Education leaders and managers feel strongly about the importance of shared core beliefs and values and believe that all students and staff in their schools and colleges deserve the very best experience and educational outcomes. Staff and students will only experience support and care if school leaders are ethically motivated and well-prepared for their roles.
At a challenging time of excessive workload, compromised staff wellbeing and the loss of teachers from the system, leaders deserve support and guidance on what good leadership looks like. The seven Nolan Principles for Public Life provide a good starting point for ethical conduct by leaders: accountability, honesty, integrity, leadership, objectivity, openness, and selflessness.
The National Education Union believes ethical leadership should be at the heart of everything we do. We have devised this framework to help you, as a leader, ensure your staff and students benefit from effective leadership that is driven by positive values from both heart and mind.
The framework illustrates the kind of behaviours expected from leaders in education, even in challenging times. It also provides a useful basis for conversations between yourself as a leader, your staff and trade union representatives to help ensure that leadership is effective and driven by positive values.
Encourage staff to review your school/ college practice against each of the dimensions, i.e against each of the letters that make up the “LEADERSHIP” approach. Ask them to rate each one as red, amber or green.
Do the same yourself, and then compare notes. The goal is for you and your staff to reach agreement that leadership is typified as green and good practice, rather than red and bad practice.
Having an “open-to-learning” conversation will help you apply the Code of Ethical Practice in Leadership. Any areas rated red or amber can then be used as an indicator of actions needed to move to good practice. Repeating the exercise regularly (eg annually) can help ensure that effective, ethical leadership stays embedded in the organisation. It can also be used for aspiring leaders to reflect on their own practice at all levels in the organisation.
Leadership in your school or college is, of course, only one element of your leadership role. You are a leader within the wider community as well, able to help influence the understanding, views and aspirations of that community. As an organisation committed to extending educational opportunity and promoting social justice, the National Education Union will work alongside you and support you in that role as well.