Friday, August 29, 2008

The Functions of School Management

Unit 3

In this unit, we will look at some of the management functions which you have as a school head, building on concepts introduced in Unit 1.

We look first at a case study on School Mismanagement Fever. We differ­entiate between the functions of planning, organising, directing, supervising and evaluating in a school, and we see how they relate to each other and how together they describe the role of the school manager, or head. Lastly, we consider some indicators of effective school management.

Individual study time: 3 hours

Learning outcomes
After working through this unit you should be able to:
· differentiate between the main functions of the head of a school and identify some of the tasks associated with each function
· describe some of the inter‑relationships between these functions
· identify the key indicators of effective school heads.

Case study
The head of a disorganised school which has considerable problems and is very disorganised is asking for help.

The school is no longer supported by its Board of Governors. It has an inadequate number of teachers; the pupil drop‑out rate is high; the results in public examinations are poor; the buildings, equipment and materials are inade­quate and poorly maintained; the grounds are untidy and the morale of those connected with the school is low.

But the main lesson from the case study which is being emphasised is that, if as a head you are ASKing for help either to prevent further difficulties or to solve existing problems, you are miles ahead of those who do not recognise that they have a problem at all!

Clearly, you appreciate your role as manager of an organisation, which exists to provide the pupils with useful knowledge, skills and attitudes for responsible and successful living. To be a successful head you will need to acquire managerial Attitudes = A, Skills = S and Knowledge = K for running your school. Thus school managers who are seeking to find a cure for School Mismanagement Fever must recognise the need to ASK, that is, to involve others in developing solutions, but must also recognise the three key components: Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge, which they need to acquire. Maybe your S.M. Fever can be traced to a specific managerial issue which interferes with the processes of instruction and learning in the school, but, more likely, there are very many issues about which you are concerned. The successful school head is someone who is able to handle a range of problems or issues, at one time.

Activity 3.1
A school management diagnosis
Let us examine or diagnose, by means of a checklist, how well you are doing as a school manager. Complete the school management diagnosis checklist in below by ticking “YES” or “NO”

Indicate which of the following you have worked on, within the last school year, in your school. In each case you should be able to explain to someone what has been done.

1) Translating national education policies into school‑based teaching and learning objectives and targets.
2) Planning both the long‑term acquisition of relevant teaching and learning resources (including finances).
3) Preparing school syllabuses, schemes of work, timetables and schedules of activities.
4) Preparing schedules for meetings of the Heads of Departments, Level Heads, Parents Teacher Association, staff, etc.

1) Preparing up‑to‑date job descriptions for all employed staff, and assigning roles, responsibilities and duties to staff and pupils.
2) Arranging for the appointment of new staff and the selection and appointment of all staff and students holding responsibility posts.

1) Inducting new teachers, pupils and parents.
2) Communicating regularly and fully, by the most appropriate means, to all those with an interest in the school, about school programmes and activities
3) Holding formal and informal discussions with individuals and groups, including staff and students, and those outside the school, about all aspects of school life.

1) Ensuring that classes are held, and that pupils' work is marked and assessed
2) Monitoring standards of learning and teaching in the classroom
3) Checking the schemes of work and lesson plans of the teachers.
4) Ensuring attendance and punctuality of both staff and pupils.
5) Conducting a full and fair appraisal of all staff, including observations, discussions and in written reports.
6) Taking stock and physically checking the resources and equipment of the school

1) Preparing the Annual Report of the school.
2) Analysing examinations results and making recommendations for raising standards
3) Reviewing the performance of all aspects of the school
4) Setting new targets for individuals, departments and the school.
5) Presenting financial statements and reports to the appropriate authority

If your 'Yes' scores exceed 15 / 20, you are doing well.

However, if your 'No' scores exceed 10/20, then you will need to consider seriously your role as a school head and take appropriate steps to develop your skills.

The list indicates the five main management functions of school heads: planning, organising, directing, monitoring and supervision and evaluating all aspects of school life. Although they occur in sequence, in fact each function is a continuous process. As the list shows each may be broken down into several tasks.

Thus the work of a head is both complex and never complete!

The modules presented in this series for the training and support of school heads should guide you in improving your management capabilities.

Relating leadership functionsThe functions and tasks identified in the checklist may be put in the form of a flow chart.

Involve all stakeholders, especially Teachers, Parents, Pupils
Translation of national education policies into school level programmes, projects and activities

Yourself, Teachers and other staff, Parents
Teaching and learning activities

Yourself, Teachers and other staff,
Parents and Community
Communicate, discuss, motivate for support and active participation in the teaching and learning activities organised by the school

yourself and others to achieve set standards in the quality of teaching and learning, using role models, exemplary behaviour and peer group support for setting targets to be achieved by individuals and groups in the school

The results of the monitoring of learning and teaching to inform development in the process at each stage

Activity 3.2
Take one of the main areas of life in your school, such as the curriculum. Use the diagram from Unit 1 in which we presented the five main functions or processes of school heads within a management cycle and demonstrate through specific examples, how you, in your school, undertake tasks within each function in relation to the curriculum.

This is not an easy activity to undertake as the range of tasks you have identified is probably quite large, but you should have gained a clearer idea as to how every task which you undertake as a school head in the various areas of operation may be analysed and described in terms of the broad functions which make up the management cycle. Moreover as noted in Unit 1, although presented cyclically, management processes inter‑relate. The flow chart depicted in Fig 4 highlights these relations. It is important that you become analytical about your job, so that you can make sure you are doing the right things, for the right reason, in the right way, and at the right time.

In examining the flow chart you probably thought 'How can I, as a school head, manage to plan, organise, direct, monitor, supervise and evaluate programmes, projects and activities in my school. The answer to this question lies in the application of the principles of:
¨ physical, programme, project and financial (budgeting) planning
¨ human and public relations
¨ communication and negotiation techniques
¨ delegation of authority, functions, responsibilities, duties and tasks
¨ decision making and problem solving
¨ management of change in relation to the operations in a school, through action planning.

School heads - Chief executives or lead professionals?
The central role of the school head is to manage the teaching and learning which determine the quality of education. Your attention is therefore drawn to current concerns for building the capacity in educational leadership at three levels:

¨ in the delivery of education in schools
¨ in policy implementation through regional education offices
¨ in strategic policy development within the Ministry of Education, the entire government, non‑governmental organisations (NGOs) and international agencies.

These concerns focus on the school as a social institution ‑ an agency through which the educational needs of the youth can be met. A school therefore is a means to an end and not the end in itself. This is reflected in the various roles the head performs. We introduced a number of these in Unit 1, for example, leadership, supervisory, managerial and administrative roles. Some people make a useful distinction between the head as the Chief Executive (CE) and the head as the Lead Professional (LP).

Chief Executive role examples
Examples of activities which illustrate the role of the head as Chief Executive are given below.
¨ setting out the mission and objectives of the school
¨ allocating duties to staff
¨ co‑ordinating and supervising staff activities
¨ evaluating school performance
¨ establishing working relationships between the Regional Education Office and the staff.
¨ ex officio member of the governing board (where there is one – only certain schools in Guyana)

Consider some of the activities which you undertake as a school head in your Lead Professional role.

Lead Professional role examples
Check which of the following items you listed:
• personal teaching
• professional guidance to teachers as individuals and in the development of school programmes
• counselling pupils and parents on ethics, norms and values of the school
• spokesperson for the whole school on all educational matters
• participation in subject panels, curriculum development and other external professional activities
Most jobs, not just that of a school head, involve different, maybe conflicting roles. Achieving a balance between them is very important. The school head who does not, or perhaps cannot, provide professional leadership will not be a credible person in the eyes of his or her staff. Yet a school head who fails in the role of Chief Executive perhaps should have stayed in the classroom.

Activity 3.3
Make a list of all the tasks you carry out as head of your school in a typical week. Beside each task indicate whether it is your Chief Executive Role with CE in brackets or whether it is your Leading Professional Role with LP in the brackets. Which role, CE or LP, has the largest number of tasks in your week? Are there any other tasks which you feel do not fit into either of these categories?

In your list of CE tasks you might have included 'signing purchase orders. In the LP the tasks might have included 'teaching Mathematics in Grade 4.’ You may have found separating some tasks between these roles quite difficult. For example, when you are chairing meetings, such as a staff meeting, you have both a Chief Executive and a Lead Professional role. The two roles both support and conflict with each other. Some countries have decided to separate the role totally and provide two separate people for these posts. Achieving a balance is important, and yet is quite difficult. What is important is that you realise their existence and work to improve your skills at carrying them out effectively.

Indicators of an effective school head
In Module 6, Monitoring School Effectiveness, we will be considering how we may evaluate the effectiveness of a school. Here let us consider how we might determine whether or not a school head is an effective leader.

An effective head demonstrates
Professional competence
¨ has wide-ranging and up-to-date knowledge and skills, including the ability to initiate, direct, communicate and delegate
Good relations and a concern for teamwork
¨ has good relations with pupils, staff and parents
¨ works for the development of the school through teamwork
¨ communications within the school are clear and on time
¨ Creates confidence and inspires others
¨ Effectively evaluates the qualities and contributions of staff
¨ Can take difficult decisions

Activity 3.3
The list of items in above might be used to determine whether or not a school head is an effective school leader.

Do you agree with the three items listed here?
Can you think of anything else to add to each area?
Can you think of any other categories?

The three items included here provide some essential characteristics of effec­tiveness with regard to the work done by a school head. Notice that the list is not about an effective school, nor is it concerned with describing the detailed tasks of a school manager, such as planning the curriculum. We will come back to these again in Module 6. Not only do we need to explain what effectiveness is, but also what effectiveness is not. In the same way as we apply grades to the work done by pupils, so we should be able to describe the work of the school head as excellent, good, fair or below expectation, as appropriate, by using descriptive criteria such as you have just attempted to write.

In this unit we have looked at the main elements in school leadership. This has involved identifying the five main functions of a school head: plan­ning, organising, directing, monitoring and evaluating, and some of the tasks associated with each function. We have drawn distinctions between school heads as Chief Executives and as Lead Professionals. Lastly we have identified how indicators may be written up to produce criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of a school head. One item concerned human relations, which is the focus of our next unit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice words written by you