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Governance and School Leadership in the Flemish System Diversity and Partnerships Gaby Hostens OECD-workshop Brussels, 1-2 February 2007. Political context Constitutional context Educational context Governance in education Attractive, Developing and Retaining Effective School Leaders
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Governance and School Leadership in the Flemish System Diversity and Partnerships Gaby Hostens OECD-workshop Brussels, 1-2 February 2007
Political context • Constitutional context • Educational context • Governance in education • Attractive, Developing and Retaining Effective School Leaders • Performances of Flemish schools in international surveys (PISA, TIMSS) • Major challenges for education policies
I. Political context 1. Belgium : a federal country 2. 3 Communities : - Flemish : ± 6 mio = Dutch-speaking - French : ± 4 mio - German : 0,1 mio
3. Competencies in education Systems have grown apart - Governance : the role of ministers of education - Funding mechanisms - Curricula - Quality assurance mechanisms - Teacher salaries Performances of the systems
II. Constitutional context Has impact on governance 1. Freedom of education a. Freedom for providers = freedom to start a school Great diversity of providers * Private organisations * Municipalities, provinces * State → Community b. Freedom to choose a school = free choice for parents Schools compete for students ! Quasi-market Informed choice ? Voice ? Equity ?
c. How to implement freedom of education ? - Providers : * Financial support * Pedagogical autonomy * Obligation to enroll students Great responsibilities - Parents, students * No fees during compulsory education * The right to enroll * Geographical accessibility
d. A great diversity of providers. Diversity of - Pedagogical projects - Denominational, non-denominational, official schools - Size of school boards Impact on governance Impact on school leadership
2. The right to education a. Entitlement to the school of your choice b. Entitlement to high quality education = a challenging curriculum c. The right to enroll 3. Equal treatment of students, teachers, parents, schools But : objective differences are allowed
Educational context Defining characteristics/features of the system 1. A large diversity of relatively by autonomous providers 2. Autonomous providers have networked have been networked - Catholic schools - State, community schools - Municipal schools - Provincial schools
3. National core curriculum = a minimum 4. A compulsory ‘schooling’ period of 12 years 5. No national exams (A-levels, Bac, etc.) No standardised tests at key stages 6. Schools that meet legal criteria issue valid diplomas
7. Input funding based on enrolment figures = No output funding based on performances Funding mechanism : sensitive to student enrolment 8. Accountability mechanisms - Inspectorate - Free choice?
Governance in education Introduction : - Many layers of government - Involvement of a great many stakeholders - Heavily institutionalised 1. Different layers a. Organising bodies = school boards → Bear the full responsibility for operation of their schools
- Employers - Pedagogical autonomy - Quality outcomes : performances - Financial management - Infrastructure
But organising bodies, school boards - For community schools = school group - For municipality schools = municipal council - For private schools * Religious congregations * Diocese * Local organisations * Etc. School boards = Schulträger - Critical in education in Flanders - Central role in organisation of schooling
b. Communities of schools in primary education and secondary education - Regional networks of schools - A limited number of competencies - Diversity in communities of schools, differences in : * Geographical spread * Size : number of schools, number of students * Impact on individual schools - Policy objectives : * Achieve a more rational school landscape * More rational use of resources * Better career guidance for students
c. National networks of schools = umbrella organisations - Membership : voluntary vs compulsory - Roles : * Representation * Capacity building * Curriculum development * Professional support → Important actors at macro level
2. Involvement of stakeholders a. Teaching unions. Reflecting diversity of the schooling system ! Representative unions are members of appropriate committees at every level : Local : Schools Regional : Communities of schools National : Umbrella organisation and Government b. Umbrella organisations (providers)
c. Other stakeholders such as parents, teachers, students, social partners, etc. Well developed legal framework for participation at : - School level - National level → Monitoring by the inspectorate 3. Advisory bodies a. Flemish Educational Council = VLOR - Composition : all relevant stakeholders + elected headmasters and teachers
- Competencies : * Advice * Consultation * Study → Involvement of a great many people → VLOR : important actor in policymaking b. Flemish University Council = VLIR c. Flemish Council for Colleges for Higher Education = VLHORA
4. Negotiating bodies - Minister of education + - Umbrella organisations, representing the school boards + - Teaching unions
Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective School Leaders 1. Diversity in school boards, organising bodies ↓ Impact on school leadership Impact on attracting school leaders 2. Differences in challenges and approaches a. Size matters b. Professional vs less professional approach to attracting and selecting headmasters - Scouting potential candidates - Closed vs open system - Assessment mechanisms
c. Training and professional development - Pre-service training : * Certificate in community education * No certificate in private or municipal schools - In-service-training for headmasters * A wide supply of academic and other courses * Peer learning
Performances of Flemish schools in international surveys. PISA, TIMSS 1. Does the system achieve quality? a. Excellent average performances b. Consistency of performances across - Age cohorts : 13 vs 15-year-old students - Subjects : Mathematical literacy Scientific literacy Reading literacy - Surveys : PISA – TIMSS - Periods : 1995 → 2003
c. A large cohort of excellent performances 2. Does the system achieve equity ? 1. Large gap between excellent and low performances 2. Large impact of socio-economic background 3. Weak performances of first and second generation immigrant students
HighMathematics performance Bel -Flemish Community Hong Kong-China Finland Korea 540 Netherlands Liechtenstein High performance Low social equity High performance High social equity Japan Canada Belgium Macao-China Switzerland Australia New Zealand 520 Czech Republic Iceland Denmark France Sweden Moderate impact of social background on performance Austria Strong impact of social background on performance Bel - French Community Ireland Germany 500 Slovak Republic Norway Luxembourg Hungary Poland Spain Latvia United States 480 Low performance High social equity Low performance Low social equity Russian Federation Italy Portugal 460 Low Performance Greece 440 30 20 10 0
Major challenges for education policies 1. Good governance a. School leadership : effective school leaders - Shortages - Quality of candidates - Training and professional development - Mandate vs tenure for heads of secondary schools b. School leadership : effective school leadership One-man show versus team leadership
c. Involvement of all stakeholders - Participation in elections - Genuine involvement in committees d. Professional school boards - Good pool of excellent candidates ? 2. Achieve quality and equity in the system - Mitigate impact of socio-economic background - Raise performances of immigrant students - Narrow achievement gap between schools → Effective school leaders