Top of the class?

Think tank: Social Market Foundation

Author(s): Richard Hyde; Niamh O Regan

November 16, 2023

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation examines the state of leadership and management in education.

Education is strongly linked with economic success, yet education quality in the UK lags behind many comparable countries.

This Social Market Foundation report examines the central role that better leadership and management have to play in addressing this and makes recommendations for how the government can improve the quality of leadership and management in the UK education system.

A substantial minority of schools and further education colleges in England are poorly led. Between 2017-2023, an average of 30% of schools and colleges were rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ for their leadership and management, yet efforts to address this have fallen short. This has knock-on effects on other important factors for organisational success, such as staff motivation and morale.

The report also identifies a number of obstacles to leaders and managers in education fulfilling their roles successfully, from human resourcing issues and organisational culture to funding difficulties. The report’s recommendations for how to improve the quality of leadership and management include making it a priority issue across the sector; developing a more comprehensive approach to human resourcing issues by building on the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy; revamping National Professional Qualifications, mandating them for those in leadership and management roles and extending them to higher education; and implementing a robust regime to uphold the quality and consistency of leadership and management training.