26 SES 06 B, Principals Performance, Legal Standards and Brand Management
This paper reports on a 2013 study of the role of school governing bodies (GBs) in headteacher performance management (HTPM) in England. The OECD’s leadership reports (Pont, et al, 2008; OECD, 2009; Schleicher, 2012) note that school leadership has become a priority development area in many of its member countries. As the reports suggest, the performance management of headteachers (HTPM) plays an important role in identifying areas of needed improvement and support to develop effective leadership. While most European countries have performance appraisal processes, many report concerns about the scarcity of tools and mechanisms to monitor and assess headteachers’ performance (OECD, 2008). Oversight of the performance of school leaders is crucial in the educational system due to current initiatives promoting school autonomy coupled with centralised accountability.
Oversight of the performance of school leaders is crucial in the English educational system due to current initiatives promoting school autonomy coupled with centralised accountability. Understanding HTPM is especially crucial given the shifting relationship between the state and schools.In England, as in other countries, HTPM is the responsibility of governing bodies but concerns have been raised about the capacity of volunteers to take this role (James, et al, 2011). The governor role is significant to leadership and has a key influence on school improvement (James, 2011).
This paper addresses the following questions:
1. How is HTPM working in different types of schools and academies and how can it be improved?
2. What are the implications of ideas, approaches and debates for supporting strong HT performance and addressing marginal performance?
The paper approaches performance management from a pragmatist orientation that seeks a middle ground between fundamental critique of ‘performance’ as an operative concept and uncritical acceptance of performativity through technical-rational prescription. This perspective aims to understand HTPM systematically while acknowledging limitations of the concept and its interpretation in practice.
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