Businesses offer leadership support

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Businesses are being urged to forge partnerships with their local schools to help them overcome leadership and workforce challenges.

Businesses are being urged to forge partnerships with their local schools to help them overcome leadership and workforce challenges.

The charity Business in the Community (BitC) believes that companies can help to support headteachers to develop their staff’s leadership skills. 

Its Business Class programme connects businesses with schools in disadvantaged areas through three-year partnerships. The support covers everything from leadership skills and pupil mentoring to guidance on change-management and strategy. 

There are currently 175 Business Class partnerships, involving more than 120 businesses, but BitC wants to see 500 partnerships by 2014 and is calling for more businesses to sign up.

The call came at a symposium this week which saw business leaders and headteachers come together to discuss how they could collaborate. Education secretary Michael Gove was also in attendance and has backed the initiative.

In a poll of 50 headteachers as part of the symposium, half admitted that they do not find it easy to develop excellent leadership throughout their schools or achieve it to a consistent standard.

Colette Jones, principal of South Leeds Academy, is supporting the programme. She explained: “As a leader, you learn from other leaders regardless of the context. I have a clear vision for my academy, but that is not enough. We need to know how to develop the right people in the right way to deliver this vision. Working in partnership with businesses is helping us understand how to develop a winning team.”

BitC chief executive Stephen Howard said: “Leadership is one of the key pillars of our programme and is one area where business can make a positive, sustained contribution in schools.”

Mr Gove added: “Business Class is an excellent example of how schools can take advantage of the expertise and experience that the business world has to offer. The key to its success is the extent to which schools leaders are able to tailor the programme to their pupils and priorities.”

Visit www.bitc.org.uk/community/education/business_class.


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