An exploration of competency-based leadership development and its application in education exemplified by a case study of the East Riding of Yorkshire Local Authority
Stork, David Arthur
Thesis or dissertation
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The purpose of this research is to explore the potential value and application of a form of leadership and management development which has been hitherto largely the domain of the commercial and non-educational public sector: the use of competencies. In order to do this in a manner which suggests that this might be generalised across the sector, I shall use a case study compiled following the experiences of one Local Authority (LA), the East Riding of Yorkshire, which, over a period of years, has used this method, first to secure the development of its own managers but, since 2007, also as a succession planning tool for school leadership.
There have been, especially since the creation of the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) in 2000, numerous iterations of programmes of development for aspiring school leaders at all levels of the teaching hierarchy; these focus on the apprenticeship required to deliver appropriately the National Professional Standards for Headship, the only current benchmark for leadership in schools. In doing so, however, these programmes may be seen to neglect key elements of leadership related to the “softer” skills of leadership such as the development of interpersonal relationships, favouring rather the focus on the delivery of the tasks seen as the core purpose of headship. This thesis will set out to demonstrate how this additional dimension, known as “competencies,” forms a key part of the leadership process, and that to neglect it is a major oversight. Processes to diagnose the strengths and areas for development of aspiring and existing school managers in terms of their competencies, both in the teaching profession and in the ever-growing numbers of support staff will be explored. A clear understanding of the term and how competencies differ from and complement professional standards will be presented.
Neither is this process limited to the advantages gained by the people in the organisation; the tenet of the East Riding programme is that the development of the individual person leads to the improvement of the organisation as a whole. For Headteachers therefore, exposing their colleagues to the form of development described in this research can and should have a positive effect on the future effectiveness of the whole school.
Nationally, there is little evidence of the successful delivery of programmes of this kind in the educational sphere. This thesis will demonstrate how attention to the individual’s competencies can address a major gap in their personal and professional development at all stages of their career and how it will transfer into their future lives and their future positions of employment.
- Department of Education Studies, The University of Hull
- Qualification level
- Qualification name
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