Lessons from Leadership for School Improvement

Year: 2018

Author: Heffernan, Amanda

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper draws upon longitudinal case studies to explore lessons for research, policy, and practice for schools and education systems working towards school improvement.
We have seen an intensification of the school improvement agenda for school systems around Australia in recent years. Queensland, in particular, had a strong policy response to the 2008 introduction of NAPLAN and these case studies examined three public school principals’ policy enactment processes following the launch of a formal department-wide school improvement agenda. 
These case studies offer lessons for policy and practice, including issues relating to workload and principal wellbeing, identifying a myriad of leadership approaches working towards improved academic outcomes for students, and principals’ work in interpreting and enacting policies. The case studies also highlight implications for researchers, including how we might move beyond the traditional insider-outsider researcher binary, and how we can better theorise the complicated nature of leadership for school improvement.
The lessons from these case studies highlight the impact that in-depth qualitative research can offer policymakers, practitioners, and researchers.