Subject leadership in the primary school: contributing to school improvement.

Year: 1999

Author: Bell, Derek, Fletcher, Linda

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The drive to raise standards, increase effectiveness and bring about school improvement is a world-wide phenomenon and has become increasingly a focus of attention at all levels - international, national and local. Governments of different political persuasions have introduced national and state curricula and set standards that schools are expected to meet. Whilst there is an overall framework in which schools must operate, it is the responsibility of teachers to bring about improvements in the teaching and learning that takes place in all areas of the curriculum.

In recent years the importance of subject leadership in raising standards and improving the quality of children’s experiences has been increasingly recognised in the England and Wales. In primary schools, however, subject leaders are faced with major challenges. Many feel their post is not clearly defined and are often daunted by the demands made on them. This paper presents some of the findings of an ongoing study into subject leadership in the primary school and will report the outcomes of interviews with subject leaders and their head teachers which explored their views on the complexity of the post, their frustrations and their responses to the challenges they face in raising the quality of teaching and learning in their subject area.

In the context of local developments and global effects it is argued that in order to raise standards and quality in education subject leadership in individual schools must be effective and that subject leaders are key people in the process of school improvement.