The future of educational leadership: five signposts
Valerie Hannon and Anthony MacKay reflect on the nature of the leadership required at a most pivotal time in human history
18 10 2021
The future of educational leadership: five signposts

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Introduction

Our intention in this paper is to cast a wider frame. It is not merely to tack on an additional set of competencies – although it is the case that some different competencies are proposed. Rather, it is to reflect on the nature of the leadership required at a most pivotal time in human history: an era of existential threat through climate crisis; the perils of pandemics; violent conflict; declining democracy; and widening divides – set against the immense possibilities becoming available. Thriving and flourishing in an Artificial Intelligence (AI) world is possible: but a precondition is educational leadership of a new order. Our purpose in this paper is to indicate the direction such leadership should take. We offer five ‘signposts’ to that direction. Fundamental new perspectives on the predicament of humanity are emerging from a wide range of disciplines and standpoints: we will be alluding to insights from the worlds of social philosophy, science, economics, business, the third sector, and economic and social entrepreneurs. Taken together, they indicate that a revolution of values and action is urgently needed, which in turn depends upon a transformation of education. Leading that transformation, with hope and humility, is the subject of this paper.

About the authors

Valerie Hannon is a global thought leader, inspiring systems to re-think what  ‘success’ will mean in the 21st century, and the implications for education. The  co-founder of both Innovation Unit and of the Global Education Leaders Partnership,  Valerie is a radical voice for change, whilst grounded in a deep understanding of  how education systems currently work. Formerly a secondary teacher, researcher and Director of Education for Derbyshire  County Council; then an adviser in the UK Department for Education (DfE) she now  works independently to support change programs across the world. Currently, she is also Senior Adviser to the OECD in its Education 2030 project. Valerie  is a regular keynote speaker and facilitator at international conferences and workshops,  drawing upon her substantial research and collaborative publications, including:  • Learning A Living: Radical Innovation in Education for Work (Bloomsbury 2013);  •  Redesigning Education: Shaping Learning Systems Around the Globe (Booktrope 2014);  • Local Learning Ecosystems (WISE 2019). Valerie is the 2020 author of The Australian Learning Lecture on the subject of  The Future School, which will appear as a new book in late 2021. Her last book,  THRIVE: The Purpose of Schools in a Changing World (2021) was published by  Cambridge University Press. Also in 2021 Valerie was given the Outstanding  Achievement in Education Award by EduFuturists. 

Anthony Mackay AM is CEO and Board Co Chair of the Washington DC based  National Center on Education and the Economy. He was Inaugural Chair Australian  Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), Inaugural Deputy Chair of the  Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), immediate past  Chair, Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and immediate past Deputy  Chair of New Zealand’s Education Council. He is currently Co Chair of the National Project, Learning Creates Australia; Deputy  Chancellor, Swinburne University, Melbourne; Honorary Senior Fellow, Graduate School  of Education, University of Melbourne and Chair, The Song Room, Australia. Anthony is Co-Founder of the Global Education Leaders Partnership (GELP), and  Foundation Board Chair of the Innovation Unit Ltd, England.  He is an Expert Advisor to OECD/CERI, Consultant Advisor to the Asia Society’s Global  Cities Education Network, Senior Fellow IBE UNESCO; International Advisor to Learning  Forward (USA); and Director, High Resolves Global Board. Anthony is the Moderator of the Annual International Summit on the Teaching Profession;  Moderator of Ministerial Sessions and Key Debates at the Annual World Innovation Summit  on Education (WISE) and Moderator of OECD’s Global Education Industry Summit. 

Photo courtesy and text copyright: CSE

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