9.15pm Kentish Hills Conference Centre, Milton Keynes. Arrived via Luton Airport at 3.30pm Managed to get to the final afternoon session. Presentations covered research about the perceptions of school leaders. Some interesting facts – most notably, for me, that people regarded mentoring as being one of the most effective forms of professional development for headship. The second session focussed upon an analysis of a school management team by an external researcher. Once again some cogent observations although I was forced to query the notion that a management team should be open amongst themselves but not with the rest of the staff. In response to my question the speaker used an unfortunate example “if we were going to invade Iraq we wouldn't tell people about it” I responded by pointing out that this was an unfortunate metaphor as it corresponds with the oft heard claim by some Heads “I'm prepared to lose a few battles as long as I win the war”. Such a statement perpetuates the concept of “them” and “us” which must be destriyed if we are to make real progress. to be fair to the speaker he had not intended to give that impression.
John Christie and I met Simon Clarke from University of Western Australia. Simon originally hails from England but has lived and worked in Australia for the last 17 years. Simon's field is effective school leadership and improvement and is speaking tomorrow about leadership in small schools – which will have some relevance for John and I.
I showed Simon some of our weblogs and described our intention to create a martrix of perspectoves\with which to track and reflect upon the change process. Simon suggested that it might be very useful to track some individual issues and write a narrative/story which would prove useful to helping teachers to make sense of their world. I agree with this idea, as the power of the story is not employed enough in explaining our world, whereas we the world of numbers and data is often held up without scrutiny – there is a place for both.
Time for bed.