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‘ Poverty, Culture and Educational Attainment – leadership strategies that work ….’ Birmingham, September 21st 2009 Dr Denis Mongon Senior Research Fellow, University of Manchester. The big picture…. …. Is bigger than we thought…. 1965. 1992. 2003. And may be bigger than we can imagine.

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Poverty, Culture and Educational Attainment –leadership strategies that work….’Birmingham, September 21st 2009Dr Denis MongonSenior Research Fellow,University of Manchester

A half dozen recurring themes:



Area Focus




From: Source: Mongon, D., et al, Successful leadership for promoting the achievement of white working class pupils, 2008

Based on: Brown, G. (2004) Leadership, race equality and school improvement. Race Equality Teaching, 22 (3)

5 basic strategies :

  • Build vision and setting directions

  • Understand and develop people

  • Design the organisation

  • Manage and support the teaching and learning

  • Collect, monitor, analyse and use information

“We’ve taken the values off the estate and turned them to our advantage.”Deputy Head

From: Source: Mongon, D., et al, Successful leadership for promoting the achievement of white working class pupils, 2008

4 personality traits:


Internal locus of control



“We simply don’t accept the estate as an excuse for second best.”Headteacher

Source: Mongon, D., et al, Successful leadership for promoting the achievement of white working class pupils, 2008

3 characteristic ‘intelligences’:

Professional intelligence

Social intelligence

Contextual intelligence

“Why is this a good school?

It’s respect…”Student

Source: Mongon, D., et al, Successful leadership for promoting the achievement of white working class pupils, 2008

Success at school, and then…

  • There are at least 60,000 pupils (10 percent of the cohort) who at some point were among the top fifth of performers in school, but who do not enter higher education by age 19.

  • The main reasons young people cite for not continuing learning post-16 are that they want to start earning, avoid debt, and are frustrated or disillusioned with formal learning.

  • Disadvantaged students particularly are deterred from highly-selective institutions as they are not confident they will get in or, if they do, that they will fit in once there.

  • Poorer students are less likely to get higher education support from their peer groups and families, which are influential in the decision-making process.

Source: The Sutton Trust, 2008 Increasing higher education participation amongst disadvantaged young people and schools in poor communities

Leadership for Public Value:five key tasks

  • Managing resources internally, better teaching and learning, measured by educational attainments.

  • Drawing in more resources from within the community to supplement and complement those allocated.

  • Reaching out to the immediate social networks and families to help them enhance performance, pupil attendance and attitude: direct investment of resources generating direct pay offs.

  • Investing some resources in creating social capital and capacity in the community: payback being less direct and longer term.

  • Making resources available for community activities which have neither direct nor indirect payback: most of the value ‘escaping’ into the community which may well be stronger as a result.

Source: Leadbeater, C. and Mongon, D. Leadership for Public Value: achieving valuable outcomes for children, families and communities, 2008.

Emerging models for leadership:

External leadership practice

Leadership practice as a system mediator

New model of leadership: system innovation

Additional practice

Rethinking practice

New model of leadership: school innovation

Leadership practice as a school mediator

Internal leadership practice

Source: Chapman, C, Ainscow, M, Mongon, D, et al, Emerging Patterns of School Leadership: A deeper understanding, 2009

A framework for exploring emerging forms of school leadership:

Within schools

Between schools

Beyond schools



Direction of system travel

Source: Chapman, C, Ainscow, Mongon, D, et al , Emerging patterns of school leadership…, 2008

“Be respectful, don’t be bossy. leadership:

Listen, treat everybody equal - not high rank and low rank;

listen and pull people together.

That’s it for everybody here.”

“There is no school better than this”


So, what is leadership:our promise to the next generation…?