10/08/2017

Inspiring school leaders

The Inspriring School Leaders Confernece was held in Cambridge University's St. John's College on 22-24 September 2017. EPA was offered the opportunity to inspire school leaders from all over the world to engage parents for a 21st century school system.


In the short inspirational presentation the question of why to engage parents was introduced. While we recalled some current phenomena in the world (eg. radicalisation, Trump, Brexit, xenophobia), we highlighted the role of parents as primary educators, being the first, the responsible and most impacting ones. Some of the main benefits of parental engagement have been highlighted, such as inclusion (rather than integration), taking ownership of and responsibility for the schooling process, active citizenship skills and other soft skills (of parents, teachers and students) being developed, higher academic achievements and the local community becoming a learning one. We have clarified the differences between involvement and engagement, advocating for the latter.

School leaders are clearly the game-changers in this process, they can move away from closed school doors to schools becoming community learning centres, from full control to mutual learning and shared leadership. It was made clear that a school head with a vision can ‚convert’ 80% of their teachers, get the parents on board, engage the (school and local) community in planning, involve the community in implementation, make everybody take ownership – of school and learning, make everybody a learner and an educator and create a learner- and learning-centred school - regardless the legal framework. This is what we think necessary to help educating responsible active citizens who are apt lifelong learners – of primarily the students, but also of teachers and parents.

The primary aims of ISL Cambridge were to explore latest trends that will transform education by re-considering the role of school leaders in instructional excellence and to offer a host of new strategies to make a difference in their school communities and expand their leadership capacity.

ISL aimed to;
  • examine full array of roles and responsibilities of school leaders
  • explore how the roles are distributed and discover new ways of sharing the responsibilities across the school
  • offer perspectives based on cutting edge empirical research on effective school leadership and how it influences learner outcomes
  • provide professionally stimulating opportunities for reflection on school leaders’ core values and practices
  • create a constructive dialogue about how leadership skills can be improved to be able to overcome the toughest challenges in the national educational system
  • explore latest trends that will transform education by re-considering the role of school leaders in instructional excellence
  • offer a host of new strategies to make a difference in your school community and expand your leadership capacity
  • identify the key roles and distinctive characteristics of effective leaders

The following issues were discussed through the plenary and parallel sessions during the ISL Conference:
  • motivating staff and students
  • characteristics of 21st-century schools
  • success stories of educational leaders
  • latest models of educational leadership
  • becoming an effective school administrator
  • leading successful change in educational systems
  • managing and trategy: learning from the private sector
  • global trends in education, teaching, and school administration
  • effective communication
  • design thinking, creativity and innovation
  • self-management and time management
  • beyond bureaucracy: embracing change
  • benchmarking: learning from best schools
  • leadership and organizational effectiveness
  • managing diversity in education
Eszter Salamon
EPA President

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