Consultation & Quality Leadership – What makes a ‘great’ school ‘great’?

Yesterday I went to the DEEM briefing outlining how to read school survey data related to Drug Education and Student Wellbeing. I went last year and was wondering if this session would be a repeat of last year. However, this year we spent quite a bit of time looking at school leadership.  Leadership models were introduced and as I haven’t really done much leadership PD, it was all new. I actually found this aspect of the briefing really interesting.

When looking at the data, the key points highlighted for me was that everything goes back to quality teaching, engaging programs and effective leadership. You can have an ‘OK’ school, but when you have all three combined you’ll have a ‘great’ school. Research also says engaged students, quality programs, effective teachers and good leadership results in improved school learning data.

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This is my notes from yesterday’s briefing. It shows three models of consultation/leadership. The first model shown has squiggly lines that go nowhere. This represents talking and never getting anywhere or making a decision. The second model represents following the steps 1-2-3… or just doing the process. The model represents change that is totally driven with no reflection. The third model displays learning. It’s a curving line that goes from a to b. Decisions are made and consultation has happened.

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Sorry about the photo quality but I’ll explain each. These are consultation models. The first one shows a straight line from the leader to the staff members. This represents no consultation and is an autocratic leadership model. The second consultation model displays the leader in the centre and the staff around the outside. The leader basically goes off to different staff members indivdually and asks each their view on something and then reports what was said to the next staff member. Most staff in this model agree with the leader who can direct the responses. The third and most successful consultation model has the leader talking to a group of staff, brainstorming, discussing and asking for feedback. Throughout my career, I’ve seen each of these models in play and am familliar with all.

What have I learnt? I’ve learnt that quality leaders consult well and make informed decisions and that quality leadership is essential for a ‘great’ school. Thanks Lynne and Donna for an informing morning. And to all you leaders out there… What type of consultation model do you really use?

Cheers Nina

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Consultation & Quality Leadership – What makes a ‘great’ school ‘great’?

  1. Nina–important conversation starter you’ve shared here! I’m wondering if it is possible to have a model that looks like a circle, where the leader is just one point within that whole? I know we speak to this as an ideal all of the time and I certainly strive to be that kind of leader…but do you think it is truly possible? Was this discussed at all?

    • averil2

      Hi Angela,
      I’ve taken a while to ponder this. I agree having a leader who is part of the circle is very desirable, but it would take a very confident leader to do this. True democracy is difficult to achieve.
      I’ve been looking at the models I presented and have decided that even the very best leaders sometimes use Model 1 (directive) combined with Model 2( feedback, brainstorming) and hopefully your model (an equal in the circle).
      Leadership is about building the capacity of others. Hmm I need to think some more!
      Cheers Nina I can feel another post here.

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