Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Happy NEW year

For our association, in 2006 it truly is out with the old and in with the new. It won't be easy to break the 'SHA' habit, but here's another way to remember the new name.

Splendid Collaborative Learning' year to all ASCL members or, if you prefer the Welsh version, CAYaC members.

Yes, the Welsh translation of ASCL really is CAYaC (Cymdeithas Arweinwyr Ysgolion a Cholegau) but then, as Brian Rowlands, our Welsh secretary said, the Welsh have always been good at paddling their own canoes. (I'm sure there will be many more CAYaC jokes to look forward to!)

However you choose to remember the new name, we have now made the change and the association formerly known as SHA became ASCL on 1 January 2006.

My new year wishes to you for 2006 are not, however, just about helping you to remember our new name.

I do sincerely hope that in 2006 you will again be able to concentrate on leading learning and that, although your workload will still be greater than we would like, you will able to focus on the things that matter most to you as school and college leaders.

I also hope that you have been able to enjoy a good break during the Christmas holiday and return to the new term feeling refreshed.

When asked by the parliamentary Education Select Committee in December which new freedom I would have liked the white paper to grant to schools, I replied: "freedom from initiative overload". We continue to make this point whenever possible. Perhaps our new year wish for 2006 will be granted!

The new name reflects the current membership of the association including, as it does, members from both school and college leadership teams carrying out a wide variety of roles.

Membership has grown more rapidly in 2005 than ever before. It now stands at nearly 12,500 and continues to increase every month. Many new members have told us that they were attracted by the new name and what it stands for - an inclusive association which emphasises leadership teams, while supporting individual members as strongly as ever.

ASCL Council, our policy making body, is also gradually becoming more representative of all categories of membership but we would still welcome more deputies, assistant heads, bursars and college members volunteering to represent their local area.

If you are interested please contact Carole Baldam, ASCL operations director, at headquarters, who will be able to tell you when the next Council vacancies arise.

It is essential for the future health of ASCL that all areas of the country and all categories of membership are represented so that we have a full picture of members' views.

I have also enjoyed meeting members at the nine regional information conferences held this year which, together with the Welsh and Northern Irish annual conferences, have provided an excellent opportunity to hear views across the country.

As a result of feedback through Council and the regional conferences, we have been able to have early discussions with Ofsted, both about the positive aspects of the new framework and those causing concern.

Our members appear generally pleased with the way the new inspections are going but it is inevitable that there will be issues and we have been able to provide evidence of these at an early stage. Please do keep sending in information about any inspections which take place this year.

Feedback on the school improvement partnership pilots has also been relayed straight to the DfES and Capita. The association was closely involved in the development of all aspects of the new relationship with schools and we are keen to ensure that it is operated in the spirit originally agreed.

Again, it has been really useful to be able to provide specific evidence of issues which have centred on recruitment, assessment and training, and the interpretation of the SIP partnership by local authorities.

Thank you also for your fantastic response to Project Sri Lanka, for the funds which have enabled us to make a real difference in schools and for encouraging and enabling your students to get involved in twinning activities and the World Challenge visits planned for 2006 and 2007.

The response to the proposed visits has been overwhelming and unfortunately it may not be possible to take everyone who wants to go in 2007.

I'm looking forward to seeing you at the first ASCL Annual Conference in Birmingham from 17 to 19 March. The theme is 'sustaining leadership' and we will have excellent speakers to inspire us, many practical and thought provoking seminars and some enjoyable social events to round off the evenings and help you to relax!

It promises to be an excellent event. I hope you will book a place, if you haven't done so already, to ensure that you have 'A Splendid Collaborative Learning' year.

By Sue Kirkham, ASCL President

© 2018 Association of School and College Leaders