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Journal of In-Service Education
ISSN: 1367-4587 (Print) 1747-5082 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rjie19
School Leadership Training in Sweden:
perspectives for tomorrow
To cite this article: Olof Johansson (2001) School Leadership Training in Sweden: perspectives for tomorrow, Journal of In-Service Education, 27:2, 185-202
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13674580100200152
Published online: 20 Dec 2006.
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School Leadership Training in Sweden:
perspectives for tomorrow
Umeå University, Sweden
ABSTRACT State involvement in the training of school leaders was introduced at the end of the 1960s in Sweden, with the provision of short-term courses. During the first half of the 1970s, as a result of the
Commission on Internal Work of Schools (SIA), the State emphasised the need for a foundation training programme for headteachers. In 1976 the Riksdag enacted legislation introducing a 2-year national training
programme for all headteachers in the national school system. The purpose was to make headteachers better equipped to direct and take charge of the development of schools in line with the national goals. In the 1980s, a process of decentralisation started throughout the public sector. In the beginning of 1985, the Riksdag passed a new School Act, marking a change from a centralised, legalistically steered, control system to one based on framework laws, and governing by goals and objectives. It started a process of delegation of power to the municipalities. School leaders are now expected to take greater personal responsibility for all school matters. This can be seen in the new curriculum, which highlights the role of the principal as the responsible pedagogical leader and includes a greater role in finance. The National Headteacher Training Programme is organised to ensure that the school leader has the competence to fulfil the task to lead the
development of education activities, and to ensure that the rights of pupils and parents are respected. A new programme will be in place in the spring of 2001 and the first candidates for the new programme will be accepted six months later. There will be substantial changes in the content but the basic organisational structure will probably remain. In the new National
Headteachers Training Programme the vision is to create a school leader who is a democratic, learning and communicative school leader.
State involvement in the training of school leaders was introduced at the end of the 1960s in Sweden, with the provision of short-term courses in a number of pedagogical and administrative areas. During the first half of the 1970s, as a result of the Commission on Internal Work of Schools
(SIA), the State emphasised the need for a foundation training programme for headteachers. In 1976 the Riksdag (the Swedish Parliament) enacted legislation introducing a 2-year national training programme for all headteachers in the national school system. The purpose was to make headteachers better equipped to direct and take charge of the development of schools in line with the national goals. This is important to remember because that focus is still valid for headteacher training in Sweden. The training was initially to be run for a 10-year experimental period and subsequently reviewed. As a result of the review, the Riksdag in 1986 decided on a broader integrated programme of headteacher training, with the State and municipalities being given responsibility for different parts of the training. The purpose of the Riksdag was to give headteachers a thorough understanding of the goals of the school and equip them with leadership skills that would stimulate the development of school activities.
Four steps of training were introduced:
The recruitment training programme, for persons who wanted to
become principals. The training should give a broad view of different school leadership functions, but have a focus on the national goals for education. The Riksdag’s purpose of introducing this programme also had three other goals. They wanted to get more women as school leaders, more recruitment from outside the own municipality and to find good people for the job with other educational backgrounds.
The introduction training programme was introduced to help new
principals during their first years in office. The main part of the education should be focused on the practical and administrative tasks of the principal, but it was also made very clear that the principal should be introduced into pedagogical leadership.
The National Headteachers Training Programme was to be given to all
principals after about 2 years in office. The programme runs during 2 years and comprises around 30 seminar days. The purpose of the training is to deepen the principals’ knowledge and increase their understanding of the national school system, the national goals for the school and the role of the school in society and the local community.
The continuation school leader programme can simply be described as
university courses for school leaders.
The two first programmes introduced were to be run by the municipalities. There is a great variation between different municipalities when it comes to how well the different school boards have worked with these two types of programmes. The third programme – the National Headteacher Training Programme – has functioned very well, and the reason for that is that the State through the National Agency for Schools got the responsibility to organise the headteachers training and was given the resources needed to run the programme. The fourth type of programme, academic courses, has been given at different universities.
Unfortunately, university courses have not been able to attract large number of principals for continued school leader education.
Before returning to the national headteachers training programme, it is important for the reader to be familiar with recent trends in Swedish education management.
Decentralisation of Power in Swedish Education: a bird’s eye view
Historically, Sweden has been a highly centralised country. The State has controlled most parts of the public sector. Education is probably the example where the State’s influence has been greatest. For example, until the mid-1980s the allocation of resources for each school and even each class was decided by the Regional Board of Education, which applied the national laws and rules. The board also appointed the vice principals of every school in the region. Principals throughout the country were appointed by the National Board of Education in Stockholm.
In every municipality there was a School Board consisting of appointed local politicians. A superintendent – chief education officer – was head of the central school office, there were principals –
headteachers – for every school or school area and, for some larger
school areas there were also one or more vice principals – deputy heads. Although the School Board was, in some ways, responsible for education in the municipality, the State was unquestionably the responsible authority in this field. Traditionally, the principal’s main duty was to interpret the national rules and regulations. He/she was also responsible for planning and administration, finance and student welfare. His/her influence on the teaching and instruction processes in the school was, in general, very low, the reason being mainly that, traditionally, they were not supposed to direct or interfere with the teachers’ work in the classroom. In the late 1970s, a discussion started in official documents about the need for a new role for school leaders.
The State wanted pedagogical leaders, school leaders who took greater responsibility and were more competent in leading the development of the pedagogical activities in their school. Many initiatives have been taken by the State since then to bring about this change. The most concrete example is the National Training Programme for Headteachers that has been running now for more than 20 years (Ekholm, 1984; Heimer, 1998). Changing the role of the principal has not been an easy task. One important reason for this is the fact that the tradition of the autonomous teacher is very strong in Sweden. The process of acceptance of a new role for school leaders has been very slow (Nygren & Johansson, 2000). The highly centralised school system and the tradition of the autonomous teacher have made it very difficult for parents and other stakeholders to influence the processes of the local school. In the
minds of ordinary citizens, the school is ‘owned’ by the State, and parents and others are not supposed to interfere.
In the 1980s, a process of decentralisation started throughout the public sector. In the beginning of 1985, the Riksdag passed a new School Act. The new law marked a change from a very centralised, detailed and legalistically steered control system to one based on framework laws, and governing by goals and objectives. It started a process of decentralisation and delegation of power over the schools to the municipalities. An example of this decentralisation is that the employment of teachers and principals was transferred from the State to the municipality. For principals this happened in 1991 and somewhat earlier for teachers (Nygren & Johansson, 2000).
In 1991 the old National Board of Education was closed down to-gether with the regional state boards of education making 750 civil servants redundant. It was replaced by a new National Agency for Education employing only about 250 people. Its two main tasks were to evaluate the ways in which the municipalities deal with their schools, and to help Parliament and the government in preparing educational reforms. Under the previous system, the main task of the National School Board had been to help schools interpret the very detailed laws and check that they complied with them. The present National Agency for Education does not have this direct control function. The Agency can even today inspect schools, but cannot tell them what to do. Recommendations must be given to the municipal council, which then has the responsibility to act for change, if needed. This system is today under pressure and some changes have been introduced in the relation between the Agency and the municipalities in relation to the system for evaluations (SFS, 1997, p. 702).
Thus, although the new School Act was introduced in 1985, the process of decentralisation was not complete until the national agency was reformed in 1991. However, there is still a national curriculum. The State makes decisions about the School Act, the national curriculum – the present is from 1994 – with accompanying syllabi, timetables and grading system (Proposition, 1992/93, p. 220). The State also guarantees that international declarations and agreements that Sweden has undertaken to observe in the field of education, are applied in the school sector. Nevertheless, after 1991, it is clear that the municipality became the main authority responsible for primary and secondary education in Sweden.
When Moos & Carney (2000) summarised the tasks of Nordic school leaders they emphasise that the work of schools has become more complex and demanding, as has the nature of school management. There are new forms of public management that have encouraged accountability, effectiveness and competition. In the case of school systems, this has led to a rise in local site-based management, where the leader is empowered with direct responsibility for the school quality and
performance. Governance structures have been strengthened with the delegation of power to lay members of governing boards, such as parents and community leaders (Lundberg, 1998).
School leaders are now expected to take greater personal responsibility for all school matters. This can be seen in the new curriculum, which highlights the role of the principal as the responsible pedagogical leader. It is also demonstrated by the way economic resources for the school are allocated. The principal plays a greater role in financial matters. The new approach to school leadership views the leader as a key resource for building and maintaining teams of educational professionals, as well as for achieving change, and reform in an effective and efficient way. In this sense, the work of school leaders has become much more dynamic and complex. In the new decentralised structure, they are expected to make use of the formal structures, to interpret the goals and objectives, as well as to develop the skills and insights necessary to motivate and empower their colleagues (Lundberg, 1996).
In the process of decentralisation, new demands and new expectations were put on principals. Their overall duties are made very clear in the new National Curriculum from 1994 (Lpo 94). First, the principal is the guarantor for a nationally equivalent education. Every school is required to meet the national standards, regardless of where it is situated geographically and the conditions under which it is working. Secondly, the principal is guarantor for pupils’ and parents’ rights as laid out in the National Curriculum. Thirdly, the principal is guarantor for education in his/her school meeting the national quality standards. It is also clearly spelled out that the principal is responsible for leading the development of the educational activities at the local school (Nygren, 2000).
New Roles of Principals and Superintendents
Transferring responsibility for primary and secondary education to the municipality has also meant new and different demands on the superintendent. As head of the central municipal school office, the superintendent is, much more clearly than before, a key person in the education system. The position carries with it the responsibility to see to that all the schools in the municipality meet the goals and demands set by the state. The shift of power to the municipality also means that new demands are set at the local political level. The superintendent, and indeed the principals, are serving two masters – one national and one local. While the decentralisation and deregulation of the school system have meant a greater degree of freedom for the superintendent, they have also placed new demands on him/her to take initiatives, make strategic
decisions and lead school development in the municipality (Cregård, 1996; Bredeson & Johansson, 1998).
In recent years there have also been many changes in the way municipalities organise themselves. Nearly all have merged boards and departments. As a result, the superintendents, as well as the principals, are no longer responsible only for schools (Regeringens skrivelse, 1998/99, p. 121). In most cases, they are also responsible for day care centres, pre-school for 6-year-olds, as well as after school activities for school children. One effect of this amalgamation has been that the policy from the 1980s (SOU,1980, p. 19) of encouraging more women principals has been achieved. Today, over 60 per cent of all principals are women and the figure is even higher for the lower grades (Nygren & Johansson, 2000).
The fundamental goals of the national school system are set out in Chapter 1 of the Swedish School Act of 1985. Education within each type of school is to be equivalent, irrespective of where in the country it is provided. Its aim is, in partnership with the home, to support the harmonious development of children into responsible adults and members of society. Pupils with special needs are to be taken into account. In addition, the School Act contains regulations concerning students’ rights, and the obligations of municipalities and county councils.
The starting point for conducting a discussion about the new role of principals and superintendents can be taken from the first chapter of the National Curriculum, where it is stated:
The activity of the local school must be developed so that it corresponds to the goals that have been set. The principal has a clear responsibility in this respect. Both the daily pedagogical leadership as well as the professional responsibility of the teachers are necessary conditions for the qualitative development of the school. This necessitates a constant examination of learning goals, following up and evaluating results, as well as testing and developing new methods. Work of this kind has to be carried out in active co-operation between staff and pupils in close contact with home and with the local community. (Lpo 94, p. 12)
According to the law and the curriculum, the responsibility of the principal is to safeguard that education in each school is nationally equivalent. For this reason, the principal is a key person and ultimately responsible for the school as a whole and for ensuring that each pupil receives a good education (Johansson & Lundberg, 2001).
In the old school system, it was made very clear that the principal in each school was the key person for the protection of the idea of an equivalent school system. He/she was employed by the state and his/her
task was highly regulated in laws and formal documents. The decentralisation of the school system that has gone on since the mid-1980s has blurred this role. Today, the principal is employed by the municipality and is responsible for a national school system, which is an obligation that has been transferred to the municipality by the State. The position of the principal has become much more difficult (Johansson & Kallós, 1994). In the old system, s/he could always rely on support from the State for his/her decisions. If, for instance, a principal had to make public that a local political board or the municipal council had made a decision that conflicted with the intentions in the national plan for the schools, s/he was protected by the state because s/he was a state employee. Today, the principal needs to use all his/her professional competence to guide the School Board in their decisions, but without any real help from the State. If the municipal council, for instance, decides to cut the budget to such an extent that the schools cannot uphold good quality, then the principal is in trouble! The only way out is to try to explain the consequences to the superintendent and, together with other principals in the municipality, describe the effects of the budget cut on the quality of the education. In a situation like this, the new governing system for schools demands a much more political role on the part of the principal than the old system. The only help s/he can get from the National Agency for Education is that it can carry out an inspection, but that is a slow process. Furthermore, educational quality is not a well defined concept, so the Agency will also have problems evaluating whether the cuts in the school budget will have negative effects on the standard of education in the school (Johansson & Lundberg, 2001).
The best way to highlight the change is to present the way in which the 1994 National Curriculum for the schools describes the steering process. The National Curriculum states that the goals and guidelines for education specified in the School Act, the curriculum and the syllabi should be elaborated in the local planning of education. The measures the municipality intends taking in order to attain the national goals should be clearly stated in its Local School Plan. Important here is that the School Plan is approved by the full council, the highest decision-making body in the municipality and not by the School Board. The latter is an appointed body of municipal politicians, but the council is the only elected body at this level.
The Local School Plan is supposed to describe the measures that the municipality is going to take to implement the national goals. However, these plans generally do not consist of measures to be taken, instead most contain the goals the municipalities have for the local school system. According to the study we carried out in 1995, there is a direct relationship between the school budget and the Local School Plan only in a very few municipalities. We also know that this is even more so
if the Local School Plan has been written by administrators instead of politicians.
One of the principal’s responsibilities is to guarantee that the Local School Plan is used in his/her school. There should also be a Local Work Plan for the individual school that describes how the activities as a whole are to be carried out and organised. This document, as well as the Local School Plan, have in many cases not been active and living documents (Lundberg, 1996). Most of the time, the teachers do not accept them as steering documents for the school. They only take part in creating them because they are required by law. This is a problem that some municipalities now have recognised and are trying to change. The way they are doing this is by shifting focus from steering and control to school development, follow-up studies and support. This shift in the steering approach on the part of the politicians is based on the research findings from studies of the implementation process.
Finally, in the 1994 National Curriculum, the State gives the teacher the responsibility, together with the pupils, to draw up Learning Goals. These, in combination with the needs and preconditions of different groups of pupils, provide the basis for selecting different working methods. We argue that this is the most important planning being carried out in the school system that has direct effects on what is happening in the classroom. However, the Learning Goals are very seldom documented in a formal way and remain, in most cases, in the form of a partly private document, which the teacher shares with the pupils and their parents when they are visiting the school.
We would also argue that even if the running of the schools is now a municipal responsibility, most teachers still look to the state for guidelines and support (Lundberg, 1998). The municipality’s power over the schools is linked to budgets and organisation, but not to the basic values and tasks of the school. This might change in the future, but then local politicians would need to move from a traditional form of steering to one based on a dialog with the schools around the Local School Plan and the Local Work Plans.
The Government’s Expert Group on School-leadership
In 1999, there was a critical report from the National Agency of Education on the role of the principal (Skolverket, 1999). The report pointed out problems in the local school organisation on the municipality level and said that these problems needed to be analysed in relation to the role of the school-leader. The Minister of Education appointed a group of experts to analyse the role in January, 2000. The report from that group will be published in August, 2001. The group have had many conferences where their work have been discussed. They have also produced a memo for their meetings describing the groups leadership ideas and philosophy.
In the memo, the expert group focus on describing what they think is the characteristics of leadership for the schools of today and tomorrow. The expert group means that a successful leadership of schools challenge co-workers assumptions about learning and teaching. Leadership in a learning organisation means to lead one’s fellow workers’ learning, as well as creating a deeper understanding of the task on the part of all those active within the school and its stakeholders (Scherp, 1998). In order to achieve this task the leader needs to give his/her own learning priority. The headteacher and co-workers together take an active part in their own learning in order to develop the school into a learning environment. In a learning organisation, co-workers have considerable freedom and responsibility for their own work. The leader’s work is based on the aim that all children and young people should achieve the goals laid down in the national and local curriculum.
School leadership must be based on understanding the task and embracing the values of the national curriculum. The leader comprehends the breadth of his/her duties, and has a well-grounded knowledge and a deep understanding of these tasks. She/he pursues a clear and active leadership. Leading and developing a school based on a democratic foundation means that the leader must identify with and be a carrier of the values incorporated in the curriculum, as well as ensuring that the perspective and dimensions associated with these values clearly permeate her/his work with the school’s activities.
The leader clearly expresses and communicates his/her visions, goals and results for the activities for which he/she is responsible. The leader links them to the national steering documents, municipality school plan and the local schools working plan. The leader initiates and maintains discussions and dialogue on the school’s goals and work both between him/herself and his/her workers, and between the co-workers. The leader and his/her co-workers embrace the same goals and visions as a guiding principle for the work in the school.
The leader develops and applies a democratic, learning and communicative leadership in a learning organisation. The leader’s and his/her co-workers’ most important task is to guarantee the quality of the activities.
Leading learning means to plan, create and encourage a continual testing of how the duties and visions can be realised. A significant task for the leader is to challenge his/her colleagues' assumptions about learning and teaching.
It is important for the development of the school that all those working together in the school take responsibility for the quality of the school’s activities, and communicate with each other and reflect together on the school’s work and the amount of freedom available with regard to how this is carried out. The leader expresses clearly his/her high expectations and strong belief in his/her colleagues, and their ability and
commitment to their duties and their own learning. Part of the school’s work includes continuous following up, evaluating and documenting results as a basis for reassessment, learning and change.
The leader’s and his/her colleagues’ knowledge based on experience in work development is tested against new knowledge. Competence development in the learning organisation comprises, amongst other things, learning through work that takes as its starting point the possibilities and difficulties that leader and his/her colleagues meet in their efforts to realise the school’s visions. It is important that the leader and his/her colleagues can reflect on their practice and develop a learning and reflective approach to their profession.
The Governments Expert Group on the Role of the School-Leader will deliver it’s report in August 2001. The ideas described above from the report can also be found in the new National Headteacher Training Programme.
The National Headteacher Training Programme in Sweden
In Sweden a National Headteacher Training Programme is organised in order to ensure that the school leader has the competence to fulfil the task to lead the development of education activities, and to ensure that the rights of pupils and parents are respected. This requires, from the State’s point of view, a national training programme for principals.
According to the National Agency for Education, headteacher training must be based on a holistic view of the school in which the organisation of the programme, its relationship with the local community, and knowledge of school conditions together constitute important elements. The training shall emphasise a capacity for reflection, for critically processing information and solving problems. Important starting points for the development of competence are the headteacher’s own experience of various types of work in the school. Ideas, concepts and theoretical models from relevant areas of research and development will provide increasing knowledge and understanding of both one’s own experience, as well as others activities in the school. The training must be based on a view of leadership in school that will promote a working climate inspired by openness, reflection and learning.
The purpose of the training is for headteachers to deepen their knowledge and increase their understanding of the national school system, the national goals of the school and the role of the school in the society and the local community. The training will allow headteachers to deepen their knowledge of the role of leadership in a school system managed by objectives and results, as well as develop their ability to plan, implement, evaluate and develop school activities. The training also aims at developing the capacity of the headteachers to analyse and draw conclusions from the outcome of such activities, and be able to
communicate their views. Headteachers shall also develop their ability to co-operate both inside and outside the school in addition to representing the school in the community. The training goals are grouped into four main areas:
the national and local school goals;
school management and school organisation;
development of educational activities – pedagogical leadership; follow-up and evaluation.
Attention is paid in all these areas to the headteacher’s responsibility for respecting the rights of pupils and parents, as well as satisfying the needs of pupils requiring special support.
The reason the State has kept control over the programme is basically that it is viewed as a good way to improve the principal’s competence in relation to the national goals and structures of the national school system. The state offers the National Headteachers Training Programme to all school boards in Sweden. The municipalities decide if they will send any principal to the programme. Tuition is funded by the State, while the municipalities and other employers bear the costs of travel and subsistence allowances, stand-in teachers and reading material. The National Agency for Education defines the goals of the headteacher training and distributes the state funding allocated for this purpose. The courses are carried out at six different universities. The Centre for Principal Development, Umeå University, is responsible for the National Headteacher Training Programme in the four northern counties of Sweden. The Agency is also responsible for the follow-up and evaluation of the training on a regular basis. This programme has been running with only minor modifications for 25 years.
For the moment the programme is under review and a new programme will be in place in the spring of 2001 and the first candidates for the new programme will be accepted 6 months later. There will be substantial changes in the content, but the basic organisational structure will probably remain.
Democratic, Learning and Communicative School Leaders: the new programme
In the new National Headteachers Training Programme the vision is to create a school leader who is a democratic, learning and communicative school leader. Democratic meaning that the leader him/herself is leading the school in accordance with democratic ideas and understanding that school democracy is for all who are working in the school. The democratic reflective school leader understands that it is not itself sufficient that education imparts knowledge of fundamental democratic values. It must also be carried out using democratic working methods and
prepare pupils for active participation in civic life. By participating in planning and evaluation of their daily education, and exercising choices over courses, subjects, themes and activities, pupils will develop their ability to exercise influence and take responsibility.
The democratic dimension of the power struggles is about how the agents handle their relations and positions. In all educational systems we see different approaches to this leadership role. Some leaders do not want to engage with the power struggle; they deny it. Some leaders take over all power, not giving teachers any latitude for influence or dialogue. Some take on the responsibility to initiate a continuous professional discourse about developing and ensuring quality in schools. A school leader can – and should because of the democratic objectives of the institution – act democratically. He/she can be the one agent responsible for having the struggle made public and visible, so everybody can examine what is going on and can have a say in the decisions. Hence, the leader should be responsible for making the agenda for the professional dialogue in school and for the educational practices. The democratic reflective school leader’s task as a supporter and promoter of interactive professionalism is essential, and therefore training of communication skills is of great importance in the new Swedish programme (Johansson, 2000).
Leadership is about Constant Learning
All leadership is about constant learning and that is especially the case for school leaders. They are leaders for highly educated people with intellectual work. To be able to lead such a group, the leader him/herself must be a learner. However, the school leader also needs to be a learner in relation to the goal of the curriculum. To highlight that position we would like to again quote the Swedish curriculum from 1994:
Democracy forms the basis of the national school system. The School Act stipulates that all school activity should be carried out in accordance with fundamental democratic values, and that each and everyone working in the school should encourage respect for the intrinsic values of each person and for the environment we all share. The school has the important task of imparting, instilling and forming in the pupils those fundamental values on which our society is based. (Lpo 94, p. 6)
If a school leader shall be able to live up to the demands in the national curriculum he or she must be a learner, and a person who understands that governing power is not power over money, buildings and personal; it is an authority based on discursive power. If he or she should be able to live up to the very high demands there are on a democratic environment in the school, where everybody can feel that they are seen and
appreciated for whom they are, the school leader must be the change he wants to see.
A school leader that shall be both democratic and reflective in these matters must be a learner. That is a person who creates and merges school cultures, and school structures by rethinking and leading by the power of dialogues and discussions. However, it is also a person who is aware that the learning process, and the control of related emotions and anxiety has an impact on educational leadership. The democratic reflective school leaders’ task as a supporter and promoter of interactive professionalism is essential.
Therefore, the democratic, learning and communicative school leaders main tasks are:
Leading the teaching – as the leader has the overall responsibility for the quality of the teaching offered to students, he/she must have insights into teachers’ planning, implementation and evaluation. The leader must be able to guide and supervise teachers in these matters. Leading the learning of teachers – teachers are the most important persons in challenging and facilitating students to learn. They must be constantly learning, reflecting and collaborating on didactical matters. The leader is responsible for giving the possibilities and the challenges to teachers learning processes.
Developing language, values and culture – in order to facilitate the collaboration and work of students and teachers, the school must discuss the values underlying the actions and decisions. The leader is responsible for the school having the possibility and challenge for this discussion.
Leading relations to the outside world – the stakeholders of the schools demand more information and reasons and at the same time the legitimacy of the school within the local environment is questioned constantly. The leader is in charge of pro-active relations with the outside world.
Reading, thinking, reflecting, learning and acting – a very important basis for legitimacy within and outside the school is the power of knowledge with which the leader can capture the power to lead (Johansson et al, 2000).
The Successful Democratic, Learning and Communicative School Leader
Authentic leadership (Begley, 2001) implies a genuine kind of leadership a hopeful, open-ended, visionary and creative response to social circumstances, as opposed to the more short-sighted, precedent – focused and context – constrained practices typical of management (Begley & Johansson, 2000). This is a values informed leadership a sophisticated, knowledge-based and skilful approach to leadership. It is
also a form of leadership that acknowledges and accommodates in an integrative way the legitimate needs of individuals, groups, organisations, communities and cultures – not just the organisational perspectives that are the usual preoccupation of much of the leadership literature. Finally, authentic leadership is a form of leadership that is shared, distributed and democratic even when the leader has to make the limits clear. The qualities of the Authentic Leadership style is therefore a prerequisite for a successful Democratic, Learning and Communicative leadership (Johansson & Begley, 2001).
Implementation of the New Programme
The new Swedish programme will start in January 2002 and the present preliminary regulation document is quoted below – translated by the author – as the text runs in March of 2001. The text was formally not issued by the National Agency for Education when this essay was due.
The Swedish National School Agency’s Goals and
Guidelines for the National In-service Training for Headteachers
This document contains the aims, goals and guidelines for carrying out the training for headteachers that has been commissioned by the Swedish National School Agency:
1. The national training programme for headteachers should be offered, in the first hand, to newly appointed headteachers. Headteacher refers not only to headteachers, but also holders of positions with leadership responsibility within the public school system, nursery education, after-school child care and recognised independent after-schools that are eligible to receive grants and are subject to national supervision (according to chapter 9 of the School Act, 1985, p. 1100). School refers to the institutions embraced by the previously mentioned activities.
2. Admission to the training will take place in consultation with the school board for the school to which the headteacher belongs. The board will also be responsible for each participant being offered reasonable time for his/her own studies and adequate financial reimbursement.
3. The training should include at least 30 days of lectures and seminars, and take at least 2, but not more than 3 years.
4. The aim of the training is that headteachers should develop and use a democratic, learning and communicative form of leadership, which has its starting point in the national curriculum. The training is also aimed at better equipping headteachers to exercise the responsibility invested in them by the curriculum and other statutory instruments. Furthermore, in relation to the commissioning agent, it should enable the headteacher to
make clear the conditions on which his/her organisation operates and assert its needs.
5. The training has the following goals. After having completed the training, the headteacher should:
on the basis of democratic principles and with regard to individuals’ integrity and equal value be able to lead and develop the school, as well as asserting the rights of children and pupils to the education guaranteed in the government’s legislation and regulations;
have the ability to direct the organisation’s learning towards better goal achievement and thereby bring into focus children’s, pupils’, co-workers’ as well as his/her own learning;
understand the school as a learning organisation, his/her roll as chief and leader in a politically controlled activity, as well as having insights into how control within the national and local government sectors affect the school’s activities;
understand the school’s role in society as well as being able to work in accordance with the public education’s task, be able to conduct him/herself in a professional manner with respect to the national and local government goals for the school, and have developed his/her own goal direction and behavioural strategy;
be able to explain and argue in support of the school’s national and local government goals, as well as leading his/her co-workers efforts with interpreting the goals and analysing the consequences the goals have for the activities in his/her own school and municipality;
be able, both verbally and in writing, and through a dialogical approach to achieve better goal fulfilment in the school;
be able to analyse and make visible how the school’s traditions and culture, as well as the world around us and changes in society relate to the school’s goals;
together with co-workers, be able to use different methods for following up and evaluating as well as being able to draw conclusions on the basis of these results regarding the quality of the service and its need for development;
be able, in a pedagogically way, tangible to make explicit the school’s conditions and assert these needs not only for the school board, but also for children, pupils, parents, co-workers and the society in general.
6. Those responsible for arranging the training should be able to set the curriculum for the course. It is their responsibility to continually follow up and evaluate the training, as well as presenting an annual report to the National Agency for Schools.
7. Every participant who has successfully completed and passed the course will receive a certificate. The length of time and the content of the course should be recorded on the certificate.
Some Tentative Course Characteristics
The implementation of the programme will probably not be exactly the same at the seven universities, which will run the programme on a contract from the National Agency for Education. Some key features of the programme at the Centre for Principal Development, Umeå University are:
The programme will run for 3 years.
The participants will be together at seminars for at least 30 days. There will be two main instructors working on the programme in each course and expert instructors can be called in for special parts of the course.
All participants will be active principals.
All principals will have at least a 10% reduction in their work load. There will be an interplay in the learning activities between practices, theory and research, and one training goal is to create new knowledge in the inter-section between the three arenas.
All practical cases used will be real cases from the different schools of the participating principals.
Through the way the case technique is used it will sometimes also create activity or discussions at the school of the participant.
There will be two types of supervision, individually in each participant's school and in small groups with participants who work on similar tasks.
Each participant will create her/his own course portfolio, which will form the basis for course evaluation together with the instructor. During the course, the participant will practice different forms of communication skills during seminars and lecture presentations. The course group of principals will be an arena for practising different leadership skills and analysing the performance of other participants. Comparative approaches and reading of international literature is built into the pedagogical model of the programme.
The programmes learning philosophy is process learning.
All participants are requested to be active learners and, in that role, also take part in the group learning processes.
All participants shall, together with the instructor, find ways to inform the participant's superintendent about the participant's progress in the programme.
The focus of the programme will be on the development of democratic, learning and communicative leadership skills, and focus will be the screen through which the nine programme goals presented above will be analysed.
The aim of the training is that headteachers should develop and be able to use a democratic, learning and communicative form of school-leadership, which has its starting point in the national curriculum. The training is also aimed at better equipping headteachers to exercise the
responsibility invested in them by the curriculum and other statutory instruments. Furthermore, in relation to the commissioning agent, it should enable the headteacher to make clear the conditions on which his/her organisation, e.g. school, operates and assert its needs.
Olof Johansson, Centre for Principal Development, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 Headteachers for Tomorrow, Skolverket, 1992, p. 1506.
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