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Leadership Organisation Looks To “Outstanding” College For Guidelines

Runshaw College was the focus of a recent two-day workshop organised by the Centre of Excellence in Leadership (CEL) after it was awarded an “outstanding” grading by Ofsted.

The workshop was held at Lancaster University and attended by principals and senior managers from around the country seeking information on how their colleges could achieve an outstanding grading.

The workshop was led by former Runshaw principal Sir Bernard O”Connell. He was charged with sharing his knowledge and experience of creating an outstanding college, as well as instilling in participants the confidence to achieve such a transformation. With participants keen to explore concepts such as moral leadership, dispersed leadership and capacity building for college improvement, Sir Bernard highlighted factors such as the creation of a united management team, the development of whole-college structures to create a professional learning community and a shared sense of direction, new development infrastructure for staff, and the introduction of best practice processes in communications, listening and recognition as key to the creation of a successful college.

These factors, he said, where applicable to any college wishing to become outstanding, a reference to frequent accusations that Runshaw is a special case and that approaches used there where not transferable. Speaking about the workshop Sir Bernard commented, “The group was lively and had lots of ideas to improve quality and start the journey towards being an outstanding college. Process thinking had a big impact, and although I believe it is one of the keys to success, it is not mentioned at all in Ofsted inspections.”

“I also think that a health check is very important when kicking off an action plan; CEL’s SWOT programme is ideal for helping colleges identify their strengths and weaknesses,” he said.

The CEL was launched in October 2003 as a way to foster and support leadership improvement, reform and transformation across the learning and skills sector. Another CEL workshop will take place in London on November 2.

Brandon Cheevers

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