3 things that you can do right now

Familiarise yourself with the Ethical Leadership Commission’s framework for supporting ethical discussions in schools. Consider the implications for you as a leader and as a Teacher Educator.

Reflect on your school’s ethical approach. Do you work within this? Is there anything that feels like it needs to change or be reviewed?

Have a discussion with your mentee about their ethical approach to their role. Have they considered their use of ethics within the profession? Can they identify some of the issues that they might face?

In this section

Embrace Ethical Leadership

In this section we focus on:

  • what working ethically means
  • ethical values

Ethics is a philosophical term originating from the Greek work “ethos” meaning custom or character. Ensuring that we as Teacher Educators consider what working ethically means to us is a crucial step towards ensuring we are modelling our values as a professional. Being in any professional environment requires a certain level of ethical engagement but this is arguably never more important than within a school context. The ethical values you hold as an experienced teacher will no doubt be in line with those expected of a trainee or developing leader that you are mentoring. As leaders within school, we are often grappling with the most live and pressing questions within society. The Chartered College of Teaching has worked alongside the Association of School and College Leaders to create a framework for school leaders to refer to when making decisions for their context. Further information and links to this framework are located in the ‘Useful links’ section of this page. ASCL have some excellent articles relating to different areas of ethical leadership and list helpful tips for how you can engage with these different areas. Topics covered include objectivity, justice, integrity, wisdom and plenty more.

The ethics of a school are often created and led by their leaders. Identifying the key aspects of character and custom that you want to prioritise within your context is the first step. This will be a collaborative process and is the easy part in comparison to step two. Once you have identified what ethical approach you will embrace, you then need to live, breathe and implement this approach on a daily basis. This is where your mentoring skills will be tested. On those stressful days, when everything seems to have gone wrong, will you be able to stick to those ethics that you have created to ensure that does not impact on the opportunities of either the pupils in your school or the mentee who is learning from you? The important thing to remember is that working ethically will not only benefit those people working around you, but it will also support you to work in a way that makes you feel good and have a positive impact on others.

Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education (was Ethical Leadership Commission)

The Chartered College of Teaching have created a simple guide to what the Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education will set out to achieve. This is an excellent starting point for anyone who is keen to develop their knowledge of how to work ethically within education.

Read the guide here.

How do you know when your leadership decision is the right one?

A useful article from the TES aimed at school leaders that outlines some of the challenges we all face when trying to ensure we are as ethical as possible within a school environment. There are lots of links to later life considerations for the children we teach and how the decisions we make in schools, impact on the adult citizenship of our pupils.

Read the article here.

ASCL Ethical Leadership Commission (was Ethical Leadership)

A series of blogs from the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) all related to issues around ethical leadership. Carolyn Roberts, chair of ASCL’s Ethical Leadership Commission, has written each blog with excellent insight for anyone wanting to understand the issues we face in schools.

Read the blogs here.

Ethical Leadership in Education: "Accountability is not enough; we have to do good"

This is a transcript of Carolyn Roberts’ speech delivered at the Ethical Leadership Summit in January 2020 examining the relationship between accountability and ethical leadership.

Read the speech here.

Ethical Leadership: A Study of Educational Leaders at Vancouver Island University

This free to access thesis from Heather Carr from Vancouver Island University consiers how leaders can ensure they are working ethicially. Carr argues that ethical behaviours are characteristics can be learned, practiced and modelled which has a profound impact for us as Teacher Educators.

Read the thesis here.

The Significance of Ethics and Ethics Education in Daily Life

Dr. Michael Burroughs presents a TED talk examining the ethical issues we all face on a day-to-day basis. Burroughs considers this through the lens of education and how important it is that we introduce the role of ethics in the lives of children at an early age.

Creating ethical cultures in business

Brooke Deterline examines how important a factor courage is to us being able to operate ethically within our workplaces. This TED talk is aimed at the business community but the lessons are equally applicable to a school leadership context.

Embrace Ethical Leadership - Further Development

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Embrace Ethical Leadership