Monthly Archives: November 2018

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Leadership Responsibility

Author: Thom

The purpose of this paper is to explore how characteristics of complex educational change
may virtually dictate the leadership strategies adopted by those charged with central
responsibility for bringing it about. The change in question is large scale reorganisation of
schooling across entire English local education authorities (LEAs – equivalent to large districts
in the USA), subject of recently completed research. The challenge of leading major LEA
reorganisation initiatives falls primarily to LEA chief education officers (CEOs – equivalent to
school district superintendents) and their colleague officials, the professional staff who carry
out the executive tasks of local government.

The English education system consists of three administrative levels. The pattern of
governance for most publicly funded schools determines the involvement of stakeholders at
each level in reorganisation of local schooling:

• central government – ministers from the elected majority political party regulate the nature,
overall resourcing and governance of the national system of schooling. They can employ
legislation and resource incentives or penalties to persuade LEAs to remove surplus student
places in their schools;

• local government – elected councillors in the majority political party in each locality are
responsible for local taxation which part-funds schooling, and for their LEA. They have a
duty to regulate the supply of student places which includes taking reorganisation initiatives
if deemed necessary;

• school – elected or co-opted members of the governing body for each school represent
parents, the local community, the LEA and school staff. (Governing bodies approximate to
school boards in the USA but there is a separate governing body for each school and australianwriting).  Governors’ responsibilities include appointing staff within an annual budget covering their salaries, set by the LEA according to central government parameters. Headteachers (principals) attend governors’ meetings and may decide whether to accept governor status and so entitlement to vote on governing body decisions. They are responsible for school leadership within the oversight of the governing body.