Leadership Practice: an investigation of the perceptions of secondary school headteachers in South East England

Lyng, Anthony (2013) Leadership Practice: an investigation of the perceptions of secondary school headteachers in South East England. EdD thesis, University of Lincoln.

Leadership Practice: an investigation of the perceptions of secondary school headteachers in South East England
Anthony Lyng EdD Thesis.pdf - Whole Document

Item Type:Thesis (EdD)
Item Status:Live Archive


This research has developed an alternative conceptual framework for school leadership which is context sensitive, practice oriented and centred on leadership for learning. The framework is construed on a set of practices which are considered to be optimal for leadership in a school and is based on three conceptual domains: leadership for pedagogical purpose; leadership for engagement; and leadership for empowerment. The three domains link sets of day to day leadership practices which inform pedagogical purpose; engage a wide constituency of others to be part of
leadership practice; empowers this constituency to lead. At the centre of the constituency are the staff and students in the school, parents, school governors and a wide range of community stakeholders.
Developed through substantial debate of the context of secondary schools in England and a wide range of theories, models and perspectives of leadership, the framework was used to undertake an inquiry into headteacher perception of leadership practice in their schools, focusing on a sub-regional group of secondary headteachers in the South
East of England. A sequential mixed methods procedure was used which allowed analysis and discussion of a combined and sequential data set. Exploratory factor analysis of questionnaire data, enriched by thematic analysis of interview data, enabled a framework for perceived leadership practice to be constructed and compared to the conceptual framework for leadership underpinning the research.
The findings indicate that despite some aspects of excellent leadership practice there may be limited practice in important aspects of leadership in the schools particularly with regard to leadership for engagement and leadership for empowerment. Significant sources of leadership practice available in staff, students, parents, other schools, and governing bodies are likely to be under-developed and under-deployed in most schools. Excessive accountability, both explicit and implicit, in the standards based school improvement processes driven by central government and the
fundamental lack of trust which this implies creates barriers to the development of effective leadership practice.
The findings of this research suggest that headteachers appear trapped in their primacy and often feel unable to utilise the leadership resources available to them because of accountability in relation to their agency, the capacity of others to lead and the perceptions of others that leadership is in the sole provenance of the head. This thesis has shown that the headteacher’s primacy in school leadership is crucially important to establishing leadership in the school which fosters learning and engages and empowers others. It is headteachers who will nurture leadership practice which is
purposefully concerned to maximise student learning, fully engaging of all potential leadership resources and empowering other leaders, staff, students, parents and school governors to be part of the leadership of the school.

Keywords:School leadership, Leadership practice, secondary schools, headteachers
Subjects:X Education > X300 Academic studies in Education
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
ID Code:19032
Deposited On:14 Oct 2015 15:03

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