Monday, August 1, 2011

Curriculum - Part VI

The final part of THE HOW is concerned with how the Leadership creates and maintains culture within a school and also how the school is managed to ensure that the curriculum is being implemented.

In order to become a learning-focused school, there are several factors that need to become embedded in the culture of a school and support curriculum coherence. In order for culture to develop, effective leadership is required. This involves initiating the core competencies highlighted in my previous post (moral purpose; understanding change; relationship and knowledge building; coherence making).

The factors that support a culture of authentic achievement include:
  • Shared norms and values
  • Focus on student learning
  • Reflective dialogue
  • Deprivatisation of practice
  • Collaboration
The goal for the leadership team is to make these factors implicit everyday for the school.

The Management involves creating and maintaining effective structures and processes for the allocation of people (P), time (T) and resources (R) to achieve the school's mission through the implementation. These structures and processes can include systems such as:
  • Job descriptions (P)
  • Meeting agendas and schedules (T)
  • Team structure and hierarchy (P)
  • Purchasing systems (R)
  • Professional development opportunities/systems (P)
  • Budget allocation (R)
  • Strategic planning (T)
  • Coaching and mentoring (P)
  • Physical space - eg. facilities and materials (R)
  • Hiring policies (P)
  • Timetable structure (T)
  • Appraisal system (P)
Leadership can never be effective without good management

During the creation of a culture, leaders need to consider the factors that may affect curriculum implementation. These can occur at a school level and include things such as:
  • The personality, relationships, knowledge and skills of leaders.
  • Whether or not the school community believes students will or won't be disadvantage by curriculum changes.
  • The flexibility of the curriculum design.
They can also occur at a teacher level and include things such as:
  • Teacher beliefs and values.
  • Subject knowledge (essential teacher readings are a good way to develop this).
  • Disposition towards reflection
  • Pedagogical content knowledge (how do students learn?).
  • Willingness to share and collaborate with colleagues.
  • Level of influence with other faculty members.
When all of the elements addressed in my posts combine, a coherent curriculum can be achieved. A coherent curriculum is the key to the alignement of vision, mission, learning targets, pedagogy and assessment. I would like to thank Gordon Eldridge and Sasha Marshall of the PTC for leading a thoroughly informative workshop on curriculum leadership, from which I synthesised much of this information.


  1. Dave, I've enjoyed reading through these series of posts. I'm really interested in the role of leadership and management - I've worked with great leaders and great managers but rarely have I worked with people who are both. However the ones who do manage to achieve this are truly amazing educators (and I was so lucky to work with one of these last year in Luzern - what an inspiration she was!). I like the way you bring this back to the teacher level - I'm a real advocate for teachers being seen as leaders too and I wish more administrators would acknowledge this important role. The job of a good leader should be to encourage more leaders to emerge, to move the process forward (not just to encourage people to follower them).

  2. Hi Maggie, I totally agree with you. The person you're talking about will definitely be missed - maybe another strong leader will emerge!