School Leadership for Public Value

Understanding Valuable Outcomes for Children, Families and Communities

July 2012
More details
  • Publisher
    UCL IOE Press
  • Published
    18th July 2012
  • ISBN 9780854739196
  • Language English
  • Pages 148 pp.
  • Size 6.25" x 9.25"
  • Images 13 illus

School Leadership for Public Value is a timely contribution to the debate about the purpose and structure of schooling in England and internationally. It draws deeply upon the work of ten schools and describes how they created strong alliances with local communities. These alliances helped to raise the academic attainment of pupils and improve the much wider range of outcomes for children and young people. In turn, the school's resources were deployed to encourage community growth and regeneration.

The featured schools were participants in an enquiry sponsored by the National College for School Leadership. The authors, both well-known figures in education, contributed to this and here present their findings through the lens of "public value". They explain what public value is, use it as a framework to reflect on the schools’ core activity and show how they added ecological, political, economic, social and cultural values. They identify five key tasks that school leaders can use to create public value, develop leadership qualities and judge its impact.

This book combines lessons learnt by the schools with wider research and political perspective to create a compelling, accessible, narrative. It is a story of disciplined educational and social innovation which shows how school leaders can create the schools they believe are needed by pupils, parents and communities. It will help leaders from schools, local authorities, policy-makers and third-sector services to understand the benefits that can result from a positive interaction with local communities. The challenges shown in the case studies are internationally recognizable.

"This is a thought-provoking, compelling, highly practical book which demonstrates inevitable and potentially powerful interdependence between schools and their communities. Using rich examples of contemporary practice and clear theoretical frameworks, it shows how practical challenges can be overcome and how we can better achieve, not only the test scores by which we are judged, but also the more humanly fulfilling educational outcomes we all desire. Just as importantly, it reminds us that motives matter. Commitment to the common good, to public value, enables us to achieve what other leadership approaches cannot. Lastly, and for this reader most importantly of all, it names both the tyranny and the poverty of measurement and invites our engagement in the development of more honest, if more challenging, alternatives. A timely, intelligent book rooted in reality, creating a better future now."

Prof. Michael Fielding - , Institute of Education, University of London

"There is nothing new in the idea that successful schools connect to the communities they serve. And yet in the mad race to improve test scores this key principle has somehow been forgotten. Drawing on the experiences of ten pioneering schools, the authors of School Leadership for Public Value provide a challenging and timely reminder of the importance of looking beyond the school gate."

Professor Mel Ainscow - , University of Manchester, UK

"Mongon and Leadbeater use a broad and ambitious canvas for this thought provoking study of school leadership and innovation. Ranging across national and international research, they look at trends in school leadership through the prism of 'Public Value' or PV. They use the construct of PV and some associated methodologies to measure the progress of innovation in school leadership. They present a compelling argument that successful school leaders are reconciling a drive for better and better teaching and learning within schools, with a recognition of the importance and impact of a connection with the communities they draw from. The authors provide interesting case studies to argue that recognising and working with social context, including deprivation, does not equate to using it as an excuse for poor attainment. They present a moral imperative for innovation and equity, for the need to devise more engaging ways of learning for those from the most deprived backgrounds to close the attainment gap, but to do so while also engaging with the communities those children and their parents come from. The authors' assertion that 'the process of creating new combinations to meet new challenges lies at the heart of most innovation' is certainly borne out by this interesting and well written book. In an era of greater and greater autonomy for schools, and more diffuse accountability for their success, Mongon and Leadbeater set a challenge for school leaders and policy makers everywhere to marry their innovation to their communities."

Matt Dunkley, Director of Children's Services - , East Sussex County Council, and President of the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) 2011/12

“Mongon and Leadbeater have written the right book at the right time.”

Anthony MacKay, Chair, The Innovation Unit Ltd, UK, and Executive Director - , Centre for Strategic Education, Australia

“[O]f value to leaders at all levels in the education and policy environment—not just as a one off read—but as a manual for change.”

Don Ledingham, Executive Director of Education and Children’s Services - , Midlothian Council

About the authors


1) Prologue Improving educational outcomes for all
The challenges in England
The international perspective
The compelling case for innovation

2) Work in progress
A grid and four strategies
Discovering innovative capacity, authorising environment and measurement

3) A ‘new story’ for education?
Disconnection from community – the twentieth-century story
Maintaining the community link: a parallel twentieth-century story
Themes for a future story

4) New authorisation
Symmetric and asymmetric authorisation
Practice behind the theory!
Three authorizing environments
Visible authorisation – creating governance

5) Building new capacity
National capacity
Institutional capacity
The five task framework
New capacity: personal, associate and contextual elements

6) Measuring for value
Is the light worth the candle?
Impact outcomes
Process outcomes

7) Conclusion
Understanding educational innovation


Dennis Mongon

Dennis Mongon is Visiting Professor at the Institute of Education, University of London, a Senior Research Fellow in the Education Department at Manchester University and a Senior Associate at the Innovation Unit.

Charles Leadbeater

Charles Leadbeater is a visiting senior fellow at the British National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts. Senior research associate with the influential London think-tank Demos. Visiting fellow at Oxford University's Said Business School and the Young Foundation. Co-founder of Participle, the public service innovation agency in the UK. He is a leading authority on innovation and creativity. He is a well-known author in this field.