Top principals boost students’ outcomes, research finds

Tes reports that college leaders’ effectiveness ‘seems unrelated to their salary’, according to the Centre for Vocational Education Research. 

Better principals make a positive difference to their student’s educational outcomes, research by the Centre for Vocational Education Research (CVER) at the London School of Economics and Political Science has found.

But while the research found that “leadership does make a clear difference to learner performance”, it also suggests that “principals’ effectiveness seems unrelated to their salary”. It did, however, find that the best-performing principals employed a higher proportion of female staff and staff on permanent contracts – and tended to pay their teaching staff more.

The research, exclusively revealed by Tes today, considered a dataset of principals in FE institutions in England over the period 2003 to 2015, and combined it with data on education performance coming from the Individualised Learner Records (ILR), the National Pupil Database (NPD) and the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

It found that switching from a principal in the bottom 25 per cent of performers to a principal who is in the top 25 per cent increases students’ probability to achieve level 2 by 15.9 percentage points. At  level 3, the difference was 14.1 percentage points, and the increase in probability of students enrolling on a qualification at level 4 or above was 3.7 percentage points.

The report concludes that principals “notably differ in their ability to enable students to progress”, and therefore, it matters to invest time and resources in finding ways to improve the quality of leadership among FE principals.

Earlier this year, Tes revealed the highest paid principals in the country, and showed the number of colleges which spent over £200,000 in a single year on salaries for their principals had risen by 50 per cent.

Read the full article Top principals boost students’ outcomes, research finds

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