Online discussion response 2 (K)

This second reply seeks to answer the three questions raised in your discussion, Karla.

In answer to question one, is a different model required? If “effective learning is achieved… through acknowledging the learning potential of work and integrating learning activities in the workplace” (Boud, Cressey and Docherty (2006)), then perhaps you need to consider facilitating professional learning within the staff working time? Could you set weekly ‘reflective questions’ that all staff can respond to, either by posting thoughts on a learning wall or even on a shared social media platform? Brookfield (2017) makes some interesting observations about social media in learning.

In question two, the concept of values seems central and the phrase ‘values in action’ could apply. Staff need to see you live out the values of community, respect and trust. Your consistency will be key. Also, heed the warning from Viinamaki (2009) who says, “organisations tend to fail to reward members who uphold or enact organizational values.” There is a place for seeking out and recognising your remaining staff for their adherence to the values. Furthermore, continue to be authentic (see my reference to Harris (2007) in my previous post). Your openness and honesty in acknowledging the emotions of all involved will help but don’t ‘pander’ to them – I say that from experience having gone through a very similar situation. Day (2003) captures what is required here – “Leadership requires an intelligent head and an intelligent heart.” (in Purdie, 2014)

Your final question made me want to know why the parents have been making this decision. What are parents getting from private schools that they don’t think they get from your schools? Have you asked them? Questionnaire time? (Brookfield, 2017) In attempting to interrupt this cultural practice, I would suggest that ‘community’ is the key. The school and wider community cannot be replicated in a distant private setting. How are you nurturing the schools place within the local community? “If a school is clear about its overall purpose and directions and has a vision of where it wants to be in the future, it will have a strategic plans of how to achieve this.” (Middlewood and Abbott, 2017) Having a plan for moving forward is important but you will also need key individuals onside to make it happen.

Karla, I hope the above provides some level of support as you continue to build capacity in others. I look forward to reading Liz’s response and your own conclusions.


Boud, D., Cressey, P., & Docherty, P. (2006). Productive Reflection at Work. Learning for Changing Organisations. New York: Routledge.

Brookfield, S. (2017), Becoming a critically reflective teacher, Jossey Bass Ltd

Middlewood, D. and Abbott, I. (2017) Managing staff for improved performance: Human Resource Management in Schools, London: Bloomsbury

Purdie, J. (2014), Key factors in early headship development in the Scottish secondary school, EdD. Thesis, University of Glasgow.

Viinanamki, O-P. (2009), Intra-organisational challenges of values-based leadership, Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, 14(2), pp.6-13.

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