Seventeen days: A private school’s response to the COVID-19 crisis in Perth

Year: 2021

Author: Striepe, Michelle, Cunningham, Christine

Type of paper: Symposium

This paper presents a case study on how a school leader employed educational leadership over the course of the COVID-19 crisis.  This case study is part of a larger project which aimed to uncover how school leaders in different international contexts, which included China, Bolivia and Western Australia, experienced the COVID-19 crisis. We collected qualitative data and developed insights into school leaders approaches to leadership, how their roles and practice changed over the course of the pandemic and how leaders approaches were influenced by various contextual factors. This paper focuses on a private school leaders’ unique experiences of the pandemic with just a seventeen day period of school closures. Despite the perceived short duration of the crisis, the findings illustrate how quickly the crisis impacted on the school leader’s role, leadership approach and day to day responsibilities. Additionally, our paper shows how different contextual factors, specifically the political and institutional contexts, the school’s internal resources and the leader’s prior experience affected their capacity to adapt and respond to the COVID-19 crisis. As such, our case provides interesting insights regarding how school leaders navigated their way through the pandemic, the significant influence of context on leadership during the crisis and contributes to contemporary theoretical understandings about educational leadership in times of crises.