Principal leadership in high-advantage, improving Victorian secondary schools
AuthorLongmuir, Fiona Gail
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2017 Dr. Fiona Gail Longmuir
This study explored the leadership of principals in high-advantage, improving secondary schools in Victoria, Australia. This thesis reports on the leadership characteristics and practices of two principals and their interaction with specific contextual factors that contributed to improvement. It emerged that both case schools were significantly innovative and had transformed their approaches and cultures through re-establishment following challenging circumstances. This study is aligned with the International Successful School Principalship Project (ISSPP) which in its third stage had begun exploring the principalship in underperforming or improving schools. A multiple perspective case study methodology was employed. At each school, individual and group interviews with the principal, other school leaders, school council members, teachers, students and parents, were supported by observations and review of relevant documentation. The findings showed that aspects of the contexts of the two schools instigated and enabled the innovative improvement trajectories. Themes generated included having a strong student focus, the importance of vision, attitudes and approaches to leading change, the influence of trust, staff capacity development, and the principals’ personal approaches to leadership. In each of these themes it was evident that the two principals adjusted their leadership characteristics and practices in ways that were contextually sensitive and suited to the stage of improvement at their own schools. This evidence demonstrated that in many ways the leadership of the principals and the community contexts were reciprocally influential to support innovative, student-centred improvement.
Keywordsschool leadership; school improvement; context; innovation; student-centred
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