Is it worth it? Investigating the return on school leadership preparation and development programmes

Year: 2012

Author: Eacott, Scott

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


On a global scale there is unprecedented interest in improving the quality of school education, and particularly student outcomes. Embedded within current government school reform initiatives is an assumption that leaders, and leadership, matter. This assumption is supported by contemporary discourses in the field with research consistently arguing that leadership is second only to classroom teaching in improving school outcomes. However, unlike England and Wales who have mandated a minimum national qualification prior to appointment to school leadership posts, or the requirement of a master's degree or doctorate in educational administration such as in many states of the US, Australia has continued to utilise an 'apprentice' model. Although it has been argued that a postgraduate qualification is an unwritten expectation. This paper draws from ongoing research investigating the quality and potential impact of school leadership preparation and development programmes working with discourses of educational administration (particularly Robinson, Lloyd and Rowe's identification of leadership dimensions with greatest impact on student outomes), economics (particularly return on leadership investment), and sociology. The key argument being that if we know what impacts on student outcomes, to what extent is that demonstrated in programmes, and what may be the reasons for that.