Dr. Sean Starr – Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Wolverhampton

    • Dr. Sean Starr – Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Wolverhampton's presentations

    Sean Start has been working in education for over 20yrs and currently a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Wolverhampton.


    Title: “Playing the Long Game in Shifting Sands: Exploring the links of leadership behaviours and continuous improvement in education”


    Synopsis: Education in England has, since the mid 1980’s existed in a culture of defending threats to their systems, largely as a result of the drive for increased accountability and targets. The pace of change and the unprecedented levels of uncertainty which characterise the global context for 21st century organisations mean that leading through ambiguity has become a key leadership role in many organisations. Therefore, Effective and equitable leadership and governance are key to ensuring successful education outcomes for young people. Schools and school leaders need robust systems and support structures to help drive continuous improvements. This shifting terrains point to a future for schools of increasing complexity, change and uncertainty, a future where it is not clear what schools should look like or do to be responsive and successful. Leadership that develops a philosophy of continuous improvement need to demonstrate behaviours that will deal with the ambiguity of not being satisfied with present arrangements and at the same time not being able to change things as quickly as they might want. This is supported by the belief that variance in an organisation’s performance can be associated with the leadership behaviours. Ultimately a realism as to school limits and capabilities is needed as well as a re-examination of how research can inform these explanations. Equally, there is a need for the education sector to better understand quality concepts and the application of quality’s principles and tools. If schools are to make progress, it is important that further clarification and understanding between the relationship of leadership, continuous improvement and the schools’ effectiveness is explored. This research is based on the premise that there is a need to create schools whose success can be sustained long term. The research is followed a Soft System Methodology (SMM). SSM encourages users to focus more on the ill-defined areas of problems like the human interaction and cultural perspectives, ultimately viewing humans as “components”. SSM is firmly embodied in the philosophy of Systems Thinking – the idea that the world with all its idiosyncrasies, problems and quirks can be better understood by thinking of it holistically. SSM is an approach to the modelling of human activity systems that enables problem situations to be modelled, understood and then helps potential solutions to be identified.


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