Session 284: Managers/Leaders and Frontline Learning

Q1. What is the primary function of leaders & managers in schools?
Q2. What does the best leadership look like in schools, and how does it impact learning?
Q3. Should every teacher aspire to leadership? What other paths are available?
Q4. Do you agree:Everyone is a leader
Q5. The Peter Principal: An employee will be promoted to his or her level of incompetence. Should teachers stick to what they are good at: Teaching?
Q6. How should poor leadership be dealt with? How can class teachers cope with poor managers?
Q7. How can inspirational leadership change a school? What examples have you seen?
Q8. What advice can you give new leaders about: a) change of relationship with colleagues b) fitting in the extra work
Q9. What is/would be your perfect position in school? Why?


The discussion began with an examination of the function of leaders and managers. It was interesting to see that many chatters gave different answers between what a manager does and the role of a leader, suggesting that these are not necessarily the same thing. To wildly generalise, it seemed that the majority view was for a manager to make things easier for those they manage, to filter what comes from above, and to help develop a conducive environment in which teachers can maximise learning. A leaders role seemed to be more strategic, and to inspire the troops.

Not usual for UKEdChat, there was no agreement on what good leadership looks like, but there was more consensus about what it does in the classroom. Many participants mentioned developing a whole school ethos, and the idea of developing ‘purpose’ for both staff and pupils.

The discussion turned to teacher development and whether all teachers should aspire to leadership. As a confirmed classroom teacher with little interest in leadership myself, I found this discussion fascinating. The majority of chatters seemed to think that not all teachers should aspire to leadership and developing oneself is a worthwhile pursuit, but with the important point that most opportunities for progression through the pay-scale requires a move into management.

The discussion moved on to poor leadership and what can be done to address it. Based on the Twitter comments, there doesn’t seem to be many things to do other than to talk to someone above the poor manager, or just cope with it. Having taught (briefly!) in a school where poor leadership was systemic, I can attest to the difficulty it is to change the culture and narrow insular mindset.

When inspirational leadership is in place it completely changes the ‘feel’ of the school which extends to every aspect of the school right to the chalkface. The chat archive is full of heart-warming examples of great leadership making the professional lives of teachers better and helping to equip pupils for their learning journeys.

The final part of the discussion focused on how to adapt to a role as a manager or a leader, and advice for new people to the post. Once again, the advice and ideas varied greatly, but a few common themes can be seen. Firstly, the acceptance that your relationship with colleagues will change and how to manage that. Furthermore, there were many comments about managing the extra workload into your existing duties, which can be seen in the archive.

It would seem from this session that leadership is a state of mind, rather than express permission or status. An educator can choose, or have the ‘choice’ thrusted upon them, the lead and/or manage at different times and situations. But it is a fluid concept which ebbs and flows as needs, challenges and opportunities present themselves. Enjoy your next tide!



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About @ICTmagic 781 Articles
Martin Burrett is the editor of our popular UKEdMagazine, along with curating resources in the ICTMagic section, and free resources for teachers on UKEd.Directory

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