Effective school leaders promote collaborative cultures. Schools need dedicated, value-led, competent and highly motivated school leaders who can encourage reflective practice and foster dialogue and cooperation among all school actors and with other stakeholders. They ensure a supportive environment for teachers, where teacher-teacher learning, time for feedback and reflection, and networking within and between schools is encouraged. They also play an essential role in providing opportunities for practice-oriented initial teacher education and research-based continuous professional development.
School leaders should be able to share authority by distributing leadership roles within the school. In a 'distributed leadership' model, leadership, teaching and non-teaching staff, learners, as well as parents and families are encouraged to take on leading roles in a particular area of expertise, to assume responsibility and individually or as part of a group, to take initiative. Opportunities for more flexible working relationships are created. This may require developing institutional structures: creating new procedures and working arrangements (such as formal and informal committees, teams, working groups, etc.); organising time and allocating resources to enable collaborative working and testing of innovative ideas etc.
Successful initiatives in Member States feature collaborative leadership structures. This may include giving some members of the staff roles as middle managers/coordinators and as well as allowing flexibility for the formation of teaching teams. Past initiatives have also shown that it is important to have the appropriate selection of support staff (experts, mentors, coaches) who can guide the process of change and support school heads and teachers as appropriate.
In introducing a new school culture, there are some challenges to consider regarding human resources management. This may include, for example, convincing school staff of the benefits of collaboration, creating diverse teams of teaching and non-teaching staff, and ensuring sustainability of collaborative work.
Find out more:
European Commission, Strengthening teaching in Europe: New evidence from teachers compiled by Eurydice and CRELL, June 2015, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2015. European Policy
Network on School Leadership (EPNoSL): online platform with case studies on good practices in the field of school leadership policy in Europe
OECD (2014), “Chapter 3: School Leadership” in The OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) – 2013 Results, OECD, Paris, 2014, pp. 55-83.