Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

All in favour of change say aye

Tim Andrew

by Tim Andrew, SHA President

I am delighted that the first edition of our new magazine, Leader is published to coincide with annual conference this year.

SHA is at the peak of its influence as a professional association, but we must never allow ourselves to be complacent: we must always be examining what we do to ensure that our members receive the support and representation they need.

The change to the publications is the outcome of one such review; the proposal from Council that the membership be consulted on changing the association's name is another.

The decision to consult on a name change arose from comments from members that it no longer reflects our membership. SHA is certainly an association, but it is not exclusively secondary. For example we have members in the college sector, and a minority - less than one third - are heads.

The name 'Secondary Heads Association' inhibits non-head members and those in the college sector and, more importantly, fails to give due acknowledgement to the team leadership that we believe should be an essential feature of secondary schools and colleges.

The main argument against a change is that SHA is a strong 'brand' name that brings immediate recognition and respect. This is true, but at least one other association has shown that it can be done and that there are benefits to be gained from moving away from an outdated name.

Clearly, we cannot hope to find a name that includes every possible category of member, but Council believes it should be possible to find a name that is a more accurate reflection of the membership, is easily memorable and does not mislead. Above all, we believe it should include the word 'leader'.

Consultation on a change of name for the association begins in March, around the time of our annual conference. I hope every member will contribute to the consultation.

Suggestions for a short, snappy name that fulfils all the above criteria will be especially welcome!

Change agenda

Speaking of change, a glimpse at the programme for the conference is enough to confirm what we already feel: the agenda of change we are charged with implementing is bigger than it has ever been.

It includes proposed changes to the national curriculum and qualification structure for Key Stage 4 and beyond. This will require changes not just within schools and colleges, but in the relationships between them.

Through the Children Act, the new agenda means fundamental changes to the relationship between schools, their local communities, the local authority and the other caring professions.

It also includes changes to the way teachers are paid for the extra responsibilities they undertake, at the same time as we are altering the whole nature of the workforce in schools.

It's daunting, even to the most 'can do' among us. On their own, each of these changes has much to commend it and school leaders are being given opportunities to shape the future of their schools that is unique in my 17 years of headship.

At times like this, our members instinctively look to SHA for support and guidance. The association wishes to give it. We do not, of course, want to become yet another voice telling school leaders how to do their jobs. In spite of all the pressures, school leadership is still a job in which we enjoy the chance to be creative and to shape our own destinies, and that is how it should be.

Discussion forum

Nevertheless, as well as vigorously representing our members' interests in negotiation with the government, other agencies and other associations, SHA has a role in offering guidance and acting as a forum for discussion for its members.

The association is a place where ideas and good practice emerge. Above all, it is the place where we support each other in holding true to our professional values and ideals.

Communication is the key to doing these things effectively. The internet is increasingly important, but we came to the conclusion that we needed a new publication that built on the combined strengths of SHA Penned and Headlines: currency of the information with high production values.

Leader

will be published nine times a year. It will brief you on the proceedings of Council and on how your views have been represented. It will be a place where we share our opinions, our humour and our expertise.

It will give you practical advice, keep you up to date with events and encourage you to reflect and to think about the future.

One of the great strengths of the publications that Leader replaces is that the majority of the articles were written by practising school leaders. That should not change!

We will always be looking for stimulating articles written by people who are leading schools and colleges. As it develops, we shall always be grateful for articles, ideas and especially feedback.

We can only be an association 'by members, for members' if you contribute.

© 2017 Association of School and College Leaders