Pressures and Influences on School Leaders As Policy Makers During COVID-19
28 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2020 Last revised: 3 Aug 2020
Date Written: July 3, 2020
Pressure and influences on school leaders as school policy makers during COVID-19 have made the task of interpreting, translating and implementing guidance more a complex and essential operation. School leaders need to prioritise and balance ever-changing government policy advice, against limitations of school buildings, the welfare of students and staff as well as the needs of the communities their schools serve. By surveying and interviewing headteachers, senior leaders and governors, this paper identifies the inputs school leaders have had to react and respond to when creating policy in the context of COVID-19. The paper addresses the nature of, and factors affecting, pressures school leaders feel in authoring policy. The considerable challenges school-based policy makers face in implementing social distancing policy are non-trivial and increase tension to what is already highly stressful work. The report draws on data collected from a randomised, stratified sample of primary and secondary school leaders from across England in early June 2020, during the time of social distancing and school closure for most students. Findings suggest quality, quantity and frequency of top-down communication have contributed to school leader stress, while horizontal communication and collaboration between school leaders and across school communities helped to support leaders during rapid change. We recommend government and the education sector address communication, collaboration and change, to harness the challenges and opportunities identified by school leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keywords: education leadership, education policy, policy making, COVID-19, england, schools, headteacher, policymakers, communication, collaboration, change
JEL Classification: I21, I26
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation