The Who, How, Why, and What of Leadership in Secondary School Improvement: Lessons Learned in England

Foster, Rosemary; St. Hilaire, Brenda
December 2004
Alberta Journal of Educational Research;Winter2004, Vol. 50 Issue 4, p354
Academic Journal
Although arguments in scholarly journals claim that leadership is critical in initiating and sustaining school improvement, ambiguity surrounds the sources and role of leadership. In addition, little research documents how educators involved in school improvement perceive who leads, how, why, and for what purposes leadership is important. This article reports on a case study of headteachers' and teachers' perspectives of leadership in an English secondary school involved in a university-based school improvement program. Specifically, we present a summary of the research as well as interpretations and themes constructed from the data analysis. Interpretations support recent theoretical claims that schools are complex organizations requiring multiple leaders and a distributed model of leadership to accomplish improvement goals; and academic writing that urges a rethinking of school improvement. In concluding we argue that the development of professional expertise is key to fostering successful schooling over time and call for a consideration of emergent perspectives of leadership in addressing issues related to influence and inclusion of teachers in goal-setting and leadership in school development.


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