On February 12, 2015, Central Square Foundation convened technical and knowledge experts at a roundtable discussion to share ideas around the need for school leadership development in India. Research suggests that 25% of a school’s impact on student learning can be attributed to the school leader, underscoring the importance of equipping principals to lead schools effectively.
At this convening, we hosted Steve Munby, CEO of the UK-based CfBT Education Trust, who shared his perspectives on effective models that can be adopted to train our headmasters. Having previously worked in UK, Kenya and Oman, Steve has had considerable experience in designing and developing contextual and innovative school leadership training and development programmes.
Participants in this convening included representatives from such organisations as Kaivalya Education Foundation, India School Leadership Institute, Creatnet Education and The Heritage School.
In his address, Steve spoke about CfBT’s work on school leadership and his own experiences at institutions such as National College of School Leadership and National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPHQ) which set the gold standard for school leadership training in UK under his leadership. He suggested that school leadership development in the Indian context requires a clear definition of roles and responsibilities and an adoption of merit-based selection processes and capacity building and training of headmasters.
To respond to the myriad challenges of school leadership, Steve suggested that headmasters need a sense of ownership in their schools and a clear vision for school improvement. He added that principals should interact with and learn from their peers to address the challenges that they face as a unified force. Finally, he emphasised the importance of a strong headmaster-teacher relationship that enables principals to effectively communicate their vision for the school and support the teachers in implementing this vision.
Steve concluded by saying that no school improvement programme can succeed without a leadership development programme at its core. A headmaster performs multiple functions within a school and therefore needs varied competencies to impact student learning outcomes.
The session concluded with Steve and the participants agreeing that a collaborative effort from all stakeholders is required not only to build school leader competency but also to influence policymakers to recognize school leaders’ impact on learning outcomes and to design policies that empower them to achieve this impact.