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Leading or managing - does it matter?

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 20 April 2010 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 13 August 2010 by ncetm_administrator


What does it mean to lead?

This strand focuses on the role of the Maths Subject Leader and the impact that it has for ensuring whole school improvement in Mathematics.  It uses practical activities and processes to enable you to reflect on your role within the Senior Leadership Team and uses questions to prompt discussions and further reading.  All the activities can be used with teams as well as individuals in your school and are devised to enable whole school clarity about the scope and impact of your leadership role. 

By the end of this strand you will:

  • have clarity about your current role and how it fits with other roles in your school
  • understand a range of leadership styles and how to explore your style
  • understand the difference between leadership and management
  • understand how to monitor progress
  • understand the purpose of data
  • explore ways to evaluate teaching and learning.

Leading or managing - does it matter?

Headteachers who have been most successful in bringing about significant change do so by:

‘Promoting a shift from middle management to middle leadership; in other words ensuing a greater focus on agreeing a vision and a direction rather than simply considering how best to get there.’ 
School Leadership Today NCSL 2009 p 71

Download the latest version of Adobe Flash to listen to this resource.

Where will you take a lead?

As Mathematics Subject Leader you are expected to take the overall lead for Mathematics in the primary school. However, in primary schools every teacher is a teacher of Mathematics and therefore the responsibility is shared among all staff. Building a team approach to Mathematics is therefore a crucial aspect of becoming a leader. There is a section Who do I need in my change team? in this module.
There are four main areas in which you will take a lead as Mathematics Subject Leader:

Where will you manage?

There is a need for mathematics to be well ordered with clear systems and processes for the smooth running of all matters that impact on mathematical learning. 

For example,

  • resources need to be well-ordered and accessible
  • mathematics needs to be timetabled
  • staff need to be clear which groups of pupils they will be teaching.

These are all necessary and practical steps that need to be in place in order for mathematics to thrive in a school. This needs good management of budget, resources and systems with a process that is clearly defined.

‘All significant change demands leadership that can be both visionary and large scale yet still focused enough to deal with important details. There is a distinction between leading change and managing change, and good leaders need to be able to inspire and empower others to implement the shared vision. In all cases establishing and retaining a clear focus without distraction from the aims of change are essential to success.’
School Leadership Today, NCSL 2009

So how does good leadership fit with good management?

‘Managers do things right. Leaders do the right thing.’
from TeamTechnology.

Download the latest version of Adobe Flash to listen to this resource.

Buckingham and Coffman (1999) ‘FIRST, BREAK ALL THE RULES: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently’
Simon & Schuster

The most important difference between a great manager and a great leader is one of focus. Great managers look inward. 
They look inside the organisation and understand the subtle differences in style and goals that enable them to develop people’s talents.

Great leaders, by contrast, look outward. They look at alternatives based on broad patterns and connections. Great leaders are not simply managers who have developed sophistication. 

Every school needs good leadership and management. The challenge in many primary schools is that they are often one and the same person which requires therefore a unique set of skills that recognises how to combine effective management with effective leadership.

Consider your school.
Think of a recent example of an initiative that you were implementing in school.
Identify who was leading the initiative and who was involved in managing the processes. 
Plot this on this grid.
How did they fit together?
What was the outcome?

Make some notes in your file to reflect how the link between leadership and management in your school impacts on the effectiveness of change. How does your role fit within this matrix?
Are there any gaps in leadership or management for mathematics?
Who could you include to fill those gaps?
How does it fit with the senior leadership and management structures in the school?

Record your thoughts about leadership and management in your Personal Learning Space. 





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