s capacity to afford escalating
public expenditure have all been cited as reasons for making changes in
schools. But within schools themselves situations arise that cry out for
change: a failure of discipline, dissatisfaction with exam results or a member
of staff (including the head) wanting something done differently. In the
discussion that follows we shall have in mind mainly change stemming from
outside the school, but regardless of the source there are some fairly common
(1) The individuals involved will start with different feelings about the
desirability of the change, some seeing it as a threat or a source of
insecurity and of concern about personal exposure and possible
weakness. The change may involve having to learn new skills and
attitudes and unlearning old ones and the ‘not invented here’ syndrome
may apply. The co-operation of all cannot be assumed, yet it may be
essential if the change is to be successful.
(2) It will not be clear at the beginning how things will look when the change
has been implemented: there will be many unknowns and fear of the
unknown. Even the few people around with a clear vision may find
themselves confronted by a number of different visions and fantasies
among their colleagues.
(3) Institutional politics will become important: individuals will align
around common interest groups, both informal (e.g. a staff-room
coalition) and formal (e.g. a union).
(4) There will be a number of internal consequences of the change: it will
impinge on various systems and interests inside the school (e.g. the exam
system and pupils’ interests).
The school in which the change occurs is not isolated: the change itself
may stem from, and the results impinge on, a part of the environment,
such as the local education authority.
The change is complex, or at least by no means straightforward, in that
the correct action may be counterintuitive: it involves many people’s
behaviour over a period of time.
There are a number of obstacles to the change: some are obvious, others
latent. Examples are organizational impedimenta like status, demarcation, authority; lack of support and commitment, or of resources; the
psychological or legal contract between the teacher and the school; all
kinds of personal motives. In any organization there are always people
who can be relied on to think of 101 reasons why something can’t be done
(see Figure 18.2, p. 281)!
Several ways of implementing the change can be envisaged: there are, for
example, degrees of freedom in the order in which necessary tasks are
tackled, who does them, who is consulted and who is told – all of which
may generate conflict.
Those in managerial positions will sense that the change will involve
them in a lot of conflict, bother and hard work. This they may dread,
especially if they feel hard pressed already.
In other words, change of the kind we are describing engages both our intellect
and our emotions; it may impinge on people’s value systems; it affects not
only individuals but also the organization, its structures, its norms and its
environment. Consequently, it will not happen successfully unless it is
promoted, steered or facilitated with all these crucial factors being taken into
Think of some example of actual or needed change in your school. Do they match
this general description? How would you like to amplify it? Do you recognize all the
factors listed above? How far are they taken into account in managing the change?
Dynamic conservatism is a social phenomenon. It stems more from the
propensity of social systems to protect their integrity and thus to continue to
provide a familiar framework within which individuals can order and make
sense of their lives, than from the apparent stupidity of individuals who can’t
see what is good for them.
Few individuals in organizations appreciate how multidimensional
change really is; we tend to espouse a comfortably simplistic notion of it.
Sometimes this helps; we might not so readily accept some changes if we
could foresee all the implications. But usually it hinders change, because it
diverts us from dealing with reality. Once we apprehend that it is the social
system that withstands change, we begin to realize some of the complexity;
for there exist within such systems innumerable relationships, unwritten
norms, vested interests and other characteristics that will probably be
disturbed by a proposed change.
Heads and senior staff who want to implement change therefore have a
sizeable educational task on their hands: they have to help everyone
concerned to discover and conceptualize the true nature of change and how it
impinges upon us all. (This is separate from the equally important need to
develop the skills for coping with change.) Change will affect beliefs,
assumptions and values, and be affected by them. Change will alter the way
we are expected to do things. And change will alter the things we need to do
them with.
This attempt to help people to conceptualize change is like tilling the
ground before planting the seed; or to use another metaphor, it is like tuning
the receiver to the carrier wave before the message of change is transmitted. It
involves both helping people to understand change – any change – in the
abstract, and helping them to apprehend the nature of the particular change
being introduced. These matters have to be discussed face to face; it is
insufficient to read about them – they must be tossed around and savoured.
There must be a suitable outlet for the fears that the prospect of change
evokes in everybody (however robust) – fears that one will not be able to
cope, that one’s sense of competence will be eroded and one’s occupational
identity will be dented.
It is no use pretending, in stiff upper-lip fashion, that these feelings do not
occur when we confront the need for behavioural or conceptual adjustment:
they do, and we might as well come to terms with it. Change usually leads to
temporary incompetence, and that is uncomfortable. Some changes (TVEI
and ERA, for example) challenged the core values we hold about the purpose
of education, a purpose in which we have invested our careers. They may
also shake vague, unarticulated beliefs which we have never quite
understood, or discussed with professional colleagues. Fear of tampering
with something unknown but still perceived as important can only be
assuaged by trying to clarify what it is we are really worried about. So it helps
to hammer out a set of beliefs that are shared with colleagues and regularly
subjected to review and revision in the light of experience: beliefs about both
education and change.
The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft a-gley.
The first reason why those who initiate change often fail to secure a successful
conclusion to their dreams is that they tend to be too rational. They develop
in their minds a clear, coherent vision of where they want to be at, and they
assume that all they have to do is to spell out the logic to the world in words
of one syllable, and then everyone will be immediately motivated to follow
the lead. The more vivid their mental picture of the goal, and the more
conviction they have that it is the right goal, the more likely they are to stir up
opposition, and the less successful they are likely to be in managing a process
of change. As George Bernard Shaw once observed: ‘Reformers have the idea
that change can be achieved by brute sanity.’
Another reason is that reformers are operating at a different level of
thought from that of the people to be affected by the change. Take, for
instance, the implementation of the Education Act 1981, for which there
could be six levels:
(1) Philosophy. Integration of children with special educational needs in
mainstream schools.
(2) Principle. Education to be in least restrictive environment.
(3) Concept. Locational, social, functional integration.
(4) Strategy. Provide support staff and systems to achieve integration.
(5) Design. Set up multiskilled force of peripatetic professionals.
(6) Action. Establish new posts according to plan and eliminate some
existing posts.
If the head of a special school, having been exposed by an education officer to
the higher levels of thinking and having agreed to the strategy, were to spring
straight into action with his or her staff, without first engaging at their level of
thinking, they would undoubtedly resist.
Effecting change calls for open-mindedness and a readiness to understand
the feelings and position of others. Truth and reality are multifaceted, and the
reality of other people’s worlds is different from yours. Most people act
rationally and sensibly within the reality of the world as they see it. They make
assumptions about the world, and about the causes of things, which differ
from yours, because their experiences are different, and they even experience
the same event in different ways. Hence innovators have to address
themselves not just to the world they see but also to the world other people
see, however misguided, perverse and distorted they may think the outlook
of others to be.
Therefore, implementing change is not a question of defining an end and
letting others get on with it: it is a process of interaction, dialogue, feedback,
modifying objectives, recycling plans, coping with mixed feelings and
values, pragmatism, micropolitics, frustration, patience and muddle. Yet,
messy though the process is, adopting an objective, rational, systematic,
scientific approach to implementing change is far more likely to be crowned
with success than relying simply on intuition (though that has its part to play
too). The point is that rationality has to be applied not only to defining the end
of change but also the means.
Another fallacy is that those who have the positional power to inflict
change on an organization will be successful in implementing enduring
change: seldom are their sanctions adequate to do so, especially in the
educational system above the level of pupil. They have to take into account
the feelings, values, ideas and experiences of those affected by the change.
This is not an ideological argument for democratic decision-making so much
as a pragmatic one for managerial effectiveness: successful managers are
observed to do this. The so-called scientific-rational mode of management
has long been discredited and supplanted in successful organizations.
(Failure by academics to appreciate this is usually at the heart of objections to
schools learning anything from industry about management.)
Another trap in implementing change is to ascribe the problems that
necessitate change to the shortcomings of individuals. Not only is
personalization of the problems likely to lead to defensiveness but it is also
often a misdiagnosis of the true cause. Most organizational defects are
attributable to methods and systems.
The next reason why some plans for implementing change fail is that they
are addressed to insoluble problems. However uncomfortable it may be for
legislators and managers to admit to impotence, it has to be acknowledged
that some undesirable conditions of society are so little understood or so
complex to explain causally that in the present state of knowledge and
expertise there is no solution to hand. Even if someone of outstanding
conceptual ability could fully grasp the problem, it would be an impossible
task to transfer that understanding to others who have a significant and
indispensable part to play in solving the problem. Felix qui potuit rerum
cognoscere causas, quoth Virgil (‘happy is he who can find out the causes of
things’); but we live in an unhappy world.
However, on a happier note, not all problems are intractable, and as time
goes by we do learn how to improve our methods of solving problems and
introducing change. Even tackling seemingly intractable problems is not
impossible: the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
Most managers’ work is not about planning, organizing and making
rational decisions: it is about chaotic situations, ‘firefighting’ to deal
with crises and keeping the ship afloat amidst constantly threatening
seas – Mintzberg. Should we seek a rational approach to dealing with
A dominant feature of planning in schools is the need to respond to a
decision made at LEA or central government level which is likely to
have been perceived as rational by those who made it but appears
irrational or misguided to staff in school – Wallace. How does this
come about, and how might it be prevented?
Boyson, J. (1999) Managing Change in Schools Pack: a Practical Guide to Managing and
Facilitating the Change Process, Financial Times Prentice Hall, London.
Fullan, M. (1993) Changing Forces: Probing the Depths of Educational Reform,
RoutledgeFalmer, London.
Fullan, M. (2001) The New Meaning of Educational Change (3rd edn), RoutledgeFalmer,
MacBeath, J. (1998) Effective School Leadership: Responding to Change, Paul Chapman
Publishing, London.
Antecedents of Successful Change
Fortunately, enough surveys have been made of organizations that do
implement change successfully for us to give some useful guidelines to heads
and senior staff wishing to bring their schools into this category.
Some of the surveys have focused on commercial organizations, others on
schools. Some schools have tried to apply the results of the former surveys to
themselves, and found that many of the criteria are transferable. Her
Majesty’s Inspectorate’s Ten Good Schools (1977), Peters and Waterman’s In
Search of Excellence (1995), Goldsmith and Clutterbuck’s The Winning Streak
(1984) and the National Commission on Education’s Success Against the Odds
(1995b) are examples of such surveys.
Peters and Waterman believe (p. 110) that a major reason for excellence in
the 75 most highly regarded American companies is the habitual acceptance
of change, or ‘intentionally seeded evolution’: the excellent companies are
learning organizations, which have developed a whole host of devices and
management routines to stave off ossification. They experiment more with
change, and encourage more tries. Likewise Goldsmith and Clutterbuck
(p. 10) identify this as one of the eight distinctive characteristics of successful
British companies: ‘These companies have a continuous interest and commitment to things new, to the process of change.’ All this is also patently true of
the Barrow Community Learning Partnership (BCLP) which will be used as a
case study (see page 229) to illustrate how the generic approach to the
management of change described in this book is reflected in a real
educational situation.
Professor Beckhard, of MIT, has stressed the critical importance of
managerial strategy in keeping an organization healthy, and quick on its feet.
The top managers need to have a model or a philosophy of how the
organization should work, and how it can be changed; then they must
constantly update this in the light of hard experience. They should strive to
build an organization with distinctive approaches to purpose, structure,
process, people, realism and the environment.
Effective organizations tend to be purposeful and goal directed. Their
managers, departments and the individual members work towards explicit
goals and have a clear sense of direction. The development of purpose is a
continuing activity providing a focus and a framework for understanding the
whole and linking it together. Thus schools without explicit aims and a wholeschool policy would not meet this criterion of effectiveness.
The structure is determined by work requirements, not by authority, power
or conformity. Form follows function. Different departments may be differently
organized, according to the nature of their work. Procedures may not be
standardized: people can do things their way if it works. Thus, in a school,
some learning would not be subject to the norm of a 45-minute period. Power
to do things is dispersed to where it is needed; for instance, the power to get
a defective pottery kiln repaired would reside in the department, rather than
be invested in a deputy head.
Decisions are made near to where the requisite information is, rather than
referred up the hierarchy. Authority is delegated accordingly, as has happened
in LMS. Communications are frank, open and relatively undistorted. Ideas
are considered on their intrinsic merits, rather than according to their source
in the hierarchy. Conflict and clash of ideas (not personalities) are encouraged,
not suppressed or avoided, and everyone manages conflict constructively,
using problem-solving methods. Collaboration is rewarded, where it is in the
organization’s best interests. Competition is minimized, but when it occurs it
is because people are vying with one another to contribute to the organization’s
Each individual’s identity, integrity and freedom are respected, and work is
organized as far as possible to this end. Attention is paid to intrinsic rewards.
Everyone’s work is valued (e.g. including that of the non-teaching staff in a
school). People’s interdependence is stressed. Individuals evaluate their
performance against benchmarks, comparing themselves to others; they
review one another’s work, and celebrate achievement.
As Peters and Waterman report (1995, p. 277): ‘The excellent companies
have a deeply ingrained philosophy that says, in effect, “respect the
individual”, “make people winners”, “let them stand out”, “treat people as
adults”.’ It is the same with BCLP, which is driven by similar values. ‘Making
people winners’ can hardly be better illustrated than by the design of a
Barrow summer workshop for gifted and talented children: the prevailing
‘wisdom’ is that only 5–10 per cent of the overall school population fall in this
category. BCLP, however, believes that all children have gifts and talents and
that the task of schools is to discover, for each child, in what respect (Hymer
and Michel, 2002). Therefore, selection for the summer workshop is random.
This is splendid creative thinking ‘outside the box’. The caption of a cartoon
of a boy talking to a head says it all: ‘I can suck up pudding through my nose
and blow it out of the corners of my eyes, and you still won’t put me in the
gifted class’!
Central direction coexists with individual autonomy:
Autonomy is a product of discipline. The discipline (a few shared values)
provides the framework. It gives people confidence to experiment, for instance,
stemming from stable expectations about what really counts. Thus a set of
shared values and rules about discipline, details and execution can provide the
framework in which practical autonomy takes place routinely.
(Peters and Waterman, 1995, p. 322)
Goldsmith and Clutterbuck (1984) also identify the balance between autonomy
and control as crucial. Without this discipline, teachers’ autonomy in the
classroom, or ‘academic freedom’, soon degenerates into licence. Lavelle (1984,
p. 161) also places autonomy in context: quoting Stenhouse: ‘Teacher autonomy
is seen as the ethical base of professionalism and a cornerstone of tradition’,
he points out that this can lead to gross disjunctions of practice unless that
autonomy is set within the framework of the school and its value system.
Mant (1983) makes a similar point.
People deal with things as they are, with a minimum of ‘game playing’. An
‘action research’ mode of management predominates: i.e. the organization
has in-built feedback mechanisms to tell it how it is doing. Then it uses this
valid and factual information about how things are in order to plan
improvements. There is widespread awareness of the ‘health’ of the
organization and its parts, just as the human body knows when it feels well
or poorly.
The organization is seen as an open system embedded in a complex
environment with which it constantly interacts. The changing demands of
the environment are regularly tracked, and an appropriate response made. A
school would have its eyes and ears open, alertly sensing what was going on
in the community and in the corridors of power. In turn, the environment
would inject a sense of reality and proportion into what might otherwise be a
claustrophobic system.
All these factors are interdependent, and have to be balanced. For example,
Everard was involved with a major change initiative in ICI, the ‘Staff
Development Programme’ (Pettigrew, 1985). Its objectives, which are still as
relevant as ever in schools today, were
(1) in the short term, the achievement of an exceptional and demonstrable
improvement in organizational effectiveness; and
(2) in the longer term, the development of an environment in which major
improvements occur naturally and continuously, without being enforced
or imposed.
In conducting the programme it was essential to link the benefits to the
organization in terms of improved effectiveness with benefits to the individual
in terms of personal and professional development.
In educational settings, Fullan (1982, pp. 97 and 112) makes the same
point, applauding leaders who not only plan the organization development
associated with the change but also simultaneously foster staff or professional development. He argues that effective educational change cannot
occur without improvements to the teachers’ working life. Change must not
simply aggravate teachers’ problems.
The second ICI objective above is a reminder that the best change agents
are catalysts: they do themselves out of a job by embedding their skills into
the social system, so that it has an in-built capacity for continuous selfimprovement.
Collegiate culture
There is one condition of successful change which seems more prevalent in
industry than in schools: industrial managers and professional staff get
together more often, whereas the cellular organization in schools means that
teachers struggle privately with their problems and anxieties. It is unusual
for teachers to observe and discuss their colleagues’ work, and there is little
attempt to build what Fullan (1982, p. 108) calls ‘a common collegiate technical
culture or analytic orientation’ towards their work. The processes of teaching
and learning are inadequately explored compared with the processes of
manufacturing, marketing and management in industry.
One of Everard’s most vivid experiences in the management of change
was bringing together ten senior managers off-site to meet Professor Trist, an
organizational consultant, with the request to come prepared to talk for five
minutes each on ‘the problems of the company’. For the first time, ten very
different people, from different departments, shared their concerns, only to
find that they were essentially the same. But they also shared a vision of how
things could be, and the professor explained why things were as they were,
and how they could be changed. The new, deeper understanding provided
an immense store of energy for beneficial change, which was steered into
channels that enabled organizational improvements to occur.
In schools that wish to change, regular opportunities for such encounters
must be created, and the negative energy of disaffection must be transformed
into a positive will to make a difference to the way things are, to the benefit of
the teachers and the organization. You may not be able to get hold of a
professor, but it helps to invite someone from outside the system who knows
something about organizational, managerial or pedagogical processes.
Fullan et al. (1980), in their research on North American schools, report
similar findings. The schools good at change are characterized by openness
of communication, a high level of communication skills, a widespread desire
for collaborative work, a supportive administration, good agreement on
educational goals and previous experience of successful change.
In a later book, Fullan (2001) leaves his readers with a message that
resembles what progressive companies have been trying to do in creating
‘learning organizations’:
(1) Redesign the workplace so that innovation and improvement are built
into the daily activities of staff.
(2) Each individual should take responsibility for his or her own empowerment by becoming an expert in the change process.
(3) Collectively they should engage in continuous initiative, thereby preempting the imposition of change from outside.
(4) Establish a ‘critical mass’ of highly engaged individuals working on the
creation of conditions for continuous renewal, while themselves being
shaped by these very conditions.
(5) The way ahead is through melding individual and institutional
Fullan (1993) also offers some practical lessons from his studies of change in
schools; they ring bells for us, although perhaps no. 4 is a little stark:
(1) You can’t mandate what matters (the more complex the change, the less
you can force it).
(2) Change is a journey, not a blueprint (change is non-linear, loaded with
uncertainty and excitement and sometimes perverse).
(3) Problems are our friends (problems are inevitable and you can’t learn
without them).
(4) Vision and strategic planning come later (premature visions and
planning blind).
(5) Individualism and collectivism must have equal power (there are no onesided solutions to isolation and ‘group-think’).
(6) Neither centralization nor decentralization works (both top-down and
bottom-up strategies are necessary).
(7) Connection with the wider environment is critical for success (the best
organizations learn externally as well as internally).
(8) Every person is a change agent (change is too important to leave to the
But it is the head who must start this ball rolling, notwithstanding the odd
fact that creating the conditions for continuous improvement is not laid down
as a specific professional duty under his or her terms of employment (DfES,
2003). It must surely, however, be accepted as an implicit part of the role of
any leader. As the NCE survey (1995b) of eleven once-threatened but nowthriving schools noted, most had experienced inertia or had neglected to focus
on, or even to recognize, the need for continual improvement. The importance
of the head and his/her ability to foster a sense of shared purpose, emerged
as key. The right sort of leadership is at the heart of effective schooling, and
no evidence has emerged of effectiveness in a school with weak leadership.
Some years ago Her Majesty’s Inspectors concluded in Ten Good Schools (HMI,
The schools see themselves as places designed for learning; they take trouble
to make their philosophies explicit for themselves and to explain them to
parents and pupils; the foundation of their work and corporate life is an
acceptance of shared values.
Emphasis is laid on consultation, team work and participation, but without
exception the most important single factor in the success of these schools is the
quality of leadership at the head. Without exception, the heads have the
qualities of imagination and vision, tempered by realism, which have enabled
them to sum up not only their present situation but also attainable future goals.
They appreciate the need for specific educational aims, both social and
intellectual, and have the capacity to communicate these to the staff, pupils and
parents, to win their assent and to put their own policies into practice. Their
sympathetic understanding of staff and pupils, their acceptability, good
humour and sense of proportion and their dedication to their task have won
them the respect of parents, teachers and taught. Conscious of the corruption of
power, and though ready to take final responsibility, they have made powersharing the keynote of their organization and administration. Such leadership
is crucial for success and these schools are what their heads and staff have made
Twenty-five years later, the message is the same (Ofsted, 2003).
Rate the conditions in your school along the dimensions listed in this section, using
a 5-point scale (1 = favourable, 5 = unfavourable):
• Philosophy • Realism • Purpose • Environment • Structure • Collegiate culture
• Process • Quality of leadership • People • Balance
Pick out the three least favourable conditions. What practical things can you do by
the end of (next?) term to make these conditions in your school more conducive to
the implementation of successful change?
‘The ability to create and manage the future in the way that we wish is what
differentiates the good manager from the bad’ (Harvey-Jones, 2003, p. 96).
Observation of people who are more successful than others at managing
complex organizations in which major changes have to be implemented
shows that they tend to have a distinctive mix of knowledge, skills, personal
attitudes and values, and the capacity to orchestrate these as they make a host
of personal decisions that lie at the heart of organization management. By the
very nature of their competence as educators, heads are well endowed with
some of the qualities that are required – more so, perhaps, than their
counterparts in industry. Other qualities, however, are more commonly
found to flourish in a business environment. Few people in schools or
industry are such paragons as to possess all the requisite qualities in full
measure. However, an understanding of the kind of person who is good at
handling change is helpful both in selecting senior staff and project leaders
and in assessing what qualities we need to develop.
Before describing the key qualities that seem to be needed to implement
change effectively, it is instructive to examine the characteristics that Peters
and Waterman (1995) found in the leaders of successful companies. The two
are related.
Such leaders listened to their employees and treated them as adults. They
saw that leadership, unlike naked power-wielding, was inseparable from
followers’ needs and goals. Caring ran in the veins of managers of the
‘excellent’ companies. They did not allow intellect to overpower wisdom.
They set and demanded high standards of excellence. As Henry Kissinger
said: ‘Leaders must invoke an alchemy of great vision.’ But they had to
combine visionary ideas at the highest level of abstraction with actions at the
most mundane level of detail. They had the capacity to generate enthusiasm
and excitement, to harness the social forces in the organization and to shape
and guide its values: ‘Clarifying the value system and breathing life into it are
the greatest contribution a leader can make. Moreover, that’s what the top
people in excellent companies seem to worry about most.’ (Peters and
Waterman 1995, pp. 282, 291). A strong and coherent values base, coupled
with a vision of a networked learning community, are also benchmarks of
BCLP’s excellence.
Yet success in instilling values appeared to have little to do with
charismatic personality. None of the leaders studied relied on personal
magnetism. All made themselves into effective leaders by persistent
behaviour and high visibility.
How different these characteristics are from the teacher’s stereotype of the
business tycoon! And how similar to those of many a highly respected head!
The heartening conclusion is that these people make themselves effective,
although Mant (1983) argues that there has to be in effective leaders a basic
orientation that enables them to see themselves as part of a higher purpose
external to themselves.
Valerie Stewart (1983), a British psychologist and business consultant, has
listed the following characteristics of people who are good at managing
They know clearly what they want to achieve.
They can translate desires into practical action.
They can see proposed changes not only from their own viewpoint but
also from that of others.
They don’t mind being out on a limb.
They show irreverence for tradition but respect for experience.
They plan flexibly, matching constancy of ends against a repertoire of
available means.
They are not discouraged by setbacks.
They harness circumstances to enable change to be implemented.
They clearly explain change.
They involve their staff in the management of change and protect their
They don’t pile one change on top of another, but await assimilation.
They present change as a rational decision.
They make change personally rewarding for people, wherever
They share maximum information about possible outcomes.
They show that change is ‘related to the business’.
They have a history of successful change behind them.
We have used for training purposes (with minor modifications) a list of
qualities supplied by Beckhard in identifying successful managers of change
and indicating what further development was required. The qualities
Knowledge of
(1) people and their motivational systems – what makes them tick;
(2) organizations as social systems – what makes them healthy and
effective, able to achieve objectives;
(3) the environment surrounding the organization – the systems that
impinge on and make demands of it;
(4) managerial styles and their effects on work;
(5) one’s own personal managerial style and proclivities;
(6) organizational processes such as decision-making,
planning, control, communication, conflict management and
reward systems;
(7) the process of change;
(8) educational and training methods and theory.
Figure 16.1 Knowledge required for managing change
themselves range from those that are usually regarded as intrinsic in the
personality to those – the majority – that are capable of being systematically
developed. The most easily assimilated qualities are those of knowledge and
Figure 16.1 lists some important categories of knowledge, with a column
for self-rating (use a five-point scale, with 5 indicating deep knowledge and 1
Figure 16.2 lists some of the skills that are important in managing change;
all of them can be systematically learned, and some develop of their own
accord, albeit patchily, as the manager gains experience of the job.
Skills in
analysing large complex systems;
collecting and processing large amounts of information and
simplifying it for action;
goal-setting and planning;
getting consensus decisions;
conflict management;
political behaviour;
public relations;
consulting and counselling;
training and teaching.
Figure 16.2
Skills required for managing change
Various personality characteristics, attitudes and values are also important, and these are listed in Figure 16.3. They have been arranged roughly
in order of decreasing inherence; i.e. those towards the bottom of the list
respond best to training.
Caution is needed in rating oneself against these characteristics because of
the possibilities of self-delusion. More reliable ratings can be obtained in a
management group that agrees to assess each other candidly and discuss the
It is, of course, not these dissected qualities of knowledge, skills and other
characteristics that alone determine whether a manager will prove effective:
it is the way in which he or she is able to synthesize them into a synergistic
whole, and call them forth in response to particular situations. ‘Style’ is a
word sometimes used to describe how he or she does this, and is assessed by
observing his or her behaviour (Chapter 2).
a strong sense of personal ethics which helps to
ensure consistent behaviour;
something of an intellectual by both training and
a strong penchant towards optimism;
enjoyment of the intrinsic rewards of effectiveness,
without the need for public approval;
high willingness to take calculated risks and
live with the consequences without experiencing
undue stress;
a capacity to accept conflict and enjoyment in managing it;
a soft voice and low-key manner;
a high degree of self-awareness – knowledge of self;
a high tolerance of ambiguity and complexity;
a tendency to avoid polarizing issues into black and white,
right and wrong;
high ability to listen.
Figure 16.3
Personality characteristics required for managing change
Pick out from the ratings you have given yourself in the three figures those qualities
that you most need to develop. What can you do to start a change process in
yourself, leading to a greater capacity on your part to manage change?
If I were going there, I wouldn’t start from here – Irishman asked the
way. How far should pragmatism and expediency dictate whether to
embark on a journey of change?
What can a newly appointed head do to develop a culture conducive
to change?
Bennett, N., Crawford, M. and Riches, C. (eds) (1992) Managing Change in Education,
Paul Chapman Publishing, London, and the Open University.
A Systematic Approach to Change
So far we have considered the nature of change, its complexity, the conditions
that help an organization to cope with change, and the qualities that managers
need to bring about specific changes.
In no way can the management of change be reduced to something like the
checklist that an airline pilot runs through prior to take-off. It is, and will
remain, an art, though the ‘artist’ has at his or her disposal some tools and
technology to help, and it is gradually becoming more of a science than an
We shall describe a general approach to major change, which has been
found by experience to be effective in industrial, health service and
educational settings, and is underpinned by theories of organizational
behaviour. The value of this approach is in helping to identify all the bits of
work that need doing in order to effect the change; unless a systematic
approach is followed, it is almost inevitable that one will be caught unawares
by snags that one has totally overlooked.
The approach described is largely based on the work of Beckhard and
Harris (1987), modified by long experience of its use in ICI (and by ICI staff
working with school heads), and amplified in the educational context by
Fullan (1982; 2001). Everard has used it to produce a practical training guide
to the implementation of the Education Act 1981, Decision-making for Special
Educational Needs (Evans et al., 1989), which was piloted in four local
authorities in 1988–89. Although the examples relate to SEN, the core
material (instructions, handouts, slides, worked examples, etc.) can readily
be adapted for other change programmes.
The approach is mapped out in Figure 17.1. There are six key stages that
have to be carried out sequentially, though some recycling may be needed in
the later stages of the process. These stages are as follows:
(1) A preliminary diagnosis or reconnaissance, leading to a decision to
undertake a change programme: is the change sound? Is it inherently
likely to succeed?
Figure 17.1 Stages in the process of change
(2) Determining the future: what do we want to happen? What will happen if
we do nothing?
(3) Characterizing the present: what are we here for? What are the demands
on us? What is stopping us? What is working for us?
(4) Identifying the gaps between present and future to determine the work to
be done to close them: who is resistant? Who can help the change? Who
should manage it?
(5) Managing the transition from present to future: who does what by when?
How do we gain commitment?
(6) Evaluating and monitoring the change: was success achieved? Will the
change endure? What has been learned?
A word of warning about using this approach is needed. It must not become
a shackled approach. It needs to be used flexibly and with careful thought. A
golfer may complete a successful round without using all his or her clubs. So
do not worry if some of the elements in the approach do not speak to your
situation. Do not labour any of the stages if common sense and intuition
provide you with a short-cut, especially if the scale of the change is relatively
modest. But do be wary of skipping an essential step in the logic. Equally, if
you have tried other approaches successfully, or have read authors like
Schmuck et al. (1977), Bolam et al. (1979), Stewart (1983), Plant (1987) and
Caldwell and Spinks (1998), by all means adopt whatever approach works
for you; the similarities outweigh the differences.
It is interesting how successful change programmes such as BCLP (p. 229)
match this approach, although sometimes the emphasis is different. For
example, BCLP makes a special point of celebrating achievement and
success, which can inflame further progress. This can take the form of articles
in the local press, ceremonies to reward achievement and the accreditation of
new skills and competences through qualifications and certificates.
BCLP also comment on the importance of language in describing a change
process; the word ‘gap’ implies a deficit model and suggests that people are
failing to be fully professional. How true! One of us (Everard), fresh from
industry, recalls how he innocently used the word ‘improve’ to describe the
purpose of school management training. To a teacher, however, ‘improve’
carries a nuance: ‘Johnny is showing signs of improvement’ is a euphemism.
The moral is to describe ‘closing the gap’ as ‘moving from good to excellent’
or ‘improving still further on the current best’. Wisely, instead of using the
DfES term ‘Education Action Zone’, the Barrow project was called a
‘Community Learning Partnership’, which emphasizes these three words as
key drivers of worthwhile change.
It should not be assumed that changes proposed from within or without the
organization should be adopted without question: they may be unsound on
educational grounds or on grounds of practicality, as judged by those who
will have to bear the brunt of the change. After all, an unsuccessful change,
however progressive the idea seemed, does not necessarily benefit the pupils;
and it may harm them. A succession of unsuccessful attempts at change can
have a devastating effect on school morale and evoke a sense of disillusionment
and impotence that acts as an obstacle to future change, even that agreed to
be desirable and practicable.
In other words, shrewd heads will be circumspect in their response to a
proposal for change (including one to which they are personally attached, or
even one enshrined in legislation). A proposal may seem eminently well
intentioned, so that to reject it seems churlish and scarcely defensible; its
adoption may seem inevitable in the long run; it may emanate with great
conviction from a respected source; it may appear to carry the force of law:
but it may still be wrong or untimely to adopt it, for the system may not be in
a state of readiness to take in on board. The impulse of rejection must be
allowed to play itself out; indeed, in the nineteenth century Thomas Carlyle
said that we should always reject a proposition before accepting it. We shall
return to this point later; meanwhile, let it not be construed as support for
King Canute!
As managers we can, and should, attempt a dispassionate assessment of
the quality or soundness of a proposed change regardless of whether we are
in tune with it ourselves.
How do we assess the soundness of a proposed change? First, who is
initiating it, and what is their motivation? Sadly, some people with strong
career aspirations, be they in the political or the professional world, see
advancement as conditional upon having made their mark, or having
established a track-record of getting things done. Organizations and societies
usually award ‘Brownie points’ to people who push through some reform or
other; and everyone likes to receive esteem. So we need to beware of change
initiated by someone (especially an outsider) mainly for career purposes,
rather than because it has intrinsic merit. As Lavelle (1984) has pointed out,
innovation is more likely to be successful when perceived as necessary by
those in the school, rather than by outsiders. He sees the key to effective
innovation as lying within the microdynamics of the school and the
classroom, within areas in which heads and their staff wish strongly to
exercise their personal autonomy.
We must be circumspect about changes that have some popular or topical
appeal, but whose implications have not been thought through. No one can
expect all the consequences of change to be worked out in advance, but it ill
becomes an initiator of change to will the end without providing the means.
Even if the goal of the change has been carefully and clearly defined (and not
even this is commonly done, to the point where criteria are specified by
which we can judge whether the goal has been attained: see Chapter 10), the
means of implementation may be vague in the extreme. Or again, the
magnitude of change may not be appreciated, so that the whole system
stands to be overwhelmed. Successful change depends on having realistic
Another point to consider before adopting change is the extent to which it
is supported within the power system. Has it been initiated from the DfES?
Does the local education authority support it? It is especially important to
check the degree of political backing if additional resources will need to be
negotiated at the implementation stage. Support may be needed from several
levels in the hierarchy.
The teachers’ unions’ attitudes, the governors’ support, the parents’
attitudes and of course those of the teachers themselves, all need to be taken
into account in judging the extent of demand or support for the change.
Government grants in support of a change may give the change a fair
wind, and indeed may be vital for success, but the ingenuity with which
people can gain access to funds yet divert them to other purposes is well
known in all walks of life. As many teachers know, TVEI was a case in point.
Government legislation may also indicate support and even appear to
mandate adoption of a change, but again the propensity of a complex system
for outwitting the intentions of the legislators (as in parts of the Butler
Education Act 1944) is well documented. Accordingly, we should be careful
not to read too much into grants, circulars and even legislation. Beware also
of short-term funding for long-term programmes.
These are some of the factors that wise heads will take into consideration
in deciding what stance they will take to a change instigated by another part
of the education system. It is neither necessary nor practicable for all conditions to be ideal before a proposed change is adopted; but some judgement
has to be made about the probable success of a decision to adopt, and if the
head is convinced that the change, however well intentioned, is doomed to
failure, then it may well be that he or she is right to resist that particular
change at least for the time being. The school may not be ready for it. This is
not to suggest that all changes should be resisted, nor that resistance
invariably succeeds in fending off the attempt to change, nor that some token
response may not be prudent.
Think of some educational changes you have experienced in your career which have
produced the least successful outcomes. Were any basically unsound? Why? How
could they have been resisted?
Having decided that a proposed change is sound, we have to conduct a
reconnaissance. Much educational change is technically simple but socially
complex, and the complexity arises not so much from dogged, mindless
opposition of narrow-minded staff as from the difficulty of planning and
organizing a multidimensional process involving many people, all with
different perceptions and outlooks. The factors affecting implementation
cannot be dealt with in isolation from each other, because they form a set of
interacting variables which has to be seen as an entity. What are the factors?
First, there are the characteristics of the change itself: is it needed? Is it
relevant to the particular school at this time? Has the relevance to be
established? Is it complex? Is it feasible? Can it be presented as practical in the
short run, not too costly and potentially helpful to the teachers?
The question of need is not an absolute one. We have to ask if it is needed
more than other changes, the implementation of which will use the same
(usually scarce) resources. It is quite possible to overload any system or
organization with change, so the issue of priorities and sequencing changes is
a vital strategic decision for any manager. When some LEAs saddled their
schools with four major simultaneous changes – for example multicultural
education, mixed-ability teaching, helping the underachiever and avoidance
of gender discrimination – at a time when there were already unavoidable
changes brought about by contraction, reorganization, etc., they could not
expect all these changes to be enthusiastically or successfully handled. The
changes required by the Education Reform Act 1988 also overloaded the
system. So the effect of all the changes already taking place on the school’s
capacity to cope with yet another change will have important implications for
the rate at which plans for implementation can be put into effect.
Lack of clarity about the goals and means of effecting change is a common
problem which we addressed in preceding chapters. All who are affected by
the change need a clear picture of what it will mean for them: what will they
be doing differently, after the change has been implemented? They want to
know specifically what it means in practice for them. Nor will they be content
to be fobbed off with false clarity, in which the commanding heights of the
future scenario are sketched starkly and boldly, but the terrain in their neck of
the woods is left totally vague. Clarity is not something which can be
prepackaged in some sort of blueprint; it is something that grows through
dialogue and questioning. We must judge how long it will take to achieve
clarity, and incorporate this process into the time planning. The legislative
provisions for religious education and worship that is ‘broadly Christian’
exemplify this difficulty.
Complexity is an unwelcome but usually unavoidable factor, because
worthwhile change often requires the bringing together of a set of interlocking conditions into a critical mass powerful enough to break through a
log-jam of problems. However, much more care is needed in complex change,
to ensure that there is proper co-ordination of all the activities needed to
implement the change successfully. Leadership is called for, in addition to
tactical skills.
Then there is feasibility. If a new syllabus is to be introduced, are there
opportunities and funds for any necessary in-service training? If physically
handicapped pupils are to be integrated into an ordinary school, is it possible
to equip the buildings accordingly, other than at inordinate cost? Is the
timescale of the change realistic? You do not have to have the solution to
every problem at hand before you accept that a change is feasible, but you do
have to assess how imaginable solutions are.
The second set of factors affecting the implementation of change concerns
the particular locality where the change is to take place. History is the first
such factor: has the LEA a track-record of introducing or facilitating change
successfully on previous occasions, or has a succession of bad experiences
built up a negative climate of cynicism, disillusionment and apathy? Are
there people there who can facilitate change, such as well respected advisers
with time available? Are there any local problems that would be helped
incidentally by tackling the larger change?
Thirdly, what is special about the school? Does it have a track-record of
innovation? Are there problems that could be simultaneously helped by
implementing the change? For instance, there may be a deputy head who has
not been really stretched, and for whom the responsibility for carrying out a
complex change programme would offer considerable career advantage.
What is the head’s attitude to change? This is an important question, because
research shows that the head in any organization plays a disproportionate
part in determining whether change is successful or unsuccessful. Active
support is almost indispensable. Then there are the teacher inter-relationships: it is difficult to bring about successful change without a lot of human
interaction. Professional discussion in a positive, supportive atmosphere
helps change, whereas retreating to the familiar surroundings of one’s
classroom or office hinders it. Are the teachers relatively confident in their
own ability, yet open to suggestions from colleagues on further improvement? If so, the school has fertile soil for implanting a programme for change.
Last, there are the factors deriving from the external environment. Is the
change against the grain of parental outlooks, or of local or national
government policies? Would future employers of the pupils think well of it?
Would they even understand its significance? What will the chair of
governors think?
If, after all this, it is decided to undertake a change programme, someone
with the necessary authority should formally mandate it and a ‘prime mover’
should be appointed to take the next steps.
The next piece of work to be done is to answer, with some precision, the
question: ‘What do we want to happen?’ Later, we shall answer a related
question: ‘What will happen if we let matters drift?’
We need to define where we want the organization and its constituent
elements (see Chapter 9) to be, how it should behave or what it would look
like as though viewed from a helicopter or through a wide-angled lens, when
the process of change has been fully completed. The jargon for such a word
picture, probably projecting several years ahead, depicting exactly what shall
have been achieved, is ‘the future scenario’. When this vision is shared, it can
become a powerhouse for change. The BCLP vision captured many hearts
and minds.
Ignore, for the moment, detailed questions of feasibility (dealing with
obstacles comes later); otherwise the mind gets entrapped by the constraints
of the present, and creative thought is impaired. As Churchill once said:
‘Don’t argue the difficulties; the difficulties will argue for themselves.’
On the other hand, it pays to think operationally, so as to build a selfconsistent picture that has a ring of reality about it, rather than to fantasize
about a dream world in which unlimited resources are available and the laws
of logic and arithmetic are repealed.
Take everything relevant into the scenario – finance, parents, governors,
unions, local education authority, employers, etc. – and decide how these will
be behaving differently in the desired future. What different demands will
they be making on the school? How will the school ideally respond? Let your
reach exceed your grasp. If there is a suggestion of cloud cuckoo land in your
scenario, never mind: the object of the exercise is to find out what you value
and want, and unless you know this you will not have a clear idea of the
direction and goal of the desired change. To stimulate your thinking, read a
few accounts by well-known forward thinkers of where schools are going,
e.g. Anne Jones’ Leadership for Tomorrow’s Schools (1987) and David Hopkins’
Think Tank Report (2001).
Try to be specific: will each child have a computer in the classroom? What
kinds of INSET will be done? Will the influence of a competence-based
curriculum (Bayliss, 2003a) have transformed classroom teaching? Will
schools have enough young, creative teachers in shortage subjects? What will
the universities be demanding? Don’t forget that it is not just the schools that
are changing: they are trying to track moving targets.
It is invariably necessary to take time off from the daily round in order to
give oneself the opportunity to reflect and to muse about the future; there is
no way in which scenario-building can be slotted into a busy, fragmented
day. Some managers never actually get round to starting a change process
until they have learned to manage their time better, and that may have to be a
preliminary personal task in the total process.
Where there is a close-knit team at the top of an organization (e.g. the head
and his or her deputies), the scenario-building is often most effectively
carried out together off-site, say at a residential weekend event in a relaxed
but work-oriented atmosphere, perhaps with the help of an experienced
outsider to guide the process.
However, Fullan (1993) recommends that vision-building should be more
of a corporate effort, taking into account the personal visions of the teaching
staff, in order to get the organization’s full commitment to implementing the
vision. So, if the management team starts the process, it should plan to
involve others long before an ideal scenario is cut and dried.
Having constructed the ‘ideal’ scenario, without too much additional
work we can also project a second scenario which describes the situation that
we think would probably come about if no steps were taken to change
direction. This is sometimes dubbed the ‘doom’ scenario. Comparing ‘where
we want to be’ with ‘where we shall end up’ if we let things go on as they are,
is a helpful way of pinpointing what has to be done. More is said about what
to include in a scenario in the next section.
Without filling in all the detail, outline on a sheet of paper the desired scenario for
your school five years hence.Then construct your ‘doom’ scenario.
The next stage is to articulate the salient features of the present situation in the
context of the future. BCLP carried out a detailed audit in 1999 to describe the
state of the Barrow community, warts and all. Later they repeated the
comparison of the future and present scenarios to ensure that they had
identified all the gaps. In determining the work to be done, they had to adjust
the objectives of the collective partnership to match what each school wanted
to do.
Sometimes the order of stages 2 and 3 on p. 255 is reversed, but the future
context is always important. The advantage of building the future scenario
first is to free the imagination from the constraints of the present, then to
allow the present to be viewed against some clear goals. Three questions
should be answered:
(1) Where is the system now?
(2) What work is needed to move it?
(3) Where are we, the initiators, in all this?
The answers provide us with a list of what has to be done.
Davies and Ellison (2003) describe various ways of analysing the present
state strategically, of which SWOT analysis is the most popular (Strengths,
Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).
The core mission
In this stage we have to go right back to fundamentals: the starting point is a
definition of the organization’s reason for being. Why does it exist? What is
its central raison d’être or ‘core mission’? It is not as easy to answer this question
as might at first be thought; it is still less easy to get unanimous agreement on
what the answer should be. The reason for being is generally assumed rather
than debated and defined explicitly. It might be, for a school, to
(1) educate children; or
(2) prepare children for life, citizenship and work; or
(3) be a lively centre for effective learning and development for the young;
or even
(4) provide rewarding jobs for the staff teaching the children.
There may be several elements in a statement of core mission: if so, the order
of priorities is important.
Environmental mapping
No organization exists in total isolation: it can only thrive if it interacts
dynamically with its environment. Environments are never static and have
proved for schools, as for industry, remarkably turbulent in recent years; this
necessitates a process of continual adaptation to the changing demands of the
environment if the organization is to survive. Those managing change,
therefore, have to cultivate an outward-looking mentality (see Chapter 9).
The more complex and turbulent the environment, the more important it is
that those who run the organization should perceive what is going on ‘out
there’ and understand the problems and opportunities it presents. A change
in government, further developments in the National Curriculum and
continuing pressures for vocational orientation are obvious factors to take
into account in recording where the system is now (at the time of writing):
there may well be other factors round the corner to recognize in building the
Pressures emanate from different sectors of the total environment, so it is
helpful to map these various sectors or ‘domains’ and identify the main
demands, or changes in demand, stemming from each of them. Figure 17.2 is
part of such a ‘domainal map’ for a mathematics department contemplating a
major reorganization based on the introduction of computer-aided learning.
Concentrate on those domains, and the associated demands, that are most
relevant and important to the change being planned. Then, for each demand,
write down the organization’s typical response pattern: what does the school
do at present to cope with these demands?
Thus the response to the LEA in the example given might be not to solicit
additional resources. The future scenario, however, might call for a more
assertive response, and hence a set of goals and actions might emerge in
order to bring about the desired state. At the same time, the demand from
parents may be thought likely to intensify, as they gain more power on
governing bodies, and the school’s response may have to be a faster
development of new teaching methods.
It may become apparent that, if nothing is done, the system is heading for
conflict or even disaster (the ‘doom’ scenario). But no one wants to submit to
the future: we want to shape it! So something must be done to alter the
demand–response system. Either we have to ask what future demand we
Figure 17.2
Domainal map for a mathematics department
would like to be made by each domain, and then plan to influence it; or we
have to adjust our response. Often it turns out that influencing a domainal
demand to fit an organization’s response capability is a more attractive
proposition than submitting to an unmanaged demand. An important aspect
of the technique of domainal mapping is that it alerts us to the need to
manage the environment as well as the organization. Many heads have been
finding over the last few years that they are having to spend an increasing
proportion of their time influencing the environment rather than running
their school.
It is on the basis of this demand–response behaviour that a basic statement
of the ‘present scenario’ is constructed, i.e. an answer to the question: ‘Where
is the system now in relation to the future desired scenario?’
In completing the present scenario, you may find that you do not know
enough about the present system to be able to write down some of the
important cause-and-effect relationships in the organization. It is, of course,
essential to know how the system works before you start trying to influence
it, so you may need to go around asking questions. What is important is how
the system actually works, not how it is supposed to work. BCLP used the
phrase ‘epistemic fluency’ to describe the skill of those who can see beyond
the bullshit and spot the games that are actually being played.
Draw up two domainal maps for a change that you foresee or want to bring about,
showing respectively the current and the future demand–response relationships.
Further definition of the present scenario is needed under the heading
‘readiness and capability to change’. Any organizational change will encounter
resistance from people, forces and systems and will depend on finding
countervailing influences that will help to promote the desired change. In the
previous example of the maths department, the children, with their
predilection for computer games, may be one such influence. Other key factors
may be the head, staff-room opinion, Phyllis, the recruitment system, the exam
system, etc. Remember that some of the factors that need to be influenced will
be external to the school, because organizations are always embedded in an
environment with which they interact.
Having identified the key individuals, groups, forces or systems that
might influence the change, positively or negatively, we next consider
(1) how ready is he/she/it to change in the desired direction (high, medium,
low)? Readiness is to do with willingness, motives and aims; and
(2) irrespective of readiness, how capable is he/she/it of making or helping
the change? Capability is about power, influence, authority and
resources like equipment and skills.
Figure 17.3 is sometimes useful in categorizing people or departments
confronted with change. It indicates a distribution along the spectrum of
resistance to or enthusiasm for change, with most people following the herd.
This is fortunate, because it means a smaller ‘critical mass’ who have to be
persuaded to accept change. It is seldom profitable to concentrate on the ‘total
resisters’ or those who ‘try anything’; given some choice in the matter, aim for
the ‘early change drivers’, that is, people who have developed a reputation
Figure 17.3
Distribution of resistance/enthusiasm
for being in the van of change, and who already have a track-record of
successful innovation.
BCLP found that different schools were in different states of readiness and
capability to change, with respect to different issues. So each had to start from
where it was, to make a change that was achievable. In one school the head
did not share the core vision and values and eventually chose to sideline the
Fill in the chart in Figure 17.4 for any change that you have in mind. Enter key people,
etc., in the left-hand column.This exercise helps you to focus on what work you will
need to do to create the critical energy for change. Other techniques that are
helpful in this context are ‘force-field analysis’ (see below) and the Gleicher formula
(Chapter 18).
Figure 17.4
Readiness and capability chart
Force-field analysis is another technique which can be used at the diagnostic
stage of problem-solving, especially in situations where people’s attitudes
and reactions are important. It uses Lewin’s concept of dynamic equilibrium
(familiar in another form to chemists and physicists), which explains the
apparent immobility of a social system as the result of the opposing forces
acting on it balancing each other exactly. The forces can be needs, drives,
aspirations, fears and other feelings generated either within oneself or in
interpersonal, intergroup or organizational-environmental situations affected
by a proposed change from the present to the desired condition. Not all the
forces impeding change are inertial; they could be political or ideological forces.
Some of the forces tend to drive the point of equilibrium towards the
desired condition; others restrain such movement. Force-field analysis is the
identification of the forces, their direction and their strength. Relative
strength can be shown by the length of an arrow, in a diagram such as Figure
17.5. In using the diagram, each arrow is labelled with the force it represents.
It is implicit in the theory underlying the model that, in general,
movement towards the desired condition can most readily be achieved by
reducing or removing the restraining forces. Intensifying the driving forces
before reducing the restrained forces tends to build up a counter-reaction
which increases the tension without moving the point of equilibrium.
The technique is usually used in groups, with the diagram drawn on a
flipchart. The steps in the process are
(1) define specifically the change that is desired and ensure mutual
(2) consider all the forces at work in the present situation; do not consider
possible or hoped-for events or solutions. Try to understand the forces
felt by the people or groups affected by the change – not by the group
doing the analysis; and
(3) draw arrows of length proportional to the strength of the forces and label
them. If insufficient information is available to estimate the strength,
decide how it can be obtained.
Figure 17.5 Force-field analysis
In the Barrow case study, the main driving forces were identified as leadership
and skills development, professional development with a focus on teaching
and learning, fostering resilience and partnership development.
Draw a force-field diagram for a change needed to move your school towards a
desired future scenario.
The next step in the process is to examine carefully the present, projected and
desired scenarios with a view to pinpointing the main problems that have to
be solved, in order that the present scenario may be shaped towards the desired
future, instead of drifting towards the ‘doom’ scenario. Consider the different
demands and responses in the three scenarios. Are the people and the systems
likely to change (e.g. retirement of head, reform of A-levels, less union
militancy, etc.)? Subjective, though informed, judgements will have to be made
about the relative importance of the problems that will have to be tackled:
some may go away, others may get worse.
If you write down a long list of every problem that you can conceive, then
you will almost certainly become discouraged by the enormity of the task
ahead. Big and little problems will be mixed, and until you have thought
about solutions you will not know where on earth to start.
So, the next step is to look for patterns of problems that may overlap or
interconnect in some way. Think in terms of clusters of problems with a
related theme. For example, there might be a cluster of problems connected
with ‘internal communication’, or with ‘maintaining everyone’s commitment
to their jobs while the change is being effected’. Sometimes you will come
across a ‘domino effect’: when one problem in a cluster has been solved, the
solution to all the others will fall into place fairly easily. For instance, if the
English department shows that mixed-ability teaching actually produces
better exam results, it may be easier for other departments to follow suit.
Another helpful sorting technique is to identify and write down the types
of change that you need to make, e.g. changes in
working procedures;
staff training; and
equipment and layout.
Some problems will have to be tackled before others; some will take longer to
solve: so set some priorities. Whittle down the list to a manageable number of
problem clusters, logically arranged and ranked in order of priority. Set the
less urgent problems on one side, to tackle later.
If you are some way down the road of tackling an organizational change, write down
each problem on ‘Post-it’ adhesive slips (for easy sorting). Choose and label a problem
cluster; arrange the problems on a flipchart in order of priority; identify any domino
effects and important interactions.
If you have followed through the approach so far, you will have a clearer idea
of what has to be done to effect the change you want, but possibly some
misgivings about your ability to achieve it, and only a hazy idea of how to go
about solving the problems that you have identified as important. To be clear
about what the problems are, however, is to point yourself down the right
road to solving them. A vague appreciation of the problems is liable to divert
you and others down false trails.
Some introspection is now needed to find out what is going for you.
Managers initiating change bring several things to the change effort. Their
qualities have already been mentioned (Chapter 15), i.e. knowledge, skills,
personality characteristics, situational awareness, style, etc. Their practical
experience, and success or failure in past change efforts, are relevant. Their
position in the organization brings some influence. Their motivation is of key
importance. Questions to ask oneself are as follows:
(1) Do I need to seek additional training to help me make the change?
(2) Which key people have I the power to influence directly?
(3) Can I influence others through indirect leverage, e.g. through the chair of
(4) Have I any control over the reward system (e.g. career opportunities)?
(5) What can I offer in return for support?
(6) What are my real reasons for wanting change:
(a) Organizational
to improve effectiveness?
to reduce cost?
to improve the teachers’ lot?
to educate the pupils better?
(b) Personal
to impress others?
to advance my career?
to reduce pressures on me?
to foster my professional interests?
The balance between these last two sets of motives, (a) and (b), is always
assessed by others and if it is perceived (however unfairly) as tilted towards
personal interests, it can lead to a rejection of the change.
And the final question to yourself:
(7) Am I really determined to bring about the change, irrespective of other
demands on my time? If not, why not? What would clinch my
determination? If not me, who else would take the lead?
Looking beyond yourself into the wider organization, have you got a critical
mass of key skills? ICI once developed this by sending 2,000 managers on
Coverdale training; BCLP put ninety of their teaching force (20 per cent) on
critical skills programmes. People who have shared a common experience
become a powerful resource for change. One of us (Everard) visited China in
1982 and was told that the government was cascading 3 million managers
through a standard management training programme in two years, in order
to trigger off economic progress. It seems to have worked!
Put these questions to yourself in relation to the change you want to bring about.
Individuals or task groups unfamiliar with problem-solving may need special help
from people particularly skilled as ‘facilitators’.These can be internal, such as trained
TVEI co-ordinators, or external consultants, such as industrial training managers
(Chapter 18).The sort of things they do are shown in Figure 17.6.
Politics is the art of the possible. Would more things become possible
if politicians involved with education followed a systematic approach
to change?
What effect would you expect the development of competence in
managing change systematically to have on the quality of life of teachers? Why?
Given the extent to which society is changing, are there any implications for the school curriculum arising from this and the preceding
two chapters?
Beckhard, R. and Pritchard, W. (1992) Changing the Essence: The Art of Creating and
Leading Fundamental Change in Organisations, Jossey-Bass Wiley, Bognor Regis.
Plant, R. (1987) Managing Change and Making it Stick, HarperCollins, London.
Whitney, D. and Trosten-Bloom, A. (2003) The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical
Guide to Positive Change, Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco.
Facilitator roles
Figure 17.6
Transition Management
The important point to appreciate in managing the change process is that the
management structures, style, etc., needed are distinctly different from those
that work best in managing the status quo. Separate arrangements are needed
for the two tasks, although the same people are usually involved in each,
albeit in different roles. Failure to provide an adequate structure for managing
a complex change programme is frequently the reason for an unsuccessful
programme. For example, a major extension of a school into another building
could involve the creation of a middle and lower school, affecting both the
subject departments and the pastoral system. The transition management
structure would have to secure the necessary changes in the work and roles
of the operating managers and to co-ordinate the new arrangements. If this
were delegated to the day-to-day operating management of the school, the
change would not be likely to be smooth.
A suitable transition management structure is likely to need
(1) the authority to mobilize the resources necessary to keep the change
(2) the respect of the existing operating leadership and of the proponents of
the change;
(3) the interpersonal skills needed to persuade people rather than coerce
them; and
(4) the time required to do the necessary planning and implementation.
The choice of a suitable structure depends on the nature of the change to be
managed. Some of the possibilities for managing the transition state are as
(1) The head could become the project manager, possibly assisted by an
external adviser or consultant. This may be particularly helpful if the
change will have an impact on many external boundaries, since it is
usually the head who manages the school boundaries. On the other
hand, he or she may not have the time to invest in managing the current
state, preparing to manage the future state, and managing the transition
which could easily take 50–100 hours out of the working year.
A project manager could be appointed, such as a deputy head. This is
appropriate when there are many internal boundaries to be managed.
An existing group of managers, such as a committee of heads of house,
can be given the transition management task, in addition to their normal
operational roles. This is only likely to be effective if they operate as a
well-knit team.
A group of representatives of constituencies could be chosen, such as
representatives of unions and management. This may be useful for
changes that are politically charged.
A group of natural leaders could be selected. This might be done, for
example, if the formal leadership was lacking in credibility, and it
provides an excellent opportunity for staff development. However, they
would need to be assured of the necessary clout and to earn the respect of
the operating leadership.
A diagonal slice of people at different hierarchical levels in different
departments could be used. This structure might be chosen, for example,
in cases where the existing hierarchy was the main source of resistance to
the change.
A special task force can be set up, selected from staff whom the head feels
he or she can trust – a sort of ‘kitchen cabinet’, responding to him or her
informally and candidly. This may be the best structure when it is
important for the head to exert direct control, but is unable to devote the
necessary time personally to the transition management. However, it
may give rise to political problems.
Sometimes a combination of these possibilities is best, with the structure
changing at various stages in the change programme. For example, an
interservice group formed at a local conference called to improve
implementation of the Education Act 1981 considered its own composition at
its first meeting and changed it, bringing in two parents. Interestingly, it was
chaired not by the most senior official in the group, or even someone from the
education service, but by a social worker with good process skills.
A sure recipe for failure in a school is for the head to exclude him or herself
by failing to display active interest and support: he or she must maintain a
close working partnership with the transition management team, if not a
member of it.
One general point is that it is very difficult for a stable organization to
change itself, i.e. for the regular structures of the organization to be the
structures used to manage the change. The creation of networked temporary
systems using novel approaches is more likely to be effective, as an example
from BCLP shows.
Case study from BCLP: networking systems
Enid Fraser, Headteacher of Parkview Community College of Technology
in Barrow, was very keen to investigate and address the dynamics of the
school’s leadership team as a catalyst for improving practice. She also
accepted the role of co-leader of one of the NCSL’s pilot Leadership Learning
Groups. An intensive residential in collaboration with Brathay and John
Byrne, a former Unilever Senior Manager who had also worked with NCSL,
led to a series of individual and group interventions with the leadership
team, facilitated by John. In a parallel initiative, Enid was trained in peercoaching skills using the GROW (Goals, Reality, Options, Will) model by
Brathay Consultant Gary Cooke. The activities of the Leadership Learning
Group formed a key element in a successful Networked Learning
Community (NLC) proposal, again with Enid Fraser acting as a prospective
The changes have included the broadening and restructuring of the
senior leadership team, the introduction of peer coaching as a change
management tool, a radical move from a horizontal to a vertical tutor
group system and a very visible commitment to leading change through
networks and partnerships – in the form of BCLP, the Leadership Learning
Group, a Networked Learning Community (the South Cumbria Learning
Innovation Partnership) and an Enterprise Learning Pathfinder Programme based on the same membership and core curriculum priorities
(critical skills development) as the NLC.
A further development is the use of collaborative peer coaching by Enid
and the headteachers of the other three Leadership Incentive Grant (LIG)
secondary schools in Barrow as a vehicle for identifying priorities for
change and targets for action. This model uses BCLP staff, trained in peer
coaching, as observers in triads. The observers then provide feedback on
questioning techniques, issues arising and the effectiveness of the
coaching in allowing colleagues being coached to identify key actions and
deadlines relating to priority issues.
In summary, Enid has used a combination of partnership working,
development and application of new skills, redeployment of key staff and
the integrating framework of the NLC’s six levels of learning to generate
worthwhile change through a range of linked strategies:
National College of School Leadership
Networked Learning Community
Six levels of learning (where positive impact is expected to occur)
Pupil/student learning
Adult (initially teaching/non-teaching staff) learning
Leadership learning (at all levels within the organisation)
Within-school learning
School-to-school learning
Network-to-network learning.
BCLP’s role has been to create opportunities – through co-ordinating and
co-leading in the Leadership Learning Group and NLC bids, developing
partnership working with John Byrne and Brathay, supporting the peercoaching triads, and securing additional funding to develop the peer
coaching to include teachers with leadership roles at all levels within BCLP
and NLC schools.
By the same token it can be enormously helpful to bring in an external
consultant or ‘facilitator’ to the transition management structure, such as an
LEA adviser, a local training manager or a college lecturer with appropriate
experience (Gray, 1988; Weindling, 1989); few major organizational changes
in ICI were ever accomplished by the former divisions pulling themselves up
by their own bootstraps. More and more LEAs and schools are using
consultants. Even if a consultant is used, it is also important to provide training
for people in the transition management structure. Fullan (1982) recommends
no less than 27 days of training per staff member per year, and warns that too
little training can be dangerous, because it brings problems to the surface
without solving them. This may be a counsel of perfection, but industrial
experience would suggest that a lead operator in the management of change
should have about a month’s training. Unfortunately, current provision of
such training in the public sector is far from adequate in quality or quantity.
Whatever option is chosen for setting up a transition management
structure, there needs to be some system for informing, consulting and
involving people affected by the change. Any change creates anxieties, and
the transition managers have to explain fully what is happening, in order to
build up wide ‘ownership’ of the change and to motivate people to let it
happen and make it work. The communication must be two-way, so that the
managers are provided with reliable information about the real impact of the
change. At one school visited by one of the authors, an otherwise very
capable transition manager (a new deputy head) seemed to be short of
intelligence about how the change was really perceived by the scale 1 and 2
teachers, so he assumed an unrealistic degree of commitment to the change.
The shrewd manager pokes ‘climate thermometers’ into the organization at
several levels, since he or she wants to deal with things as they really are, and
not as they are intended to be.
Consider a potential major change problem involving your school.What transition
management structure would you set up to handle it? What problems would your
choice create? How would you handle them?
The kind of tasks that will fall to the transition management structure will
depend on the nature of the change. Consider, for example, the amalgamation
of two schools, with representatives of each school and of the LEA managing
(1) Plans need to be developed to manage
(a) the period of the change;
(b) any unaffected systems (e.g. a youth wing on one site);
(c) organizational integration and operational effectiveness during the
change (i.e. managing the ‘present state’); and
(d) the future situation, when amalgamation is complete.
(2) Because change can be unsettling to people, their apprehension has to be
recognized and assuaged as far as possible. Rumours may spread, so
clear information about the future state and its effect on people inside
and outside the school must be supplied.
(3) Planning needs to cover changes in structures, roles, tasks, people and
formal and informal systems. Many attempts at change go wrong when
these elements are treated in isolation, so make sure that there is
consistency and integration.
(4) The person leading the change needs to be visible, and available to give
guidance and support, especially in connection with any conflicts that
arise. Any negative energy (frustration, anxiety, threat) needs to be
managed so as to encourage constructive behaviour.
(5) People need help in understanding the nature of change. There will
always be uncertainty, since at the outset only broad outlines can be set,
and the details usually require the involvement of many people.
(6) Communications and information systems need to be effective and to
operate in both directions, since: (a) role expectations will need
clarifying; (b) norms and assumptions need to be brought into the open
and examined; and (c) implications for workloads and job satisfaction
need to be understood. Especially important are sensitive areas such as
job security and rewards.
(7) Empathy with those affected by the change is important: the ‘death’ of
one of the schools in an amalgamation may induce a sensation akin to
mourning, and people need time to disengage from the present state and
adjust to the future. In these circumstances some counselling may be
These needs can place a high demand on management and lead to emotional
strain if they are not planned for in advance. Admittedly, the amalgamation
of two schools is a somewhat extreme example of change, but it is surprising
how people can be disturbed and upset by even relatively modest changes, if
they feel threatened or disadvantaged in any way. As Fullan says (1982, p.
120), you have to understand the subjective world of the role incumbents as a
necessary precondition for engaging in any change effort with them: you must
understand what reality is to those in each role. To do this, personal contact is
essential, with time for discussion and reassurance.
It is therefore of critical importance that organizational arrangements to
provide the time and skill required are carefully thought out and designed.
These arrangements then need to be communicated so that everyone
concerned understands how the change is being managed.
Using a ‘crisis management’ approach to cope with change is not to be
recommended, as it is extremely stressful for all concerned. It is far better to
draw up a strategic plan to deal with the process of change. Burnes (2000)
states that successful organizations spend 90 per cent of the time planning
and organizing change and 10 per cent implementing it. Effective planning
does not come naturally to many teachers, although anyone who has
constructed a school timetable will obviously have valuable expertise. In the
authors’ experience teachers tend to confuse decisions or intentions with plans,
so that specificity is lacking.
A process plan is like a road map for the change effort. It contains detailed
statements on who is to do what by when; it clarifies objectives and sets
mileposts along the path to their achievement. It unambiguously specifies
the means of its own implementation, and it incorporates ways of checking
and monitoring progress. The characteristics of an effective plan can be
summarized as follows. It is
(1) purposeful: the activities are clearly linked to the change goals and
(2) task specific: the types of activities involved are clearly identified rather
than broadly generalized, and responsibility for carrying them out is
unambiguously assigned;
(3) temporal: target dates are specified and achievement is monitored;
(4) integrated: the discrete activities are linked to show interdependencies
and sequencing networks;
(5) adaptable: there are contingency plans and ways of adapting to
unexpected problems, such as time slippage and unforeseen resistance;
(6) cost-effective: in terms of the investment of both time and people.
There is one further point. The people who are assigned responsibility for
implementing the various activities in the plan usually have their normal work
to perform as well: the change activities are an added extra. Management
may see the additional responsibilities as an enrichment of their normal work.
However, if the change activities do not bring with them a pressure to achieve
targets equal to that which applies to operational work, then they will not be
regarded as fundamental to the job. So if change activities are inadequately
recognized or rewarded, those involved will give a higher priority, in the
direction of their energy, to the area which provides the intrinsic rewards, e.g.
classroom teaching. Therefore management should be explicit in regarding
work on change as part of the primary work of the people concerned, and
attempt to recognize, reward or punish it accordingly. In some circumstances
this may involve negotiation and the temporary transfer, curtailment or
postponement of operational work.
Reflect carefully on the adequacy of any plans for major change or other projects
with which you have been associated.What went wrong? Which of the characteristics
of an effective plan were wanting? Can you generalize about the shortcomings that
most often recur? What can you resolve to do about it?
There are two main approaches to the development of tension and energy in
organizations. The first is the use of controls and the second is the use of
purpose, goals and objectives. Controls are effective only if they are backed
by a rigorously used reward and punishment system, which can lead to the
development of negative energy if mishandled. Purpose, goals and objectives
generate tension by developing hope for achievement and of a better condition
in the future. However, once a goal is achieved, tension is relaxed and there is
no further generation of energy. In order to maintain tension continuously, it
is necessary to establish a hierarchy of objectives and to update them regularly.
It is possible to identify four levels of objectives:
Aspirations. These tend to be very long term, bordering on the idealistic. Such
gleams in the eye generate little energy or excitement. Replacement of
O-levels and CSE by a single exam was for years such an aspiration, before
they merged into GCSE.
Strategic. These are time bound and are expressions of what has to be done by
year X (say, five or more years away) if we are to reach our aspirations. A
school faced with falling rolls and a drift of population away from the area
might well set a strategic objective to become a community school catering
for a wider age range, in order to survive.
Tactical. These focus on a point in time, usually not more than half-way between
the present and the time when the strategic objective is to be attained.
Agreement on a tactical goal seen as realistic is the main device for generating
tension and energy. It has to make clear where the responsibility lies for the
achievement of the goal.
First steps. These are immediate things that have to be done in order to make
further action legitimate, such as an announcement that a working party will
be set up to initiate the change process.
It is important to consider objectives at one level in the context of those at
other levels in order to ensure coherence and consistency of approach.
Diagrams are often helpful in showing how the various objectives interlink.
As far as possible, objectives should be SMART:
Experience in organizational change has shown that in addition to developing
the plan for carrying out the change, the planners must determine who in the
organization must be committed to the change and to carrying it out, if the
change is actually to take place. Traditionally, managements consider this from
a political stance, talking of the need to ‘get a few people on board’, ‘get the
governors’ approval’, ‘have the unions’ agreement’ or ‘have the majority of
the teachers going along’. We would like to suggest, however, that in addition
to these intuitive political judgements about who needs to be committed, there
should be a systematic analysis of the system to determine those subsystems,
individuals and groups whose commitment to the idea, to providing resources
(e.g. money and time) and to carrying out and persevering with the change is
necessary. Then the manager has to develop a plan to gain the necessary
commitment; this is sometimes called ‘responsible scheming’, which sounds
better than ‘manipulation’.
The steps in developing a commitment plan are as follows:
(1) Identify target individuals whose commitment is needed.
(2) Define the ‘critical mass’ needed to ensure the effectiveness of the
change, i.e. the minimum number of people who must be committed.
(3) Assess the present level of commitment, of each individual in the critical
mass, to the change.
(4) Develop a plan for getting the necessary commitment from the critical
(5) Develop a monitoring plan to assess progress.
Step 3 can be helped by judging where each individual is on a scale of
commitment, such as
ready to oppose the change;
willing to let it happen;
willing to help it happen; and
willing to make it happen.
Second, a judgement can be made on the same scale of where each individual
needs to be for success. Plotting the position on a chart helps (Figure 18.1).
Step 4 is a crucial one to which there are various approaches. Force-field
First deputy head
Union representative
LEA adviser
X = present position
XO = desired position
Figure 18.1
Commitment chart
analysis (Chapter 17) can help. Another way is to apply the Gleicher formula,
which can also be useful in assessing any system’s readiness to change:
C = f(ABD) > X
change, which is a function (f) of:
extent of dissatisfaction with the status quo (present state)
clarity of vision of where we want to be (future state)
feasibility of the first practical steps for getting there
cost of the change, in both financial and psychological terms.
Sometimes managers can gain commitment to change by fanning
dissatisfaction with the status quo, or with the ‘doom’ scenario to which this
will lead if nothing is done. Or they can paint an attractive and enticing picture
of the future state, convincing people that it is something worth striving for.
Often, however, it is the practical steps involved in the change which need
spelling out, so that people can see just how it will work for them. The net
cost of the change can be reduced by trying to ensure that it gives ultimate
personal advantage to those affected by it, to offset the extra efforts required
in breaking the old mould. Enlightened self-interest always helps. Professional
development, or an improved chance of career advancement, are two such
Other approaches to gaining commitment are as follows:
(1) Use of power: although there are still heads who rule with a rod of iron,
coercive power is a decreasingly effective strategy for gaining real
commitment. But there are times when it helps to overcome initial
resistance, enough to give way to more acceptable and enduring
methods of winning hearts and minds.
(2) Involvement: a participative style of management helps, but sometimes
takes a long time to produce results. A way round this dilemma is to
think of involvement as applying to three distinct levels – shaping the
decision, shaping the implementation and shaping the pace of change.
Significant commitment can be obtained at the second and third levels.
(3) Problem-solving activities: significant parts of the system are not always
aware that there is a problem. By involving them in trying to identify and
clarify a problem or need, one can increase their appreciation of the
problem and, often, gain their commitment to change.
(4) Educational activities: sometimes a training course or educational event
will provide the kind of awareness and commitment which policy
statements or directives cannot accomplish.
(5) Treating ‘hurting’ systems: one way of moving the process forward is to
begin work with those subsystems that are ‘hurting’. Change is more
likely to occur, and the ‘critical mass’ is more likely to develop, with such
(6) Change the reward system to value different behaviour: consider both
extrinsic and intrinsic rewards; they need not be financial.
(7) Functioning as a role model: changed behaviour by the leader is sometimes
required in order to get others to change theirs.
(8) Forced collaboration mechanisms: in order to get commitment, it is
sometimes necessary to require people to work together and to take on
certain managerial roles.
(9) Persuasion: the techniques used by reputable salespeople are worth
considering; these are described on pages 224–5.
The process of selecting a mechanism to involve those whose commitment is
essential is often best helped by analysing the forces that get in the way of
change. Thus if one can find an activity that unfreezes frozen attitudes, one
may be helping the process of creating the conditions necessary for allowing
new attitudes to form, with a consequent increase in energy and commitment.
This is better than forcing the change on those who are resistant to it.
Finally, when it comes down to dealing with particular individuals, you
may have to be ready to spar with the negative thinkers who habitually resist
change. Derek Waters, who trained many ILEA primary-school heads, has a
useful list of common objections (Figure 18.2) which he gets his courses to
role play. There are effective rejoinders to all these snipers’ bullets. Try
thinking of some and keep them up your sleeve!
In carrying out any plan, or determining how the future state is to be managed,
it is vital to ensure that the key people (or ‘actors’) understand how they are
going to be involved. The allocation of work responsibilities can be assisted
by a technique called ‘responsibility charting’. It aims to clarify role
relationships, as a means of reducing ambiguity, wasted energy and adverse
emotional reactions. The basic process is as follows:
I can’t see that working with the teachers here.
I can just hear what our parents would say about that – especially after the
trouble with the mathematics work last summer.
It won’t work in a large (small … county/voluntary … urban/rural) school.
I’m sure we haven’t got the space (resources/materials/time) for that.
You realize the French (Germans) abandoned that idea five years ago?
How do you think the new governing body are going to react? You remember
what they said about the sex education programme!
I wouldn’t want the local newspaper to get a hold of this one.
Isn’t that an untested theory?
Isn’t that an American idea?
You’re not putting that idea forward seriously, are you?
Yes, it does sound as though it would work. But you do realize what it would
do to the language work programme, don’t you?
Isn’t that the approach they used to advocate that environmental studies should
be tackled back in the sixties?
I can see it would be a good idea, but why change – for so small a gain?
It’s a fine plan – but I wonder if it is just a little too advanced for us at this point
in our development?
We’re different here.
It sounds like a very fashionable thing to do.
If it’s so good, why hasn’t someone else tried it?
From a practical point of view it does seem all right; but what about the wider
Hardly what I would call a professional approach to our problems.
Is this your own idea?
I’m sorry, but I don’t see the connection with what you are suggesting and
what most of us perceive as our real needs.
I can think of some much better ways to spend the money.
Perhaps we ought to wait for a more opportune time.
With respect, I don’t think you have been here long enough to understand our
set-up and how we prefer to work.
I hope you don’t expect the infants (juniors) to join in this new scheme.
We have tried this before.
The caretaker will have some very definite views about these plans.
I really can’t keep wasting my time like this.
Wasn’t that something Keith Joseph tried to introduce?
Well, we would like to do that, but the Education Reform Act makes it impossible!
And how are we going to do this with two teachers short in that department?
You must have stayed up half the night thinking that one out. (Consider your
reply most carefully, if you actually did stay up half the night.)
Figure 18.2
Verbal barriers to change (used with permission of Derek Waters)
1. The vertical axis
Using a form designed as shown in Figure 18.3, two or more people whose
roles inter-relate or who manage groups that have some interdependence (e.g.
a head of year and a head of department) develop a list of actions, decisions
or activities (e.g. disciplining pupils, recording disciplinary incidents, using
common equipment) and record them on the vertical axis of the form.
2. The horizontal axis
Then, working individually, each person identifies the ‘actors’ who have some
kind of behaviour towards each action or decision, and lists these actors on
the horizontal axis of the form. Actors can include
those directly involved;
those immediately above them in the hierarchy;
groups as well as individuals (e.g. the senior management team); and
people outside as well as inside the organization (e.g. the chair of
3. Charting behaviours individually
Still working individually, the required behaviour of each actor towards a
particular activity is charted, using the following categories:
R = Responsibility for seeing that decisions or actions occur.
A = Approval of actions, with a right to veto them.
S = Support of actions or decisions by provision of resources, but with no
right of veto.
I = Informed of action or decisions, but with no right to veto.
4. Reaching a consensus
Now working as a group, all the actors (or as many as possible) share their
individual perceptions, possibly by circulating the form or by using flipchart
displays. Where there is agreement, the only further work is to agree the nature
of any support action. The purpose of the meeting is to produce an agreed
version of the responsibility chart by a consensus decision. A majority vote
will not do: differences have to be ironed out and resolved. The end result
must be that each actor treats the decision as though it were ideal.
True clarity will not be achieved if more than one R exists for an activity.
Agreement on where the R should be assigned for any activity is the first step
in the discussion, and the actor concerned (who will be an individual) will
certainly have to agree with subsequent categorizations. There are three
approaches which may help, if agreement cannot be reached on who has the
Responsibility (initiates)
Approval (right to veto)
Support (put resources against)
Inform (to be informed)
Responsibility chart
Figure 18.3
(1) Break the problem down into smaller parts.
(2) Move the R up one level in the organization by including a new actor.
(3) Move the decision about the allocation of the R up one level.
Once the R has been placed, other letters can be agreed. A ground rule is that
a decision must be made on which single letter goes into the box.
Another problem that will occur is that agreement may only be reached on
some activity by assigning a large number of As. This, however, is unrealistic,
because it leads to a situation in which there is great difficulty in getting
decisions that allow progress on the work. Discussion is then needed on how
to change some As into Ss or Is.
5. Circulating the chart
Having developed the chart, the group then tests it out with any actors not
present at the meeting (indeed no major actor should have been absent) and
circulates it to colleagues as a vehicle for communicating operating practice.
6. Using the chart
The actors use the chart to check what their appropriate behaviour is and to
call the attention of other actors to behaviour that is out of line with what was
The usefulness of responsibility-charting lies not only in the end product
of an agreed chart but also in developing understanding of people’s different
roles, and a better appreciation of different feelings and attitudes towards the
With the help of one or two colleagues with whom you have to work on some
operation, draw up a responsibility chart following these guidelines.Afterwards, review
how the process worked and in what other contexts it could be applied with
One of the problems with change is ensuring that it is followed through. With
something as discrete as the amalgamation of two schools, it is relatively easy
to know when the change is complete. However, some changes, such as
‘improving school leadership’ are ill-defined. To move from the present to the
future state, the system has to be unfrozen, changed and fully stabilized in
the new state. We need, therefore, to have yardsticks by which we can recognize
when the organization has got to where it wants to be, and which we can use
to set a ratchet to prevent backsliding. The last thing we want is a façade of
change, followed by the system gradually sinking back into its old ways of
working. As Sir John Harvey-Jones has observed (2003, p. 114):
Ultimately change is only anchored firmly when individuals have changed
their perceptions and values, and it is important to be realistic about the time
that this may take. Five years is absolute par for the course of changing attitudes
and even that is only achievable if one is moving well within the establishment
grain of thinking.
To help stabilize the system in the new state, we need to develop success
criteria or measures that will tell us that the change has been effective and has
become truly assimilated. The ‘future scenario’ description may yield some
useful clues to the measures that might be adopted, if it is specific enough.
Some means of gathering reliable information and analysing it should be set
up as part of the overall plan for change (not as an afterthought), and may
have to extend beyond the point when the change can be said to be complete,
so as to make sure that it endures. The means of measuring success might
take the form of a checklist of procedures, a questionnaire about role responsibilities, an analysis of exam results or an attitude survey to be completed by
those most likely to know if the change has been successful – perhaps the
pupils. It will focus on the actual outcomes of the change.
It is necessary to assign responsibility to named individuals for monitoring the critical factors that measure success and for managing the processes needed to take corrective action in case of a shortfall. Responsibilitycharting is useful for this. Processes that influence several of the success
criteria and are known to have been inadequate in the past merit particular
The existence and purpose of the evaluation or review plan, and the
intention to use it for correcting any tendency for the system to regress,
should be communicated to those involved, because this will help in the
process of stabilization of the change. It will signal the completion of the
transition stage and the arrival of the ‘future state’. Success makes obsolete
the behaviour that led to success: new behaviour is now needed, appropriate
to the future state having been attained.
A further reason for this review is to check on unforeseen consequences of
the change, so that any new problems thrown up are properly managed, and
new opportunities made the subject of further change.
The results of the review should be carefully studied so that the
management knows and celebrates what activities have been successful.
Organizations can consciously learn how to manage change more effectively,
but only if they review the process, consolidate the successful practices and
plan to overcome any difficulties next time round.
The whole organization is entitled to receive some kind of report from
management about the success of the change, and this may well be linked
with expressions of thanks for their co-operation. This is all part of the
attempt to mould the reward system so that change efforts and development
are valued and recognized as much as operational work.
Finally, there is the possibility that other schools will be able to benefit
from your experience, e.g. through your contributing a paper to a conference
or to the technical press.
Assuming that you are involved in some major change within your school,
arising from a school development plan, an Ofsted inspection or
implementing the requirements of new legislation, consider the extent to
which there is evidence of the approaches outlined in the last two chapters
being applied, explicitly or implicitly. Can you, with colleagues, open up
opportunities to contribute to implementing the change by using the
knowledge you have picked up in this book? If not, how else do you propose
to demonstrate that you have gained in competence by having read Part III
of the book?
Aspinwall, K., Simkins, T., Wilkinson, J.F. and McAuley, M.J. (1992) Managing Evaluation
in Education, Routledge, London.
Fullan, M. (2003) Change Forces with a Vengeance, RoutledgeFalmer, London.
Senge, P., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R., Roth, G. and Smith, B. (1999) The Dance of
Change: The Challenge to Sustaining Momentum in Learning Organisations, Doubleday
Currency, New York.
(Abbreviations and acronyms which may not be familiar to readers outside the UK
are set out below.)
BCLP: Barrow Community Learning Partnership, an agency for effecting
cultural change in Barrow schools and the local community.
BEMAS (renamed BELMAS): British Education (Leadership) Management and
Administration Society, a professional body for education managers and
those who develop them (www.belmas.org.uk).
CNAA: the Council for National Academic Awards was an official validating
body set up to grant higher academic awards to students.
CSCS: the Centre for the Study of Comprehensive Schools, based at University
of Leicester, Moulton College, Moulton, Northampton NN3 7RR, is a
national organization set up in 1980 to collect, study and disseminate good
practice in comprehensive schools (www.cscs.org.uk).
DfES: the Department for Education and Skills (formerly the DfEE, the
Department for Education and Employment, DfE, the Department for
Education, and before that the DES, the Department of Education and
Science) is the government department centrally responsible for
education in England (but not Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland)
ERA: the Education Reform Act 1988. A major piece of legislation, introducing
a National Curriculum, mandatory testing, local management of schools
(LMS) and the right of schools to opt out of the local authority system.
GNVQ: General National Vocational Qualifications are a form of accreditation
of what candidates can do, as opposed to what they know.
HIP: Headteachers’ Induction Programme (formerly HEADLAMP). A
government initiative to train newly appointed headteachers.
HSC/HSE: Health and Safety Commission/Executive, the national UK body
that oversees health and safety in the workplace.
HoD: head of department. Secondary schools are structured according to
subject discipline, with the various departments headed by senior practising
teachers. In Scotland the term ‘principal teacher’ is more common. Some
schools also have faculties which group together related subjects. Where
the context so requires, the term HoD should be taken to include also heads
of faculties.
ICI: Imperial Chemical Industries plc is a British multinational chemical
company which for many years had a reputation for progressive
management and for helping science teachers to improve their teaching
materials. It has also been active in transferring some of its management
practices to schools.
ILEA: the Inner London Education Authority was an elected body responsible
for providing and co-ordinating all the public-sector education in inner
London. Disbanded under ERA, its principal functions are now provided
by the boroughs.
INSET: in-service education and training is provided mainly by public sector
educational institutions, universities, LEAs (q.v.) and the DfES (q.v.).
LEA: local education authorities are bodies of elected representatives
responding to county, metropolitan district and borough councils. The
permanent officials are usually headed by a director of education or chief
education officer responsible for the administration of the authority. Their
powers were curtailed by ERA (q.v.). Most teachers are employees of an
LMS: local management of schools. A provision of ERA (q.v.), which devolves
much power and authority from LEAs to individual schools.
LPSH: Leadership Programme for Serving Headteachers.
LSC: Learning and Skills Council, the government agency that took over from
the Further Education Funding Council and the Training and Enterprise
Councils for funding vocational education and training in England.
MCI: the Management Charter Initiative was the ‘lead body’ that developed
national occupational standards of competence in management, on
which National (and Scottish) Vocational Qualifications are based. Now
replaced by the Management Standards Centre (www.managementstandards.org.uk).
MSC: see TEED.
NAHT: the National Association of Head Teachers is the largest professional
association of heads and deputies in the UK, covering both the primary
and the secondary sector.
NCSL: the National College for School Leadership has taken over from TTA
(q.v.) responsibility for raising standards in school management and
leadership (www.ncsl.org.uk).
NPQH: National Professional Qualification for Headship (for aspiring heads).
NTL: the National Training Laboratories are an American organization which
has successfully pioneered the development and application to
management and organization of the behavioural sciences, especially
humanistic psychology, since the Second World War. Its nearest UK
equivalent is the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations. Both are
proponents of experiential, as distinct from didactic, learning methods.
NUT: the National Union of Teachers is the largest and most powerful teachers’
union in the UK. It is affiliated to the TUC (Trades Union Congress).
NVQ: National Vocational Qualifications (in Scotland, SVQ) attest to
competence in the workplace against national standards. Overseen
originally by NCVQ (NC = National Council), and replaced in 1997 by
QCA (q.v.) and in Scotland by SCOTVEC (Scottish Vocational Education
OD: organization development has no satisfactory definition. It is used to
denote an approach to the improvement of the effectiveness of organizations
and of the individuals that staff them. This approach makes systematic use
of the behavioural sciences (applied psychology, sociology, social
anthropology, etc.) to diagnose situations and solve the problems that
emerge. Although not synonymous with the management of change, OD
is very much associated with it.
Ofsted: the Office for Standards in Education is the inspecting authority for
English schools (formerly conducted by HMI – Her Majesty’s Inspectorate
– www.ofsted.gov.uk).
QCA: Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, formed in 1997 by
amalgamating NCVQ and the Schools Curriculum and Assessment
Authority (www.qca.org.uk).
ROSLA: raising of the school leaving age. In UK schools compulsory education
continues to the age of 16 – formerly 15, and before that, 14.
SED/SEED: the Scottish (Executive) Education Department discharges the
responsibilities which in England are handled by the DfES (q.v.). The two
education systems differ in some major respects, so it is often misleading
to speak of ‘British’ education.
SEN: special educational needs. A phrase used to refer to the needs of children
with handicap and disability, provision for whom is covered by the
Education Act 1981, which followed the Warnock Report on the subject.
SHA: the Secondary Heads Association is the main professional association
for (specifically) secondary headteachers, deputy and assistant
TEED: the Training, Enterprise and Education Directorate of the former
Employment Department (later amalgamated with the former Department
for Education) succeeded the Training Agency, which in turn succeeded
the Manpower Services Commission (MSC). It exerted pressure on the
education system to respond more effectively to national economic needs.
TTA: Teacher Training Agency, set up under the Education Act 1994 to oversee
nationally the initial and in-service training of teachers. The NCSL (q.v.)
has now taken over responsibility for headteachers.
TVEI: the Training and Vocational Education Initiative was a governmentfunded scheme aimed at shifting the focus of secondary education towards
practical and vocational activities, and thus to counter the ‘academic drift’
which followed the Fisher Education Act 1917 making the universities
responsible for the main examination system.
Useful Websites
www.dfes.gov.uk/a-z/into.html A to Z of school leadership and management
www.dti.gov.uk/mbp Managers and Leaders: Raising our Game. Government’s
response to Report of the Council for Excellence in Management and
Leadership (www.managementandleadershipcouncil.org).
www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/slm.htm Search site for school leadership and
management issues.
www.management-standards.org Management and Leadership Standards.
www.ncsl.org.uk National College for School Leadership.
www.teachernet.gov.uk DfES guidance.
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achievement, 31ff.
action diary, 124
adventure activity, 207
advertising, 78
aims, 59, 146, 183, 244
angry parents 222
antecedents of change, 243ff.
application forms, 79
appraisal of staff, 86
Argyris, 151
assertiveness, 16, 128
assessing motivation, 40
assessing pupils, 188
attitudes, 7, 74, 101, 133, 180
attracting staff, 77
autonomy, 244
BAHA, 207
barriers to change, 217, 259
Barrow Community Learning Partnership,
229, 243–4, 249, 255, 260, 263, 267, 269,
Bayliss, 177, 260
Beckhard, xiv, 151, 236, 243, 250, 254
Beer, 151
behaviour, 18ff., 133
behavioural analysis, 172
Belbin, xiv, 164, 174
Berne, 133
Blake’s grid, 16, 151
Bolam, 255
boundary management, 148, 222, 262
Bowring-Carr and West-Burnham, 167
Boydell, 130
brainstorming, 63, 185
Brathay Hall, 231, 273
BS 5750, 197
budgeting, 214
Burns and Stalker, 151
bursars, 160, 218
business, see industrial
Butcher, 131
Buzan, 65
Caius Petronius, 235
capability, 264
careers, 179
case studies, 190, 229, 273
CBI task force, 179
change, 5, 186, 237
characteristics of heads, 23
childcare, 186
classical model, 150
clusters of problems, 267
Clutterbuck, see Goldsmith
CNAA, ix, xi, 287
collegiate culture, 246
commitment, 55, 223, 278
community, 229
competence, xi, 69, 118
competition, 101
competitive tendering, 219
conflict, 99ff., 244
consultants, 68, 105, 173, 270, 272
consultation, 203
contingency model, 151, 155
continuous professional development, 86, 93
contractors, 219
core mission, 8, 261
corporate planning, 183
COSHH, 205
cost benefit analysis, 212
courses, xiii, 91
Coverdale training, xiv, 168, 225
criteria, 48, 76, 123, 170
critical skills, 230
Crosby, 194
CSCS, 287
culture, 157, 183
curriculum, 178
development, 185
customer focus, 194
Cyert, 151
Dearing, 177, 180
decision model, 151, 155
decisions, 46, 62, 253
delegation, 55
demand/response, 262
Deming, 194
matrix, 164
needs, 91
of competence, 129
of resources, 6
of staff, 86, 91, 129ff.
diary, 124,139
differentiation, 155
dismissal, 93
display screens, 206
dissatisfaction, 29
domains, 262
domino effect, 267
DTEG, 207
conservatism, 233, 238
equilibrium, 265
early years education, 186
economic system, 160
Education Action Zone, 230, 255
Education Reform Act, 177, 239, 258, 287
effectiveness criteria, 76, 123
elements of organizations, 156
emergency procedures, 204
Emery, 151
emotional intelligence, 108
employers, 179, 222
of staff, 84
protection, 94
enrichment, job, 29
environment, 147, 221, 245
environmental mapping, 262
equal opportunities, 135
equipment appraisal, 213
ethics, 7
evaluation, 49, 212, 284
Everard, xiii, 129, 184, 235, 246
expectations, 195
experiential learning, xiii
external relations, 222
facilitators, 270, 272
failure of change, 239
Fayol, 151
Fielding, 10
financial control, 214
force field analysis, 180, 265
Fullan, 235, 246, 253, 260, 274–5
fund-raising, 218
future scenario, 259
gap theory, 106
Garratt, 148
Glatter, 229
Gleicher formula, 279
GNVQs, xi, 287
goals, 143
Goldsmith and Clutterbuck, 157, 243, 245
governors, 223
Gray, 274
dynamics, 67
performance, 71
training, 92, 168
Hallmarks of good schools, 161
Handy, 158
Harris, 134; see also Beckhard
Harrison, 158
Harvey-Jones, 144, 249, 285
hazard-spotting, 203
health, 199
Her Majesty’s Inspectors, 243, 248
Hersey and Blanchard, 19
Herzberg, 29
of needs, 26
of objectives, 277
Honey and Mumford, 131
humanistic model, 150
hygiene factors, 29
ICI, ix, 246, 253, 269, 274, 288
ideas, 63, 170
ILEA, 157, 280, 288
of change, 5, 235
of decisions, 50
inclusion agenda, 189
induction, 83
approaches to change, 235
experience, 158
management, misunderstanding of, x, 9
influencing, 224, 278
information, 63
inspection, 225
instinct, 3
Institute for Outdoor Learning, 221
integration, 4, 155
intergroup competition, 101
interlocking systems, 159
interpersonal skills, 15
interviewing, 80
investing money, 210
involvement, 31
ISO 9000, 197
description, 75
enrichment, 29
reaction questionnaire, 36
Johnson and Scholes, 270
Jones, 260
Juran, 194
Kelly, 131
Kepner-Tregoe, 151
Kolb, xiii, 131
Lavelle, 245, 256
Lawrence and Lorsch, 151
leadership, xi, 7, 19, 21, 188, 248
bridges, x
opinion questionnaire, 36
organizations, 149, 243
styles, 131
theory, xi
legislation, 83–5, 201–2, 206–7, 223, 240, 272
liability, 200–1
Likert, 151
charter initiative, 129
contract, 53
definition, xi, 4
development, xii
of attitudes, 133ff.
of change, 5, 235ff.
of conflict, 99ff.
of curriculum, 178ff.
of health and safety, 199ff.
of inspection, 225
of learning, 131
of meetings, 58ff.
of organization, 4, 143ff.
of performance, 86
of quality, 193ff.
of resources, 6, 209ff.
of risk, 199
of safety, 201
of stress, 125
of time, 60, 124
of yourself, 123ff.
principles questionnaire, 1
qualities, 249ff.
standards, xi, 22, 129
style, 15, 51
Mant, 157f., 245, 249
mapping, environmental, 262
March, 151
Maslow, 26f., 151
Maw, 8, 10
McClelland, 32ff.
McGregor, 28, 151
MCI, xi, 129, 288
meetings, 58ff.
mission, 8, 261
models of organizations, 149ff.
money investment, 210
monitoring change, 284
Mortimore, 223
motivation, 25ff.
Mumford, 131
Myers, 31
Myers-Briggs test, 100, 133
National Commission on Education, 243, 248
national curriculum, 178, 188, 191, 236
NCSL, xi, 23, 86, 129, 273, 289
needs, 26, 179
NVQs, x, 8, 129, 187, 207, 227, 289
objectives, 143, 172, 175, 277; see also aims
OD, 235, 289
Ofsted, 178, 213, 223, 225–6, 228, 230, 248,
OK matrix, 105, 134
conditions, 243ff.
elements, 156
managing, 6, 143
models, 149ff.
organizational dimension, 144, 164
organizations, 149, 243
Ormston and Shaw, 226
out-of-school activities, 207
parents, 222
Paterson, 151
Pedler, 133
of groups, 71
of staff, 86
Perrow, 151
personal profile, 76
personality characteristics, 125, 133, 165, 252
persuasion, 52, 224, 280
Peters and Waterman, 25, 144, 156, 158, 243,
245, 249
Pettigrew, 246
philosophy for children, 230
planning, 60, 69, 183, 276
plans for change, 276
Plant, 255
playwork, 186
and negative management, 136
attitudes, 180
power system, 158, 257, 279
present scenario, 261
priorities, 123, 174, 184
clustering, 267
solving, 104, 170
process: 244
review, 68, 170
project planning, 125
pupil assessment, 188
purpose, see aims
QCA, xi, 187, 193, 289
qualities of managers, 249ff.
quality, 193ff.
questioning technique, 68
Rackham, 172
raison d’être of organizations, 16, 143, 148,
readiness, 255, 258, 264
reconnaissance, 257
Reddin, xiv, 18, 151
redundancy, 93, 95
re-engineering, 217
re-entry problem, 91
references for jobs, 80
resource control, 211, 215
for change, 209ff., 268
integration, 4
managers as, 122
people as, 7, 74
responses, 263
responsibility charting, 280
review, school, 106, 116
Rice, 151, 159
risk, 199, 203
of manager, xii, 4
of performance, 89
of school, 8
revision, 112
roles, team, 164
Royal Society of Arts, 177
Rutter, 157
safety, 199ff.
Sallis, 223
satisfaction, 26
scenarios, 242, 259, 261, 285
Schmoker, 173
Schmuck, 235, 255
Schon, 233
School Management Task Force, xiii
School Teachers Review Body, ix
in community, 229
review, 106, 116
role, 8
selection of staff, 81
self-management, 122ff.
self-perception inventory, 168
Seymour, 131
situational sensitivity, 18
Sloan, 99
SMART objectives, 170
social system, 160, 238
soundness of change, 255
measures, 228
needs, 189, 253
specialist schools, 191
spidergrams, 59, 65
appraisal, 86ff.
development, 86, 91, 129ff., 246
dismissal, 93
stakeholders, 145, 160, 181, 182
standards, xi, 22, 129
Stewart, 250, 255
Stoll, 236
stress, 125
structure, 156, 244
style, 15, 18, 21, 51, 131, 251
substances, 205
success criteria, 47, 170
superheads, 228
suppliers, 195, 219
SWOT analysis, 261
systematic approach to:
change, 253ff.
decision taking, 46ff.
problem solving, 170
quality, 193
team building, 168
systems model, 150
Tannenbaum-Schmidt continuum,
Tavistock Institute, 159
Taylor, 151
Teacher Training Agency, see TTA
building, 168ff.
roles, 164ff.
teams, 58, 164ff.
technical system, 160
technology, 156
X and theory Y, 28
of learning, xiii
analysis, 137
cost of, 212
use of, 60, 122, 212
TQM, 194, 198
training, 163, 202, 213, 275
transactional analysis, 133
transition management, 271ff.
Trist, 151, 159, 246
TTA, xiv, 129, 290
Tuckman, 169
TVEI, 236, 239, 257, 290
Urwick, 151
values, 8, 183, 221, 239
vision-building, 260
Warnock Report, 223
Waterman, see Peters
Waters, 281
Weindling, 274
West-Burnham, 167
women, 210
Woodward, 151
workload agreement, 85
YMCA, 188
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