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Sector leaders respond to Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education report


Responding to the report of the pathfinders published by the National Governance Association (NGA) to mark two years of the Framework for Ethical leadership in Education, sector leaders have indicated their continued support for the framework.

Seventeen national organisations have adopted the framework originally developed by the Ethical Leadership Commission set up by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and included senior representatives from across the education sector, including NGA’s chief executive Emma Knights.


Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL)

“The aim of the ethical leadership framework is to support school leaders and governors in navigating the numerous dilemmas which crop up in education. It is fantastic to see it being used to inform discussion and decision-making on the ground by the schools and trusts participating in the pathfinder project, and we hope that over time it will prove useful more widely across the system.”


Professor Dame Alison Peacock, Chief Executive, Chartered College of Teaching

"The Chartered College of Teaching is keen to strengthen core professional principles as part of building wider recognition for teachers and leaders. Colleagues in Pioneer Schools have started to powerfully engage with the language and recommendations from the Ethical Leadership Framework and this is to be applauded. We will seek to engage with colleagues in Pioneer Schools to write for us and share their insights with members as part of our work to connect the profession. The Chartered College will provide a legacy by organising events that offer a provocation for debate about educational ethical issues."


Peter Kent, President Elect, International Confederation of Principals (ICP)

“ICP continues to find the principles of ethical leadership an incredibly helpful framework to share with leadership organisations worldwide. Whilst contexts can vary, the principles behind the framework transfer very well between jurisdictions and cultures.

In response to the framework the ICP continues to put equity front and centre of its work. Our forthcoming webinar, led by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN Commissioner for Human Rights, places many of the principles of ethical leadership in an international context.

ICP is delighted to have been involved in the project and we particularly value the opportunity to share the ideas and principles contained in the framework with school leaders worldwide.”


Leora Cruddas, Chief Executive Officer, Confederation of School Trusts (CST)

“I was very proud in my final year at ASCL to work with Carolyn Roberts to design and convene the Ethical Leadership Commission. This is because I believed then (and believe now) that the work of any professional should be guided by ethical principles. Over the past two years, the Framework for Ethical Leadership has been used in a variety of ways, ably captured in this report by NGA. It is now time for the Chartered College of Teaching as the professional body to take our initial work and think about what it means in the wider professional context.”


Revd Canon Nigel Genders - Chief Education Officer for the Church of England

“Throughout the last year, school leaders have faced seemingly impossible decisions with each twist and turn of the pandemic. The Framework for Ethical Leadership is designed for such a time as this and it is so encouraging to read the impact it has had in the pathfinder schools and trusts. As educational leaders we must support each other to enable wise decisions as we wrestle with deeply complex issues where no easy solutions are available. I am delighted that this vital work set out in this framework will continue through the Chartered College of Teachers.”


Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT

“School leadership is an ethical business. The desire to act first and foremost in the best interests of the whole school community is the base code of a school leader’s DNA.

In a tumultuous year for school leaders, acting ethically has enabled them to deal successfully with the unprecedented tests of their judgement occurring almost daily. NAHT is delighted to continue to support and contribute to the Framework for Ethical Leadership.”


Stephen Morales, CEO, the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL)

“The Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education is so important. After all school leaders are the guardians of significant sums of public money and public assets, but more importantly, they are incredibly influential in determining the future life chances of our children - this responsibility is enormous but also an incredible privilege.

Education leaders should resist personal bias, carry out their roles by demonstrating high levels of competency and be prepared to be subject to appropriate scrutiny.”


Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the NEU

“Ethical leadership benefits all in the education sector and will empower current and future generations of learners and staff. A code of practice has the power to transform organisational direction, which we believe will support system change in the way leaders support their staff to give our children and young people a quality educational experience. The NEU’s Code of Practice for Ethical Leadership is a further practical tool to support this framework.”

Read NGA’s chief executive Emma Knights’ blog “Doing the best for pupils - reflections on two years of ethical leadership in education” here.

Podcast: Ethical Leadership in practice

Pictured left to right Carolyn Roberts, Cath Kitchen, Karen Cornell,  Rosemary Hoyle and Nina Sharma

NGA’s report 'Paving the Way for Ethical Leadership: the pathfinder schools and trusts’ reflects on the two year-long pathfinder project which garnered the participation of 341 schools, colleges and trusts, evaluating the practical application and impact of the Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education nationally. 

Following on from the report, NGA has released a new episode of its Governing Chatters podcast. In ‘Ethical Leadership and how it works’ NGA’s Policy and Information Officer Nina Sharma speaks to Carolyn Roberts, former chair of the Ethical Leadership Commission and three pathfinders – Karen Cornell, Cath Kitchen and Rosemary Hoyle—about how they have used the framework in their school(s) and the impact the work has had in schools and at trust level.

Listen to the podcast

Further information about the Ethical Leadership Framework and the resouces and reading material used in the pathfinder project can be found here.