Managers And Leaders With Many Different Attributes Education Essay

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The Scottish Executive (2006a) carried out a workforce review in response to industrial action by nursery nurses. Early Education and Child Care workers are often regarded as low skilled. The Scottish Executive realise the quality of education that a child receives in the early years can have a major impact on children's learning and future long term life chances. They note (2006b pg1) "Critically, the single most significant factor in determining the quality of the centre is the level of qualification of the manager of the centre, and to a lesser extent the level of qualification of the wider workforce". In response to the review the Scottish Government (2006a) are committed to developing leadership skills in the sector. They believe that degree qualified staff will strengthen leadership which in turn will result in better outcomes for children. This review is a key document that brought into being the degree qualification BA Childhood Practice. Social Services Council (SSSC) (2005) registration requirements have been amended from 2011 which means all lead practitioners and managers of early years settings must have attained the necessary leadership qualifications or be working towards them.

The findings of The Effective Leadership in the Early Years Study undertaken by Siraj-Blatchford and Manni L (2007) confirms the Scottish Government's view that the settings which produce high quality outcomes for children are managed/led by well qualified staff. It was found that the higher the childcare qualification of the leader resulted in a higher quality environment.

Practitioners taking part in studies suggest that traditional methods of leadership whereby one key individual leads in all aspects of the business did not necessarily fit well within an early years environment and that a more collaborative approach to leadership worked best. Osgood (2003) as cited in Siraj-Blatchford and Manni (2007) Research from the Researching Effective Pedagogy in the Early Years (REPEY) study found that leaders in some of the most effective settings often used distributive leadership in areas such as curriculum, budgeting, home links etcetera. Siraj-Blatchford, Sylva, et al. (2002) Leadership in early years settings in Scotland is likely to be distributive style whereby managers/leaders of the setting empower their staff to take ownership of certain areas for example the three to fives room, babies room, out of care provision etc. This approach can help to motivate staff, encourage involvement and a flow of ideas although there may also be challenges with this type of leadership. Young or inexperienced staff may require support in building their leadership skills. Their capacity for leadership can be built for example through shadowing a more experienced member of the team, helping them to lead a project. With distributive leadership there is a concern that if the head of the setting is a weak leader staff may well then communicate with the person that is seen as a stronger leader and not the head of setting. Siraj-Blatchford and Manni (2007). HMI (2003) "argue that the type of leadership will depend on the people and context of the situation". Page no ? Siraj-Blatchford and Manni (2007) believe it is clear from research that staff who have been given leadership responsibilities will require ongoing support.

The Regulation of Care Scotland Act (2001) requires that the Care Commission inspect services which are covered by the act annually in order to monitor care and services provided in early years settings. The Care Commission and HMIE carry out integrated inspections to monitor the standard of services being provided to service users. Together with their expertise staff in the settings utilize the National Care Standards (2005) and The Child at the Centre (2007) as self evaluation tools to assist them in finding methods of improving services as well as finding methods of maintaining high quality where this has already been achieved. In order for these predetermined standards to be met at the highest degree leaders must be committed to consistently setting targets and goals which should be monitored for achievement. There are specific Quality Indicators and Care Standards that relate to management and leadership.

The Integrated Inspection Report from Hollandbush nursery shows that these predetermined standards have been met to an excellent standard. The headteacher is evidently an excellent leader of her staff and has communicated her vision and aim clearly to them which they have fully embraced. Working together as a team they were able to provide children with a quality learning experience. This ability to influence others into action in order to ensure the achievement of desired outcomes and set targets was identified in the REPEY study (2002) as an important attribute of leadership. Staff have been given the opportunity and support to develop leadership skills whilst taking ownership of certain aspects of practice. Rodd (date unknown p2) states "it is important that every early years practitioner is encouraged - and aspires - to take the lead in some aspect of their work". The headteacher has put in place a highly effective system for staff development and review which will enable staff to build their confidence in their practice. Monitoring of staff practice was regularly undertaken which resulted in the high standards in the setting being maintained. Research undertaken by HM Inspectorate of Education (2000) found that in some schools there are areas of leadership that could be improved as the headteachers of these settings were more concerned with the day to running of the school without having any focus on longer term strategic objectives. In this setting the headteacher has been successful in developing and sharing leadership, allowing all aspects of administration and strategic planning to be dealt with appropriately and effectively.

Good leaders will possess good management skills

The Scottish Government attach great importance to developing good leadership skills within education establishments believing that they are critical to the success of a school. Scottish Executive (2004) Effective leadership and leadership development are imperative to children's success in an early years setting.

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