Anyone who has ever been a teacher will tell you that success doesn’t come from just one place; if you want to make a difference in terms of the quality of the education that a school is delivering, then it takes a team.
Improving teacher quality and expertise certainly matters, and teachers who are experts in their subject field and who can convey a passion for learning are utterly invaluable. But all schools, in the end, require a culture that is supported and driven from the top.
Interesting research this year from the University of Minnesota and the University of Toronto carried out in 180 schools across the USA and Canada concluded that no school managed to improve its student performance “in the absence of talented leadership.”
There is a good article on this from the New York Times which makes the critical point that
Principals set the culture by their very behaviour — the message is the person.
It is perfectly possible to make a profound difference in a school or an education system, but it takes leaders with vision and the drive to make that change happen.