Anyone who has been involved in education over the last twenty years or so will tell you that the number of applicants for principal positions has been steadily declining. It is the same for both state and integrated schools only it is more difficult for Catholic schools as the principal must be a Catholic.
How do you know your school is maximising its financial resources?
- How do you know your Board of Trustees is secure from the risk of fraud?
- How well are your cash flow and investment monies managed?
- How comprehensive is the preparation, monitoring and review of budgets?
Recent financial reviews of a secondary and primary school carried out by an Ahead Associates contractor has provided each board with sound recommendations resulting in major savings, improved systems, full financial reporting to the board and a major reduction in risk to the school.
A high performing, well-functioning senior leadership team is critical to the success of a school and can contribute to raising student achievement. Even if a school faces challenging distractions, a senior leadership team can help a staff remain unified and focused on what is important – the students. Taking time to reflect on our individual leadership ability and the role we fulfill in a senior leadership team is very worthwhile.
Contemporary notions of feedback involve students working alongside teachers and peers with a view to enhancing students’ learning. It is no longer sufficient or fitting for teachers to be the primary source of feedback as this runs the danger of developing dependence on external sources for information about progress and learning. If students are to move from being recipients of feedback to intelligent self-monitoring, they need to take responsibility for their learning. With this end in mind, instructional programmes should provide students with authentic opportunities to monitor and improve the quality of work during production. Three elementary teachers who articulated similar beliefs about the importance of feedback and student involvement in their learning, and who described teaching practices congruent with the development of student autonomy, were observed during the teaching of a genre based writing unit. Observations revealed qualitative differences in the opportunities created for students to gain understanding of expectations, engage in evaluative and productive activities, and make decisions about their writing. These three cases show that developing students’ evaluative knowledge and productive skills in writing involves adoption of AfL as a unitary notion and a radical transformation of the traditional taken-for-granted roles and responsibilities of teachers and students.
In this volume, Gerald Arbuckle, a theologian and anthropologist with years of experience, provides a sustained reflection on how a Catholic school can become a community where the faith thrives and is effectively communicated. Written in the context of Australia and its great system of Catholic schools, Arbuckle's wisdom is relevant for other school systems and, indeed, other kinds of Catholic institutions.Stephen Bevans, SVD, Louis J. Luzbetak, SVD Professor of Mission and Culture, EmeritusCatholic Theological Union, Chicago USA
Does everyone involved in the running of schools recognise an effective board of trustees when they see one? Many will answer 'Yes' to this question but how much opportunity does the trustee on a single board have to measure the effectiveness of the board on which they serve? Of course most trustees know about governance and management and how each of these should observe appropriate boundaries but what those boundaries are may be largely determined by local history and the parts played by dominant personalities. Only a few board members currently serve on more than one board or be able to draw on previous trustee experience.
an essay presented for an M Ed Lead paper
“Educational leaders must guide their schools through the challenges posed by an increasingly complex environment. Curriculum standards, achievement benchmarks, programmatic requirements, and other policy directives from many sources generate complicated and unpredictable requirements for schools. Principals must respond to increasing diversity in student characteristics, including cultural background, and immigration status, income disparities, physical and mental disabilities, and variation in learning capacities. They must manage new collaborations with other social agencies that serve children. Rapid developments in technologies for teaching and communications require adjustments in the internal workings of schools. These are just a few of the conditions that make schooling more challenging and leadership more essential” (Leithwood & Riehl, 2003, p. 1).
So you need to recruit a new principal or senior staff members for your school. It is critical to get this appointment right. The implications of getting it wrong are too awful to contemplate - impact on students, on staff morale and performance, on the wider school community or even on the reputation of the school. This is before we even get to the cost of replacing a staff member - cost of advertising, cost of bringing candidates to interviews, the cost in time to recruit and appoint and the time for the new appointee to get up to speed.
We at Ahead Associates continue to be surprised when we hear of appointments where no reference, or minimal reference checking has been done. Sometimes the person appointed will be the right person but sometimes it will be the wrong person. Then the Board of Trustees (or the Principal depending on the level of job) is faced with the disappointment and the prospect of trying to bring about an improvement.