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A Day in the Life of New Headteachers: : Learning from Observation

Bubb, Sara and Earley, Peter (2013) A Day in the Life of New Headteachers: : Learning from Observation. Educational Management, Administration and Leadership. ISSN 1741-1432. DOI UNSPECIFIED

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It is known that the work of headteachers is demanding. Observation, diaries and logs completed by headteachers show a relentless, complex and emotionally-demanding workload. What can be learned about headship from how new headteachers spend their time, and perhaps as importantly, what can new headteachers themselves learn? This paper draws upon data, including that derived from observation, from a small-scale qualitative study of new headteachers in large cities (Earley et al., 2011), funded by the English National College for School Leadership. It examines how headteachers spend their days, the challenges faced and the value of being observed. It argues that the learning about leaders and leadership from observation has been considerable. From the researchers’ perspective it has enabled the gathering of further insights into the nature of heads’ work. A new observational classification is outlined. The findings are largely confirmatory of other observational studies which show the complex nature of headteachers’ workload. An analysis of the heads’ day provided insights into the things that mattered most, the challenges currently faced and how they were acting (or not) as learning-centred leaders (Southworth, 2009). The other main form of learning from observation was for the research participants themselves. Gaining feedback and reflecting on their actions and use of time as school leaders was deemed to be very helpful. The paper concludes by suggesting that being observed is a powerful form of leadership development enabling headteachers to reflect on how their time is used.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Early Years and Primary Education
IOE Departments > Departments > London Centre for Leadership in Learning
Depositing User: Atira Pure
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2013 02:01
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 08:58
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