01 February 2019

ATLP CEO informs new code for ethical leadership in education

Respected Arthur Terry Learning Partnership CEO, Richard Gill, joined a “high-powered commission’ in London last week to mark the publication of a new ethical framework for education leaders.

Navigating the educational moral maze, which was launched at a summit at the UCL Institute of Education, includes seven principles and characteristics for leaders in education.

The guidelines were written by representatives from a number of leading educational groups, including the Teaching Schools Council, of which Richard is chair. The expert panel, the Ethical Leadership Commission (ELC) was set up by association of school and college leaders (ASCL).

Richard was among the high-profile panel members at the launch event, along with Dominic Herrington, interim national schools commissioner, Geoff Barton general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, and Professor Dame Alison Peacock, CEO of the Chartered College of Teaching.

Richard said:

We have a commitment to the children and young people in our care, to the communities we serve, to set the standard for ethical behaviour. It’s our duty to model that across all schools so that our students can grow into fulfilled and valued citizens. Core values such as integrity and accountability form part of our new framework, while personal characteristics, like trust and kindness, are attributes that all good leaders should pass on to others. Such qualities are the golden thread that link our schools and if we can embed that at all levels then we can give our children and young people the very best start in life.”  

Carolyn Roberts, commission chair and former headteacher, said:

The nation trusts us to form young people into the best that they can be. The public expects us to know what kind of example we should set them, but do we? How do we know what’s right or wrong?

The ELC was established because of concerns expressed by ASCL members and others about the lack of guiding principles for ethical leadership in education. The resulting Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education (Framework) provides the profession with principles to support leaders in their decision-making and in calling out unethical behaviour.

The report sets out how the framework will now be embedded across the school and college system:

  • pathfinder project has been launched through the National Governance Association (NGA) which invites school leaders to sign up to the Framework and provides training resources about how to build its values and virtues into working practices. The project will be promoted through the NGA, ASCL and Chartered College of Teaching(CCT) websites.
  • The Framework will be embedded in leadership and governance programmes developed by the organisations involved in the commission and hopefully, over time, throughout the teacher and leadership development landscape.
  • An ethics forum will be established at the CCTto discuss and disseminate thinking about ethical issues in education leadership.

Ethical leadership as part of everyday decision-making

We want the language of values and virtues to be part of everyday decision-making because:

  • schools and colleges are where society looks after its young until they are old enough to assume the mantle of adult responsibility
  • school and college leaders have to be diligent and trusted professionals and public servants
  • every decision and judgement school and college leaders make sets an example to children and should promote ethical behaviour in succeeding generations: how we do things is as important as what we do?
  • in a landscape where schools and colleges are of many different sorts and responsible to many different people, society must be able to rely on thousands of individual decision-making leaders to do the right thing, themselves.

If you have any comments or queries regarding the ELC, please contact Carolyn Roberts at codeofethics@ascl.org.uk.