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Sharks begin to circle as a school is inspected. If your school needs improvement, they bite, even if leaders already have plans in place to improve matters government and Westminster alike. As such, school leaders wrestle everyday with changing policy demands, restricted budgets and even direct political interference. The industrial relations climate in schools is strained. Leadership teams are faced with industrial action by the NUT and NASUWT as a dispute between those unions and the Secretary of State for education plays out. That dispute has nothing to do with the relationship between the leadership team and the teaching staff, but has the potential to sour local relationships for a long time to come if leadership teams do not react proportionately to

the challenges faced – especially as they cannot provide the solution. Failing to do so will undoubtedly result in a poorer education experience for children. The NAHT has published two pieces of advice to members on how to manage this situation, and Russell Hobby, NAHT General Secretary, has written to all members. Most schools remain able to steer a path though the continuing difficulty. Some have been targeted for increased action by the teaching unions, so we have advised members at these schools on how to look after their professional and personal interests as that takes place. And, if balancing all of the above external pressures is not enough, there is the day job to do as well. Creating and mentoring a good team in an educational environment is not easy. Delivering and developing teaching techniques is demanding. Complying with the desires of the governing body and meeting the requirements of statute and the expectations of parents requires skill, expertise and diplomacy. Get it right and the most important part of the equation, the pupils, will eventually, appreciate your efforts. It’s important to remember that the NAHT can help. Our representation and advice team supports the NAHT CONTINUED ON PAGE 34 ➧ MARCH/APRIL 2013 ● LEADERSHIP FOCUS

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