Leadership in history

When looking at leadership in history a careful balance has to be created between offering generic advice (which you could get elsewhere) and very subject-specific advice, which in its attempt to be unique to history leaves out key generic issues. On the whole I have erred for the subject specific. Now that we have National Standards for subject leaders and there is much in-house CPD work on developing leadership skills, I don’t feel the need to trot out management-speak lists of the differences between leadership and management or how to hone your people management skills. These are importance considerations: but not for here.

There are 8 sections to this area of the site. Most are self explanatory

1. Policy, which is not about paper, more about vision for history and how you build a shared view of what history learning in your school should be like.

2. Self-evaluation, which is very much of the moment. The angle taken here is unusual. Rather than worrying about OFSTED’s four point scale and the self-evaluation form (sef), the emphasis is placed on diagnosing where you are in specific aspects of your work and then showing you what the next stage in development might look like. It is about improving not simply proving, about growing not weighing. What is provided is a series of aspect development grids. You will see how you can move history from the getting started stage, through some good practice to consistently good practice to advanced practice, worth sharing with others. These grids are provided for all the key areas you would expect: leading, teaching quality, learning and assessment. Many primary schools and secondary departments that have used these subject development grids have confirmed that they really do help to move the subject forward in an encouraging but also challenging way.

3. Raising attainment. Strong in all key stages, this section really excels in Key Stage 3 and 4. If you are slightly concerned about a recent dip in GCSE performance, you cannot afford not to read the section on improving GCSE results.

4. Using data. Many subject leaders in secondary schools have been kind enough to say that the advice here really transformed their approach to using data. Where they had previously been sceptics they have now become champions of this approach in their schools.

5. Monitoring. We all know we should be monitoring, but in the immortal words of Charles I’s secretary to his king “There is more to it my lord than bidding it be done!” What we need is sure-footed advice that guarantees that our very precious non-contact time is going to be worth spending on this activity. You will not be disappointed in the expert advice here which is all about the art of the possible. Advice on work sampling, pupil interviews, classroom observations and feeding back. is really thought-provoking as well as extremely helpful.

6. Prioritising is always an issue. One of the CPD activities offered here asks you to work through an exercise to ensure that you are ‘doing the right things’ not just doing things well.

7. Developing staff.

8. Forward planning is dealt with in two ways: the need for a wall chart to plot the key dates when tasks need to be carried out (e.g. monitoring Y4 topic books a week before the topic ends), and the need to plan for the longer term so that important work is carefully and realistically scheduled rather than simply shelved!

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