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Written by Mark Brundrett and Rachel Anderson de Cuevas in the journal of Management in Education, and published in 2007, this article is titled Setting an Agenda for Social Justice through Leadership Development. According to Wilkinson (2007), Brundrett is a professor of Educational Research in the Faculty of Education, Community, and Leisure and the head of the Centre for Research and Evaluation, in the Liverpool John Moores University.
On the other side, Rachael de Cuevas is a PhD student in the School of Tropical Medicine in the Liverpool John Moores University (Theobald, 2010). Professor Brundrett started as a primary school teacher before progressing to middle and secondary school teaching and finally becoming a professor in the Liverpool John Moores University.
He holds masters degree in education, and arts, bachelors degree in arts, and a doctorate degree in philosophy and education. His research has been mainly on education where he has authored and co-authored 12 books and numerous scholarly journals. Moreover, he is a board member of many advisory boards of different international journals.
This paper addresses two main issues; one, the implicit nature of commitment in leadership development programs which until recently, has been practiced in the United Kingdom to enhance social justice through management of school system. Secondly, this article argues that recent legislations in education have fostered crucial reforms that would facilitate active involvement of school leaders in promoting social justice whilst in training.
The United Kingdom has undergone increased funding in leadership development evidenced by formation of the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) and upsurge in national programs of leadership development. Nevertheless, these reforms came only after the election of a government mandated to advance social justice in 1997, that is, the New Labor administration.
Hitherto, there was no elaborate system to incorporate leadership development in schools but this has changed with the creation of NCSL, which deals with improving leadership training in schools to align with the increased regulatory and accountability clause in the 1988 Education Act.
The NCSL was established to “ensure that our current and future school leaders develop the skills, the capability, and capacity to lead and transform the school education system into the best in the world” (Brundrett & de Cuevas, 2007, p. 45).
NCSL has continuously performed well and by 2001, it had structured the Leadership Development Framework to guide in leadership developments entailing core and extension programs befitting all leaders in school system viz. emergent leaders, established leaders, head teachers, and consultant leaders. This framework encapsulates preparation, induction, and further training of head teachers.
This framework specializes with head teachers mostly because the triad of preparation, induction, and further training of head teachers forms the backbone of national intervention measures in leadership training and development. Head teachers are the ‘heads’ of schools thus are better placed to implement any form of leadership development in their respective institutions.
In 2006, the NCSL formed Head for the Future (HftF) to address challenges facing school headship and challenge participants to think critically to embrace and incorporate change in school headship and leadership development. In 2003, NCSL introduced ‘Leading from the Middle’ a portfolio meant to develop leadership acumen at all levels of the teaching profession.
Moreover, the NCSL conducts online learning and network information, research and development projects among other leadership development issues. Moreover, NCSL runs the Leadership Network, which runs in over 2,000 schools. Nevertheless, there has been criticism of NCSL functioning and outcomes.
While some people see the rapid expansion of NCSL as a positive move towards realization of leadership development in schools, others have been quick to point loopholes in the system. NCSL has been on the receiving end in matters concerning efficiency; outcome-focus, goal clarity, and depth in the future work.
A 2002 review by Ofsted revealed that, while NCSL’s training programs are efficient, the selection criteria for the candidates and ability to meet prevalent needs were inefficient.
Nevertheless, NCSL has an agenda for development, which would facilitate renewal of leadership capacity in this sector as suggested by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2007. This study also pointed out the dire need to come up with leadership framework that would address needs hence calling for goal-oriented system.
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Reflection and Personal Evaluation/conclusion
This article properly articulates the need to set an agenda for social justice through leadership development. Fortunately, this agenda is underway with NCSL working tirelessly to improve on what it has in place.
It is true there are some shortcomings here and there as depicted in the PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ofsted’s reports. However, it is important to appreciate what the NCSL has achieved so far. The Leadership Development Framework coupled with other programs as Leading from the Middle’ has proved vital in leadership management.
Brundrett and de Cuevas have given a clear and concise picture of how far leadership development has gone in the United Kingdom. The article draws widely from other sources and this shows its credibility. Unfortunately, the authors did not leave any room for further analysis of the paper. Generally, the article is well written to accomplish its objective.
Brundrett, M., & de Cuevas, R. (2007). Setting an Agenda for Social Justice through Leadership Development. Journal of Management in Education. 21(4): 44-48.
Theobald, S. (2010). Staff Profile. Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Retrieved From, <https://www.lstmed.ac.uk/>
Wilkinson, P. (2007). Mark Brundrett. Liverpool John Moores University. Web.