Effective leadership in schools

Effective leadership in schools

That's the easy part. Finding enough leaders to transform the school system presents a huge challenge and one that we don't appear to be meeting at the moment.

What does a good leader look like? ... after all, good leaders come in all different shapes and sizes.

Do you need someone possessing a basket of generic leadership skills (in other words, who could lead any organisation) or someone who is steeped in educational knowledge and related leadership experience? Or both?

What does research tell us?

There is quite a lot of research available on the subject of school leadership. Inevitably, some is contradictory. 

A good starting point is the best evidence synthesis iterationpublished last year by the University of Auckland which looks at the kind of leadership that delivers improvements in student outcomes.

It identifies two main forms of leadership:

1. Tranformational leadership ...

2. Pedagogical leadership ...


​which emphasises the qualities of vision and inspiration.

focused on establishing clear educational goals, planning the curriculum and evaluating teachers and teaching.

And the verdict ... is that the impact on student outcomes of pedagogical leadership is nearly four times that of transformational leadership. It also identifies specific leadership practices that impact on student outcomes. Its conclusion states that 'the closer leaders get to the core business of teaching and learning, the more likely it is that they will have a positive impact on their students.'


​Related reading ...

The principal: three keys to maximizing impact Professor Michael Fullan, 2014

Professional capital: transforming teaching in every school Dr Andy Hargreaves and Professor Michael Fullan, 2013

Leading in a culture change Professor Michael Fullan, 2001

Achieving a research-focused education profession
Optimising your school's use of the Pupil Premium

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Tuesday, 17 September 2019
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