new light on long serving head teachers who retain a positive and
vibrant attitude to the job.
NCSL and head of Cleadon Village Junior School in South Tyneside, has
produced compelling evidence of common characteristics among school
leaders who continue to rise to the challenges of the job after many
years in post.
His Practitioner Enquiry Report 'Enchanted Headteachers' - among the
first to be published by the College - demonstrates that many heads
retain a drive and effectiveness that needs to be celebrated and
Woods recognised that established heads who had been in post for a
decade or more, fell into two clear camps: those who felt overwhelmed
with the job of head and those who continued to have an energy and
enthusiasm for the job. 'Previous research evidence suggested that
there is an inevitable disenchantment after about ten years in the
post. I had witnessed this first hand but also recognised that there
were heads who were quite the opposite - what I term 'enchanted.''
He looked at 13 primary heads in the North East who fulfilled three
criteria: they had been in post for at least ten years; were judged
by OFSTED to be leading successful schools; and were deemed by their
LEA to be enthusiastic professionals.
'I was able to identify six characteristics in the 13 heads,' says
Woods. 'They have pride in everything they do, have a closeness to
their pupils and enjoy teaching, have respect for others, embrace
change, are good listeners and have a modest image of themselves.'
Woods was given 50 days to complete his research - a relatively short
time span but one that meant that his work had a freshness, currency
and relevance for other teachers.
Woods was one of the first school leaders to win an Associateship
with NCSL. The Research Associates Programme offers school leaders
the chance to carry out research into leadership on behalf of NCSL.
The role also involves raising the profile of research in schools,
representing NCSL at conferences and building a cadre of heads who
believe in research.
For Woods, the role has brought many benefits to him and his school:
'The time out of school allowed me to read widely and reflect on my
work - I could go back to school refreshed and with a new
perspective. On returning, I noted that colleagues had taken on
initiatives and grown in their role - that made me recognise that to
be a good Head I didn't necessarily have to take a leading part in
every aspect of the school's work.
'The college is a new organisation and I felt energy, enthusiasm and
motivation from my contact with people there. I'd strongly recommend
the Associates Programme to any colleague.'
All Practitioner Enquiry Reports are available from Amanda Hatchett,
NCSL, Jubilee Campus, Wollaton Road, Nottingham, NG6 1BB, by faxing a
request to 0115 84 66952 or by visiting here .
Ronnie Woods' report 'Enchanted Headteachers' is one of the first six
Practitioner Enquiry Reports to be published by NCSL. The other five
- Leading Learning: Instructional leadership in infant schools, by
Susan Benson (Headteacher of Alwyn Infant and Nursery School,
- Winning Hearts and Minds: Leadership and performance management, by
Michael Crane (Headteacher of John Port School, Derbyshire).
- Leading to Success: Judging success in primary schools in
challenging contexts, by Stephen Englefield (Headteacher of
Brownhill Primary School, Leeds).
- No Regrets? Starting secondary headship, by Alan Sieber
(Headteacher of County High School Leftwich, Cheshire).
- IcT's About Learning: School leadership and the effective
integration of information and communications technology, by Ken
Walsh (Headteacher of King Edward VII School, Melton Mowbray).
The Research Associates programme is a means for school leaders to
learn from each other about the best practices of school leadership.
It also contributes to the Associate's own professional development.
Headteachers awarded Associateships receive funding for the provision
of temporary cover so they can be released from school for an agreed
number of days per year. The research period can vary from 2 terms to
three years. Research Associates are appointed three times a year.
The National College for School Leadership was launched by the Prime
Minister in November 2000 to provide continual training, recognition
and support for England's school leaders. The College is based in
interim accommodation on the Jubilee Campus of the University of
Nottingham. A #25m state of the art building is to open in September.