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England's National College for School Leadership: a model for leadership education?

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this article is to critique the strengths and weaknesses of the National College for School Leadership (NCSL). The primary purpose of the NCSL is to improve student attainment levels through enhancement of leadership capacity within England's government schools. The critique aims to include the issues of strategic rethinking, definition of terms, leadership competencies, core competencies, selection criteria, and research needs. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This article provides a review of literature related to leadership capacity building and challenges to the NCSL enhancement of student attainment levels in England's government schools. Findings ‐ The article indicates that the NCSL had numerous strengths adequate for the initial core activities of headteacher development. Subsequent broadening of those responsibilities to include all leadership development in government schools is a challenging task. The continued increase in expectations necessitates a strategic rethinking of NCSL capability. Practical implications ‐ The number of potential school leaders warrants reflection on current practice. The "demographic time-bomb" of the teaching profession has implications for succession planning and professional development. The NCSL has endeavoured to prepare additional school leaders. The increase in NCSL responsibilities regarding school leadership necessitates a sharing of responsibility with other providers. Originality/value ‐ The article is among the first to critique the NCSL and to identify lessons to be learned by educational leaders from the NCSL experience.
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Keywords: Education; Educational personnnel; England; Leadership

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 6, 2007

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