Supporting leadership development in primary schools

The University of Oxford is spearheading a joint initiative sponsored by Oxford City Council to provide leadership development for staff and governors at primary schools in the city of Oxford.

Led by Professor Ian Menter, experts from the University's Department of Education have joined forces with Oxford Brookes University's School of Education and a consortium of local schools (known as 'Education Excellence in Oxford') in an effort to improve numeracy and literacy levels in the city's primary schools.

The programme, officially launched on 17 January, will benefit 11 schools that have been identified by Oxford City Council. Called the 'Leadership for Learning programme', it will run in two year-long cycles with up to 40 people participating each year from the 11 schools.

Staff and governors from the participating schools will receive up to 12 training days a year with leading national and international researchers and practitioners. There will be three one-day workshops and two meetings twice a term to address shared concerns, as well as coaching and mentoring link-ups with senior management teams from some of the most experienced educational leaders in the county. Parents will also be invited to take part in a series of six public seminars planned for each year to explore relevant issues affecting their child's primary education. 

Programme director Ian Menter, professor of teacher education and director of professional programmes at Oxford University, said: 'Oxford University’s Department of Education and Oxford Brookes University School of Education are recognised UK leaders in teacher education. We hope that through this partnership and working with the Oxfordshire school consortium, we will be able to support primary education in the city of Oxford. We also anticipate that this will forge even closer links between the primary and secondary schools in the city.

'Every day, primary teachers are faced with a myriad of challenges: for example, working more closely with parents so that they can offer more effective support to their child’s education or supporting bilingual learners for whom English is an additional language. How to tackle these issues is not always easy or straightforward. We hope that through the Leadership for Learning programme, teachers and governors will be able to tap into a pool of expertise and support each other and that this will help them to develop new leadership strategies. By working in this way, and building upon many recent positive developments, the quality of teaching in our primary schools should continue to improve.'  

Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: 'I am delighted that the two universities in Oxford are working collaboratively with city schools to develop school leaders to raise children’s achievement. By doing this, we will support teachers to improve the life chances of children in Oxford living in disadvantaged areas, and this will have a very positive impact on the Oxford economy bringing benefits to all Oxford residents.'

On completion of the programme, each participant will be eligible to receive accreditation towards a Master’s degree (the equivalent of a 'module' – 20 credit points out of 180 points, which is the total requirement for a Master's degree).