The oxygen mask : an investigation into the establishment of the National College for School Leadership.
This portfolio investigates the development of the National College for School
Leadership, first announced by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, at the first New
Headteachers Conference in October 1998 and confirmed in the Green Paper
'teachers meeting the challenge of change'.
The portfolio covers the twelve-month period between New Headteachers
Conferences. At the first conference the College was announced; at the second we
learned it would be sited at Nottingham University.
The portfolio is designed to contribute to the debate about what should underpin the
workings of the College. It contains a series of separate papers which also
interrelate. The papers focus on four factors which are likely to impact on the work
of the College. The author considers these factors to be crucial to the development
and growth of the College and its acceptance by the profession both nationally and
internationally as, in the words of the Prime Minister, a 'centre of excellence'.
These factors are:
• the impact of policy development;
• the definition of and role of leadership;
• what we mean by learning; and
• a preferred future for schools in the 21st Century.
Section 1 provides an introduction and a rationale of why the work has been
undertaken. It argues that the knowledge age demands new and radical thinking in
how we train and develop school leaders.
Section 2 provides the theoretical framework for the portfolio. Section 2a provides
the research design and methodology and the systemic model which the author has
developed to underpin both the College and the portfolio's propositions. Section 2b
contains a series of papers which review the literature relating to the four factors.
Section 3 comprises a series of research papers dealing with the author's work on
policy development, leadership, learning and futures models. These papers present
both a national and international perspective. Included is the author's own research
into the development of the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH)
culminating in a new model for its transfer to the College. The final paper in the
series provides a model for the College. This model is not intended to 'be set in
stone' but reflects the author's research position and views at the time of writing.
Section 4 is an analytical and reflective narrative outlining the author's journey
through this portfolio.
This study is essentially both postmodernist and a tale. It does not reach any final
conclusions but sets out a series of propositions and seeks ideas and possible
routes of pursuit to inform the development of the College. It asks questions, but it
provides no definitive answers. Rather, it is intended to contribute to Socratic
dialogue, a theme the author pursues throughout. Since the papers are independent
and targeted for different purposes there is some overlap and variety in style.
John Wheeler, the quantum physicist, posited recently:
December, 2000 is the 100thanniversary of the greatest discovery ever made
in the world of physics, the quantum. To celebrate, I would propose the title
'The Quantum: The Glory and the Shame'. Why glory? Because there is not
a branch of physics which the quantum does not illuminate. The shame,
because we still do not know 'how come the quantum?' (contained in a letter
from John Wheeler to J. P. McEvoy, the author of 'Introducing Quantum
This stance informs the spirit of this research