Leadership for rural school community partnerships

Year: 2004

Author: Kilpatrick, Sue, Johns, Susan

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper presents a model for examining effective leadership for rural school community partnerships, derived from Australian research supported by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. The research team investigated effective school community partnerships in five different Australian rural locations. Four government and one independent school featured in the study. Partnership effectiveness was confirmed by seeking advice from a range of experts including State, Commonwealth, independent school and Catholic education authorities, as well as rural education professionals. The particular focus of the study was on the community outcomes of such partnerships.

The model is consistent with, but further develops, earlier partnership models. It uses the leadership process, rather than the leader, as the unit of analysis. The model outlines a five-stage process of partnership development: trigger, initiation, development, maintenance and sustainability. While the stages of the process appear to be consistent across study sites, the way in which the model is implemented differs according to context, with factors such as the level of maturity of the school community partnership influencing the process. The flexibility of the model, in terms of better understanding the contextualised nature of educational leadership, suggests it has broader application beyond rural school community partnerships.