Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Give us more trust

ASCL president John Morgan has just one piece of advice for education ministers for the coming year.

I hope that you are looking forward to the coming year as much as I am and that the early weeks of term have not yet thrown up too much to dampen that optimism.

But, as I write, the party conference season is beginning, Mr Balls has targeted our members' jobs as a means to cut the education budget and even the Lib Dems have considered reversing their policy on abolishing tuition fees.

One of ASCL's main purposes is to make sure that the pressures on members are minimised so that you have plenty of time to spend taking enjoyment from the learning and achievements of young people in your school or college.

Equal enjoyment, I hope, will be drawn from colleagues and staff, whether they are teaching more effectively, spending more efficiently, counselling more constructively or finding a better way to conduct one of the myriad of other roles found in today's schools and colleges.

But it may be that, already, your early enthusiasm has been challenged by exam results below expectation, or your institution has fallen foul of an early visit from Ofsted over-zealously applying the new framework. Maybe unseasonably high sickness is challenging the carefully planned strategy to ensure teachers only cover rarely.

In choosing my theme for the year - Inspiring Leaders - I was thinking principally of a description of the ASCL membership, professionals of strong moral purpose whose set of values has fairness and the importance of young people and their education at its heart.

Our members also know the importance of growing the next generation of leaders, whether they be staff or students, providing them with the skills, resources and opportunities and then, most importantly, trusting them to lead.

In offering just one piece of advice to ministers seeking to inspire school and college leaders during the coming year, it would be this. We have the skills, you have provided the resources and there are plenty of opportunities for leadership, so please trust us to get on with delivering the outcomes that together we seek.

To take my theme's second meaning, inspiring leaders has always been one of ASCL's aims. We achieve this not only through MAPS, our training and consultancy arm, which is valued so highly by the profession but also by the way the association itself is led. There has been no greater inspiration for school and college leaders in recent years than our general secretary, John Dunford.

Whilst the coming year is a special one because of the general election, equally special for ASCL members, I'm sure, is the fact that it is John's last year in post. I am sure that all readers will want to join with me in wishing John an enjoyable year.

No wonder that I am looking forward to the coming year! But most of all I am looking forward to the many opportunities of meeting you as I travel around the branches in the UK. It is a great honour to work for you in trying to ensure that your views are heard and listened to and that your working lives have a reasonable balance of enjoyment and challenge. Please contact me at john.morgan@ascl.org.uk

John Morgan

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