Leading and Managing Change within School – Because we want to vs. Because we have to
There are usually two routes through which changes occur within a school; external factors or internal ones. It is how the Headteacher leads, guides and supports these changes that will determine how successful these changes will be. This post will be part of a short series on change and the role of the Head in leading and managing change within school.
Internal changes often come about as being deliberately chosen by the Head and the leadership team. They may see that the school’s vision and mission are disconnected from the current state of the school. The changes needed to move the school from where it is to where it needs to be require the Head to lead and manage the process sensitively. Heads may have more autonomy for the changes when they are internally driven, but there can be a risk that early change adopters will move too quickly for other members of the school community and may risk not being supported or have the changes fail quickly after implementation.
External factors tend to enforce change, as opposed to encouraging change or change being driven solely by the Headteacher. These factors could come from numerous sources e.g. a change in class sizes or an unsuccessful Ofsted inspection. The role of the Headteacher as a successful facilitator of external change is vitally important. They need to ensure that the changes are carefully managed, considered and supported. They must work on ensuring that other senior leaders see their vision for change and support the Head in implementing the necessary changes throughout the school.
Regardless of whether changes occurring are internally or externally driven, as a Head you may want to consider the following questions when leading and managing change within school:-
- Have you shared your rationale and vision for change clearly with the SLT and staff?
- Does your SLT share your vision and understand the need for change?
- How have you communicated your pathway to change to your staff right throughout school?
- Have you and your SLT discussed potential challenges and areas of resistance, and explored sensitive and considered solutions?
The terms ‘lead’ and ‘manage’ have been mentioned several times in this short blog. You may consider them to be the same but there are clear differences when it comes to change leadership and change management. Keep an eye out for our next blog that explores these concepts.