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Schools with good leadership produce excellent students

Dubai: The success or failure of a school depends, to a large extent, on the leadership of the school, a school leadership expert said Wednesday.

"Teachers make the biggest difference in the improvement of any school and the leadership of the school is the second biggest factor for improvement," Geoff Southworth, a UK-based school leadership expert told a workshop organised for public school teachers by the Regional Centre for Education Planning (RCEP).

"In the United Kingdom, 20 years of school inspection have shown that [for] every 100 schools with good leadership, about 93 will have a good standard of education. On the contrary, for every 100 schools with poor leadership, only one will have good standard of education," he said.

The workshop, which was held at the University City of Sharjah yesterday, was organised by RCEP in association with Unesco and the UAE Ministry of Education.

Hotly-debated topic

While school leadership is a hotly-debated topic among the teaching fraternity worldwide, there is growing consensus on the nature and practice of effective school leadership, Southworth said.

According to a document published in 2008 by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, effective school leadership policies include the clear definition of the role of leaders, the need to encourage and support more leaders, and measures to development of capabilities. It also includes measures highlighting school leadership as an attractive profession and the recruitment of effective leaders.

"If teachers and [the] leadership of a school are improved, then there will be huge improvement, which can further be bettered by engaging parents in the process," Southworth said.

Extensive research

The UK-based expert bases his comments on extensive research and teaching experience, apart from various studies conducted worldwide.

Southworth's findings are synchronous with the findings of school inspections in Dubai by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

Earlier this month, while announcing the inspection results of public schools, Jameela Al Muhairi, head of the Dubai School Inspection Bureau at the KHDA, said that the leadership of the school and a desire to improve were the only reasons why many schools overcame hurdles and showed improvement.

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