• Finding the glass slipper: the impact of leadership on innovation in further education

      Thompson, Carol; Further Education Trust For Leadership (FETL, 2018-06-11)
      The rise of commercialisation within education (Courtney 2015) brought with it a number of systems and processes which have had a significant impact on how professional roles are enacted.  In particular the increase in the scrutiny of Teacher activity has been viewed as leading to a reduction in professionalism (Ball 2003, Ball et al. 2012).  In Further Education, this has led to the development of a more defined, potentially formulaic and less autonomous approach to teaching (Avis 2003). In addition, the codification of 'good' teaching and learning embedded through teacher education, the Professional Standards (Education and Training Foundation 2014) and bodies such as Ofsted has provided very distinct guidelines to direct teachers' activities in the classroom. This research forms part of a Fellowship awarded by the Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL).  The main aim was to explore how leadership within Further Education (FE) impacts on teaching and learning, specifically on the autonomy Teachers have to construct their work in creative ways. The project investigated how professionals are constrained or empowered to develop methods which allow them to innovate rather than replicate in the classroom; ultimately creating an environment which inspires and challenges learners.   Semi-structured interviews with Teachers, Managers and Leaders were used to explore factors which both enabled and constrained innovation in the classroom. Findings outlined a range of similarities for all groups in relation to specific 'enablers' to creativity and some distinct differences in those factors considered to be constraints.  One significant difference was the perceptions of Teacher agency which influenced attitudes to whether or not Teachers were willing to move away from more prescriptive approaches in order to explore alternative methods.  A stark contrast was found between the views of Teachers and Leaders in relation to the constraints, or freedom to be found in the teaching role suggesting miscommunication or misconception by one or both parties.