Education Observatory

Research in Education at the University of Wolverhampton

Leading with Kindness: Inclusive Leadership is putting the child at the heart of what we do

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We have a rare opportunity as teachers, educators and leaders to make a difference to every child’s life everyday. Leadership is viewed as one of the most important aspects that can make a profound difference to a child’s outcomes in education contexts (Bush, 2020). Francke (2019) discuses how diverse leadership can make a significant impact on organisations, and the outcomes we desire. More than ever, strong leadership is needed to help learners to fulfil their potential. 

Dame Professor Alison Peacock, in the opening keynote of our inclusion and Inclusion and Diversity in Leadership conference, discussed the importance of inclusive leadership. She highlights the importance of how leading with kindness can make a profound impact on staff motivation and learning outcomes for all learners. She explained how the Chartered College of Teaching works alongside teachers to provide then with the necessary research, development opportunities as well as networking opportunities to continue to fulfil their roles effectively.

In our celebration of the University’s National Professional Qualifications (NPQ) course journeys were shared and we heard from Laura Hyatt (NPQH), Faye Edwards (NPQSL), Adrian Lee (NPQSL) and Rachel Tranter (NPQSL). The powerful leadership narratives shared by our speakers demonstrated the importance of inclusive leadership. However, what was striking of these leadership journeys was the fact that school leaders had to continue to lead on important initiatives mid-pandemic and lockdown. Leaders shared how they drew on key leadership theories, such as Kotter’s (1995) change leadership model, and how they needed to evaluate how colleagues might respond to change by considering Kubler-Ross’ (1969) Change Curve. Leaders had to be nuanced in their leadership practices and approaches, to ensure that they take their teams with them, with real clarity on their purpose and vision (Fullan, 2019). 

The first day of the conference, was a true celebration of inclusive leadership, and what was striking was that for each leader, the learner was at the heart of each decision they made. 

We are looking forward to a very exciting second day, where Dr. Matt Silver will be starting the conference off, and we are looking forward to welcoming, Tracy Cockayne (NPQH), Tim Mullen-Furness (NPQH), and Ryan Mullings (NPQH) to the event. 

Reference List: 

Bush, T. (2020), Theories of Educational Leadership and Management, UK: Sage Publications Ltd.

Francke, A. (2019), Create A Gender -balance Workplace. UK: Penguin.

Fullan, M. (2019), Nuance: Why Some Leaders Succeed and Others Fail, UK: Corwin.

Kotter, J.P. (1996) Leading Change. Harvard Business School Press, Boston.

Kubler-Ross, E. (1969) On Death and Dying. Macmillan, New York.

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