Europe: Strong school leadership essential for quality education

published 29 April 2015 updated 4 May 2015

The importance of strong and effective leadership in European schools is the subject of a joint report published by European trade unions and education employers.

The report, “Professional autonomy, accountability and efficient school leadership”, is the result of two years’ work by the European region of Education International (EI), the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE), together with the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE) and the Secondary Education Council of the Netherlands (VO-raad).

In that time, the unions and employers examined the role of social dialogue and social partners in efficient school leadership.

“Strong and effective leadership,” says the report launched on 27 April, is a “key driver for the educational changes necessary for a modern European education system able to face social and economic challenges like growth, competitiveness and social cohesion”.

Vital link

Education International (EI) acknowledges that, as school management, school principals and school leadership have a major role to play in the running of schools and in the coordination of team work with teachers and other education workers, and are strategically positioned to ensure that their schools provide quality education by creating conditions for effective teaching and learning in their institutions.

According to the report, school leaders are an important stakeholder group for both the education employers’ organisations and teacher trade unions, as they are the link between school management and teachers, between different levels of education and training, families, the local community and the labour market.

School leaders also have a crucial responsibility in ensuring the creation of a safe and conducive environment for teaching and learning and student success. And they are expected to play a key role in the maintenance and improvement of educational quality, European trade unions and education employers insist.

Dialogue is crucial

Dialogue between and among teachers and school leaders, between trade unions and employers, and between schools and their direct community is of the “outmost importance in guaranteeing good school leadership, in enhancing mutual trust and goodwill, and in striving for education quality”, according to the report.

The European Social Partners in education stress that the issue of high quality and effective school leadership is a priority for their members, the national social partners in education, at national, local, and regional level.

The report is available here