ADES Conference

Association of Director’s of Education Scotland (ADES) Annual Conference 2005
“The Future of Educational Leadership”

Charles Leadbetter “Charles Leadbetter is an ideas generator, strategist and adviser to leading European companies”

Charles focused on the notion of public value in public service. What did I take out if his presentation?

1. Don’t think about people as users or consumers – instead think of people as participants and investors.
2. Don’t think of the frontline as being in the classroom – it’s “out there” and we need to operate out there – establish guerilla networks for change.
3. Personalization of service – tailored services established through dialogue and respect e.g. Assessment is for Learning; Challenge the traditional building blocks of the system – school year, periods, timetable; trusting the participants; be flexible and adaptive; devolve finance to the users; workforce redesign.
4. People want to self-provide – “they don’t want to be dependent upon a service – however well delivered”
5. Public services need to think more about creativity than delivery
6. In order to provide shape to our service we need to set boundaries – need to set them up in such a way that they are not stifling – take risks!!
7. Create satisfaction by eliminating dissatisfaction

Then Nick Smith of Bath Consultancy Group – “Nick is working with organizations across private, public and not-for-profit organizations”

Nick linked with Charles’ point about boundaries. He asked – “why do we create boundaries?” – People like boundaries; people feel safe; gives some coherence to activity. What are the alternatives to boundaries? – TRUST.

We then did an interesting exercise on coaching. Into threes – not knowing the others in your group; choose a project you are engaged in or about to start; draft a 2 minute presentation on your project; then present to the others in your group; they then have 2 minutes to provide feedback about the presentation; the person then repeats the presentation taking on the advice of the others; then the next person gives their presentation with the same cycle; and then the third etc, etc. It worked!

The question time panel – with Peter Peacock, Minister for Education and Young People; Zoë Van Zwanenberg – Chief Executive Scottish Leadership Foundation and Gordon Smith IBM resident director. The panel was chaired by Ewan Aitken of COSLA. A great deal of time was spent on the idea of “best” practice and then the idea that we shouldn’t be thinking about “best” practice but “next” practice. I have no problem with looking for next practice but I do have a problem with best practice – best practice really suggests there is only one way to do something – this has been one of education’s greatest problems over the years. We need to focus on successful practice – and recognize that success can be achieved in many differing ways.

Graham Whitehead “Futurologist”

Graham spoke engagingly about the future of communications technology and how it will impact upon our lives in the next ten years. He suggested there would be more change in the next ten years than there has been the in the previous 85 years.

A recurring theme was technology which was “on” all the time – and which people could access when they wanted – anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

He then picked up on a point made by Charles Leadbetter about tailoring a service to the needs of the customer. He talked about how Amazon contacts the customer when a book comes out by an author whose previous book they had bought. This idea of personalization has been a feature of all the various presentations, with examples which have included E-bay – scoring systems provided by other users; wikipedia – self-monitored by users.

Mary McLachlan – Headteacher at Notre Dame school for girls. What relief to see a Headteacher having the confidence to steer clear from the need to bring certification down the school. She and here staff are using S1/2 to provide an opportunity for pupils to develop skills which will enable them to fulfil the four capabilities outlined in Curriculum for Excellence.

Now what did I take out of the event?

  1. Personalization of the curriculum and our means of delivering the service
  2. Change the boundaries within which education is provided, managed and delivered
  3. Use technology to enable anytime, anyplace anywhere access to the curriculum
  4. Build a system to which people can contribute and participate
  5. Enable people to “self-provide” i.e. Build a service which suits them
  6. Use problem solving tasks in S1/2 to link the curriculum – create more freedom